The most promising setup for thunderstorm development since last summer was forecast for most of the southern half of Western Australia on the 6th of September, and that prompted a certain trip for myself to again get out and try to capture this magical weather phenomenon on my camera.
Just over a week before the storms arrived I noticed on my daily check of forecasted weather that I should start preparing for a road trip up towards the lower Gascoyne region to capture my favourite part, the development.
My day started at around 1030 with a drive to Coorow via Bindoon and the Bindoon Bakery. No storm chase can start without a stop here. So after enjoying a curry lamb pie, I was off up the Great Northern Highway towards Midlands Rd and on to Coorow via Moora.
I arrived in Coorow just after 1330, and had another look at the radar, and satellite imagery to see if anything looked like it was going to develop in the area. I wasn’t in luck, with storms started to fire a long way east on a low pressure trough line cutting through the state. I didn’t worry to much about it, as the afternoon was young, and it gave me a bit of time to scout the area a bit. I am currently working on a time-lapse project and the fields around here work perfectly for one of the scenes I wanted to capture, so off I went to find one suitable for my project.
I found an incredible site and set my camera up and started my time-lapse of the clouds building and collapsing. I had some more time up my sleeve now as my time-lapse was set for 1hr, so I had a bit of a walk around playing on my iPhone.
Coming close to the end of my time-lapse I noticed some development a long way to my north and north-east, so I opened my laptop and again checked the lightning tracker, and it confirmed a major thunderstorm developing very quickly between 150-200km away. I was in two minds, either packed up my camera, stop the time-lapse and move now, or wait for the time-lapse to finish. I decided to wait, as I only had 10minutes or so remaining, but it was the longest 10minutes ever. I was pacing up and down the road, watching these thunderstorm cells popping up and going crazy. They were too far away to see any lightning, but they were large cauliflower clouds with an every increasing anvil spreading across the sky.
My time-lapse finished, I packed my gear up and raced east towards Latham.
I kept my eyes on the development, and I had to pull over near Latham to capture one of the storms.
As I got to Latham, I had to turn south and now head towards Wubin for fuel, and to meet with fellow storm chaser and friend Steve Brooks (owner of Perth Weather Live, http://www.perthweatherlive.com).
I arrived in Wubin, and met with Steve. He had been watching the cells to the north as well, so with a quick check of the radar to see the direction these cells were going, we saw that they were going to cross well south of Paynes Find to the north, and so the decision was made to get north, and find a spot to set up and capture these systems as they passed us by.
While we were driving the sun started to set and the thunderclouds become illuminated with incredible colours. It was incredible to witness. We were so focused to get to our spot that we missed the opportunity to capture the sunset at its best, but, we still still got a bit of colour and you can see that how it would’ve been incredible 5-10mins before hand.
When we arrived at our location, we set up and started to capture the storms in the distance. One was to our North-East, one was t our North-West. Both were firing on all cylinders. Flashing, and sparking everywhere. Every second multiple strikes illuminated the clouds. So what did I do. I set up my time-lapse to capture it. I havent finished processing that yet, but when I do, I will post a link to the page it will be hosted on.
Then the night really began.
A shot of a meteor flying over first cells of the night to the north.
As the first cells passed over and headed east, the skies to the west now started to light up. Cells were quickly developing to our west, and were going nuts!!
A shot of the Milky Way with the storms firing underneath.
Large amounts of rain mixed with hail were falling from incredible formations in the clouds.
Something about the structure I just love underneath thunderstorms.
Lightning was all around
One of the final cells that passed over before I had to make the long drive home.
I had to leave, as I had to get back to Perth. The drive home was very eventful. Large hail, strong winds, lightning all around.
An extremely eventful night, but I am so glad I was able to witness it, and not on my own either. Cheers Steve, it was so great to have someone else there, yelling out as much as I was!! 🙂
I just hope this is an indication of a very active spring/summer storm season in the Midwest and Wheatbelt.
More photos to come.
Till next time.
Driving out in the vastness of the Wheatbelt, breathing in the clean country air, and viewing the ever stunning landscape of endless fields brings a feeling of wellness over me.
I wanted to capture a simple image, that to me, shows how lucky I am (we are), to be living in such a magical country.
I arrived early to scout the new surrounds, and found this spot a short walk from the carpark.
I would love to return here not only to take a few more shots, but the coastline is amazing. Maybe a dive around the place will be in order next summer.
While scouting for a suitable composition for sunset. I found myself distracted by the crabs doing their thing on the rocks. Another fascinating subject to capture at Point Peron. Amazing what you can find if you look straight down.
Yesterday (26/7) a series of strong cold fronts impacted the Western Australian south west coastline.
Not one to shy away from the opportunity to get a few photos, I thought it would be a good chance to capture a bit of colour at sunset.
Just my luck, as when I arrived another cell was about to cross the coast just to the south of my location at Jindalee.
I was in the best position to capture it, just before it impacted the coast. The system intensified as it neared the coast and bought with it very heavy rain, hail, and strong winds.
The Pilbara landscape is frequently referred to as ‘Gods Country” as you can see why. The contrast of colours, from the very bluest skies, to the never ending spread of yellow spinifex spread across the red parched land. It’s out of this world.
Karijini is at the heart of the Pilbara. The iconic national park is one of the most spectacular in the country with deep gorges cutting through the land.
One of my favourites to visit.
This is a redo of a previous image of mine. The reason for the update was that while I was going through some of my photos, I realised a few inconsistencies with this image. Mainly dust spots, that I somehow didn’t see before.
I hope you enjoy the cleaner, more clear ‘Southern Surprises’
“A week or so ago, I again had the privilege of shooting with Tina Bartley.
On a previous trip, we photographed the area not too far from here, and as we finished and drove home, I saw this beach just peeping over a hill as the road twisted its way over the headlands.
With no time left to shoot on that particular morning, I made it my mission the next time I was in the area I would get here and make sure I captured it.
One of many places scattered along the south coast that are just out of this world. White sandy bays, with turquoise blue waters, clear as day”
The town of York in the Wheatbelt region on Western Australia is renowned for it’s freezing temperatures in winter time. The beginning of July hasn’t been any different. The average minimum this month so far has been around the -2C mark, with the coldest being -4.5C. So with this in mind, I thought it would be a great opportunity to head out and try my luck at getting some images that captured the morning frost.
The night was very cold, and started with me getting some pretty cool Milky Way time-lapses in the clear winter night sky.
When the sunlight finally creeped over the horizon, I managed to get down to this location in search for a shot that captured the frost that York had been experiencing.
I succeeded here, just NE of the township.
Temp while shooting this pano, somewhere between -1C & -2C.
A spot that doesn’t get photographed from this angle often. I managed this as I took part in the West Oz Active gorge tour.
They provide a full days canyoning experience through the magnificent gorges.
If you do bring along camera gear, it’s best to let your guide know, and remember to also bring a dry pack. You will experience times where your gear will travel in the water, and could potentially be submerged.
Luckily I always travel with mine every time I venture up here.
I have been down in the Collie region for the last few days, and anyone who knows the area, will know that winter can certainly get pretty chilly here. This particular morning was certainly no different.
I have a habit of only wearing board shorts while I’m shooting landscapes, but after this mornings effort, I think my next morning shoot will have me wearing something a little more appropriate 🙂