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.