Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Falling Behind

Twelve years is a long time to pour oneself into developing a craft that remains stagnant due to real world setbacks hence the inactivity. Since last post there have been some spirit dampening things to go down which included accidental deletion of the original April 27th tornado video. Anyways, it doesn't matter, here's some more pics from late April through early May. I'll get caught up someday, maybe...

April 21

April 24

April 26

April 30

May 1

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Peep Show

From the beginning of this year up until recent, I had been spending free time down in Fayette County Illinois. While there I took full advantage of an opportunity to document a local Spring Peeper concentration located at Ramsey Lake State Park. They truly are like looking for a needle in a haystack as you have to search for them by sound in either twilight conditions or after dark with a light. Even then when you've come so close that they are at your feet, they are still easily missed for merely being 3/4th's of an inch long. From late March through April, I made several visits and came away a little more successful with each attempt. On my final trip, Ava was along and got to experience what it is to go from silence during daylight to an ear piercing high frequency cacophony as dozens of them call for mates at sundown. She thought it was pretty cool and I am glad we had the chance to make this unique memory at her young age. Despite hearing them since childhood, I only saw one for the first time last year at age 41. From that brief encounter I knew that I wanted to return with new ideas inspired over winter which included developing a homemade portable macro studio that could easily be carried into the woods. For as all good things come to an end including my purpose for being in Southern Illinois, so too does the annual 'peep show' upon phasing into mid-spring. I have always had an affinity for Fayette County and especially since 2011 when Ava and I were down for another loud event being the periodical cicada emergence. Unfortunately, the reality of life that could not be more true for myself is that where we are vs. where we see ourselves as wanting to be is always just out of reach, much like a tiny peeper at night...

The 'portable macro studio' comprised of two milk crates duct taped together with the top one lined in black foam board while being illuminated by LED flashlight on an adjustable wire coat hanger.

March 29 - Water bottle cap

April 2 - Ceramic figure

Ground level

April 13

Railroad marble balanced on the flashlight.

April 15 - Glass ball

I have a friend who makes the most amazing things including battery powered LED illuminated silicone mushroom night lights. I bought one off of her as it is by far the coolest prop yet!

April 16

In related news... a few of the grey tree frogs from last year made it through the winter!

Full night light, approximately 8"L x 4"W x 5"H. I believe they will be available on a limited basis. Learn more by contacting PJ's Kreechurs on Facebook.

The future...

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Raymond Illinois Tornado

Wednesday April 27th was unique for a set of conditions resulting in a stationary boundary being draped across the southern half of Illinois. South of this boundary in the warm sector, surface winds were backed out of the southeast as they drew into a parent low pressure system over Eastern Nebraska. This created a favorable environment for low level rotation and a heightened tornado risk. Model prediction suggested the vicinity of southwest Christian County as being ideal location for storm development. Upon errand completion, I headed to this area early with Ava expecting to do some leisurely time lapse on a day off which has been my focus lately.

It became apparent that this event might be concerning upon getting beyond Morrisonville on IL48 and noticing a significant wall cloud south of Raymond. It was here I would place a call to the weather service in Lincoln Illinois as a general heads up.

Re-positioning a little further east as to gain a better view, to the distant south a persistent landspout type feature having rapidly ascending scud appeared. It's debatable whether this is an actual 'tornado' but is a solid indicator of the potential for greater tornadic development.

As if on cue per the previous observation, further upstream a new rotating wall cloud tightened and began producing a funnel cloud that eventually set down as a legitimate tornado. As it moved unusually westward it produced several brief touchdowns that both myself and Ava witnessed. At no time was there a personal safety concern for it was approximately one mile away. I was shooting with the 300mm lens for the entirety of its duration. It was here I placed another call to the weather service in Lincoln only to later learn that doing so was in vain for this storm was over Montgomery County and in the St. Louis weather service office warning area.

As this tornado lifted, we quickly re-positioned even further east. While doing so we witnessed another tornado develop though I was unable to document it other than the remnant funnel cloud after it had dissipated. Yet another funnel cloud would form upstream but not quite touch down.

Allowing the mesocyclone to pass safely to our east, we would then give follow on the southwest flank where we saw additional funnel clouds and incredible motion. At one point I thought it might become a fairly significant tornado but was eventually undercut by its own outflow. This was a truly remarkable event for numerous reasons but most notably because Ava and I experienced it together.

Additional storms from later that night at home...