Friday, November 6, 2015

Social Media Popularity Contests: A Picture Just Isn't As Good As The Person Behind The Camera

I have many friends in the chaser community....many of whom are avid photographers who are as passionate about photography as they are about storm chasing. I love seeing their work in fact I think their photography is on par with Mike Hollingshead's photography to be honest. You would think they would be the talk of social media with what they share to the public, but the reality is they're either "under the radar" or seen as a misfit so consequentially their work doesn't get the accolades it truly deserves.

For them a good photo receives 15 to 20 likes while a well known photographer taking a similar or a slightly worse photo (or one that simply looks like shit) easily gets 100 likes. What I've noticed as of late is a few of my friends feeling discouraged about a hobby they love because to them getting little or no feedback in return sends the message that their photos suck or simply no one gives a shit. It reminds me of my struggle with shooting video....I know my videos are on par with other chasers you see on television but because I have no desire to be a "chaser celebrity" other than having my videos sold to news agencies and production companies (at the right price) I'm an afterthought and I know my photography friends feel the same way.

Of course if you're using a social media outlet like Facebook for exposure you're not going to go far because of how Facebook is set up to stomp on the little man with their business like platform. The number of likes dictate how good a post is and if it doesn't get likes immediately it disappears from your friends' news feed and because many of them are too fucking lazy to check out profile pages (hey, I'm that way too) they miss out on good posts at times and it makes the person making said post feel ignored (there is no worst feeling than being ignored IMO). You pretty much have to be in good company with someone popular (that's right a clique) to get exposure.

My observation of what I've seen is simple....a picture just isn't as good as the person behind the camera taking the picture and it's a shame. I've seen attempts by other people to give the little man a moment to shine with photography groups and photo contests only to get taken over by the elitist crowd and their fans.

I've seen my friends air their grievance over this matter....the responses they got vary from don't give up to who cares what other people think hell I've even seen some blow back from people who view their complaint as a cry for attention. It's obvious they do care what other people think otherwise they wouldn't post about it (like I said the worst feeling anyone can feel is being ignored). It is also easy to say don't give up, but if you keep trying and trying with the same result you're going to feel as though you wasted your time and eventually you throw in the towel. Quite frankly I hate to see that happen to my friends who invest their time and money on a hobby they love.

I got nothing more to say, but I would like to help out a few photography friends with some exposure I feel as though they deserve. If you want to see some good photos then check out these pages.....  

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Chase Log: Local Chase In Norman May 8, 2015

SPC Outlook: Moderate Risk
Target Area: Central Oklahoma
Chase Partners: Jon Stone and Amy Phelps
Chasers Encountered: None
Distance Traveled: Approximately 10 miles
Travel Time: 30 minutes
Result: Hail and Flash Flooding

Not much to say about this day really. We couldn't make it south for the tornadoes that occurred in North Texas so we hung around Norman in hopes for a small repeat of 2 days earlier. Unfortunately for us panicked drivers on I-35 ended our chase after a promising supercell moved into Norman dropping large hail that caused a traffic jam when drivers pulled over under several overpasses on the interstate blocking the road and preventing us from following the storm. Our supercell weakened after moving through Norman when it ingested junk storms to our south.

Our chase ended at the Robinson Street exit. Having nothing better to do we decided to go down south to Davis and check out the Arbuckle Mountains. Here are some photos I shot of Price Falls and Turner Falls. We stuck around long enough to make an attempt at capturing lightning from a squall line that was approaching the area but outside of that the trip back to Norman was uneventful.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Chase Log: Central Oklahoma Outbreak May 6, 2015

SPC Outlook: Enhanced
Target Area: Central Oklahoma
Chase Partners: Jon Stone
Chasers Encountered: Bart Comstock, Ben Holcomb, Stephen Jones, Alec Scholten
Distance Traveled: Approximately 220 miles
Travel Time: 7 and a half hours
Result: multiple tornadoes, supercell structure, hail, hurricane force winds

This was a day mother nature welcomed me to Oklahoma with one of my best chases since I started in 2011. May 6 was on my radar for several days and it was one I really wanted to go chase, but there was one hurdle I had to clear before heading out and that was to find a chase partner. My original chase partner Christian Johnson was unable to go out that day and I didn't want to chase solo because I was unfamiliar with the road network in Oklahoma and Sprint doesn't have the best data coverage in the state (not to mention I suck at multitasking and I did not want to go through the pain of videoing and looking at my phone for radar updates and GPS while driving).

Christian was able to hook me up with a few of his chaser friends in the Norman area the night before and it seemed as though everything was all set for me. However on the morning of the chase I received a message from one of the chasers telling me that one of his chase partners who originally was going to sit out had a change of heart and decided to chase after all which consequently meant no room for me in their vehicle. Close to zero hour and I didn't think I would have been able to find another chase partner, which left me with three options....make a last ditch effort to find a chase partner by means of social media, go at it alone, or sit out completely with the hope something comes close to Norman for me to go after. I went with the first choice and posted up a message on Facebook and Stormtrack with the hope that someone would reply back. Within 20 minutes of posting my status I got a reply from Jon Stone who was planning to chase once he got off of work. We were in close agreement with our target areas (I targeted Woodward while Jon targeted Seling), but Jon was unable to get out of work until 4:00 which for all intents and purposes put us out of range of both of our target areas due to time constraints. It didn't matter though because I found a chase partner, and it was just a matter of waiting for him to get out of work so that we can hit the road.

While I was waiting on Jon I went to go grab lunch at Dickey's Barbecue Pit on 12th Ave SE in Norman. During that time frame I noticed a cell had popped up in SW Oklahoma north of Lawton. It was the only storm around the area but I didn't think anything significant would come out of it. Once I got home I checked the radar again to find that storm had been tornado warned and there were numerous reports of tornado sightings with it. It was heading northeast into a more favorable environment, I told Jon about it and he was able to get out of work an hour earlier than originally planned. I met up with him shortly after 3:00 and we immediately headed south dodging Norman traffic along the way. 

We headed south on I-35 for about a mile before getting off on highway 9 at the Riverwind Casino exit. After going several miles on highway 9 we headed southwest on US highway 62 through Blanchard before that turned into US highway 277/highway 9 (we wanted to avoid taking I-44 because Jon did not have his Pikepass with him and we didn't want to waste time paying the toll on the turnpike). While all of this was going on the supercell that had a history of producing several tornadoes was entering Chickasha. By the time we got on the storm it was cycling. I did manage to get a shot of this wall cloud outside of town.

We observed broad areas of rotation in Chickasha with at least two areas of vertical motion. We stayed in Chickasha for about 15-20 minutes before we followed the storm as it was heading towards Amber.

We observed our first tornado of the day near the intersection of CS 2900 and CR 1290 ESE of Amber. As much as I hate to use the word "insane" to describe a rotating meso I can't think of another word to describe the intense rotation taking place before and after the tornado touched down. Jon told me he hasn't seen rotation like the one we saw since the El Reno tornado. It stayed on the ground for a minute or two before dissipating.

After trying to figure out how to stay with this storm we decided to continue on north on CS 2900 before turning east on CR 1280. We pulled off the road in an attempt to upload our videos to our broker Kendra Reed of KDR Media, while doing so we noticed another intense area of rotation almost on top of Jon's jeep. I spotted a funnel to the left of the rotation.

I saw another funnel down the road just as Jon was about to continue on eastward, this one did touch down briefly (tornado #2) as noted by the power flash and the brief spin up.

We continued east for a few miles before pulling over outside of the Lumen Energy Plant east of Amber to make another attempt at uploading our video to Kendra. Just as Jon was stopping his jeep tornado #3 touched down in a field about a mile or two away. This would be the most intense tornado we would see on this day. It was eventually given an EF3 rating on the Enhanced Fujita Scale after causing significant damage in Bridge Creek. It started out as a multi-vortex tornado with a broad circulation up to a half mile wide before growing to a mile wide wedge. It also spun up a short lived satellite rope tornado.

We observed the tornado wedging out on North 2920 Road when things got a little intense for us. We were getting blasted by inflow winds of at least 70 mph when we saw a roof from a house getting ripped apart by the inflow winds. We retreated back south and west through the heavy rain and high winds when we made an attempt to turn back around to catch up to this large tornado only to be greeted by a fallen tree on the road which prevented us from going any further. We had no choice but to back track which in turn cost us an opportunity to see the tornado go through Bridge Creek as well as missing out on the next tornado that touched down near Newcastle. This storm made a right turn which put Norman under the gun for what we thought at the time may have been a long track damaging tornado. OUN already had a tornado emergency out for Bridge Creek and Newcastle while we were desperately trying to catch back up with it (not going to lie, the thought of will I have an apartment to go home to after our chase did cross my mind).

We finally caught back up with the supercell outside of Norman. We kept hearing reports on the radio of a large tornado exiting Newcastle and entering the western sections of Norman. After negotiating through the traffic we jumped on Robinson Street to watch the storm move in. At this point the storm was HP and was cycling again when it entered the west side of Norman. From our location we saw the rotation getting more intense and brief tornado touched down to our south (check out my video Brief Tornado West of Norman on the YouTube videos I provided). After the tornado dissipated we headed east for a few miles when we saw a funnel cloud to our west near I-35. We then started seeing multiple power flashes around and underneath the funnel. Our 6th tornado of the day had touched down in the northern sections of Norman, we were about a mile away from it on 24th Ave NW watching transformers explode near the interstate and causing damage to the Norman Hotel and Norman Regional Medical Center.

We followed the storm into Moore where it eventually weakened, but our day wasn't over yet. Another supercell had fired up to southwest in an almost identical track as the first one. We proceeded southwest towards the new supercell. I captured this shot of the supercell somewhere between Newcastle and Blanchard. 

We ended up going too far south and was too far east of it, so we jumped on the H.E. Bailey Norman Spur and headed northwest towards Bridge Creek. As we were heading northwest we encountered some of the damage that occurred from the earlier tornado we had to bail from. We stopped outside of Bridge Creek where we met up with Ben Holcomb. We chatted for a few minutes when suddenly a tornado touched down to our west southwest in the distance. In the suddenness of the touch down I forgot to hit record on my camcorder and missed getting video of it. Ben did capture the tornado on video, you can find his video of the tornado on his YouTube channel ( Shortly after the tornado lifted Stephen Jones and Alec Scholten pulled up completing the chaser convergence that was going on at the time (I saw Hank Schyma pulled over next to us but he stayed in his car).

The storm continued northeast and wasn't showing signs of weakening, so we jumped back in Jon's jeep and headed north. While we were heading north I noticed what possibly might have been a tornado east of Tuttle.

The funnel looked like it was down to the ground, I think I saw power flashes underneath the funnel (could have been lightning as well), and OUN has a tornado on the LSR 4 miles ENE of Tuttle to 2 miles NE of Bridge Creek from 8:11 PM to 8:21 (close to our location and I believe the time on my video is a match).

After observing that maybenado the storm had closed in on us and we turned around to stay out of its path. But by that point it had made a right turn and the storm hit us head on. We were getting slammed with high winds (possibly RFD) and blinding rain as we headed back east on the turnpike towards Norman. Once we got back to Norman we called the chase, stopped at Jon's apartment to upload more video to Kendra, and to have a celebratory dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings.

I counted 7 possibly 8 tornadoes on this day which broke my record of most tornadoes seen in one day (previous record was 5 on April 14, 2012) and I even got a taste of national exposure when my Norman video of the power lines exploding was shown on Good Morning America. Needless to say after having to go through a tornado drought that lasted approximately 710 days I had made a triumphant return.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Messing With Sasquatch: Social Media Wasteland

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and to a smaller degree Instagram are good ways to interact with new people and to make a friend or two along the way. It gives you an opportunity to let total strangers know exactly what kind of a person you are by posting up the goings on each day, opinions about important matters that are going in the world, and even posting up jokes, quotes from someone famous, and lame bible verses. Unfortunately there are people out there who go overboard by posting ridiculous garbage that has made the social media websites I mentioned into a social media wasteland.

Whether it's posting up minute by minute details of an individual's day including every bowel movement they've made, bashing President Obama every chance they get, or posting up nothing but pictures of their fucking cats I feel as though I'm walking into a landfill every time I log onto Facebook and for the most part I see nothing but garbage (not everyone I know is guilty of abusing Facebook in this manner but there are a few who do stand out). Then there's the occasional Facebook fights or "drama", although I will admit I enjoy seeing those because I find humor in adults acting like immature teenagers.

Does it bother me yes it does to a degree otherwise I would not be spending my Saturday typing up this blog entry, but people have every right to post up whatever they want to so I bite my tongue most of the time. And to be honest, posting this makes me a hypocrite because I'm guilty of posting up garbage statuses. However I try to keep my daily life short and sweet, I cut back on posting religious or political posts, and I'm not a crazy cat person so cat posts are a once in a blue moon deal for me.

Okay rant over, happy Saturday everyone.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Messing With Sasquatch: #GoFundYourself

Last year the trend in storm chasing was a bunch of wannabe chasers making police badges in order to add a bit of authority to the various dumbshit weather enthusiast groups they were apart of. This year the new trend is crowdfunding, or what I prefer to call online panhandling. Kickstarter, GoFundMe, matter which site you use the idea is simple. Some noob comes up with either a sad story or try to sell their audience the idea that they are "doing research" or "saving lives." They find enough people to buy their horseshit story and cha ching....they get to chase as many setups as they want to without spending a dime out of their pockets (or their parents' pockets).

Disclaimer: as a preemptive strike I want to go on the record by saying I have no problem with people using crowdfunding as a way of helping themselves out if they have fallen on hard times (ie. medical hardships, crime victims, and those needing help paying their college tuition for one semester). I don't even have a problem with legit storm chasers starting a crowdfunding campaign for a project they are a part of (even though there is one in which one well known chaser is offering a 30 minute one on one chat on skype for whoever pledges $1,000 which I find to be absurd).

Now you're probably asking yourself right now "well Adam is okay with a few chasers doing a crowdfunding campaign, but why is he picking on other chasers who are crowdfunding?" Whenever I hear about a chaser quitting his job just so that he was able to have an "epic" 2014 season and then reality bites him in the ass by having no money and still no job, I have a hard time being sympathetic about his story. And then there was a campaign created by a kid in Mississippi playing the chase to save lives card. He has since withdrew his campaign after he got caught using video of a tornado from another chaser in his campaign vignette without the chaser's permission.

These two examples show to me a sense of entitlement (a trait I despise out of people). Now I love to chase, I love traveling to different parts of the country I have never been to before, I love meeting up with my chaser friends or meeting new chasers while I'm on the road. But I also love having a roof over my head, not going to bed every night hungry, and I love not receiving harassing phone calls from bill collectors. I'm not at a point in my life I can chase anywhere I want to for as long as I want to and still make ends meet. So consequently my chase season consists of 1 maybe 2 Dixie Alley outbreaks, a 2 week vacation on the Plains, and a surprise summer storm in my backyard. Now the point I'm getting at is I refuse to start up a crowdfunding campaign to fund my chase season. If I can't afford to chase a setup I stay home.

Just because I won't do it doesn't mean everyone else will follow suit. If you want to start panhandling people on the internet it is your right to do so. However be prepared for harsh criticism from your peers, and don't be surprised to see this trendy hashtag.....#GoFundYourself.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

2015 Chase Season Is Around The Corner

It's February 1st which means that the light at the end of a long, cold, and boring tunnel called winter is near. We have 27 more days until the start of the meteorological spring, and for some chasers (including myself) it will be the start of chase season.

I don't know if the season is going to be an active one or if it will be a repeat of 2014, but for this year I'm cautiously optimistic about getting out and chasing more and to accomplish my goal of documenting at least 10 tornadoes. I cannot be overconfident in my expectations because whenever I am overconfident Murphy's law strikes (it has already struck once two weeks ago when my brakes went out costing me $500 to replace the brake pads, rotors, calipers, and a wheel cylinder). As with every year since I started chasing in 2011 I've made a few changes whether it was adding or upgrading equipment or having new chase partners. This year is no exception.

New Equipment- I finally got a DSLR camera for photography. A Nikon D60 I bought from my good friend and chase partner Wes Carter. He has offered to sell me a 18-200mm lens to go with the camera that I plan on buying in the near future.
New Chase Partners- Technically they're not new since I did chase with them last year in Nebraska on June 3rd, but for this year I'll be teaming up with Christian Johnson, Jake Riley, and April Cullers for my yearly trip to the Great Plains for my chase vacation. Christian and Jake were Meteorology students at UT-Martin and have been chasing together in the Plains and Dixie Alley for several years. A former member of StormChaseTN Christian created SevereWXChasers in an effort to provide daily weather forecasts nationwide and live chase updates while out in the field ( April is a firefighter and paramedic out of Memphis, TN (a great person to have with us in the event we come across a town ravaged by a tornado while chasing). She has also been chasing for a few years on the Plains and Dixie Alley.

This will be my 5th year having KDRMedia handle the selling of whatever footage I get while I'm out chasing. Even though my footage has yet to sell Kendra Reed is the only person I trust in selling my video at a price that's fair for me (not a low ball figure just to have my video and my name tattooed on television screens across the country). I will be live streaming my chases again this year. You can find my live steam at either or on my website Even though a good number of chasers I know have opted not to live stream their chases anymore I will (live streaming has gotten easier and less of a headache for me after switching from ChaserTV to TVN).

And there you go, my annual pre-chase season expectations that I highly doubt I'll get to accomplish. But I'm going to fucking try my best to achieve my goal. After all there's that saying from a famous storm chaser, "Never Stop......" you seriously thought I was going to say that annoying quote didn't you? :P~

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Like Riding A Roller Coaster

It's New Years Eve which means time to do my year in review blog. This is going to be a short blog because outside of a few bright moments this year has been uneventful. I'm going to highlight some of the bad moments and some of the good moments (yes despite me bitching about how this year sucked I did have some good moments).

Bad Moments- This was the worst year for me in chasing. A combination of a slow season and bad timing financially resulted in only 5 chases with 3 of them in Tennessee. I had to postpone my yearly chasecation due to lack of severe weather activity at the time of my scheduled trip. I was also left empty handed in the tornado department despite coming close on April 28th and June 3rd. In early March the water pump went out in my car while I was on my way to Franklin to help Mira Lee and her girlfriend Akiko Numata move into their new apartment. The timing sucked because it happened one month before chase season got underway and I was stranded due to a mini winter storm that moved through Middle Tennessee making travel hazardous. Despite spending approximately $400 in towing and parts needed to replace the water pump I was reduced to chasing locally in my car. $400 in my chase fund spent to fix my car.

Good Moments- Despite no tornadoes June 3rd was a good moment for me this year. It was my first chase with new chase partners who are an awesome bunch of people (Christian Johnson, Jake Riley, April Cullers, and Jason Bernal), I added another state I chased in (Nebraska), and we convoyed with a pretty cool group of chasers (Steve Worthington, Stacy Valentine, Lisa Dimmitt, Jeromy Carter, and Aaron Gilliland). I did see multiple gustnadoes this day; in fact it was the first time I've ever seen gustnadoes on a chase. All in all a lot of funny moments came out of this chase. Some of which Steve has on video ( and I got in touch with my oldest sister Ruth which was a special moment for me. She was the last sibling I was able to make contact with. It all culminated to an almost 4 hour skype chat in which we talked about our lives growing up as well as sharing some stories about my father who died when I was young and never had the opportunity to meet. It was a chat I wished that it didn't end and I'm hoping to make a trip to California to go visit her. I also knocked out a state I had never visited before when I made a trip to Indiana to attend The Indiana Storm Chasers Convention and a night of shenanigans with a bunch of noobs in Indianapolis. That night ended in noob poisoning but I had fun.

There you go, this year was full of ups and downs (as the title stated). I hope 2015 will be more on the upward side especially in chasing.