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Anything outdoors!  Tornadoes, eagles, blizzards, or auroras.  If it is in the sky, running through the woods or swimming in the water, I'm there!


Monday, July 6, 2015

A couple of local storms and lightning triggers

Seems tornado ops have outnumbered good night time lightning ops about oh, 21 to ZERO over the past year so my family gave me a lightning trigger for Father's Day this year. It's nothing fancy and not the top of the line, but it works.   Kind of.  This thing is like hyper light sensitive.  In one instance with the sensitivity turned all the way down, I could drape my t-shirt over the sensor and it would still trigger the shutter.  I dunno.  Maybe the one I have is flawed or maybe it is mean to use at night or at least post-sunset dusk.  If you have run into this problem, please email me at bill@mnwxchaser.com with any ideas or tell me what I am doing wrong. Below is the only successful capture I have from this thing out of probably 50 opportunities where it failed to capture the strike or I couldn't get it to not trigger as soon as I armed it.  It's an Opteka LTX-80.  The photo below is an image from the manufacturer.

This was the only successful capture using the lightning trigger during "daylight".  It was pretty dark as this storm approached our home from the north.

On to the storms!

Hard to compete with the June 27th chase day up in Canada, but there aren't many storms I won't at least try to find something which looks cool or at least the light gives me something to work with.

June 29th over by Hinckley, MN in the trees.  Another south moving trough coming out of Canada.  Big dew point depressions meant little to no tornado chances this day but a little cell just southwest of town did condense a brief and non-rotating wall cloud.  The big story of the day would be all the hailers which moved across the Minneapolis - St Paul metro area during the late afternoon and evening hours with some isolated spots getting nailed with egg sized stones.

This past Sunday, July 5th had a cold front crashing into western Minnesota during peak heating.  Well, OK, it didn't exactly crash.  In fact it stalled out.  I had to drop my daughter off at camp north of Brainerd in the early afternoon but all the CAMS broke out isolated storms bring the mid to late afternoon so I brought my gear along with the idea of making an intercept on the way home.  Bad idea.  Reason #1: Holiday weekend traffic.  I knew it was going to be bad heading back south but to see it back up for 18 miles from Royalton to the north of Little Falls to the 10/371 split was ridiculous.  So the wife and I drove a back roads arc home again.  Reason #2:  The CAMS were wrong.  They were ALL wrong.  No storms went up in central MN.  It was pretty evident the CF would fire late but I was still questioning on how good the storms would be with the weak forcing and anemic flow aloft.  Once the storms did go, there were some supercell structures early on but everything struggled to maintain intensity.  I opted for dinner at home and a nap until the weather radio woke me up for a blue box.  Another try for the lightning trigger at least?  I took it with but it never made it out of the gear bag.

I wandered over by Spicer, MN and tried to set up between a cell to my southwest and another to my northwest.  I usually have pretty good luck with CG's and some nice CC's going back and forth.

This ended up being pretty lame for the most part.  I really enjoy being outside of the vehicle to shoot lightning but the mosquitoes chased me back in pretty quick as the intervalometer  did the work.

Weird twisty CG.  Heavily cropped.  I think I was shooting 10s exposures at f5.6 ISO 200 for these.

Got bored as the stratoform rain shield filled in out in front of the cells pretty much killing my desire to get wet and bug bitten so called it a night.  I should have set up the cam at home as there were some cool CG's but not enough to make me stand out there.  Oh yeah, the lightning trigger...

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