As I mentioned earlier last month, the Photo Essay component of Behind The Bear’s Cage will be presented separately from the written portion of the project. A selection of the photos have been (and will continue to be) used for illustrative purposes, but the majority of photos I took throughout Phase One will likely never be seen on this blog; their home is elsewhere, on the beautiful website Exposure. Links for all four galleries are provided behind the jump.
I may add more description to the photos to make the timelines of each chase clearer. Unfortunately, I’ve begun the dreaded process of moving, so there may be a slight period of inactivity here through the end of the month. If this ends up being the case, I promise to be back with new content in August!
Continue reading “Phase One Photo Galleries Are Up!”
It’s the end of May, tornado season is at its peak on the Southern Plains, but Chris Sanner is already mentally compiling his off-season “To Do” list. A bit like “summer vacation,” the off-season gives storm chasers much-needed time to rest, sort through the backlog of the past few month’s storm chase video, and edit the hundreds of photographs they’ve taken over the course of the storm season.
What “ends” a chase season is subjective. Some storm chasers choose to shift from the Southern Plains to the Northern Plains and Midwest at the beginning of June, as the severe weather threat pushes North. Sanner rarely chases outside of the area he calls home, so once the summer heat moves into Oklahoma–decreasing the severe weather probability for his area to a minimum–he has the freedom to begin work on projects he’s shelved for the last few months.
For instance, Sanner has a backyard mole problem he needs to tackle, and he and his wife are excited to start as Youth Ministers at a congregation in nearby Yukon, OK. One of the biggest projects Chris will be working on this summer, is creating more content for “Titan U.”
Continue reading “Tornado Titans Want to Teach You About Storms”
I watched Brandon Goforth eat two meals in one day at Subway. First, a Subway sandwich for lunch at the Cherokee Travel Plaza in Clinton, OK; later, a Subway flatbread pizza for dinner in Dodge City, KS. It was my first day chasing with the Titans, but I was already picking up on a trend.
“You guys should really get Subway to sponsor you,” I joked.
The idea didn’t seem remotely odd to Goforth, because he and Chris Sanner do eat a lot of Subway, with good reason.
Continue reading “Eat Fresh”
Prior to beginning Phase One of this project, the only “storm chasing” I had done was accidental; driving up the New Jersey Turnpike at the same speed as a severe thunderstorm in 2009. I’ve long been interested in severe weather, but the four chases within the initial phase of Behind The Bear’s Cage were my personal firsts. This is what differentiates Phase One from the rest of the project: I had to shift from thinking like a photographer to thinking like a storm chaser.
I’m not referring to the meteorological aspect of the chase (that learning curve is a lot steeper), but rather my introduction to the storm chaser lifestyle. Since I will never again have the “first chase” experience, I’ve decided to begin the written portion of Behind The Bear’s Cage with six important things I learned during my time with Tornado Titans…
Continue reading “6 Things I Learned During My First Storm Chase”
I’ve been home from Oklahoma for nearly a week, and I’m finally getting to sorting through nearly 800 photos, multiple … Continue reading UPDATE: Phase One Complete!
Where’s my bed?
That was the first thought I had upon feeling the shudder of my plane as it touched the runway at Will Rogers World Airport yesterday. Two flights on 90 minutes of sleep is difficult enough; add to that the taxing experience of navigating Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, and my brain function is DOA. That’s why answering the question “How’s Oklahoma?” was so difficult yesterday, because my arrival was unceremonious. I spent most of the day unpacking, sleeping, and making sure I ate at Raising Cane’s.
Liftoff from PHL; my journey officially begins.
Leaving Philadelphia behind.
Departing north, my plane making a 180º turn south toward Atlanta. The Wells Fargo Center is visible just forward of the wing.
I tried to sleep, but the temptation of live TV was too much to resist.
Seconds from touchdown at ATL.
A sea of Delta jets at Hartsfield, with my flight waiting to depart in the foreground.
I was so exhausted upon arrival that I lost sight of why I was even here, my sole determination being to get a shower and a nap (anyone else feel super grimy after getting off an airplane?). Then, at the front desk of my hotel, I was brought back to reality by a single sheet of paper:
Continue reading “Arrival; “In Case of Tornado””
Luck is an interesting concept. Some people have tons of good luck, others seem to have none at all. Everyone has that one friend whom always seems to win the raffle; that friend who has managed to be upgraded to first class many times, having never paid for more than an Economy ticket. There are also a handful of people who excel at the game of “luck,” winning the lottery more than once. A woman named Virginia Fike (who is coincidentally from the state of Virginia, go figure) stopped at her local convenience store to check her Powerball numbers. Like many, Ms. Fike waited for the clerk to run her numbers with a reserved optimism; the chances she’d win were infinitesimal, but one never wants to give up hope. Virginia Fike “struck gold” that day, matching Powerball numbers not once, but twice… in the same drawing, netting a total of $2 million.
Continue reading “Waiting on the Weather: Planning Thus Far”