Tornado Alley Photo Workshop
May 17-22, 2022 - SOLD OUT
Experience the thrill of big storms, supercells, tornadoes, and lightning on a Storm Chasing Adventure across the plains! Nebraska, Eastern Colorado, Western Kansas, Oklahoma, and the Texas Panhandle are often called "Tornado Alley" for the large number of big storms they spawn during the spring months. We'll spend 4 exhilarating days chasing storms. Each day is a clean slate as we look at the weather and formulate new plans. Veteran storm photographers John Sirlin and Greg McCown will ensure you get epic shots while ensuring your safety.
- Crank up the adrenaline levels we chase supercells, big storms, tornadoes, and lightning across the plains!
- The month of May is prime time for big storms in Tornado Alley.
- Veteran storm chasers John Sirlin and Greg McCown know how to read the weather and predict where the best storms will generate. They'll ensure your safety but also make sure you get some epic shots!
- Learn how to read the meteorological models, follow the radar, and position yourself for the best photos.
- Improve your lightning and storm photo techniques with in-field instruction.
- Expect plenty of individual attention with a small group of 8 clients and 2 instructors.
Since this is a storm chasing workshop, the itinerary is completely dictated by the weather. We may have to drive some long distances to find the best storms. Each day starts with a clean slate and we'll make our plans based on current meteorological data. The itinerary below is just an example of what you can expect.
- Day 1: Meet at 7PM for a mandatory orientation session at Comfort Suites Denver Intl Airport 5940 Tower Road, Denver, CO. We will cover forecasting tools, safety protocols, and shooting techniques for storms, tornados, and lightning.
- Day 2: We meet early in the morning to review the latest data and decide to head towards the Texas Panhandle today. We hit the road early and continue to monitor conditions as we get closer. Our hunch pays off as we photograph a spectacular supercell over the Texas grasslands. We even manage to get some dramatic cloud-to-ground lightning bolts! We find a nearby hotel and settle in for the night.
- Day 3: Today it looks like some big storms may form to the north of us. By mid-afternoon, it starts to get kind of crazy with heavy rain and hail. We manage to get around it and see a funnel cloud starting to form. The funnel hits the ground a few times as we furiously fire off shots. We continue to chase the action and are treated to glorious sunset light and beautiful clouds.
- Day 4: After our morning rendezvous, we hit the road towards our next potential storm. This one is a good one with lots of swirling cloud structure and lightning! We spot another funnel cloud and stay out photographing lightning until well after dark.
- Day 5: This is our last day of storm chasing and we put in more road mileage. But it's all worth it as we get to photograph our first full-fledged tornado! We follow this storm system for another couple hours, capturing lots of incredible images.
- Day 6: Today is our transit day back to the Denver Airport. Depending on where we end up at the day before, it could be a 6-12hr day on the road. The workshop will conclude by 5PM Mountain Time.
Please arrive in Denver, CO no later than 7PM on either May 12th or May 17th. We will be meeting at Comfort Suites Denver Intl Airport 5940 Tower Rd, Denver, CO, where will spend the first night. All transportation is provided during the workshop. Luggage space will be limited, please limit yourself to one moderately sized suitcase along with your camera bag & tripod. We'll be spending a lot of time on the road chasing the next big storm, so bring things to keep yourself comfortable and entertained on the road.
During our 4 full days of storm chasing, we don't know where we'll end up. That is why we are including lodging on this workshop. We'll stay at the most convenient town to where we finish for the night. The types of hotels we stay at may vary considerably from night to night. Each morning we'll meet together for a quick rendezvous to discuss the latest data and our plans for the day.
As storm chasing can be inherently dangerous, there are certain rules that we expect all participants to abide by. Anyone who jeopardizes the safety of the group due to non-compliance will be asked to leave the workshop.
Capturing daytime lightning requires a lightning trigger that is specific to your camera. The trigger is not needed for shooting lightning at dusk or at night. With lightning triggers, you get what you pay for. Cheap triggers will almost always deliver poor results. Please see our recommendations in the Gear Section below.
Our final day will be spent in transit back to Denver. We have no idea how far out we might be, so it may take us 6-12 hrs to get back. Plan on the worst case scenario and schedule any flights back home after 5PM. No lodging is included that night.
$2600/person + Tax
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- 6-Day Intensive Photo Workshop with 2 Pro Instructors and 8 Clients.
- 5 Nights Double Occupancy Hotel Lodging. Single Supplement adds $350.
- All ground transportation and photography guiding.
- Classroom sessions covering topics like reading weather models, forecasting, planning, and photo techniques.
- Post-processing and image critique.
Trip Does NOT Include:
- Transportation to/from your home to Denver, CO.
- Beverages, Meals, and Snacks
When you complete the checkout process, you will be given the option to either pay the full amount or put down a 50% deposit. If you pay the deposit, the remaining amount will be charged 60-days prior to the trip to the credit card we have on file.
Recommended Camera Gear
- Sturdy tripod and ballhead
- Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
- Wide Angle Zoom Lens (16-35mm on full frame, 10-22mm on crop sensor).
- Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-100mm.
- Telephoto lenses are useful for distant storms and cloud patterns.
- Bring a circular polarizer filter and or 3-stop ND filter for your wide angle and mid-range zoom lenses.
- Lightning trigger. We recommend the Lightning Trigger Brand LT-IV for best results.
- Extra batteries for your camera and lightning trigger along with extra memory cards.
- A blower and micro-fiber cloth for cleaning.
- Remote cord for your camera. We recommend a remote where you can lock down the button for back-to-back exposures.
- Backpack or case for your gear.
- When it starts raining, we will be packing up. Bring your lens hoods to help keep droplets off your lens!
- Laptop if you wish to backup or edit your photos.
Personal Gear List
- Sturdy footwear, hiking socks, and long pants.
- A rain jacket since it can get cold when storms roll in.
- Headlamp for when we are out at night.
- Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Sun Hat
- Water bottle.
- Headphones, books, and other items for entertainment on the road.
When he was just 9 months old Greg McCown moved to Tucson, AZ. Greg especially loves the mountains. He has spent many days and nights camping, hiking, skiing, and rapelling in the Catalina Mountains.
At age 21 Greg met the girl of his dreams. They quickly married and had 5 children together. Greg soon found that he really liked working in real estate, buying and selling properties both for himself and others. He has built spec homes, split lots, done rezonings, and been a landlord. He found that he truly enjoyed helping others in the process of buying and selling real estate. Even after obtaining an MBA in Global Management in May of 2002, Greg found that any new career would not be as fulfilling as the one he had come to enjoy so much.
In 2004, on a trip to Hawaii, Greg stole his wife’s camera. She never got it back and Greg became instantly obsessed. He spent years studying and practicing the art of photography and has become a well known landscape photographer specializing in storms, stars, and sunsets. His work is now found in magazines, calendars, the local news, and has been published internationally.
John is an accomplished storm chaser and weather photographer with over 29 years of experience. He began chasing storms in Minnesota and the northern plains in the early 1990's and learned how to forecast, target, and safely track tornadoes and severe thunderstorms before mobile radar and up-to-the-minute weather data was widely available.
John's work has been featured on Good Morning America, the Weather Channel, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, and local news stations in various cities throughout the country. His weather photography has appeared around the world in major publications including the Sun, Daily Mail, Express and has twice appeared in the Washington Post as the "Photo of the Week".
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