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Old 09-15-2009, 09:37 AM
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Thumbs up Real Life "WIZARD OF OZ" Tornado photos from Kansas

Yikes!!!
Too close for comfort: The astonishing twisters captured by storm-chasing photographer
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Last updated at 3:48 PM on 14th September 2009
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worl...-Jim-Reed.html

Running towards a raging twister might seem insane to most people but for one artist, such perils are all in a day's work. Storm chaser Jim Reed has narrowly escaped death twice in his pursuit of the perfect stormy shot.
Up close: A tornado with large Liberty Bell shaped debris cloud swirls across a dirt road less than 500 feet in front of an unmarked Kansas State Trooper patrol car

His experiences have been brought together in the revised and expanded version of his award-winning photo book, 'Storm Chaser: A Photographer's Journey.'

The awe-inspiring images chronicle Reed's travels through more than 2,000 U.S. counties documenting some of America's most deadly and spectacular weather.

'Storm Chaser includes the most memorable photos and experiences of 17 years of photographing wild weather,' said Reed.

'These experiences have shaped and changed my life.'
Re-released in June of this year, the book documents 17 hurricanes, including Hurricanes Charley in 2004, Katrina in 2005 and Ike in 2008.
Drama: A lone lightning bolt strikes the ground beneath an isolated supercell at sunset near Medicine Lodge, Kansas

Encountering hundreds of tornadoes, super-cell thunderstorms and hailstorms that have produced icy orbs twice the size of a softball, Jim's pictures are breathtaking. Unlike other so-called 'storm chasers', who are often labelled adrenaline junkies for their obsessive pursuit of extreme weather, Jim is driven by his love for art and his interaction with nature by documenting the unpredictable changes in weather and climate.

'You might ask, 'What's the difference, really?', the 48-year-old who lives in South Carolina said. 'I don't chase anything really. What I do is about preparation, evaluation, second-guessing and forecasting. 'And if you're a pro or if you're a Storm Chaser that has pride you want to be out in the field before that storm warning is ever issued.'

Jim's professionalism and dedication is reflected in his meticulous planning for each shoot.

'The day before a potential event, I'm looking at the computer models, maps and data just like any weatherman on TV does,' explains Jim.

'That part is a lot of science, but once I get there, it becomes a lot more artful. I'm out there interpreting the sky and observing the landscape.

That helps me decide which camera and lens I want to use.
Wizard of Oz: Professional storm chasers monitor an approaching tornado in western Kansas on May 8, 2008

'Will I have time for a tripod? Do I need to sandbag it? You really only have a few seconds to make all of those decisions. I also have to decide how close I want to get.'

Near-death experiences
Yet despite his thorough approach, even Jim can't control the elements.
'In almost 20 years, I've only marked down two near death experiences in my journal,' says Jim. 'The first was Hurricane Charley in Florida on Friday the 13th, 2004.
Spectacular: A sunset occurs during a severe thunderstorm in north central Oklahoma on May 8, 2002
Storm clouds: An isolated thunderstorm threatens south central Kansas on June 5, 2004
'I was down there with a meteorologist partner and we thought it was going to be a Category 2. It suddenly changed directions and intensified to nearly a Category 5 and caught us out in the open. 'We were literally swatting away debris and getting hit by shrapnel. It's the only time I ever videotaped a goodbye to my mom. I thought, 'This is it.' 'Trees were coming out of the ground, but what saved our hides, was the centre of the eye. In the matter of a few minutes, we went from violent winds to dead calm. It's the only time in my career I have experienced that. It's other worldly and bizarre in a good way. 'We had a 4 minute 52 second window and we found someone with a tornado shelter and they let us in. 'My second was during Hurricane Katrina. We were in Gulfport, Mississippi, at the same hotel we had been in for three other storms. It was built just after Hurricane Camille so it was designed to withstand a Category 5.
Dark skies: A super storm in Kansas. Extreme weather photographer Jim Reed has spent the last 20 years being as close as possible to tornados
'We rode it out in this five storey hotel about 70 yards from the water. We were poking our heads out of the doors and windows as much as we could until the surge reached out to us. It was about 26 or 27 feet in our area.

'We couldn't go downstairs anymore after that. When the water subsided, it was like someone had pulled the stopper on the bathtub and the water went out faster than it came in. 'Everything to the east and west of us had been completely raised from the concrete foundations. Our hotel had lost half of the building. We were the only area left standing. We could've been crushed - I still dream about it.'

Jim's fascination in weather began as a young boy thanks to a variety of severe storms in his home town of Springfield, Illinois, which included tornadoes, blizzards, ice storms, floods. In 1969, Jim and his mother, Audrey, found themselves trapped by the outer bands of historic hurricane Camille while returning from a family vacation near Mississippi.
Moving into writing, producing and directing, it wasn't until 1991 after seeing footage from two Wichita photojournalists riding out an F-5 tornado, that he turned his eyes, and lens, to the sky.

With 2010 marking his 19th consecutive year in the field, Jim is now focusing on his first love - meteorological art. It may come as no surprise that Jim is considering switching gears and slowing down.
'I'm setting new goals for 2010,' he said, explaining that the pace of editorial photography doesn't appeal to him as much as the art. 'I want to shoot less and exhibit more.'

Jim currently has images being shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC in conjunction with the new Sargent and the Sea exhibit about artist John Singer Sargent.

Or, as Nikon, the camera manufacturer who sponsors the artist, calls them, "atmospheric portraits."

'You watch the genesis of this remarkable event that will never be repeated,' said Reed.

'Every single storm is unique to the environment. It's almost like as this storm matures I need to stay with it (something like) karma moves in, you get into this dance with nature and I just love it.'

For more information on Jim visit: www.jimreedphoto.com

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worl...#ixzz0RBKftzSS
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: Real Life "WIZARD OF OZ" Tornado photos from Kansas

WOW i chase storms myself, (not so much anymore) but we never get action like this here in PA. sometimes we'll have touchdowns near me, but of course i am never there. couple years back i missed one because i was working. i was pissed, i have been waiting a long time to get some shots such as these. or anything.
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: Real Life "WIZARD OF OZ" Tornado photos from Kansas

you know a true Kansan when the sirens go off and they go outside to look...
me and my siblings would run to the back yard and climb the steel light pole to try and see which way the storm was coming from, then we'd run out front and stand under the big tree to stay dry while it rolled in...
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Old 09-16-2009, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: Real Life "WIZARD OF OZ" Tornado photos from Kansas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik View Post
you know a true Kansan when the sirens go off and they go outside to look...
me and my siblings would run to the back yard and climb the steel light pole to try and see which way the storm was coming from, then we'd run out front and stand under the big tree to stay dry while it rolled in...
I'd dig a gd hole and jump in.

Thank God tornado season has been mild around here this year.
We've barely had any watches or warnings at all.
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