I had a pretty frustrating storm chase today – just a quick one in between work I’m doing on a video project, a book edit and photo shoots – as I tried to intercept a beautiful shelf cloud ahead of a line of severe storms. I just couldn’t get in front of it in position to take a good photo and ended up driving in a huge circle in Brevard County, Florida, in intense rain and wind. My persistence paid off in a slightly less spectacular but moody photo of the tail end of the shelf, near the southern end of Patrick Air Force Base. See the rest of the photos here.
There’s a swans’ nest in nearby Viera, Florida, that has had spectators gawking for weeks. Its enormous size and spectacular and doting parents were plenty of attraction, until the baby swans were hatched on Friday.
Swans mate for life, barring disaster, and these parents seemed at least as devoted as all the fans crowding around the bank of the retention pond with their cameras and cell phones. Of course, one idiot drove by today screaming “F*** swans,” but there’s no accounting for poor taste. The swans were tolerant of their fan club, though one informed participant warned us that they have teeth in those elegant beaks, and a bite can be quite painful.
As you might guess, the three-day-old cygnets are adorable. Still, their neighbor, a great blue heron, was not impressed. You’ll see him lurking in the photos I shot.
Click on thumbnails to see larger images or start a short slide show:
It felt good to slap the dash-cam mount on the dashboard, pop in a video camera and go on a real storm chase today, in the middle of a tornado watch, no less. I ran out in such a hurry that I will have to reconfigure the dash-cam mount later, but that’s OK. There was a line of intense, tornado-warned storms rampaging across central Florida with a distinct bow on radar, and I got in the way of one of the warned circulations on S.R. 520 northwest of Cocoa and south of 528. I’ve seen plenty of gust fronts, but this one had an amazing leading edge that created a tornado-like optical illusion for a few moments. It’s too bad I was in heavy rain at the time, or I would have had more photos of it, but I got a few, and they’re in my Sky Diary storm-chasing report for March 29. There’s also a video, which I have posted here, too.
Late last March, I got to chase a great squall line event, too. These kinds of Florida storms are good warm-ups for my Tornado Alley trip, when I get to learn all over again how to juggle cameras, radar, navigation and driving while trying to capture the storms of the Great Plains. I expect to head out in May and will be posting regular updates. I’m happy to note that I’m again among several storm chasers with whom Midland is partnering to show off the capabilities of its cameras. New this year is the XTC-400 HD Wearable Video Camera. I’m looking forward to trying it out, hopefully on a mothership supercell! Wide-angle lenses do amazing things to mothership supercells.