11 April 2013 – Soggy times

It’s been raining three days in a row and sometimes heavily:

Finally, northern Illinois is beginning to emerge from the drought.
It’s the perfect weather for contemplation and handling details for my upcoming storm chase trip. During the off-season, I’ve done lots of reading, ingesting books like Tim Vazquez’s “Weather Radar Handbook” (ORANGE BOOK).


In anticipation of chasing for ten days with famed storm photographer Jim Reed, I read “STORM CHASER: A Photographer’s Journey”.
I had intended to go through it over several days, but read through it in a single sitting (unlike the ORANGE BOOK, which I’ve been nibbling at for weeks). I felt it would be beneficial to read Jim’s book to better understand him and his guiding principals of storm photography.

As it turns out, Jim and I have had interesting parallels in our lives:

Jim Reed Lisa Beal REMARKS
Born Springfield, Illinois Rockford, Illinois Also close to the same age
Raised in Midwest? Yup Yup _
Non-traditional family Raised by single mom One of three adopted children.
Raised by almost-single mom until 10.
(Dad traveled 5-6 days a week.)
We may have watched the Brady Bunch, but we were not members!
1st memorable storm Hurricane Camille
(with mom)
Belvidere, IL tornado
(with dad)
Dominant parent present during first memorable storm experience gave a sense that “everything’s going to be OK” (and it was).
Moved from Midwest to West Coast (California) to East Coast (to New York) Off to the big city!
Returned to Midwest Kansas Illinois Returned after college in both cases
Einstein connection Ja! Ja! God may not play dice with the universe, but he seems to be good at poker.  I remember this during storm chases!
1960s TV connection Gilligan’s Island Gilligan’s Island Theory: the seven characters on
Gilligan’s Island represent the Seven Deadly Sins.  (What would Dawn Wells think of that?)
Dedicated chase vehicle Ford Explorer
(as of 2006)
Chrysler Town&Country
(from 2011-date)
Seen lots of tornadoes 40+ about 30
(I’m re-checking)
Easily half of those I’ve seen were with Tempest Tours. Saw 6 on
10 May 2004 afternoon near Limon, Colorado.
(“Thank you, Dr. Weberpal!”)
Winter photography experience First chapter in the book captures this Several photos from Antarctica used on Oprah for Jerri Nielsen’s appearance. Jim will be supplying 2013 Tempest Tour 2B guests with signed copies of his book during the tour!
Camera collection Nikon-sanctioned photographer Started with Pentax while working for the Antarctic Program OK, Nikon! I’m tired of Pentax stuff being ‘niche gear’ that’s both expensive AND hard to find.

We’ll have plenty to talk about on the trip. I’ll have to remind myself that there will be a dozen people vying for his time, including Jim Reed.

To hear Jim speak about our  trip, check out this YouTube video ( 2:14-):

Extended Interview: Jim Reed, extreme weather photographer (KRCG)


01 June 2011 – Book Avalanche

Just narrowly missed getting buried by 500 pounds of books. The bookshelf with all my science books fell forward, spilling 6 shelves of books. Had I been sitting a foot to the left, I’d probably be getting my left foot X-rayed about now! WOW! Close call! What a $%#ing mess, too!

Here’s the mess (and, yes, these are BOTH right-side up):

These were taken after I removed 3 full photocopier paper sized boxes of books from the scene. I was just pondering: How ironic to survive chasing storms for 2 weeks, only to be crushed by a falling bookshelf.

LESSON: Life is short; eat dessert first.