When it comes to the weather, there is only one thing we all like more than talking about – and that's it.
Especially when things get dramatic.
No wonder that storm-chasing photographer Adam Kyle Jackson from Texas has collected almost 60,000 followers on Instagram – because he publishes absolutely stunning pictures of extreme weather.
Storm-tracking photographer Adam Kyle Jackson from Texas has gathered almost 60,000 followers on Instagram. This incredible picture was taken in Perryton, Texas. One of his followers commented, "Wow, wow, wow"
The breathtaking picture on the left was taken in Abilene, Texas. Adam called it "a 30-second shot into the pure darkness". He described the picture on the right – taken in Perryton, Texas – as "the calm after the storm".
The images Adam is most proud of include these two, taken in Roswell, New Mexico. Especially the picture on the right. Adam said, "(It is) a perfect bolt that filled the frame, didn't spit into the clouds, and split the sunset downburst perfectly in the middle."
His portfolio includes breathtaking pictures of lightning strikes and the most fascinating storm cloud formations like New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Monument Valley and his home state.
The 39-year-old told MailOnline Travel that he had grown to love the dramatic weather when he grew up in Texas.
He said, “After growing up in West Texas and experiencing extreme thunderstorms every spring and summer, I developed a natural affinity for the weather and hunting.
I remember standing as a child on the porch with my mother watching a tornado touchdown on the distant horizon. We ran frantically to the truck to alert my father, who was working in the cotton fields without being aware of the possible danger.
"I have been chasing storms for over a decade with the primary goal of being on the safe side when photographing lightning, mammary clouds and storm scenes in the Milky Way."
Almost inevitably, things didn't always go according to plan.
This stunning picture was taken in the Big Bend National Park in Texas and taken with a 30 second exposure
The picture on the left shows a & # 39; beautiful little wall cloud and its tail hovers over the border between Oklahoma and Texas & # 39 ;. Adam said it turned into a "monster storm with baseball hail from hell, wind speeds of nearly 150 mph" and "multiple tornadoes". The fascinating picture on the right was taken in the inimitable Monument Valley
Adam said: “I once lost awareness of the situation in Nebraska, where my cell phone signal was bad and the radar update was delayed. I drove between two hail-producing 70 mph plus gust mesocyclones (areas of rotation within a thunderstorm) where one quickly changed course and wrapped me in the merging with the other storm.
“I suddenly found myself at the heart of the new storm with extreme hail and wind that lost complete visibility of the street. I stopped the truck and when I did that an extreme gust seemed to have moved the pickup perpendicular to the road.
"I think my heart stopped at that moment and I vowed never to be in the" storm again and have done so without incident since then. "
Tornado warnings have been issued for this supercell outside of Tecumseh, Nebraska. The rainbow contrasts strikingly with the threatening, darkening sky
Adam said of the picture on the left near Houston: “The hunt for tornadoes can lead you to some interesting places where you often don't get a photo of a tornado, but find a beautiful supercell on a pasture – one that was later produced Tornado when I got a necessary Red Bull. & # 39; The flash picture on the right was taken in Perryton, Texas
His training helped.
Adam, who contributes to the photography of the official Houston City Visitors Guide, continued, "I completed the official Skywarn Spotter Training of the National Weather Service and registered with the Spotter Network. Regardless of the motives for being in or around the storm, the training emphasizes that we always maintain an escape route, an awareness of the situation and a form of communication to inform others about possible dangers and their location in an emergency. Never put yourself or others at risk, especially not for a photo. & # 39;
A big truck also helps.
Adam drives a black Z71 4×4 Chevrolet Suburban with modified suspension and 33-inch tires "to combat the unruly and often confused side streets".
This picture was taken in Galveston, Texas and was apparently the only one during the shoot – "out of hundreds of lightning strikes" – that worked
The striking picture on the left shows a supercell over Elkhart, Kansas. The picture to the right of a super cell was taken in Bassett, Nebraska, with a vehicle in the photograph "to show the extent of the matter".
Northeastern New Mexico and West Texas are among the "go-to" points he drives to for good storm pictures.
In these areas, Adam said, "storms can appear as single cells and rage late into the evening as multi-cell monster systems that produce great hail, beautiful lightning and occasional tornadoes."
He continued, "Some of my best photos were taken outside of Clayton, New Mexico, and Lubbock, Texas, where I'm from."
His favorite storm photos are in his "flash series" in Roswell, New Mexico. And his general favorite picture from this set is presented here – a picture of a "perfect bolt that filled the frame, did not spit into the clouds and divided the sunset downburst perfectly in the middle".
Do you fancy storm photos?
Then notice Adams Do's and Don’s.
He said, “Uncouple yourself from the tripod and go into your hand. This is how I took my most dynamic weather pictures.
"Take the wide-angle lens you have and use the cropping for post-processing. In this way, you ensure that you bring the data home for later editing instead of leaving it in the field. I take most of my shots at 14mm ISO 64. With this method, one shot can often produce two or three good pictures from the same exposure that have been cropped several times.
Adam said if you want to take great storm chasing pictures, don't drive frantically from thunderstorm to thunderstorm. Instead, choose a destination and stick to it.
The picture on the left on Follets Island in Texas shows a super cell that forms over the Christmas bay. The picture on the right was taken in Kansas. Take a close look and you will see a house at the bottom right
Plan with weather models, moonrise and moonset dates, and sunrise and sunset dates. Once you've selected a general geographic region for your photo shoot, you can use Google Earth to roam the country roads before you get there. I often use Google Earth to plan the visual interest of the image, such as where the adjacent wheat fields are, and to avoid wind turbines and flashing red lights.
& # 39; Experiment with daytime flash photography in your camera's "High Frames Per Second" mode. Night flash photos are relatively easy to take. Set up your tripod, choose your exposure, set it for 30 seconds and hope for the best. Daylight flashes require a little more finesse and a steady hand, but the challenge is also worth it visually, since the entire scene is not clearly visible and properly exposed.
“Plan photos after the storm. There is nothing better than taking photos of the mammoth clouds and the crazy flashes on the back of a super cell during the golden hour at sunset.
»Be there early and don't drive frantically from thunderstorm to thunderstorm. Choose a destination and stick to it. The weather models can be wrong and I have often seen the live feeds of other professional spotters staring into the blue sky with small white puffy clouds 30 miles away and I think, "What on earth are they doing? there if the crazy storms are right? " Here right now? "
Â € œAnd like the string the storm I was on dies inevitably, and I am catching up to face some of the craziest storms you have ever seen.
"Trust your instincts, give yourself time and network with others who in some cases have been doing this for over 30 years. They know what they're doing. If a group of storm spotters reports on the Spotter Network GPS in an area, you may want to be there too. & # 39;
Adam recommends using Google Earth before a storm hunt to explore the country roads. This picture was taken in Kansas
On the left is an image of a multi-tornado supercell storm system being made just above you in Rock County, Nebraska. Adam captioned the picture on the right in Texas: "I always wanted to take a mammoth picture that would make your mother proud … well, I hope you are a proud mother."
Adam started his & # 39; Don & # 39; ts & # 39; list with some important safety tips.
He said: & # 39; Don't be "in the" storm to take pictures of the storm.
"I made this mistake early on and it rained a lot, I was exposed to crazy winds, and the car was senselessly hit by hail while I didn't get any photogenic weather scenes for my efforts.
“My favorite storms that I want to follow are moving to the southeast while moving comfortably and continuously to be a few miles ahead of the storm in the southwest. Make sure that your parked vehicle is always pointing in the direction of your escape route.
“Trying to turn around on muddy roads with limited visibility is a difficult task, especially in the desperate effort to escape the storm.
»Don't get caught up in the thrill of the hunt and forget to take the photos. There is a big difference between hunting for tornadoes and building a weather photo portfolio. Some of my best weather photos weren't anywhere near where a tornado would have formed.
I used to take photos on my phone across the country and now I regret every minute of it
“Don't stand on the street and dig power lines or weeds into the trenches when you shoot. Get a little mushy if you have to and go out into the field to get the clean shot. Ideally, align your shot with something that shows scaling on the horizon, a street for perspective, or reduce the foreground in the shot to capture more of the storm.
“Don't take every photo in landscape format. Switch between portrait and landscape frequently. Portrait shots help determine the size and scale of the Cumulonimbus cloud towers, especially when there is something of known size on the horizon to demonstrate the scale. Most of my weather photos are portraits. & # 39;
The biggest mistake that amateurs make, said Adam, is using a "full screen DSLR camera".
He said: “I used to take photos on my phone across the country and now I regret every minute of it. Due to the often insufficient lighting conditions and the extreme contrasts between light (flash) and shadow (cloud base), storm photography requires a considerable dynamic range in the scenes. & # 39;
To be obsessed with the "rule of a third" and the foreground are other mistakes that Adam often sees.
He added: “They are there to photograph the clouds and hopefully the flash. Some of the most visually appealing storm photos contain only a piece of foreground. In the foreground of the country are often telephone poles, weeds and just dirt, none of which are visually appealing.
"Instead of thinking of a rule of thirds, you should think about demonstrating the scale of the approaching storm by using the horizon line to your advantage."
Follow his advice – and you'll no doubt land on cloud nine.
- To see what your pictures might look like if you follow Adam's advice, visit his Instagram page.
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