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

Please note: All images and videos on this blog are copyrighted by myself and may not be used without written permission. Any persons or entities who do not seek written permission will be held liable for copyright infringement(s) and will be subject to monetary compensation not to exceed $150,000 USD. (In pursuant to 17 USC Section 504(b) and (c), 17 USC Section 505.)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Clinton Lake and Project Greensburg

Sorry if I haven't answered your emails lately, I have been busy and stressing over this weekend. I'm looking forward to this weekend for Project Greensburg and hope things go well. I hope some of the stuff that the residents will see, will serve maybe as a closure? to them, and won't stir up too many emotions of that horrible night.

Gotta head to bed, much to do today, Anita, I can't wait to finally meet you! I'm planning on waking up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning and heading to Wilmore, KS...a town of where, someday, I will live. Have you ever just been to a place that you have seen in a dream as a child? Wilmore, Ks is that place to me. The song, "Home on the Range," had to have been written near that town. When we mistakenly took yet another road we thought was paved on May 5, 2007, we fell behind a developing supercell and I'm glad we did. The contrast on the landscape was beautiful, and I shit you not, there were deer, turkeys, buffalo, a rooster pheasant in the wheat fields. Someday, I'll live there. I'm not big on the "big city" life any more, just not my type of "people." I've lived in the fast lane long enough, a place like this would really be a good resting place for a tired man...someday.

It was very relaxing at Clinton Lake last night, just great lighting and a calm evening, spent just relaxing, thinking, and snapping some photos. Just a good break from all of the rush-rush living I do week in and week out. A great that makes you give thanks that you're alive and well. I'm tired, and not going to re-read this post for errors...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Some new photos from this weekend...Darin and I spent a majority of Sunday afternoon, shooting photos out at the lake. There are literally hundreds of bald eagles at Clinton Lake outside of Lawrence, KS. This lens is amazing, at 800 mm it gets tough hand-holding and focusing, especially with doing that while they are in flight. It's going to take some practice, that's for sure. Last night, one of my girlfriend's sisters, Rachel, picked me up and took me to their cousin's wedding reception (they were married earlier in the year) and which I volunteered to snap some photos. Very dim lights, and it was difficult to shoot lower than 800 ISO even with a f/2.8 lens.
If I get permission to post those, I will.

Other than that, a great weekend, on Saturday, Darin and I (mostly Darin) sold several Storms of 2007 DVD's and raised around $400 at the Advanced Spotter training in Lawrence. I caught a little bit of Mike Umscheid's presentation, which he did very well which had an excellent powerpoint presentation. It was good to see Jon Davies, Shawna Helt, Rick Schmidt, Scott Currens, Steve Polley, Doug Nelson, Mike and John O'Keeffe again. It was great to finally meet Brandon Ivey and Dan Holiday, who were gracious enough to interview us for their "The Storm Report" show which airs nationwide on various radio stations across the country. We briefly talked about Storms of 2007 and Project Greensburg, which is this Saturday!! Lots of stuff to do this week...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse 2008 from last night (Continued )

A few more.

Lunar Eclipse Photos from Last Night

Tired, but here are a few, clouds came in RIGHT at totality. This lens kicks ass, and even more ass with the 2x extender. If you would, click on some of those google ads for me, so I can buy it! lol.

More tomorrow or today I guess.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse

I'm getting ready to head out the door to set up for the Lunar Eclipse tonight, after receiving the 100-400L I rented from this place!! I really hope I don't screw this up, but I'm sure I will.

If you are planning on shooting the eclipse tonight and are unsure of what settings to use, THIS is a great site.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Doot, doot, do lookin out my back door, Lens Rental

Last night I was working on homework, when I noticed something walk by my window. It always scares the shit out of me, even though I know it's deer. For some reason, they walk about 2 inches away from the glass on my window, and sometimes take a peek. So I grabbed my camera and ran to the back door, where there were about 6-8 does. I bumped it up the ISO to 1600 and thought I could hand-hold it...but it wasn't working out as planned at 2-3 sec exposures. I didn't know how long they'd be there, so I grabbed my tripod, but couldn't find the damn head to it in the dark and tried to place it on top of the tripod, but still got camera shake. I finally found it and watched these does graze and brush up against this tree in the neighbors yard (no idea why either) for about 30 minutes. I am betting they were pretty hungry after the snowstorm and those strong northerly winds. It was probably the most peaceful thing I had watched in quite some time as they worked as a team, keeping an eye out for potential predators. It was almost as if they each had a role and worked in a pack. They finally left, but returned in about 20 minutes as they walked back through my yard and back down into the creek. After watching something like that, I am pretty sure I will never be able to shoot another one again. You could see the smaller does, were either in their first or second years of life, and were the most spooked. I stared at one 5 feet away, straight in the eyes, and she never saw me, but could sense something was wrong.

Yesterday, Dustin Wilcox showed me a camera and lens rental place, which showed great prices on lens rentals. After Dustin talked to the guy, he is willing to work with storm chasers who are wanting to rent lenses at any time, and offer GREAT discounts. Not only that, but he offers a one week free rental after you purchase three. So if you can't afford a lens and want a really nice lens for chase season, he'll work something out with us all, even for April/May/June, to make it worth your while. If you decide you like the lens, you can even buy it from him at a fair price, and he'll work out your rental payment to apply some of it, towards the lens. So if you were ever scared to buy a brand new lens and didn't want to pay the huge amount, you could try it first! This guy is very customer oriented and I think it's a great thing to cater to storm chasers. He's made mention if you want a lens he doesn't have (he just started up), he'll get it. I rented the 100-400L IS telephoto and a 2x TC for the Lunar Eclipse on Wednesday night. First totality, I believe, since 2004...and at a great time (9:53 CDT, I believe). If you wish to rent one, just let him know you know Dustin or I. He has a 15 percent discount right now, and is cheaper than any competitor.

Off to another great Monday, which is packed full of 8 hours of school and over two hours of driving.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Project Greensburg

I hope to see everyone there. Darin, Derek and I will be helping out...for more information or to purchase a DVD, visit the Storms of 2007 website. Honestly, this is one of the best DVD's out there, a solid 2 hours of tornado footage. Timelapses, up close tornadoes, structure, this has it all. It's a great production...and every cent goes to charity. This special showing will be strictly for the Greensburg residents who still need help...a lot.

On May 4, 2007, the quiet farming community of Greensburg, Kansas, was nearly entirely destroyed by an EF-5 tornado. When people are in desperate need, others instinctively rush to help, sometimes in very unique ways. This is how Project Greensburg was born.

Project Greensburg will be a series of free public showings of the storm-chaser produced “Storms of 2007” DVD in several cities across central Kansas. DVDs will be for sale at these showings, and all profits raised at these special events will be donated for disaster relief for the City of Greensburg. More information on the “Storms of 2007” DVD is available at

The first showing will be on March 1, 2008 at the Pratt Community College Auditorium in Pratt, Kansas. Doors will open at 5:30pm. Mike Umscheid, the National Weather Service meteorologist who issued the Tornado Warning for Greensburg, will be the special speaker at this event. Greg Stumpf, a National Severe Storms Laboratory meteorologist who, in 2004, co-created of the “Storms of” DVD charity project, will also speak. Mickey Ptak, the lead producer of the “Storms of 2007” DVD, will round out the show.

Natural disasters attract a distinctive group of individuals who are awed by the power of nature. For decades, "storm chasers" have pursued tornadoes, hurricanes, and other severe storms, armed with video cameras and other equipment. Some of these storm chasers have turned their talents into a successful fundraiser to benefit storm victims - the “Storms of 2007” DVD - and 100% of the profits are donated to organizations and charities which help storm victims. Over 100 storms chasers collaborated to collect some of the most remarkable video of the year for the DVD. The “Storms of 2007” DVD is the 4th volume from the highly successful “Storms of” DVD series. Sales from the first three DVDs have already raised over $20,000. The majority of the profits for the DVDs have been donated to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. This unique gift is for sale now at

Also, I have divided the storm chaser blogs and storm chaser links (except for you Anita :)), if you want yours up there, just email me at midwesternmeso AT hotmail DOT com .

Saturday, February 09, 2008

More Dense Fog Pics and Snow Fog Pics

Not too much planned for this weekend, but homework and to start on a GIS project with significant tornadoes in Kansas that I have to present for 30 minutes to another college in May. I'm going to finish up Part II and III of that documentary of the 4th of July in Greensburg also, hopfeully today.

I also got a book from Eric and Fern Unruh, (Daniel's cousin) yesterday, which I plan on reading this weekend!! It's called "Tornado! Up From the Debris...To Thank God." It is a tribute book for all of the volunteers who helped the victims of the Greensburg tornado. We helped contribute with photos and our story of what led up to that night and the tornado. I also got a call, finally, from Daniel, who said he was thinking about us right before he got my message and said he was reading the book, and that he's doing okay. Hopefully he can make Project Greensburg.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Snow Fog, Light Pillars

Darin and I went out last night at about 11:30 after I received a call from my girlfriend's friend, that there was some fog coming off of a couple of ponds on the farmer's turnpike between Lawrence and Lecompton. On our way out of town, we saw a fountain with steam coming off the top of it, which made for a pretty scene (even though it was 12 degrees out).

We then headed out towards Lecompton and saw a beautiful light pillar coming off of an American flag right next to the pond. When you looked straight up, it looked like blue northern lights!

And then the pond about a 1/2 mile to the east.

Darin and I were talking about this upcoming season and I was telling him how these "early" days don't bother me any more, and how I didn't care if I saw a tornado at all this year. He was thinking the same thing and said, "Just give me a structured supercell out in Western Kansas with no one else around, and I'll be happy." I couldn't agree more.

I'll chase those 2 percent days in Central Kansas after a moderate risk in South Dakota that others anticipated. I love the Flint Hills, I love Western Kansas...growing up there, I hated it, but have learned to see it in a different light. Kansas is boring and flat to most, but there are days I've seen the sunlight roll through those Flint Hills, that I've sworn was more beautiful than any tropical island sunset.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tornadoes in Tennessee, Arkansas and Surrounding States....Project Greensburg

First of all, I'd like to give a HUGE pat on the back to all of the National Weather Service offices that were on the ball in issuing warnings last night, including a good friend who was working all day/night at the Memphis office.

Second, congrats to those who saw a tornado and reported it, (especially Scott Currens who reported the Atkins, AR tornado).

Definitely a lot of lives saved thanks to you guys.

Project Greensburg is now set for March 1st, 2007 in Pratt, KS at 5:30 p.m. (See image below).

Monday, February 04, 2008

A New Album I anticipate

"Earshot" is the band, and this song reminds me of June 12, 2004 after the "Mulvane" storm. Derek Shaffer and I punched the core south of El Dorado (before we knew what we were doing) and just a mile away from us on the other side was a rotating wall cloud, and soon after the "Rock" tornado. There were about 200 cars stopped at a stop sign, and we were lucky enough to get about 1/2 mile behind it, and I'll never forget the structure on it, looking straight up!! Amazing.

Earshot's album is coming out soon, with a better song than this one called, "Closer" which will be my new favorite chase song. We listen to this one a few times on a chase day. Video is kind of stupid, but the song is good. Wil, the lead singer, is from here in Kansas City.

Fun with Fog

First things, first, I have been accused (several times now) of being Bill B.r.a.s.k.y (I don't want it to come up in the search engines any longer). No, I am not him, as I have explained on a chaser forum and another's blog, I was contacted a few months ago (anonymously) by someone wanting my help. They wanted the blog to become public and I simply offered suggestions on who to target that would say something about it publicly (ie Stormtrack). It worked, and now everyone is wondering "Who is Bill B?" I have an idea , just like the rest do, but am not 100 percent sure. Nor do I care any longer. If you wish to think it's me, that's your choice, because either way, I do not care. And if you're going to visit here more than once a day (you know who you are), go ahead and click on some of those ads for me!

Anyways, last night, I went out for a bit and shot some photos of the dense fog. I was pretty amazed on the visibility, I couldn't even see the lights from Olathe, or the Kansas City metro. This first one is from a street light with the camera pointed straight up. As usual, the vertical photo is constrained to a larger size than it actually is, so click on it to see the correct size. More photos soon, and Part II of the Greensburg July 4th documentary, which is nearly complete. (I'm gonna have to do 3 I think). I hate Mondays, I have school for 8 hours straight, at two different colleges!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Greensburg Documentary of Ours on July 4th 2007

Youtube quality is garbage, it looks like Darin shot it with a cellphone. (I uploaded the youtube one at 250+ MB as an MPEG2 and the .WMV looks 100x better on my computer.)

Part II coming soon......the higher quality version is up on forum until later today.

Contact Me

Contact me @
midwesternmeso AT hotmail (DOT) COM

Blog Archive

wibiya widget