– Approaching Strong Squalls –

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.

Storms over Moora

We had thunderstorms come through Perth last night, with the city ending up with 40.8mm which is our first significant rainfall event for the year. Maybe winter has finally arrived? Maybe not, we are expecting 28C towards the end of the week. Though showers are also forecast. You just never know at this time of the year.

I was unable to get out and try for lightning photos last night, but thought I would have a look through the archives on my computer. I found this photo from December last year of a system that developed near the town of Moora.
Now I thought I would try something that I have not tried before with my storm photos and that is process them in black & white.

As this is a first for me, I would like to know what everyone thinks of it.

Canon 5d Mark II
24-105mm f4.0 IS USM + CircPol
A: f9.0
T: 1/20
ISO: 50

Lower Midwest / Wheatbelt / Northern Lower West Storm Event

Everyone were on edge today as thunderstorms were expected to develop through the Lower Midwest, the Wheatbelt and northern parts of the Lower West districts of Western Australia.
After hearing the possibility that thunderstorms could develop today, and from having discussions last week, and following the advice of others,  I decided that the best place to head would be Coorow. A small farming town about 2 1/2hours drive north.  There are a couple of ways you can drive to Coorow, but I made sure that my trip there included a stop at the Bindoon Bakery for one of their award winning pies. It didn’t disappoint.

Now that my stomach was satisfied, I was now on my way to Coorow, with only one more stop in Moora to see what the charts were doing, and then to decide really where my chase was going to take me for the day.

I arrived in Coorow believing that I was going to arriving with storms already developing. They were not. It was a nice 29C, a tad humid, and only a few clouds about. My initial feeling was it just didn’t feel like a place where storms were going to develop.
After deciding that Coorow wasn’t really doing anything for me, I decided that a quick trip back to Moora (90kms away) was the only way to go.
On the way back the clouds started to grow and by the time I got to Moora it was fairly evident that storms were definitely on their way.
I sat down again and decided where the best place to go and watch the storms develop, I decided to head west towards Dandaragan.

I got only 10km out of Moora, when I decided to pull over and get my first shots of the day, a quickly developing cell that looked to be around the Watheroo area.

These storms were just developing everywhere, and I was getting ready for a couple of hours of driving and chasing to get in the right position for photos.

When the most northern storm was getting a little close for comfort I jumped in the car and raced about 5km up the road. Just enough time to snap another photo of the cell now really developed and heavy rain starting to fall.

After a very loud rumble of thunder roared overhead, I thought it would be a good time to jump back into the car and head toward Dandaragan.

Again I pulled over just outside the town to take another photo (panorama) of the approaching storm.

After this photo, very heavy rain and small hail hit the area. It was pretty surreal to be parked on the side of the road in the middle of the cell.
I knew I had to get back in front of this cell so I headed through the rain and while driving as carefully as possible eventually got through it. I got to Dandaragan with the wind blowing strong and the cell just minutes behind. I don’t know if Dandaragan got hit at all, because the storm looked like it was just going to pass to the east of the town.

I headed south of Dandaragan towards Regans Ford. I stopped at the CBH depot and had a clear view of the storms to the south. I set my camera up just outside my car and tried a new technique of connecting a 10stop filter to my camera. I have learned that this doesn’t work after knowing that I certainly had CGs in frame and then after reviewing the shot, not one strike on film 🙁

I packed my gear and headed towards Orange Springs Rd off Brand Hwy and bolted to the western end to Cowella Rd, and managed to snap this photo

I then headed south towards Dirigan Rd off Cowella Rd and managed to capture this strike on video. (snapshot)

This is another shot facing west off Cowella Rd

I was now tracking parallel with the storm heading south along Cowella Rd, and observed plenty of CGs and CC strikes.

I got to Gingin Brook Rd and headed towards Military Rd and headed south along there till I got to Wanneroo Rd. By now it was quieting down quite a bit and so I headed into the Pines off Smokebush Rd to get some mammatus cloud shots.
This is taken as the sun was going down and pointed straight up in the sky.

That was the final shot for the day, I drove a total of 604km. Not a bad effort.

Till the next storm…..