Kansas Storm Chase

DEXTER, KANSAS – MAY 31, 2017:  The sun sets May 31, 2017, after a day of storm chasing severe weather near Dexter, Kansas. (Photo by Marc Sanchez)

Kansas.  I love storm chasing in Kansas.  It was in Kansas I saw an epic F3/F4 tornado near Dodge City on May 24, 2016.    Like most of my storm chasing adventures on the plains, this day was memorable.  After a long day of chasing severe weather near Dexter, Kansas I found myself parked on this old dirt road watching the sunset.  The colors of the sky were spectacular and the moment was right for a photograph.  As the sun closed out another day of storm chasing on the plains, I watched as my moment developed right in front of me. The sky drama was amazing, the colors were amazing, and all I needed was something to pull it all together.  I encountered this single tree out in a field and thought this was the scene.   It was time to set up and shoot.

I tend to chase photographs of objects that tell a story of what may be a small part of my life.  I storm chase solo.  I typically shoot solo.  I do many things,…solo.  When I thought about some of the photographs I have shot chasing storms, I could pick out a pattern of singular themes displayed in my work.  “Solo” shots tend to gain my interest and catch my eye.  As I mentioned earlier, when I saw the single tree out in the field, I knew that was the place to capture the moment.

Often when a scene is developing, I will stay and watch what is going on around me.  I like to take it all in and there was a lot of activity happening around me at this moment.  I could see lightning in the distance from a thunderstorm and the sky was opening up with brilliant colors from the sunset and from the lightning in the distance.  I could feel anxiety bubbling up inside of me but I was drawn to the scene by that sunset and the tree.  As my focus shifted from the sunset and tree scene to the lightning in the distance scene, I kept noticing green flashes of light coming from the fields.  I thought at first I was seeing things from just from being tired.  While I was checking the camera settings, I heard a buzzing noise next to my ear.  I made the comment out loud, “leave me, alone creature.”  Looking around I noticed what appeared to be these little green eyes staring at me from the grass.   I thought “Wow, that is creepy.”

It was almost dark now and I thought I didn’t want to be hanging out in some field becoming some creatures dinner so I started to pay attention to the green glowing eyes hiding in the grass. Suddenly, something flew next to me and illuminated green.  I then realized the green eyes were actually fireflies and they were everywhere!  I had never seen a firefly until that moment and it was pretty amazing.  Again I found myself taking it all in.  I thought I hadn’t seen a tornado today, but mother nature certainly provided some amazing moments for me to enjoy and appreciate.  It was fascinating and I was glad I found that moment.


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