Tornado Alley Photo Workshop

June 14-22, 2024 - Sold Out!

Experience the thrill of lightning, supercells, and tornadoes on a Storm Chasing Adventure across the plains! When chasing weather, it's all about spending enough time in the field to get the epic shots. That's why we are taking you on a 9-day adventure with 7 full days of chasing! Each day is a clean slate as we look at the weather models and formulate our plans. Renowned climatologist Bill Reid has an impeccable track record and is known by many as one of the best storm chasers! We'll use 2 comfortable vans where all participants get a window seat and on-board wifi. Expect to learn many storm photography and post-processing techniques from your 2 photo instructors along with weather modeling and forecasting.

Tuition

  • $4995
  • Includes Lodging

Staff

  • 1 Climatologist
  • 2 Dedicated Drivers
  • 2 Photo Instructors

Instructor(s)

  • David Swindler
  • William Reid
  • Nickolas Warner
Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop

Highlights

  • Crank up the adrenaline levels as we chase lightning, supercells, powerful storms, and possible tornadoes across the plains!
  • The months of May and June are prime time for big storms in Tornado Alley.
  • Climatologist Bill Reid is regarded as one of the best storm chasers on the planet. With his expertise in modeling and meteorology, we'll get you to the most productive storms with a keen eye to safety.
  • 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.
  • Maximize your learning and images with 2 pro-photographer instructors.
  • All participants will get a window seat in the van along with on-board wifi.
  • Lodging is included.
Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop Supercell

Itinerary

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 real time 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.  We will cover many of the shooting techniques for storms, tornados, and lightning.
  • Day 2: We meet our tour climatologist Bill Reid at 9AM for a safety briefing and a look at the latest weather data. We'll hit the road as soon as we are done en-route to our highest probability storm location. Our forecasting pays off as we photograph a spectacular supercell over the expansive 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 hold an image critique and post-processing session before we hit the road towards our next potential storm. This one is a good one with lots of swirling cloud structure, texture, and lightning! We spot some good cloud rotation but any funnels are hidden in the rain shaft. We stay out photographing lightning until well after dark.
  • Day 5:  The weather data says we need to head further north, so we put in some long 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 many incredible images.
  • Day 6: Today is a quiet day on the weather front as a lot of atmospheric energy was sucked out by the previous day's storm. Without a high probability target, we spend the morning doing some post-processing training and then head out to photograph landscapes, quaint barns, windmills, and picturesque small towns. We end the day photographing sunset in a nearby national park.
  • Day 7: The weather today is also more quiet than normal. So we spend time in a classroom session and do more shooting in the national park. Photographing storms often requires a good deal of patience.
  • Day 8: The models show a good deal of promise today so we head towards a system developing to our south. It turns into an exciting move-shoot-move situation as we follow a giant supercell across the plains. We all get some spectacular shots of cloud structure, lightning, and mammatus clouds.
  • Day 9: It's hard to believe our storm chasing adventure is over! We hold one final post-processing session before starting the long drive back to Denver. You can plan your return travel for anytime after 3PM on June 22nd.
Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop
Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop
Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop
Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop

Logistics

Please arrive in Denver, CO in time for our 7PM orientation session on June 14th at the Comfort Suites Denver Intl Airport . Transportation is provided during the workshop in comfortable vans.  All participants will have a window seat and access to onboard wifi. Please limit yourself to one 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 7 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. Depending on where the storms take us, 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 coming day. Sometimes June storm chasing can take us north into Canada, so make sure you bring a passport with at least 6 month of validity before expiration.

As storm chasing has some inherent risks, there are certain rules that we expect all participants to abide by. Anyone who jeopardizes the safety of themselves or 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 and order your trigger well in advance.

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 3PM on June 22nd. No lodging is included the final night but you are welcome to book your own in Denver and fly out the next day.

Pricing - 9 Days

$4995/person + Tax

 

Trip Includes:

  • 9-Day Intensive Photo Workshop with 7 full days of storm chasing!
  • 8 Nights Double Occupancy Hotel Lodging. Single Supplement adds $700.
  • Ground transportation in comfortable vans with a window seat, on-board wifi, charging ports, and redundant radar and gps systems. We will have 2 experienced drivers for our group.
  • Classroom sessions covering topics like reading weather models, forecasting, planning, and photo techniques.
  • Post-processing and image critique as time allows per the daily schedule.

 

Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Transportation to/from your home to Denver, CO.
  • Beverages, Meals, and Snacks
  • Gratuities for Instructors and/or Drivers.

 

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 90-days prior to the trip to the credit card we have on file. Since this workshop is done in conjunction with a third party, no loyalty program discounts can be offered.

Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop
Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop
Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop
Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop
Tornado Alley Storm Chasing Photo Workshop

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 (purchase well in advance).
  • 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, pillow and other items for entertainment on the road.
  • Passport with at least 6 month of validity before expiration for possible entry into Canada.
David Swindler Photographer

David Swindler

Founder - Photography Instructor

David Swindler is an award-winning landscape and wildlife photographer. Among others, he has been recognized by the International Photography Awards, Siena International Photo Awards, Sony World Photography Awards, International Landscape Photographer of the Year, and National Geographic. He received a degree in chemical engineering and worked in the semiconductor industry specializing in optics and photolithography. In 2014, he left his day job to follow his true passion. He has traveled to some of the most remote regions of the world and has extensive experience photographing a wide variety of subjects and conditions. As the founder of Action Photo Tours, he finds great satisfaction in helping others learn photography, especially in the wild desert environment near his home in Kanab, UT. David is an expert in night photography and loves to get out and shoot the starry night skies.

Gallery    Awards and Media Coverage

Having guided photo tours for years, David is very familiar with many different types of cameras.  He is a master with light and composition. But most importantly, his dedication to his clients is what really sets him apart! But don't take our word for it - read what others are saying: Trip Advisor.

William Reid

Senior Tour Director, Climatologist

Tracking storms since 1991, William Reid is arguably the best storm chaser on the planet. He possesses all the right attributes including exceptional forecasting and logistical skills, a dedication to safety, and an uncanny ability to find good storms even on marginal days. Bill is a member of the Texas Severe Storms Association Board of Directors. He acquired a Masters degree in Geography, with emphasis on Climatology, from California State University. He has worked for 16 years as a climatologist for Continental Weather and Earth Sciences, Inc. and has contributed materials used by the National Weather Service for storm surveys and to train storm spotters nationwide for 20 years. He is a member of the legendary "Spencer 4." Be sure to visit Bill's Storm Bruiser website to see incredible storm shots, and to read his insightful storm chase summaries.

Bill Reid Cropped