Email me at midwesternmeso (AT) hotmail [DOT] com

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mas Fotos

Amazing sunset last night again. I took a trip back to the sunflower field and earlier in the day...Gardner Lake. Chased on Thursday and played in the core where I had quarter sized hail and decent sized limbs being torn off of trees just south of Blue Springs. Spotter network always wants to ask me for a password when I submit a I never could. On the way back, I witnessed two does fighting/playing...

Deer Boxing

Darin called me and told me he was watching a great lightning show, so I went out for about 30 minutes...only decent shot I could get out of the 20 I took.

Gardner Kansas Lightning

Gardner lake yesterday ( Pretty bored and ducks were the only thing around...lame I know)

Near Tonganoxie, KS last night...(lots of people/photographers out!)

Then at the crack of dawn this morning at Lake Olathe...was hoping to see some amazing steam/fog vortices Mike saw the morning before. Didn't seem like there was enough fog and it was racing from shore to the center of the lake. Mike is a lucky bastard now...fogbows and steam's all a pipe dream to me!

I have more photos uploaded on my flickr account, but I'll save them and some others I have yet to process for the next entry.

I have homework I'll be doing during Labor Day weekend and college football to keep me occupied. Hurricane Gustav threatens to copycat Katrina just 3 years later...but I'm not a big fan of hurricanes or following/chasing them. I'm into the eye candy (tornadoes, supercells) rather than playing survival of the fittest in a parka for days on end.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Pictures

Headed out to get my dogs some food yesterday and noticed the Dennison bridge over Olathe lake was FINALLY open, so I went across it and noticed this great blue heron sitting on a stump about 50-60 yards out on the water. I burned 4 gigs of shooting him with another great sunset caused by volcanic ashes. Hopefully another cool one tonight, I was kind of curious how these sunsets have been so colorful lately, and loaded with crepascular rays.

Ground Control to Major Tom


Daniel Son



Slight risk for NE Kansas tomorrow, I haven't even looked at things, but I will probably do a local chase if possible.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Greensburg Kansas Tornado Aftermath Video

Well, I've got Pinnacle up and working again and have been playing around with it, and took the ending of Part IV of the youtube Greensburg videos Reed uploaded for us and uploaded just that. I find it easier to explain things with music and video, or pictures even sometimes. It's easier than writing that's for sure. At 2:19 in there's a big guy on the right who is just standing around and you can see him at the very end too. I don't think he knew where he was or if it was real or not, he was just sitting there staring straight ahead mostly and never said a word.

VideoPhonic and River Jones Music label are very kind enough to let me use their music at any time, he'll just send me the masters! A very nice guy with some talent on his label for sure...

I recommend watching the high quality version of this here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunflower Pictures, Sunrise Pictures Part II, Parker/Castle Rock Colorado Tornado

My sister, Brianne, lives in Parker Colorado with her daughter and husband and didn't have any desire to look out the window at a beautiful landspout/tornado less than a few miles from her home. This is the best video I can find so far of it:

My sister is no stranger to tornadoes, while Darin and I were chasing on 11/27/2005 near Marion, Kansas, she was headed back to Lawrence from Thanksgiving in Garden City and called me to tell me a tornado was coming down right on top of her! She also saw a rope tornado when I picked her up and gave her no choice but to ride with me in 1995...and several landspouts outside of GCK in 1991 a couple of years after we first moved there!

Here are some more photos from earlier this morning near Tonganoxie Kansas and Lawrence Kansas. The rest are from a beautiful sunrise near Lake Olathe and some sort of bagworm that make thousands of spiderweb-looking nests in trees everywhere. They were moving around quite a bit which made it hard to get a good photograph of them motionless...

Olathe Lake Sunrise

New Blog Design, Sunflower Pictures

I decided that I needed a new blog template to make the images bigger, so I downloaded one designed for photographers. Since I made the layout wider, the sidebars are gone, so chaser links are below blog posts, and photography above. Archived entries are at the bottom as well. I lost all of my links when I uploaded the new template, so I'll be continually adding to it too.

This morning I was up at sunrise...probably one of the most beautiful I've ever witnessed and I headed to just SW of Tonganoxie, KS where a field full of sunflowers is and a farmer lets you photograph or pick them. I was out there for a bit and started to walk back towards my car and noticed a guy sitting by the road and I waived. It ended up being a photographer and we ended up chatting for a good 30 minutes while shooting the sunflowers. He had Nikon equipment, including a D3 and D300 with a 500 mm prime (thing was HUGE) and a Canon GL2 for video. The sunflowers had just started to open up and he explained to me it woule be another few days to a week before they really bloom. I told him not to take my picture because I didn't want it printed anywhere and he did anyways! I stressed to him to not print it, and he said he wouldn't...but I snapped a couple of him when he wasn't looking. I'm probably going to head out there again next weekend to get some pictures of them in bloom. This is a quick blog post, I'll probably add another one later today, or just edit this one.

A few more pics, I have a bunch of others I need to process:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More Photos, Scott Bean Photography

If you ever want to see Kansas' beauty captured in its most stunning scenes, check out Scott Bean's photography. Amazing stuff he has. Here's a link to his Flickr page as well. I just happened to stumble on his page one day and couldn't take my eyes off of some of his photos...

Mike put some sweet pictures up on his website of the fog he shot that morning here. Some more pictures from Sunday morning:


And then one from today, this guy was on my window when I got back in...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sunrise Photos today

I went out at about 4:30 a.m. wanting to shoot some fog or see one of those fogbows Mike has seen lately. It didn't look like much would form except near the river, so I headed up to Weston, Missouri after hearing things about the scenery there...and was amazed on how picture perfect everything is there. Century old trees that will top any tree within the KC metro area, with a lot of overgrowth and hills along the Missouri made this a new, must-shoot area for me.

If you can find your way to Weston, follow the very scenic highway 243 north/northwest to a small town called Iatan. Make a right and just follow that road and choose any road from there and you'll see what I'm talking about. Amazing, and I never knew it was there...large tobacco, yes, tobacco farms are all sprung over there.

Pictures of the tobacco plants and a view from an 80 acre farm of it...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

At sunrise, I'm not even sure where I was, but it was pretty close to the river and as I left noticed a "No Trespassing" sign on a barn where I took this farmer's road up to this.
There wasn't this much light out when I shot them, I did 20-30 second exposures at 400 ISO, iirc.

Click to enlarge, it's really annoying how small my template/blogger makes them:

Weston Sunrise

Weston Sunrise II

I then left after the tobacco field excursion and went NW of Iatan and shot some fog (pics soon) hovering over a nuclear power plant and then continued back on the highway after a very scenic drive with very old barns, huge barns, some painted with American flags, some cherry red and very well-maintained. I couldn't believe the size of some of these trees, some I'd say were nearly 100 foot high and trunks as wide as my car. The overgrowth was like a jungle, I couldn't imagine trying to walk even a mile in that shit. I took a road behind the town of Iatan and snaked my way around this "mountain" it reminded me of till I came upon a fork in the road which had this as a view:


Notice the old barn in the right corner of the photo, literally dozens of these everywhere:

I then made my way back towards the river which was on the opposite side of the highway on another road I couldn't tell you, and the sun was starting to peek through the unwanted cloud deck, but I never did see a fogbow. But I snapped this looking back east:

I then made my way back towards the (I guess) nuclear power plant, as for some reason it was real thick there, and was snapping photos when a security guard pulled up behind his property's gate (I was parked in the middle of the county road, which was desolate). He told me I couldn't take pictures since it was...blah blah. I told him I was taking pics of the fog not the power plant, and in the same tone he started the convo with me in, told me to, "Get the hell out of here." I explained I was on a public road and was not shooting pictures of this plant he was proudly guarding (although I was earlier that morning) and he then uses a louder, firmer tone repeating the same thing. I laughed and told him to have a great day and watched him pencil in my license plate. I angled it better for him to get a good view (this guy's old, and has some coke bottles on) and asked, "Did you get it written down?" He told me he did as I see him pick up his cell phone, which prompted me to shout some obscenities at him before leaving the public road I was on. It probably would have pissed me off any other day, but I laughed about it and headed back towards Platte City, but stopping to shoot this on the highway

I talked to Mike for a bit that morning and he told me he had found a new awesome spot and could see an ocean-like scene of fog below him. I'll probably post more pics tomorrow.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bus hit by tornado in Poland, polish sausage prices expected to triple.... Wildlife Photos

This is probably one of the craziest videos I've seen...that had to be pretty nerve wrecking and a near-death experience for all of those passengers!

Thanks to Reed for the links, this video below... the first tornado looks like the Hoxie, KS tornado on May 22nd!

And...of course...some pictures I took last night of some donkeys/jackasses.

And...a nice sized buck and a younger buck next to him...I've seen some impressive racks already in the summer which will make someone's wall proud soon I'm sure.

And a pair of box turtles somehow holding onto a log or something similar, in the thick moss of Gardner Lake. These are at 800 mm, tis why I couldn't get them closer...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Latest Pictures, Video

I've been kind of lazy on posting anything lately, mostly because I don't have much to say. I start school at MCKCC (one, GIS database class) next week, and then FHSU online classes I'm taking for a bachelor's degree, the 25th. I am hoping to intern with a wind energy company this fall with Darin and where several other friends/chasers work for.

My new Sony Vaio laptop is nice...1600 x 900 view (1080p) with Radeon graphics, 2.24 Dual core, 3 GB RAM and 250 GB HD...I've had no trouble running CS3 PS and Pinnacle Studio Plus at the same time and pretty much love it. So, as soon as I can figure out why Pinnacle won't recognize .mpeg files (it should with Studio Plus) for 1080i HD video I've captured using another program, I'm going to start working on our double-disc DVD I mentioned a few weeks ago. I'm hoping to get it done by October in time to sell, via TornadoVideos.Net's store, for the premiere of "Storm Chasers" on the Discovery Channel which Reed and Joel's site should see an increase in traffic to (like they need it really lol).

Anita asked me about Project Greensburg via her last comment on my previous entry, and hope to find out more information soon on that as I've been out of the loop on sales of the Storms of 2007 DVD.

Some recent pictures and a video I made for Devin...

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I've always loved the Deftones since my high school days and recently have been intrigued by the lead singer's, Chino, poetry. It's somewhat dark, very metaphorical, very profound in symbolism and, IMO, made for a person to draw their own conclusions on each song he's written.

A favorite of mine from Change (In the House of Flies) :
I watched you change
Into a fly
I looked away
You were on fire
I watched a change in you
It's like you never had wings
And you feel so alive
I've watched you change


I look at the cross
And I look away
Give you the gun
Blow me away
I watched a change in you
It's like you never had words
Now you feel so alive
I've watched you change
And you feel alive

I put up a few of his songs on the right. A little different from my usual blog posts, but something that I find very interesting and unique...unlike most musician's whiny shit about an ex girlfriend or something.

TVN's HD Camera Probe, Star Trail Photos, Flint Hills Sunrise

TornadoVideos.Net created a Tornado Probe loaded with an HD camera and anemometer and data recorder for the 2008 season in hopes to sustain a direct hit from a tornado and record the wind speeds inside a tornado. Reed and crew are replicating several of these for the 2009 season and we'll have one with us to see if we can't deploy as well. The conditions will have to be perfect for us to attempt this and rest assured we won't attempt anything to risk our lives over. I'd be a liar if I said I haven't been scared shitless numerous times this year or in previous years, especially night chasing. If we could have had this probe on May 23rd, we could have dropped it right on I-70 for Quinter #1 tornado's dissipation stage, or the newly developed tornado to its west that crossed I-70...safely and effectively.

Here are some pictures I took a few weeks ago on a bridge near Gardner, KS that had no on ramps...but Johnson County sheriff deputies still saw me on there and questioned me for about 15 minutes lol. Thanks to them for letting me stay up there and being nice about it after being suspicious of seeing me there as they drove by on I-35!

And an early morning Flint Hills sunrise on old Highway 10 which is now my favorite, new place to photograph just west of Alma, KS and in between Alta Vista, Ks. Too bad it isn't closer, or I'd take pictures there all the time.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

My Favorite Musician is also a Photographer

My favorite band of all time, Ween, has a member (Gene Ween aka Aaron Freeman) that is also a photographer! Click here to see his photos.
He's pretty damn good too. He's a great artist in more than one category. What a good day it is to find this out!

Looks like my target for today is screwed by clouds/rain, so I won't be heading out....

Today's Target

Alma KS to Manhattan KS. This is where the best 0-3 km CAPE, VGP, low LFC's, 500 mb winds and 850 winds will be juxtaposed tomorrow by 0z, along the E/W boundary. Today doesn't look great, but I'm sure there will be a couple of tornadoes somewhere along I-70 where that boundary will set up all the way out into Western Kansas. This day reminds me of 8/12/05? maybe?....a day I chased in NE KS with a boundary like this one setup and stalled out, allowing some nice tornadoes that were filmed near Great Bend, KS and shelf cloud crap further east...I'm betting further west will be the place to be today.

My old laptop broke yesterday and this one's monitor's gamma is off on the monitor here, so editing pictures won't be happening until I order a new one...I've tried to calibrate it, it's a POS. This picture below is fog behind some crappy storms I chased back on July 16th. I switched the white balance to shade to add some warming to it.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Wedding Photo

Back in late May, my girlfriend's sister (she has 4 sisters) got married in Lawrence and of course since I shot my sister's wedding for free, shot this one for free as well. Free stuff gets put on the backburner though, I'm far from done and the ETA is by Christmas. All of this free stuff I'm doing for people is time

I separated the colors again, and desaturated the bride and groom's niece's dresses which made it look better IMO. They kept splashing Devin with the water from this fountain, it was pretty hilarious...

In my January 2008 archives is a tutorial on how simple anyone can do this technique in Photoshop for those interested...

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Excessive Heat Warnings in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska

I was checking out the surface observations using the MADIS website and noticed Dawson, Nebraska in the extreme SE part of the state near the Missouri River, was showing 94.8/83.7.

The NWS site shows 94/82 with a difference of -.8/1.7 which yielded a heat index of 118 degrees! So I'm guessing, 120+ heat index for them. It's currently 93/76 here in Olathe, KS which gives us a 106 degree heat index.

More July 29th Supercell Photos

My photos of the wall cloud prior to this structure were taken while driving while trying to shoot out of my passenger window and turned out like crap and are pretty embarrassing, so I won't post them. There were a lot of trees and hills, and I lost view of it for approximately 15 minutes north of Hartford thanks to a train...and then a one lane construction stop, so it's possible there could have been a tornado in that time. When I reached it southwest of Hartford, it was less-organized, but still had great structure.

Below are photos of the supercell later on and taken while driving, so they are not the best. I had no more east options to stay with it due to John Martin Reservoir to my east, so I had to go south, then east into Burlington, KS and then back to the north. This is where it was beginning to decay, but had a shelfy, "stacked plates" structure. I made it back to Lawrence around 8 p.m. just in time for my dinner date with Devin. These were shot near New Strawn, KS.

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