* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *


Most Recent Shoots

30 Dec 2013
Lee Richardson Zoo Duck Pond Activity
Synopsis: This was my first visit to the duck pond at Lee Richardson Zoo. I must say, I was impressed. Even though there are tons of trees around, t...
17 Dec 2013
Oak Park Golden-crowned Kinglet
Synopsis: I met up with local photographers Chuck and Don who guided me to a reliable place (Oak Park) for Golden-crowned Kinglet. We managed to call...
16 Dec 2013
Squaw Creek Bald Eagles
Synopsis: This was my one dedicated day to spend at Squaw Creek on my last of three days in Kansas City. This was a great shoot, as I managed to photo...
14 Dec 2013
Harvey-Butler Snowy Owl
Synopsis: A Snowy Owl was reported along the county line of Harvey and Butler east of Newton, Kansas in mid-December. Since I was going to be going th...
6 Dec 2013
Dodge City Light Pillars
Synopsis: I decided to make a quick jaunt into town to check out the light pillar potential as I noticed some ice crystals/low clouds around. I ended...

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Navigate Other Shoots (by year)
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Navigate Other Shoots (by month)
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October 2012
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December 2011
October 2011
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June 2010
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April 2010
February 2010
January 2010

= Storm Chases & Shoots of 2011 =



Location: Monument Rocks National Natural Landmark, Kansas

Shoot type: Weather and Landscape
# of images: 0
Synopsis: After photographing the snowstorm in Oberlin the day before, I woke up at around 3:00am and drove south to the Monument Rocks for a sunrise shoot. The storm provided 3 or 4" of fresh snow cover over the Monument Rocks. This shoot lasted about an hour and a half or so.




Location: Oberlin, Kansas

Shoot type: Winter Weather
# of images: 0
Synopsis: I decided to drive to northwest Kansas to document and photograph a snowstorm. I chose Oberlin, KS for the best combination of snow accumulation and wind for the most blowing and drifting snow for this event. 8 inches of snow fell in Oberlin by late Saturday, December 3rd, with most of if falling from around 5:00am to 2:00pm during the day.




Location: Eastern Texas Panhandle from Pampa to Alanreed, TX

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 39
Synopsis: Intercepted a beautifully sculpted supercell thunderstorm that first started off as a run-of-the-mill hailstorm in Pampa. The storm rapidly organized into a supercell southeast of Pampa as it rolled southeast through the ranch land of Gray County near the town of Lefors. I photographed the storm in amazing evening light from the Texas Highway 70 corridor west/southwest of the storm.




Location: Southwest and South-central Kansas from Kinsley to Harper, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 3
Synopsis: A fairly significant severe storm formed near Kinsley and morphed into a very impressive wind storm as it rolled southeast toward Greensburg and Pratt...and eventually Medicine Lodge and adjacent areas of northern Oklahoma. I managed to stay just ahead of this storm from Greensburg to Pratt, stopping briefly east of Pratt to photograph structure and again near Nashville, KS with a very ominous shelf cloud. After the storm passed, I photographed a fantastic sunset and dramatic sky just north of Harper, KS




Location: Southwest Nebraska near Imperial, NE

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 1
Synopsis: A rather frustrating day in that it played out much differently than I had envisioned. I first drove out to Sidney, NE, leaving very early in the morning. I decided to drive north as a supercell formed and was moving southeast out of the Black Hills. This storm died, and I drove back south toward Ogallala having photographed nothing to that point. I continued south toward Imperial as storms were organizing and managed to photograph some decent lightning at sunset and shortly thereafter. Meanwhile, tornadic supercells were thriving in Eastern Cherry and Brown County in north-Central Nebraska.




Location: My house

Shoot type: Weather and Sky Around Home
# of images: 7
Synopsis: My parents were visiting this night and after we came back from dinner, a storm was approaching my house, so we enjoyed watching this storm drift southeast at sunset, which had some pretty good structure!




Location: My house

Shoot type: Weather and Sky Around Home
# of images: 9
Synopsis: Miscellaneous images from around the house, including the sky to the southeast after a storm went through Dodge City. Photographed some of the whitetail deer, including some bucks (one of which has only three legs!).




Location: North-central Kansas from east of Stockton to near Luray, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 13
Synopsis: On my way home from Grand Island, NE where I ended the chase the night before, I ran into very electrical storms north of I-70. I decided to photograph these storms for a couple of hours from about 2:30 to 4:30am. Some of the lightning was very impressive, especially once the storm moved past me near Luray with the stars and a near-full moon coming out. I finally made it back home about 7:30am!




Location: Northern Kansas into southern Nebraska from Kirwin, KS to Grand Island, NE

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 15
Synopsis: Photographed very high-based storms as they formed at the nose of 102 to 106 degree heat. The first storm formed south of Phillipsburg and produced a microburst as visually noted by a formidable rainfoot developing over the north side of Kirwin Reservoir. Numerous storms developed and the whole cluster of storms remained disorganized. A stronger isolated storm formed on a north-moving outflow boundary west of Red Cloud, NE and I decided to chase this toward Hastings, NE without much success due to extreme dewpoint of around 80 degrees and very tall corn plants everywhere limiting my view. I ended this chase at Grand Island late in the evening and headed back to Dodge for an all-night drive




Location: Northeast Colorado from Sterling to Crook, CO

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 1
Synopsis: I first targeted storms coming off the Front Range/Palmer Divide east of Denver (near Deer Trail), but these storms quickly became outflow dominant and unphotogenic. I then decided to head farther northeast in anticipation of new storms closer to better moisture/instability. A new storm did form and eventually took on some nice organization and structure not too far from Sterling, CO. I followed along highway 138 from Sterling to Iliff to Crook capturing some images of the storm in good light at around sunset.




Location: Colorado/Oklahoma/Kansas border area from Springfield, CO to Rolla, KS to Hooker, OK

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 27
Synopsis: Jay Antle and I concluded this chase vacation with a very nice storm shoot as we followed severe outflow-dominant storms that were rather photogenic complete with dust foots and fairly aggressive gustnadoes in the Richfield, KS area. The best photos from this day came around sunset when cloud-to-ground lightning activity ramped up significantly west of Hooker, OK. We had one last late-night lightning photography opportunity near Plains, KS after midnight on the way back to Dodge City.




Location: Northeast New Mexico from Raton to Gladstone, NM

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 8
Synopsis: Jay and I first intercepted a supercell a few miles south of Raton that first initiated over the Sangre de Cristo mountains. As the storm moved initially northeast toward Raton, we decided to head up to Hwy 64, but the storm turned more to the right, leaving us out of position of good structure photography. It was not until we reached an area about 10 miles north of Gladstone, on a rocky road, that we finally got into position, but by that time, the storm was downtrending close to sunset.




Location: Nebraska Sandhills near Hyannis, NE

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 9
Synopsis: Jay and I intercepted a supercell storm that morphed into an elongated severe storm as it moved southeast toward the Hyannis, NE area. At sunset, we photographed a beautiful sunset toward the western horizon as the shelf cloud was approaching.




Location: Cheyenne Ridge area near the Wyoming/Colorado/Nebraska border from near Meriden, WY to Kimball, NE to Sedgwick, CO

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 26
Synopsis: After chasing the initial storms that formed off the Laramie Mountains northeast of Cheyenne, Jay and I were intrigued by the area along an outflow boundary along the I-80 corridor for new supercell initiation. A supercell did form north of Kimball and we followed it east along farm roads north of I-80 and eventually southeast toward the Cheyenne Ridge south of Sidney. The structure was classic throughout, with numerous fairly rapidly rotating wall clouds and funnels.




Location: East-central Wyoming to the Nebraska Panhandle from Casper, WY to south of Scottsbluff, NE

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 14
Synopsis: Jay and I intercepted the first storm of the day near Casper, WY early in the afternoon, following it toward Douglas and eventually farther south toward the Guernsey area. I did manage to capture a photogenic lightning flash with Laramie Peak in the background. Later that night, Jay and I photographed lightning illuminated storm structure with the Wildcat Hills escarpment nearby




Location: South-central Montana from Harlowton to Roundup, MT

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 5
Synopsis: This was the farthest northwest that Jay and I have ever chased, and we were rewarded with fine storm structure and photogenic lightning in classic wide open Montana landscape.




Location: Northwest Kansas to Southeast Nebraska from Hill City, KS to Beatrice, NE

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 9
Synopsis: Jay Antle and I had one of the storm chases of our lives, intercepting an incredible, cyclic tornadic supercell early in the afternoon near Hill City, KS. The main long-lived tornado (rated EF-3) was photographed from fairly close range, within a mile, and became a wedge as it was crossing Highway 283 just to our south. Other tornadoes were photographed farther north from a greater distance as the storm was moving quickly north toward the Nebraska border. After this, we decided to blast east along the Nebraska-Kansas border to intercept early evening storms near Beatrice, NE, but these were not tornadic, nor very photogenic.




Location: Northeast Colorado into Southwest Nebraska from Woodrow, CO to McCook, NE

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 3
Synopsis: This was one of the most frustrating chase days of the year for me. It was the first day chasing with Jay Antle on this chase vacation, and Jay would chase with me from this point forward until June 28th. We targeted Northeast Colorado, but these storms failed to mature. The place to be was southwest Nebraska where several impressive supercells thrived through the evening and into the late night hours. We caught the backside of the McCook supercell with pretty impressive backside structure, but that was about it for this chase. We drove to Wakeeney, KS after this chase.




Location: East-central Colorado into Southwest Kansas from Sheridan Lake, CO to Deerfield, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 2
Synopsis: I initially targeted the area around Springfield, CO hoping a supercell would form and become long-lived off the Raton Mesa, but once it became clear that wasn't going to happen, I bolted north to intercept an already established supercell storm rolling southeast off the Palmer Divide. I intercepted this storm near Sheridan Lake, following it southeast toward Tribune, KS. Additional storms formed farther south and east, including a supercell I watched develop east of me north of Garden City which I followed back home (fortunately it missed my house!)




Location: East-central Colorado to West-central Kansas from Calhan, CO to Tribune, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 12
Synopsis: Intercepted a storm that formed off the Palmer Divide southwest of Limon, CO near Calhan and followed it the next several hours across eastern Colorado with fairly photogenic structure along the way...before ultimately weakening as it moved east of Tribune, KS. Another storm to the south after dark rolled along Highway 50 and I photographed mammatus and lightning behind the storm near Lakin, KS




Location: Southwest Kansas around Greensburg, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 9
Synopsis: First day of my extended storm chase trip close to home. Intercepted the first storms north of Greensburg, but the main supercell of the evening was a significant high-precipitation storm with fairly strong rotation near Bucklin which moved east into Kiowa County with fairly classic supercell structure complete with large wall cloud southwest of Greensburg.




Location: Southwest Kansas from Garden City to Dodge City, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 6
Synopsis: This was a totally unexpected chase in an environment with ~1200 J/kg CAPE and very subtle forcing for ascent to get a storm initiated. This was the day before my extended storm chasing vacation started, and I departed my house around 6:30pm for Jetmore then headed west toward Kalvesta and intercepted a high-based storm with pretty good structure...following it toward my house through mid-evening. I captured a dramatic and close branched stacatto cloud-to-ground lightning flash which ended up being probably the "shot of the year" for me.




Location: Northeast Colorado near Last Chance, CO

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 13
Synopsis: This was largely a bust in terms of chasing a severe storm. A small storm did try to form and struggled to get organized near Last Chance. At sunset, a thick veil of descending virga created a dramatic scene over farmland east of Last Chance, CO.




Location: Southeast Colorado from Kim to Springfield, CO

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 0
Synopsis: This was a frustrating chase, and I really wish I had this one to do over again. I was late arriving to the Kim supercell, and by the time I got there, it was weakening. I then followed other storms that formed near Pritchett and photographed some decent lightning in Springfield. Storms were growing upscale into an MCS and I decided to just head on home back to Dodge City. Along the way, I photographed a fairly dramatic sunset near Deerfield. The place to be this day was in the central/eastern Oklahoma Panhandle where a couple massive supercells thrived from Guymon to Beaver, OK




Location: West Texas southwest of Lubbock, TX

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 6
Synopsis: This storm chase didn't turn out quite like I had hoped. Intercepted the first storms just southeast of Lubbock near Slaton, but then went after a stronger storm near West Point...following it north to New Home where I let a big mass of dust overtake me as the storm continued into Lubbock. Storms grew rapidly upscale with a huge cold pool forming, basically ending the chance for additional isolated supercells.




Location: West-central Oklahoma from Strong City to Foss Lake, OK

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 9
Synopsis: Intercepted a high-based supercell storm that formed in a strong-shear, but high temperature-dewpoint spread environment with early evening temperatures a little above 100 degrees and dewpoint temperatures in the upper 50s to lower 60s. This provided for clean storm structure with good visibility despite next-to-zero tornado potential.




Location: near the Kansas-Oklahoma border from Aetna, KS to Freedom, OK

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 7
Synopsis: The first storms of the chase formed right near the Kansas-Oklahoma border as I was positioned right along the state line along Hackberry Road. I then decided to go after a stronger storm farther to the southwest north of Woodward, OK, but along the way, I got distracted by a large lightning-sparked wildfire. After watching this for awhile, I then photographed the weakening marginal supercell storm from near Freedom, OK




Location: Near the Hodgeman-Ford County, KS border about 5 miles north of my house

Shoot type: Weather and Sky Around Home
# of images: 2
Synopsis: Wildfires in the Southwest as well as near the New Mexico-Colorado border brought intermittent smoke to southwest Kansas making for quite the colorful sunset




Location: Northwest Kansas from Russell Springs to Colby, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 2
Synopsis: Intercepted initial high-based storms in the Wallace and Sharon Springs area with a marginal high-based supercell emerging southwest of Colby with fairly dramatic, scalloped updraft structure. I then decided to go west of the storm and photograph dramatic sky scenes in the wake of the storm nera Brewster with great results using a windmill as foreground subject




Location: CO/KS/OK tri-border area near Elkhart, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 3
Synopsis: Intercepted the first storms southeast of Campo, CO and followed them east into adjacent far southwest Kansas near Elkhart. After the storms became too outflow dominant with so much dust, I decided to photograph from behind, capturing some amazing lightning and golden scenes at sunset with another brilliant full rainbow just like the day before




Location: Southeast Colorado into adjacent Southwest Kansas from Lamar, CO to Syracuse, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 2
Synopsis: Followed marginal storms that failed to organized into chaseable, photogenic storms around the Lamar, CO area. This was largely a bust until I came across a brilliantly colored sky at sunset complete with a full rainbow outside of Syracuse, KS




Location: Southwest Kansas from Big Basin Prairie Preserve south of Minneola, KS to Otis, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase,Weather and Landscape
# of images: 10
Synopsis: I targeted the dryline south of Dodge City for development of supercell storms. A storm eventually formed near Dodge City and moved rapidly northeast into Rush County, KS. I never caught up to the storm, but did photograph some mammatus and a nice sunset over a wheat field near Otis, KS




Location: Southwest and South-central Kansas from Kalvesta to Ness City...Larned to Hutchinson.

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 17
Synopsis: Intercepted a supercell from Kalvesta to Ness City with some supercell structure photographed between Jetmore and Ness City. Photographed a long shelf cloud across western Reno County west of Hutchinson. Some lightning and mammatus was also photographed on the back side of the storms near the Reno-Stafford county line along Hwy 50.




Location: Southeast Nebraska from near York to near Odell, NE

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 10
Synopsis: Intercepted storms that formed and clustered together near the York, NE vicinity. Initially too far north of York, we missed the funnel cloud/landspout event just northwest of York. We then pursued other storms farther southeast and photographed marginal storm structure, some decent cloud-to-ground lightning, and ultimately the backside cumulonimbus structure after sunset near the Kansas state line.




Location: Northeast Colorado into northwest Kansas from Vona, CO to Oberlin, KS

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 17
Synopsis: Several marginal supercell storms formed near an upper low first over northeastern Colorado along I-70. Other storms formed farther to the east just north of I-70 from Atwood to Oberlin. None of the storms were tornadic given close proximity to cool, stable northeast winds. Some of the cumulonimbus structure was impressive on the backside of the Oberlin, KS storm just after sunset.




Location: Northern Texas Panhandle from Miami to Perryton

Shoot type: Storm Chase
# of images: 15
Synopsis: Intercepted and photographed two hail storms. The first storm moved east-southeast across Roberts County to the north of Miami and through Canadian before weakening. The next storm intercepted was farther northwest near Perryton and revealed more impressive, multi-tiered shelf cloud structure on its leading edge. A few vivid cloud-to-ground lightning flashes were captured as well.




Other storm chases that busted/no photography in 2011
Location: Southwest Kansas near Meade, KS
Location: South-central South Dakota near Murdo, SD
Location: Southwest Nebraska south of Ogallala, NE
Location: Southwest Kansas near Richfield, KS