STORM CHASING 2009-2010

Again, with my limited experience the numbers looked good for today for SE Qld but nothing happened (until well into the night). NE NSW was favoured by most chasers and they were rewarded for it. I was too lazy.

During a rather lovely evening walk in the southern suburbs of balmy Brisbane, I spotted a surprise. After a day of waiting, a cell to the south was sparking away quite nicely. The pace of our walk subsequently quickened in my enthusiasm for a radar check. I was most surprised to find the storm was south of Nimbin! Much further away than it looked in the sky. I immediately wrote off a chase.

Around 9pm, some new activity developed between Toowoomba and Marburg but was drifting NE towards the northern suburbs, so again, I didn't bother. I watched from the back patio, lamenting the absence of something closer. Shooting lightning at night is possibly my favourite aspect of storm photography and I was desperate for something.

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Later on at around 11pm there was more on the way from the west. Only this time it was a little more organised, forming a more distinct line. My regular internal argument about driving out battled away in my brain: drive the distance for better reward with greater risk of it collapsing.

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Unable to stand pacing the house frantically any longer, I finally took off around midnight... as late as I could leave it to see that it wasn't dying on radar, but also with enough time for shots around my favourite chase area on the Ipswich-Boonah Rd.

In the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night with zero traffic noise and only the constant soft chirping of insects to add melody to the glorious deep rumbles of thunder, I was absolutely in my element. This is what I love about storm chasing and this combination of great view, night-time light show, and the sound of thunder unimpeded by artificiality occurs so surprisingly rarely. Watching this line slowly approach was such a joy.

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In the last photo, I rather fancied the context of the giant power poles dwarfed by the lightning bolts, so the next shot is a 100% crop:

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A crop of the last photo:

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Even the rain, which usually halts proceedings prematurely, left me alone until the great lightning bolts had moved on anyway.

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The radar showed more activity further south, also heading east, so I headed down to Boonah to watch the cell in isolation under the stars. Street lights produced the orange glow.

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I seem to have caught myself a shooting star in the last photo. Here's a 100% crop:

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I may not have bagged my best lightning photo ever, but the experience of just being out there was up with my all time favourites. It very much reminded me of chasing around Darwin.

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I left around 3:30am and failed to make it home before the first morning light.