Sunday 21st May 2017
Today was another busy day of chasing. We know that the latter half of the week is going to be quiet so we want to grab every opportunity we can. We stayed overnight in San Angelo with the view that we’d go to Amarillo today.
Texas is a big ol’ place, and make no mistake, San Angelo to Amarillo is a long ol’ drive. Whereas I had my rundown day yesterday, the rest of the team seemed to have it today.
On the way up we had some discussion about targets. None of them were ideal but the view was that it was either New Mexico or Colorado. We didn’t have to make a decision until we reached Lubbock which despite looking just up the road on the map, was considerably further.
New Mexico had a strong boundary but Colorado had the helicity. If felt that whatever choice we made would be the wrong one. So we cut our losses and headed diagonally towards Vega.
I think this is where we currently go wrong as a team. We’re still learning and I have to be honest and say that the fact that we’re actually getting on so many storms has actually surprised me. But whilst we’re good at choosing a general target, it’s that few hours of repositioning so we’re right in place when the storm fires that we screw up. I guess it’s all down to experience…. But like I say, I can’t really criticise because we’ve been doing so well.
We ended up going to Boise City by way of Vega. By the time we arrived at Vega the storms were already going. But Shannon found us an excellent position and I started one of many timelapses. We were right up next to the Colorado border and I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t seem to cross over at any point.
As I said to her, one of the things she’s brilliant at is ensuring we stay far enough ahead of the storm to get some decent pictures / timelapses/ lightening shots whilst also staying dry. Some truly great work there.
I always find chasing a little of a stressful experience. I know people will say you should do X or Y as if it’s easy. In truth, you park up and you know you have (at best) a couple of minutes to get everything done. That means setting up cameras, ensuring they are in focus, getting the intervalometer going and a hundred other things. If you’re too slow you’ll find yourself packing up before you’ve even set up. That would have been our 8th or 9th state this trip.
So every wasted second I find stressful. I think I’ve got it down to a bit of a fine art now. I get the DSLR set up on top of the tripod that I have folded up next to me in the car. I jump out and set it up, turning on my intervalometer. I then connect to it via WiFi on my phone and by that time, it should be ready to connect. I do that and select intervalometer to start it taking pictures. I then grab my vlogging camera and do a piece or two, maybe stopping inbetween for some blog and vlog cover photo shots.
I managed to take a number of different timelapses, which totalled around 1400 pictures in total. I think there’s some cracking shots in here too.
The storm wasn’t tornadic and sadly never got enough strength together to pull off some of the truly insane structure but it looked a little impressive and so I think my combination of footage from various cameras should look awesome… so awesome in fact I’m not sure how I’ll fit it all into a vlog.
We watched the storm fall apart. I got some fantastic timelapse of the rain curtains whilst the others played around with lightening photography. We then headed back into Amarillo.
I’ve been in charge of finding us rooms. I wish I could have helped with the driving, especially today as both Kim and David seem pooped (whereas I had more energy today), but because I’m not insured on the hire car I make a point of trying to get some great deals on rooms. I’ve done it again tonight with a $43 hotel that we actually stayed in with ETT last year.
Speaking of ETT we met up with them tonight. Frankie and Pat are on the tour that started today and so we met up with them at the Big Texan and saw them, Blake, Kevin and Nick. Nick told me I had fantastic guides this year (Don’t get me wrong, I don’t overrate my forecasting skills but I’ve been picking legitimate targets all week to the extent that I’d feel happy chasing)
I had the buffalo burger which was nice, and then we came back to our hotel.
I took so much footage today that it took me ages to back it up, only to find that I’ve had a memory card corrupt. That goodness I back up everything at the end of every day, but it had the start of today’s vlog on it so I’m currently trying to recover the files.
So today was a good day, if again, a little long. The long drives are taking their toll and I wish I could do something more to help other than book hotels. Still, everyone else is in bed by 1am when I’ve not even started work on the vlog for today. I just hope I can recover these files.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels. Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
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