* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *


Most Recent Shoots

3 Jul 2017
Laverne-Woodward, OK Supercell & Canadian, TX Supercell
Synopsis: This was a long chase day, starting in Overland Park, KS after spending a couple days with family and friends over the weekend. I targeted L...
29 Jun 2017
Johnson, KS Mothership Supercell
Synopsis: This was another after work chase, and I was not going to make the same mistake I did on June 26th! Leaving immediately after work at 4pm, I...
26 Jun 2017
Leoti, KS LP Marginal Supercell
Synopsis: I originally decided not to chase after work, but after I woke up from a long nap at around 6pm, a supercell was rolling straight south near...
17 Jun 2017
Meade & Clark County, KS Supercell & Incredible Lightning
Synopsis: This was an after-work chase. I actually worked a couple hours of overtime until 7:30pm and chased right as I got off work. A new storm form...
16 Jun 2017
Aurora, NE LP Supercell
Synopsis: This was a very good chase day, which started slow and potentially a bust. I was limited to chasing southern Nebraska, since I had to go bac...

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= Storm Chases & Shoots of 2017 =



Location: Northwestern Oklahoma & Northeastern Texas Panhandle

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 1
Synopsis: This was a long chase day, starting in Overland Park, KS after spending a couple days with family and friends over the weekend. I targeted Laverne, OK and intercepted the first storm that developed very rapidly late in the afternoon north of Laverne. The structure was HP in nature, but the storm had a ton of deep aqua color. I followed it south to Fort Supply to just outside of Woodward before breaking off of it due to too much outflow and not much photographic interest. I blasted southwest to a tail-end Charlie storm in the northeastern Texas Panhandle that was moving very slowly. It slowly organized into a supercell as I approached it near Canadian. I found a place to photograph this storm from the SSW, overlooking canyon terrain between Canadian and Miami, TX. The storm structure was very nice with a wonderful field of mammatus above. The storm eventually became too outflow dominant, mainly due to the other storms' outflow from earlier on farther northeast. I continued to follow the storm and newer development out ahead of it along Highway 60 down to Pampa, TX before calling it a chase at sunset. I photographed the last small storm in the series just west of Pampa at sunset looking off to the east.




Location: Far southeastern Colorado & adjacent southwestern Kansas

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 1
Synopsis: This was another after work chase, and I was not going to make the same mistake I did on June 26th! Leaving immediately after work at 4pm, I targeted Lamar, CO with a supercell already in progress moving southeast off the Palmer Divide. As this storm approached Lamar, it underwent a transition. It re-organized into a good supercell structure northeast of Lamar before undergoing another transition near Granada. This last transition was into a spectacular mothership base as it approached the Kansas-Colorado border northwest of Johnson, KS. This structure ended up being one of the most spectacular, photogenic storms I have photographed in years -- certainly since the Julesburg storm of 2013! This supercell eventually died just after sunset, and I went after another supercell in progress to its west, near Two Buttes, Co, which was an easy intercept. I got some pretty decent lightning-illuminated structure after dark of this second supercell.




Location: West-central Kansas

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 1
Synopsis: I originally decided not to chase after work, but after I woke up from a long nap at around 6pm, a supercell was rolling straight south near Oakley. Doh! I scrambled and drove west to Garden City then up Highway 83 to intercept the storm, which predictably died right when I got to it south of Scott City. A new supercell developed 30 miles to its west near Leoti, so I went after that and got some pretty decent LP structure before it eventually suffered the same fate as the Oakley-Scott City supercell.




Location: Southwestern Kansas

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 1
Synopsis: This was an after-work chase. I actually worked a couple hours of overtime until 7:30pm and chased right as I got off work. A new storm formed rapidly just south of Montezuma, and I intercepted it south of Ensign which showed supercell structure right when I got on it. The supercell structure started to wane, but as I continued to follow it southeast, it turned into an electrical machine. It was lightning photography mode during the golden hour with this storm, as it continued to roll southeast across Clark County. This was one of my best lightning photography chase days in years! Numerous high-quality cloud-to-ground frames with wonderful foreground overlooking the open range landscape from just south of Big Basin Preserve.




Location: South-central Nebraska

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 1
Synopsis: This was a very good chase day, which started slow and potentially a bust. I was limited to chasing southern Nebraska, since I had to go back to Dodge City after this chase due to working day shift the following day. After an initial brief storm near Arapahoe, NE, I waited the atmosphere out near Holdrege in hopes of new development within an hour from my location. A new storm finally formed near Kearney, which developed into an LP supercell. The flow aloft was from the WNW, so I remained south to southwest of the storm updraft the entire time. Awesome supercell structure was photographed south of the Platte River/I-80 from southeast of Grand Island to south of Aurora to south of York. At sunset, I photographed a new storm off to the northwest into the setting sun with some mammatus and let the original storm go to the east. The original supercell eventually turned into a monster HP supercell with embedded tornado and destructive straight line winds as it approached Beatrice. Incredible lightning was observed from this massive storm to the east and the storm to my northwest which became a supercell itself after dark. I got some good after dark lightning including lightning illuminated structure along the KS-NE border near Chester. Final, distant lightning illuminated structure was photographed from south of Belleville, KS.




Location: Southeastern Texas Panhandle

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 0
Synopsis: This was a good chase, but not spectacular. Followed a marginal supercell storm southeast with decent structure but a lot of good cloud-to-ground lightning. Managed to get a few good branched lightning image, including one very nice tall, fairly close image. I also got some nice storm-in-landscape images when the storm approached the Caprock Canyon area along the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River, south of Clarendon. The best supercell structure this storm would reveal was later on down near Paducah looking to the north. This did not last long, though, and as the storm reached Highway 70 east of Paducah, it weakened quite a bit. I photographed a wonderful sunset north of Paducah to end this chase.




Location: Southwestern Kansas

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 1
Synopsis: This was a short-distance storm chase fairly close to home. Mid-afternoon storms formed just south of Dodge City, but they did not advance to supercell stage, so I blew them off in hopes of better development later on down the dryline in Meade County. One did form, which showed nice structure as it approached Dodge City. Unfortunately, a left-split storm raced north and wrecked the now supercell just northeast of Dodge City just as it was starting to show good potential for great supercell photography.




Location: South-central Oklahoma

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 0
Synopsis: This was the last chase day of the trip. Rob, Mitch, Jay, and I decided to target a tornado potential in southern Oklahoma on this day. We started in Dodge City without a defined target. When we reached Wichita, we decided to play the southern potential east of a dryline where CAPE was approaching 7,000! A supercell formed rapidly southwest of Ardmore. The storm showed some promise for developing a tornado early in its life just north and northeast of Ardmore, but it never did. The supercell evolved into a HP mess as we ventured deeper into the woods in the Ravia and Tishomingo area. We completed this chase and trip admiring an incredible lightning show from a second supercell to our south after dark. We stayed in OKC this night, and we dropped off Rob and Mitch at OKC airport the next morning.




Location: Southeastern Colorado to northwestern Kansas

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 0
Synopsis: Mitch joined us for the final days of this trip. We targeted the Lamar area, but this southern target busted as it was too capped, despite good signals of a supercell by nearly all convective-allowing models. Early-evening we drove back north and intercepted an ongoing high-based supercell rolling along I-70, but not until after dark. We got some pretty good lightning-illuminated structure from this storm southeast of Goodland. So, it was not a total lost cause.




Location: Burlington, CO to Brownell, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 0
Synopsis: Rob, Jay, and I intercepted a supercell in its formative stage just outside of Burlington, CO. We followed it to southeast of Goodland before we fell behind the storm due to a bad road network and some poor navigating decisions. After about an hour and a half, we caught back up with the storm again near Shields, KS, where we had some very nice, tiered structure off to our north. We followed it east along Highway 4 to Brownell where we ended the chase due to the storm weakening and becoming less photogenic. We drove back to Burlington, CO that night to set up for the next day and pick up Mitch in the morning in Denver.




Location: South-central Colorado

Shoot type: Landscape
# of images: 0
Synopsis: This was the second down day in a row with no storm chasing. Rob, Jay, and I toured around Creede, CO early in the day then went over to Great Sand Dunes in the afternoon where we did some hiking and a little bit of photography. We then drove to Pueblo, CO after this chase to set up for the next chase day.




Location: San Luis Valley, Colorado

Shoot type: Weather and Landscape
# of images: 0
Synopsis: This was a down day with no storm chasing, and Rob, Jay, and I drove from Carlsbad, NM to Alamosa, CO doing some sightseeing along the way. We had a nice sunset in the San Luis Valley to conclude this day.




Location: Far southeastern New Mexico & adjacent far Southwest Texas

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 0
Synopsis: Rob, Jay, and I intercepted a supercell southwest of Carlsbad near Whites City. It showed fairly decent structure for awhile, and we followed it southeast as it crossed the TX border heading toward Orla. We had a fairly colorful and dusty sunset south of Orla to conclude the chase.




Location: Northeastern New Mexico

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 0
Synopsis: Rob, Jay, and I started the day hiking around Capulin Volcano. Later that afternoon we chased and photographed marginally severe storms that developed off the high terrain of northeast New Mexico between Springer and Clayton. Some of the structure was fairly photogenic, including a non-severe storm that briefly had a mothership shape south of Clayton.




Location: South-central Kansas

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 1
Synopsis: Chased and photographed a small supercell thunderstorm that produced a number of tornadoes. The first tornado formed just northwest of Medicine Lodge, which was a fairly classic cone-shaped tornado. We (Rob Mitchell, Jay Antle, and I) saw at least 3 more tornadoes, the final one being near St. Leo




Location: Oklahoma Panhandle & Southwest Kansas

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 0
Synopsis: I chased some HP severe storms, with some marginal supercell characteristics. The first storm I photographed near Buffalo, OK I followed northeast up toward Minneola, KS. I then broke off that storm and went after another storm in Meade County that had some rotation. The storm wrapped up into a nice supercell near Bucklin and was fairly long-lived all the way to Great Bend, but I was never in a good position for storm structure photography, and I finally broke off of it east of Kinsley. That storm went on to produce a tornado near Great Bend later on after I broke off it.




Location: Huachuca Mountains-Hereford, Arizona

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 1
Synopsis: Day 3 of this trip started at Ash Canyon B&B where I photographed at a new photo blind on the property. It was a very windy morning, although that did not seem to deter the birds very much. Lazuli Buntings stole the show, and I am quite pleased with a number of images, including a few gallery-worthy frames. Late afternoon, I attempted to find the ultra rare Tufted Flycatcher at a known location in Reef Campground way up Carr Canyon in higher elevation. I struck out, but did get a distant image of a Buff-breasted Flycatcher. I ended the day back at Tony's backyard photographing hummingbirds in fading light.




Location: Huachuca Mountains-Hereford, Arizona

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 0
Synopsis: Day 2 of this trip started in the Battiste BB&B backyard at Tony's photography setup. This was quite productive with a a few gallery-worthy frames. During the afternoon, I hiked up Miller Canyon to photograph a Mexican Spotted Owl pair. Just after sunset, I went back to Tony's backyard for another attempt at his nesting Elf Owls, with much greater success on this attempt!




Location: Portal, AZ (morning); Sierra Vista, AZ (afternoon)

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 17
Synopsis: Day 1 of this short trip started out in Portal in the morning, where I photographed feeder birds at a feeding station just northeast of Portal. I continued up the Cave Creek Canyon (South Fork) and photographed other birds including Townsend's Warbler and several Hummingbird species. In the afternoon, I drove to Hereford where I would stay the rest of the trip at Battiste Birds, Bed & Breakfast. During the late afternoon, I photographed a Western Screech Owl at San Pedro House. First night attempt at Elf Owl at Battiste was largely unsuccessful.




Location: Southwest Kansas

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 1
Synopsis: An awesome LP supercell was photographed this day, one of the better LP storms I have photographed in quite some time. The sunset colors and scenery was fabulous. Probably one or two images for the gallery from this chase. It transformed into this skeletal chimney appearance as it started to shrivel up after sunset.




Location: South-central Nebraska

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 0
Synopsis: Managed to get some good images of a late-developing supercell storm near Sumner, NE. The storm had fairly decent tiered structure for a time. A cluster of severe storms developed after sunset, and I got some good images of lightning-illuminated structure before calling it a chase.




Location: Hain SFL, Kansas and my backyard

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 12
Synopsis: Early morning shoot in the homemade floating blind. The main subjects this morning were some Hooded Mergansers and Ruddy Duck. During the late afternoon, I did a backyard photo shoot. Main subjects were House Finches with newly purchased flora to add to this setup.




Location: My backyard

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 0
Synopsis: I decided to take advantage of some good weather to do some backyard bird photography. This was a late afternoon shoot, mainly of House Finches and a few Common Grackles.




Location: Clark State Lake, Kansas

Shoot type: Landscape
# of images: 0
Synopsis: I drove down to Clark Lake this morning to check out how bad Clark Lake burned from the recent, historic wildfire of March 6, 2017. Nearly the entire state park grounds were burned. I took a few images, mainly of some yucca plant stems which were all that remained of much of the charred landscape.




Location: Hain SFL, Kansas

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 0
Synopsis: A Trumpeter Swan showed up at Hain SFL this afternoon. I notified Jeff Calhoun, and he showed up to join me for this Ford County rare bird. The bird remained distant, so I didn't get real high-quality images.




Location: Hain SFL, Kansas

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 9
Synopsis: Morning shoot in my homemade floating blind with good, warm morning light. Ducks photographed included Redhead, Gadwall, and Ring-necked Duck.




Location: Bosque del Apache NWR (morning) and Bitter Lakes NWR (evening), New Mexico

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 17
Synopsis: Fifth and final morning shooting at the Crane Ponds. Good long-exposure crane departure images again in good light. Spent quite a bit of time photographing very cooperative Northern Shovelers at the Crane Ponds after cranes left. There were 4 Cinnamon Teal that I photographed, including a couple decent in-flights. I drove to Roswell after that for my final shoot of the trip. Bitter Lakes is a wonderful refuge, but the light was crappy. Really nice overlook on arriving cranes on the west side of the refuge. Definitely an evening shoot, for future reference.




Location: Bosque del Apache NWR (morning) and Bernardo Wildlife Area (afternoon), New Mexico

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 15
Synopsis: Fourth morning at the Crane Ponds. Emphasis on long-exposure Sandhill Crane departure with decent luck. Drove around the loop route after that where I got good images of Great Blue Heron, and a close flock of feeding Ross's Geese. Afternoon shoot was a final shoot at Bernardo wildlife area for more Sandhill Cranes and Snow Geese.




Location: Bosque del Apache NWR (morning) and Bernardo Wildlife Area (afternoon), New Mexico

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 15
Synopsis: Third morning at the Crane Ponds for more Snow Geese and Sandhill Crane departure. I decided to hang around and shoot Northern Shoveler and Cinnamon Teal after the cranes left, with some pretty good luck. I did another late afternoon/evening shoot at Bernardo, where I got some nice shots of a rooster Ring-necked Pheasant which was something different. More Sandhill Cranes, mostly, with some Snow Geese at Bernardo again.




Location: Bosque del Apache NWR, New Mexico

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 13
Synopsis: Second morning at the Crane Ponds, where emphasis was once again on Snow Geese and Sandhill Crane departure. Good light for the second morning in a row as well. Afternoon was spent doing some freestyle shooting along the loop route, where I got good images of Ruddy Duck and Northern Shoveler. For sunset, decided to do a backlight shoot at the Crane Ponds with marginal luck. Cranes roosted pretty far away, but still managed some interesting images.




Location: Bosque del Apache NWR (morning) and Bernardo Wildlife Area (afternoon), New Mexico

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 14
Synopsis: Sunrise shoot at the Crane Ponds. Snow geese were fairly close to photographer row, so managed to get some good images, including long exposure. Sandhill Crane departure photography. Afternoon photography at Bernardo, where a group of cranes were close to the road on the far east leg of the loop road just beyond the tree row.




Location: Bosque Ponds at ABQ BioPark (morning) and Bosque del Apache NWR (evening)

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 15
Synopsis: I did another morning waterfowl shoot at Bosque Ponds where birds included Mallard, Northern Pintail, Common Merganser (hen), Lesser Scaup. After that shoot, I drove down to Bosque del Apache, where I would shoot for the next several days. This afternoon I photographed Marsh Wren, Say's Phoebe, Northern Harrier, Northern Shoveler, and of course, Sandhill Crane -- all along the Loop Route.




Location: Sandia Crest (morning) and Bosque Ponds at ABQ BioPark (evening), New Mexico

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 10
Synopsis: I made an early morning drive up to Sandia Crest to photograph the reliable rosy-finches, then in the evening I did another waterfowl shoot at the Bosque Ponds, where I got good images of Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Redhead, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, and Northern Pintail




Location: Bosque Ponds at ABQ BioPark, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Shoot type: Wildlife
# of images: 10
Synopsis: Emphasis on waterfowl photography (morning and evening), mostly at the Bosque Ponds, where I got good images of Northern Shoveler, Mallard, Pied-billed Grebe, Canvasback, Lesser Scaup, Northern Pintail, and Wood Duck.




Other storm chases that busted/no photography in 2017