.In late June and early July of 2021, I spent two weeks capturing timelapse photography of storms. The experience changed my creative focus forever.
The film “rain will come” offers a sense of freedom of open vistas and the toughness of the Western United States. It was a an adventure involving my friend Ron Risman of Timelapseworkshops.com, Bill, Matt and Bob from TempestTours.com and the wonderful people at Peter Gabriel’s label, RealWorldMusic.com.
Capturing the timelapse of storms was a new experience for me. We traveled across 8 states and well over 5,000 miles in two weeks of the chase. The visual textures and sound of experiencing the storms in person were breathtaking. I’ve been around storms all my life. I’ve seen beauty in the clouds but then would head for cover never realizing the colors, textures, and motion they offer as they approach.
My chasing experience started in Denver, CO with an evening safety briefing from our TempestTours team and a great camera settings/method class from Ron Risman. The next day started with a morning weather briefing and off we went. We received constant weather briefings and continued instruction from Ron Risman in the van as we traveled to where the storm cells would most likely be forming later in the day. Many times this would take us to another state. The Tempest Tour folks were spot on every time. These folks know how to find great storm cells safely. We’d find a storm cell, stop shoot for a few minutes and get back in the van to stay ahead of the cell and chase as long as we could. The wind would start from behind us as the storm sucked up moisture, then start blowing towards us as it approached. Not long after we would hear our guide say “back in the van.”
All of the vans really took a beating with all the hail. I loved the experience so much that I joined a second week of chasing. The weather patterns looked even better for unstable skys. I brought a ton of gear but ended up capturing just about everything with a Canon 5Dmk4 with a Canon 11-24mm lens using a one-second interval for capture. I also used a Canon 16-35mm in a few locations. I had a pile of batteries, fast memory cards, microfiber cloths, a stone bag on the tripod, and last but not least a favorite rock. All were necessary tools. I learned to set up quickly, compose a shot based on storm direction and start clicking off frames ASAP. It kind of felt like speed landscape photography.
The rule of thirds is interesting when the subject hasn’t arrived yet. I also learned how to quickly wipe raindrops off the lens between clicks. Once back in Ohio for post-production, I used Adobe Lightroom Classic, LRTimelapse, and Adobe Premiere software. If you’ve not used LRTimelapse visit LRTimelapse.com for a demo version.
As I reviewed the images from the field for post-production the only song that came to mind was “Red Rain” by Peter Gabriel. As I processed the images and began editing footage, the edit seemed to just fall into place. I contacted Peter Gabriel’s folks at Real World Music to see if licensing the music for use was even a remote possibility. They were so helpful and very supportive of the project.
Many, Many Thanks!
Storm chasing is both an exciting and creative adventure when done safely. I’d highly recommend it.
I hope you enjoy the film.