-Photography and Storm Chasing from the Great Plains-
My name is Chris Allington, I am a photographer and storm chaser that lives in a small town called Crofton, Nebraska on the Nebraska/ South Dakota border near Lewis and Clark Lake. I have lived in Nebraska for most of my life, and during the frequent thunderstorms we would get all spring and summer I started getting interested in severe weather. Every spring and summer I chase storms in the Central Plains, traveling from North Dakota to Texas in search of supercells and other extreme weather to photograph. During the rest of the year, I keep myself entertained with landscapes, wildlife, and other weather phenomenon like winter storms, atmosphereic optics, and the night sky. All of which you will find in some form or another here on the site.
I remember one particular experience that solidified my interest in storms and seemed to plant the seeds of what would eventually become my interest in chasing storms. One day, after school towards the end of the school year in Early May, I came home and a tornado warning was issued. It was the first time I didnt have anyone telling me to take cover immediately so I decided to see what I could see (though I definitely advocate taking cover if a tornado warning is issued). I eventually headed to the basement, but not before seeing some incredible structure as a wall cloud moved just off to my south, nearly over head. I remembered the colors, deep blues and greens in the storm, and the striations carved into the storm by the wind with that constant rumble of thunder. It was incredible to me that something so potentially destructive and frightening could also be so beautiful and awe inspiring. After this experience I started looking online and trying to learn. I found other chasers websites and looked at their images, read about their experiences, and starting trying to learn as much as I could about weather. A couple of Christmases later my brother and I got a Sony video camera, so I would film local storms, and when I got my learners permit, start driving to within a couple of counties to film storms locally and see what I could see. I didnt catch much of note in those first couple of years but it definitely got me increasingly interested in storms and the weather, as well as documenting what I experienced. I got my first Digital SLR in 2005, after saving for quite awhile and started snapping some images. Then in 2006-2007 I briefly attended the Univeristy of Nebraska as a meteorology and climatology student. I soon decided it wasn't for me and have been working and doing this full time ever since.
I went on my first true 'chase' in 2008 and didn't have much success that year (beyond a couple of accounts posted on this site). 2009 saw me getting out alot more but it was a rather poor year in the Plains for supercells and tornadoes. 2010 was an incredible year, but one that I still learned alot and made alot of mistakes in, and I suppose the same goes for this past season in 2011. I'd estimate that I've driven a total of around 50,000 miles so far, just chasing storms, in 10 states across the Central Plains. The wierd part is that I feel like its a journey that has just started and I'll never get tired of, so I look forward to many more years of long drives to obscure places with my camera, all in search of clouds to photograph. I've seen a number of tornadoes and incredible supercells, but some that stand out to me are the Aurora, Nebraska supercell and tornado, The Vivian, South Dakota supercell that produced world record hail, the Last Chance, Colorado supercell, and being within about 150 yards of a rope tornado near Shawnee, Oklahoma. Events like those are why I chase, to be there when Mother Nature has a tendency to be at her worst, most unique, and also somehow most photogenic. After getting involved in photography more and more I realized how much more is around us that I wanted to document and see as well, and obviously severe weather doesn't happen year round (though I certainly wouldn't complain if it did) so I started looking for other weather events and things to photograph.
My goal with my photography is pretty simple and straight forward I think. I want to document the things I experience and give my perspective on them. I also want to show people some of the fascinating things that happen in the natural world around us. I want to evoke that same feeling of awe and fascination that I feel when I witness alot of these scenes. I hope you enjoy the images here and the words I've written about them. I look forward to continuing to document storms and amazing scenes in nature. If you have any questions or comments feel free to pass them along here.
You can also follow us on twitter, flickr, or deviantart as well as youtube at the links below:
Published on spaceweather.com, YahooNews, and the Crofton Journal. Also seen on local news channels WOWT and KETV in Omaha. Finished 3rd in deviantART's Climate Change contest and was featured on promotional materials.