STORM CHASING 2012-2013

A nice line of storms came through the Darling Downs and south-western SE Qld late in the day. I didn't even leave home till after 10pm.

Unfortunately, the dry heat is causing devastating bushfires in other parts of the country, but these same conditions can strangely produce storms with very little rain reaching the ground - perfect conditions for photography.

I started out along the Warrego Hwy then diverted south slightly through Walloon and westerwards to Grandchester. The main road south from there was thoroughly tree-ridden so I backtracked a bit towards Rosewood where some forks came out of the shadow.

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The radar showed the rain almost on me but I only received a few light drops. Unlike most approaching storms, there was virtually no outflow. The most memorable features of these storms were conditions that were hot, still and unusually rain-free. Not only was it great for photography but there was virtually no sound to obscure the thunder.

A few more drops started falling and the lightning was slipping E so I followed, heading back towards Rosewood a little more.

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I continued on to Rosewood then S a little to try and get closer to the majority of the lightning.

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It was very dark but I thought I could make out some structure from the approaching line. There was little lightning at this point so I jacked the camera settings up to 800 ISO and F3.5. Then of course a nice big crawler burst through. This is the tricky thing when shooting storms - deciding what exactly you want to capture. Going for dark structure sometimes means sacrificing lightning.

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I continued back ENE with the line as lightning started to slow. The radar showed only green and blue and I was stunned that I was still seeing lightning... bizarrely dry conditions that I'm not used to. I stopped at Springfield to not much avail, then again at Larapinta for the storm's final death throes. The SE section of the main line had broken off and was heading out to sea.

The last lightning strike from this part of the system occurred at 1:02am. I didn't even notice it at the time, but some mammatus is also visible in the next shot:

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The storms vaporised completely before reaching the Brisbane suburbs.

Ultimately, an interesting chase as the storms weren't brilliant, but they were a bit of a surprise and the shooting conditions were perfect making it a very pleasurable chase.