I admit -- I'm a sucker for awesome weather photography. I have probably 75 or 80 photos I keep in a folder to rotate through my computer desktop -- many submitted by local readers of our web site, but others I've found online.
If you're a fan of fantastic shots too, here is a small guide to some of the best weather photography I've found online. Most of them have ways for you to buy prints if you're interested.
Some of the best of the best are taken by professional storm chasers, who are just crazy enough to actually try to get themselves in the paths of severe storms. It's a tireless job that requires incredible dedication and a willingness to drive hundreds of miles a day, get soaked to the bone and pelted with large hail, all the while hoping that tornado forms where it's supposed to, and not, say, 10 feet from your camera.
There are times these people will drive across three states (and remember the Midwestern states aren't exactly Rhode Island and Delaware), all for a storm that fizzles. But boy, the times they get in the right place at the right time, the results are simply breath-taking.
Warren Faidley -- weatherstock.com
There are two storm chasers that rank among the most popular -- Warren Faidley and Jim Reed. First up is Faidley:
Copyright Warren Faidley, weatherstock.com. Photo used with permission from photographer.
Faidley has been chasing storms for more than 20 years and has published numerous books and videos on storm chasing. If you're daring, he even offers storm chasing tours. You can see some of this other work at weatherstock.com
Jim Reed -- jimreedphoto.com
And among Reed's vast library, this amazing shot where a picture might say a 1,000 words, but I'll bet 999 of them in this photo are unprintable:
Photo from: Storm Chaser: A Photographer’s Journey by Jim Reed (Abrams; 2009)
All rights reserved. Photo used with permission from photographer.
(Wonder what his radar gun clocked?)
Jim has spent nearly two decades documenting almost every type of meteorological phenomena -- including tornadoes, blizzards, electrical storms and floods. He has documented 17 hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina. See more of Reed's handi-work at jimreedphoto.com
Mike Hollingshead -- extremeinstability.com
Another one of my favorites is Mike Hollingshead's work over at extremeinstability.com. He's also responsible for the image atop this blog entry. And here's another one featuring mammatus clouds:
Copyright Mike Hollingshead. Photo used with permission from photographer.
Mike's work has also been e-mailed around the world several times over, but some of it is not of his doing. A handful of his storm photos have been erroneously passed off as storm clouds of an approaching Hurricane Katrina.
See more of his official work at extremeinstability.com. He even has a section of photos that are kosher for personal use to put on your computer desktops.
Other Storm Chasers:
There's plenty of other chaser sites out there, and here are some links to find them:
The last link has some storm chaser videos as well. Ever see a tornado form right in front of you? Check out this video from tornadolive.com:
Local Weather Photo Gurus
Storm chasers don't get all the glory. We have quite the few photographers based around Seattle. Here are two of my favorites:
Jason Hummel -- www.alpinestateofmind.com
Hummel does a lot of mountain climbing and never forgets to bring the camera. One of my favorites is showing the shadow Mt. Rainier casts on the lowlands below:
You can find more of his awesome work at www.lpinestateofmind.com
Ken has been one of our most frequent photo submitters. From his perch in Edmonds, he has a front row seat to some of the best sunsets Mother Nature can toss our way. Here is the one I have in my desktop rotation:
You can see most of his submitted work on our YouNews site.
I'm sure there are many other local and national photographers out there. If you know of a good site, or have a site dedicated to weather photos yourself, feel free to e-mail me or put them in the comment field below.
And happy storm hunting!