Sunday, January 18, 2015

2015 Game Plan

Ah the winter doldrums. Preperations for chase season 2015 are well underway. Its been a fairly productive winter for me in that regards. I've tackled quite a few items on my to do list. That list seems to have this magical power of being able to regenerate itself when I knock an item off though. Like how starfish can regrow a severed arm, I cross an item off and *poof* another one pops up in its place. The end of the list only exists in theory...anyways...

I often get asked what will I be doing different this year and if I've made any big upgrades etc etc etc.

The answer to that is this year will be pretty straight forward. The biggest upgrade is the creation of a new website illinoisstormchasers.com with one of my regular chase partners. This site has some good potential, and we've got big plans for it. Its only 2 weeks old and the response has been good so far. Aerostorms will always be my "personal" brand that I identify with, but ISC will be more of a collaborative effort with greater public outreach potential.

Chasing wise, I will be adding a dash cam this year. Over the years there have been random surprise moments I wish I had captured on film. Things such as very close CG strikes, near misses with animals, drunk drivers careening off the road and smashing into a telephone pole ahead of us, and even quick spinup tornadoes that come and go so fast by the time I hit record I've already missed it.

Over the years Ive continued to develop my chase strategy, and am finding a personal preference as to where I want to be in relation to the storms and tornadoes. I am going to focus a lot on that this year, and plan to be in a similar position on all the storms if possible. This will hopefully lead to an increase in quality footage. Too many times in past years Ive sat idle too long and let storms slip away because people I am chasing with want lightning photos or shots of distant anvils. No more. There are dozens of chances to get those shots in a year...only a handful of chances for tornadoes...and while I'm at it...no more sitting behind the tornadoes while they slip away, making for a more difficult pursuit of the next cycle (Pilger day.)

Hoping the chase-mobile survives the season. Overall it runs good, but the 9 year old vehicle with 227,000+ miles is starting to show its age and abuse. Its beginning to get a little moody and quirky. I've begun putting money away for the inevitable replacement...but I need to get at least 1 more year out of it before the purchase wont become a complete financial burden.

Hoping 2015 is a better year than 2014 obviously. Every chase knows I don't even need to explain why. Not just for tornadoes, but even structure. I've barely used my DSLR and want to get some great images.

I've cleaned up my social media presence, got my Youtube channel all updated and spiffed out. Same with twitter. I have a far greater understanding on how this stuff works than I did in previous years. I now know what kind of content people want, so Im hoping I get a chance to deliver it this year and increase my numbers/revenue. In the end that part is up to the weather. Years like 2012 and 2014 do little to help me out there.


One big new thing Im going to attempt this year is a chase-cation. Ive always been a marathoner and will continue to be one, but I've missed being out there for the long hauls, playing some really marginal days that can still pay off big, and spending time with all the awesome people out in the plains. I havent nailed down the dates yet, but Im thinking something like a May 20-June 10th unless an awesome pattern presents itself before that.

Thats about the extent of my plans. Nothing extreme, just going to continue advancing in my self driven chase career, hoping to achieve that next milestone while figuring out ways to make chasing more sustainable for me. Never give up the passion, its worth fighting for!

See you all out there!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

2014 Season Stats

Well, traditional chase season 2014 has come to its yearly end. Obviously I know setups can present themselves year round, which is why I used the term "traditional" when describing the period that covers March through June, when 90% of chasing is typically done.

Few will argue 2014 was a rough season, slower than average, especially in traditional tornado alley. You really had to work for your prizes this year. For me it was overall a sub-par year. Take away the Pilger day and this season would be hanging out with 2012 in the years I'd rather forget than remember category. Pilger day itself can best be described as a diamond in the rough. Such an incredible, career day thrown into a mix of steaming dinosaur turds.

The other big events of the year I simply wasn't there for. It was a year of picking the wrong setups to chase. Since Im not one of these rich kids with no real world obligations or responsibilities I still have to pick and choose my days. The biggest flop was not staying out for the 2 days after Pilger, because that incredible 3 days stretch would have given me enough content for a new DVD, and bumped this year into 2013 like final-hour amazingness. Setups couldn't get easier than those 3 days right there with basically 1 storm to get on and enjoy the show. It was bad logistical planning that cost me those next 2 days. Until I someday hopefully reach the ultimate pipe dream where I am able to chase everything, that is always going to be a tough issue to solve. Big setups fail to produce, and small setups do big things. That is probably the only real challenge left in storm chasing...picking the right days when you simply cant just chase them all.

So here's what I've got for this season.

Chases: 15
Tornadoes: 17
Tornado Days: 4
States Chased: OK, KS, NE, IA, IL, MO, MS
New Milestones: Most number of violent tornadoes in a single chase (4 on 6-16)
Largest Hail: 2.25"
Approx Miles: 13,500
Windows lost: 0
Pulled over and ticketed: 1
Stuck in the mud: 0

The tornado count of 17 looks impressive, but take away the 7 on Pilger day, and those other 10 probably only netted me 2 minutes of video and aren't even DVD chapter worthy. Instead theyll get lumped into a montage chapter whenever the next DVD comes around. Another strange thing about that tornado count. Every single one of them was in NEBRASKA. That will undoubtedly make Nebraska the state I have now seen the most tornadoes in, moving Kansas into the #2 spot.

The number of chases is pretty average compared to my other years as a chaser who is stuck having to have a day job. The 2010-2011 seasons logged 30+ chases simply because I was free to chase it all. I definitely miss that.

Thanks again to Pilger for saving the season from the 2012 category, but it wasnt enough to move the whole year into the 2013, 2011, 2010 category. Instead, 2014 will simply find itself in that middle ground with years like 2008 and 2009. It wasnt awful, but it wasnt great.

Its not over yet though, and big things can still happen. We're just at the point where nothing is a gaurantee. You're always going to have chaseable setups in the spring. Summer and fall is never a sure thing, and Ive seen years where the summer and fall do nothing, and years where they go big. Now its time to work work work and build up the finances and make sure Im ready in case this year decides to throw something else my way.

I decided awhile ago (before Pilger) that the best way to beat a lowsy year is to set myself up for next year in case its big. Work more, make more money, and be ready for it all. If this year was a big year, I wouldn't have been in a position to financially chase it all anyways, so I need to make sure next year that wont be an issue. This has been the case since 2012 with slower than average years, and I need to take advantage of that for when the next 2010 or 2011 comes around.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Why I Will Still Call Myself A Storm Chaser.

Storm chasing, like everything else in the world we live in, continues to evolve. New trends emerge, old ones die. Lately a new trend I've noticed is people suddenly "un-labeling" themselves as a storm chaser. So, that begs the question...were you ever one to begin with? Or did you simply just partake in the activity of chasing storms to go along with some alterior motive you care about more. I've always said chasing a storm doesnt make you a storm chaser and I stand by it. I play baseball sometimes with family/friends. I sure as hell aint a baseball player.

The reasons for this are the suposed dispicable acts of the growing number of fellow chasers. The funny thing about that is most of this stuff can be avoided. The last few chases I have seen more posts on my feed about convergences than the storms. I can't think of an issue easier to avoid than that. Stop putting fuel economy first and actually chase in a vehicle that can take you away from the crowds if it bothers you so much. Until then, STFU. Stop chasing in May in the same targets as everyone else if it bothers you that much, until then, STFU.

I dont care what others do, and neither should you. Its a free country. It only matters to me if you get in my personal way. In which case I will flatten you. Storm Chasing is what I love, my life revolves around it and nothing anyone can do can take that away from me for as long as I am alive and able to chase, when I am not able to, life can pull the plug. I will forever self label myself as a Storm Chaser...and Im damn proud of it. Its what Ive always wanted since I was a child, and (for the most part) I got it.

I always find it funny how the ones who bitch the most about chasing and what others are doing, are the ones chasing the least. As I've said many times before, STFU....and chase.

God 2014 has been a craptastic season, this is not what I should be blogging about...oh well.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Relating to the Mike Rowe Letter.

While farting around online today I stumbled upon this:

http://news.distractify.com/people/mike-rowe-crushes-a-mans-hopes-for-finding-a-dream-job-and-i-agree-with-him-100/?v=1

I don't know how much of this is legit, and how much is made up...whether the person writing the letter actually wrote that letter or even if its actually Mike Row who took the time to write that lenghy response. Its a good read regardless, but the last paragraph is advice GOLD as far as Im concerned:

"Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you."

If I had enough room on my arm I would have this tattooed so people could read it everywhere I went. I am a perfect example of this.

Chasing storms is my dream, my passion, the reason I live my life. People are shocked to learn that I have a "real job" that involves outdoor wood restoration. Primarily decks, fences, gazebos, and whatever else thats outside and made of wood. How can this be? Its quite simple really. I need money to chase, and its damn near impossible to make enough money to live off storm chasing alone. So I have to work...but if I work to make money, I cant chase.

Now theres a conundrum...so what is one to do? The answer, as stated above, is to find a job that fits. My job, as I see it, is a pretty damn good fit. First off, you cant work outdoors on wood when it rains. Normally when its raining/storming and I am out chasing, its raining/storming at home. So most of those days I "take off" to chase I dont end up working anyways.

Second I was straight up honest about it when I got hired. I said look, during the spring time I can be somewhat flaky with last minute notices I wont be around to go out chasing. On the flip side, they have hardcore dedication from me otherwise. I work 14 hours days sometimes 6-7 days a week during the off season. That includes weekends and holidays. I give my time back, its the least I can do. Ive built a good relationship and they know they can count on me.

My job isnt my passion, who the hell is passionate about restoring wood anyways? The chemicals are hazardous and probably shortening my life each year I work with them, and working out in the summer heat is purse misery....but those are all the sacrifices I make to be able to reap the benefits of flexibility.

The pay isnt the greatest, but its sufficient, and overall I am happy at my work. I like my job. It fits my life and what I do, and at the end of the day I am glad I have it. Obviously the dream we all have is to not need to work, but unless you fall into the rare 1% of people who can skirt by without working, you have to seek elsewhere.

Its easy to choose the high paying career, the path thats expected of you and do all those things others and society envision for you...but at the end of the day if you aren't happy and there is this passion inside you that yearns for more attention then you need to ask yourself this question. "Are you living the life you want, or the life you THINK you want." There is no point in living just to exist. I still get my bills paid, I may not own a big house or drive a fancy car or own a boat...but thats not the shit I want in life. If it was, I'd go get it.

Ive always been one to advocate doing what really makes you happy in life and let me tell you....its much, much harder than simply doing the normal routine of going to school to get a degree in hopes it will land you a high paying career. If you think that shit is tough, try pursuing a dream thats not part of the normal life curriculum.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stats of a Slow Season

2014 may in fact be my slowest start to a storm chasing season ever. With each run of the GFS it looks increasingly likely March won't offer up a storm chase. Not the first time, other years I haven't chased in March were 2008 and 2013.

In each of those years, my first April chases were April 6th and April 10th respectively. So, theoretically 2014 needs to go to April 10th in order to rank it as the slowest personal start to a season ever....BUT...something interesting about 2013 and 2008 is that both of those years featured an Illinois chase in JANUARY, and 2008 had the notorious Super Tuesday outbreak in February that I chased. While not part of traditional chase season, the setups all included tornadic thunderstorms and do count as official chases for me.

So, going off that, plus the fact in all the other years I've had a March chase by now, its safe to say that 2014 is off to the slowest personal start of any chase season.

Not chasing February 20th was a huge blunder on my part. I almost did, I checked the RAP the night before and it showed the potential, but it was an outlier and I thought it was overdoing things like its been known to do. With no other model support, being climalogically unfavored, and me not having any of my gear ready I simply decided to ignore it. What I should have done was wake up early to monitor things in the morning but by the time I slothed out of bed at 1pm it was too late. That day stings.

So here we have it...the slowest start ever for me. I am bored, coming down with serious cabin fever. I need to be out there soon. Cmon 2014, get your shit together!!!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Finding My Place

Chasing has rapidly changed over the years. On the evolutionary scale you have the first breed of chasers, the old schoolers. They have the best instincts, can chase blind without the need of technology and run circles around everyone if they chose to do so, but they dont (lucky for the newcomers.)

Then you have the new breed, they spend more time keeping up to date with technology than they do actually learning about the science of meteorology. They come from rich families, own fancy cameras, expensive laptops, but couldnt chase their own tail into a wall if you pointed it out to them. They wouldnt survive 10 years ago, plain and simple.

The dividing line between the two groups might as well be the Grand Canyon. I can tell just by what I observe online. Veteran chaser status are only commented on/followed by other veterans, and likewise for the newcomers. The mixed involvement seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

And yet...like always, I find myself in the middle. Inside the grand canyon. Climbing up either way and falling back down. I came in at the tail end of the old generation, just as the transition towards the new generation was beginning to take shape. I hate technology and wish it would go away. I chased blind my first several years, but have since adapted to the ways of new in order to stay relevant. I loathe it, but I simply do it because its a necessary tool for success.

I can relate to both sides. I love the ways of old, and appreciate the ways of new. My whole live I never really had a best friend, or a main group of friends. Rather I spread myself across the vast network of various social groups and people (I think I just called myself a whore in a creative way,) creating a vast network of bar buddies, chase pals, hood rats, etc etc. The kind that are soon to forget me, the same as I am them. I move on quickly. Its never bitter and the friendships never end...its just those I move away from seem to gravitate to those who are more like them. I never understood the whole "clique" thing. I've always found those groups to be shallow and empty, despite the illusion of their close-knits bonds that have been threaded by mere similar opinions.

I've always been an introvert in that regards I guess. I get along with everyone, but I don't really identify with anyone. I am not hardcore conservative christian like those before me, but I am not a vegan humanist like those who follow me. I tred the middle line, dabbing in both sides...just like chasing.

Im happy being a general loner though. It seems to keep peoples expectations of me low. I just do my thing, meet people along the way. They stay as long as they want, get what they want, and move on. Or maybe its me who does that...I dunno.

Is there a storm coming yet?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Crunch Month

Its February. 2 great things happen this month. 1 - Football ends. 2 - March is within 30 days the entire time.

Since I apparently love a challenge, this is going to be a chaotic month as I get everything ready for chase season. I've had a long list of projects for months and as always it will come down to the wire. It wasn't all my fault this time though. The biggest setback I suffered was a hard drive failure that delayed the production and release of my 2nd DVD by nearly 2 months while I dealt with the lengthy and costly process of data recovery. Luckily that had a happy ending, and Im pleased to see that sales of the DVD are getting close to offsetting that cost. The support has been great, and again I thank you all for that.

Those sales funds are what is needed for my biggest upgrade this year and that is a new laptop capable of doing very fast, in the field video editing for upload to media. I don't chase just to make money, but lets be real. If I can make a good buck, and therby giving myself the ability to chase more, I am going to do it. My old laptop, while reliable could not handle editing the HD video, and it would always take me 8+ hours to get video online. Anyone whos dealt with ENG video knows, that is 7hrs and 59 minutes too long.

That and the laptop will better run the live stream and software programs, hopefully without random crashes like the old one.

I've also ordered a wind filter for my camera. I hate wind noise. It is just as annoying as squeeky windshield wipers. A hard problem to avoid since tornadoes are obviously surrounded by wind, so hopefully this filter will help reduce that issue.

I began to finally study for my HAM test, but that is being currently interupted by some side work I picked up. I'm basically building an entire basement. We've been at it 1 week and will be at least 1 week more. My day job is seasonal so I don't work in the winter, and thus funds are always tight since throughout the year I typically just save up enough to pay my bills and eat. So the extra money this side gig is bringing in couldnt come at a better time, especially if March decides it wants to start out active...which right now it doesn't look like its going to.

So, back on point, once I am finished with this side work, studying for the HAM test will resume, as well as getting at least the laptop setup. I am also probably going to upgrade my data plan to a 4G one. I havent figured that out yet, but that is another change coming. My current provider now only offers mifi devices, something I wasnt thrilled to learn, as Ive used one in the past and hated it, but Im told theyve improved quite a bit since then so I may give it another go.

I also need to wire up my 1000 watt power inverter to the battery, and install some toggle switches to flip it on and off along with a new set of fog lights since my last ones got smashed by hail. THEN, if I pass the HAM test. I will need to buy and install the radio equipment. The list is forever growing.

IF I can wrap all this up, with time and money leftover, I plan to finally tap into the SLR world. If not before the season, then probably during the season once I am back to working my normal job and the bankroll is fruitful once again.

I have no idea what this season will bring. This winter has probably been one of the harshest of my life. Doing a bit of history digging I've found that springs and summers that follow winters like this have swung both ways, either extremely boring or extremely stormy, there didn't seem to be much of a middle ground. All I can say is now...we'll just have to wait and see.

I plan to stick to my new agressive chase plan. 2013 was a season of rebirth for me. 2014 will hopefully be the year I add some steam to that momentum. Up close and personal is the name of the game this year. Like it or not, its the way its going to be done! The way 2013 ended is the way 2014 will hopefully begin.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tornado Dates Updated

Updating a previous post with the 2013 data added in. I find this quote from the original post amusing:

"Perhaps that will be a fun little goal I can try to hit in 2013, double up on a calender day."

So, did I accomplish that goal? Here is the updated list.

March:
2nd (2012) 
22nd (2011) 

April:
9th (2011) 
13th (2012) 
14th (2012) 
17th (2013)
19th (2011) 
22nd (2010) 
27th (2011) 
29th (2010) 

May:
5th (2007) 
10th (2010) 
12th (2011) 
13th (2009)
18th (2013
19th (2013)
20th (2013)
21st (2011)
22nd (2010)
23rd (2008)
24th (2011)
25th (2008)
27th (2013)
28th (2013)
31st (2013)

June:
5th (2009, 2010)
6th (2007)
7th (2008)
10th (2010)
14th (2009)
15th (2009)
17th (2010)
19th (2011)
20th (2011)

July:
26th (2011)

October:
4th (2013)
12th (2012)
18th (2007)

November:
7th (2011)
17th (2013)

Ironically, I did not double up on any dates in 2013. Even during the active perdiod in May, all the tornado days fell on dates I have not previously witnessed a tornado on. June 5th still remains the only day I have seen tornadoes on in more than one year.

Side note - further illustrating how much 2012 sucked, it is the first year since I started visiting the plains in 2007 that I did not see a tornado in May or June. Sad...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2013: Thats All She Wrote (?)

With the models showing nothing but intrusion after intrusion of arctic air, I think I can finally say the fat lady has sung for my 2013 storm chasing. Though I say that with a question mark, because that is what I thought after October 4th, then those awful wannabe setups trolled us around Halloween and then I thought THAT was it, then November 17th happened. So I guess its never really a sure thing until the clock strikes midnight on Jan 1st 2014.

So, here are the stats:

Chases: 19 (Average to slightly below average)
Tornadoes: 11 (Slightly below average)
States: IL, NE, CO, KS, OK, AR (Way below average)
Tornado Days: 9 (47% success ratio - slightly above average)

And some Milestones:

- New record for consecutive chases with tornadoes: 6 (April 17th, May 18th, May 19th, May 20th, May 27th, May 28th)
- First rear windshield blown out (October 4th)
- Latest tornado of any season (November 17th)

2013 was certainly the year of quality over quantity. Overall 2013 was a very slow year for tornadoes, quite possibly one of the, if not THE slowest on record. When tornadoes did occur though, they were significant and made headlines. With the exception of the Lawton Tornado on April 17th, every catch I had was a photogenic/significant tornado, and while the overall tornado count was only par (11) many of these tornadoes will be some of the most memorable of my career and tough ones to beat.

I did very well on all the big days, the only real big fail I have for the year was missing the El Reno tornado. A couple events I could have played a bit better such as the Moore tornado. We let ourselves get stuck on the wrong side of the river and were unable to pursue it due to lack of crossings and police roadblocks. Next year I am going to be very tempted to just go around those, as they are getting increasingly annoying. Are they really going to follow me and arrest me? Maybe...maybe not.

The year came on the heels of my worst chase season ever, and the agonizingly slow start only helped me spiral deeper into my own mental insanity. Finally, on May 19th that awful streak was ended with Rozel and I was reborn. I entered the year with a new outlook and a new strategy in my mind. No more packed sardine marathons like in 2012, which I attribute to my distraction and overall awful year. Fewer people in the car yelling at me to do things their way, keeping my head in the game, not stopping every 2 minutes while 10 miles away for structure shots and simply just getting up to the tornadoes and getting the video I want. It seemed to pay off. Agressive is my style.

I began to toy around with a riskier plan, aiming to be north of tornadoes more than the tradiotnal south/southeast. I like the view north better. It is often higher contrast, and you dont have rain wrapping around as far as you do when storms go HP. Of course there are downfalls to this, with the obvious being the risk involved of being more vulnarable to the tornado itself. Also, if you dont time your moves well, hook echo precip will cut off your view...something I still have yet to master, but after a few good examples now under my belt I think I can better accomplish this in 2014. If you don't fancy this type of chasing, its probably better you dont follow me next year, because its not going to stop. If your goal while chasing is pretty pictures, dont even bother asking to chase with me because I dont want to stop so you can take pictures of anvils while the storm is maturing and could potentially drop a tornado. My goal is video. I do plan to have an SLR camera next season and will occasionaly do the artsy photo thing, but only on days where tornado threat is minimal or non existent.

After many years of toying around with differnt chasing styles, trying to take in different things and give everything a shot at least once, I think I finally have my style nailed down and what it takes to accomplish the things I like. Providing favorable weather patterns, 2014 should be an amazing year.

Back to 2013, there were some memorable and unique moments including being able to drive the TIV for a string of chases in early April, sadly those setups were not big tornado producers, but that was still an awesome experience I would love to do again so hopefully the Caseys trust me enough to make me the offer next year.

Sadly 2013 was also the year it finally happened. We all know what I am talking about. I still cant listen to the song I was listening to at the time I found out that awful news without thinking about them. That song is "Whataya Want From Me" By Adam Lambert - not an overly sad song, or a song remotely about chasing, but probably forever until the day I die, when that song comes on I will think about those 3. I miss them, as Im sure many do.

Anyways, that sums up 2013 in a nut shell. Winter approaches, and so does a time of more active blogging and chase related off-season projects. For everyone who followed and supported, thank you! For all my chase pals, see ya in 2014. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 21, 2013

DVD Review: Distance to Empty


Veteran storm chaser Shane Adams offers his latest DVD this year, titled "Distance to Empty." The official release date is Halloween, but as part of a trade for my latest DVD (when I am done with it) I was able to snag it early and get the jump on everyone else.

DVD info/purchase page: http://www.passiontwist.com/distance.htm



Like with any Shane Adams DVD, it is purely raw chasing, something I love. The title is unique and has personal meaning, something I also love and much prefer over something cheesy like "tornado alley adventures 2013." No fancy covers or case here. I personally like having the black DVD cases because I like having something to stack into a shelf to look at and say "this is my awesome storm porn collection," but Im just weird like that and in the grand scheme of things it doesnt really matter so onto what matters most, the meat.

The DVD starts quickly with a short segment from 2011 documenting a rare February tornado in Oklahoma, a rather insignificant event tornado wise as the funnel didn't fully condense and was short lived but given the early time of the year for it to occur seeing any shot of it is a treat.

We move onto another event not many chasers covered, April 3rd 2012 which saw a local tornado outbreak near the Dallas/FT worth area. Mostly local chasers on this event, Shane gets a brief look at a tornado in its rope out stage as he tries to battle metro traffic. Coming from someone who lives in another large metro area (Chicago) I can emphasize the frustration. Earmuffs recommended for children. Still, this is a shot you won't see anywhere else.

The next chapter ramps up big time and accounts for more than half the tornadoes on the DVD. 2012 was a disgustingly painful year for many chasers, but it did offer one major event which many chasers scored on. April 14th. Shane did about as good as you can and nabbed 10 tornadoes of all shapes and sizes, during the day and night. One shot shows twin tornadoes on the ground. Great chapter, great chasing, great tornadoes. Many of the tornadoes in this chapter are not well known as most chasers were in Kansas, a great plus since many of the shots I saw were new to me. Awesome nightime footage of a tornado with quick transitions. A series of video stills set to music follows. Something that offers a nice change of pace on the DVD, but fits in well with the chapter. On a personal note, I failed this day big time so it was bittersweet for me to watch.

Jumping to 2013 we find ourselves on May 15th which was another "surprise" event in TX few people chased. Again, and this seems to be a recurring theme on this DVD, we are given tornado video you wont find anywhere else. In the modern chasing area it is hard to have a unique catch that 40 other chasers don't have, but this DVD is loaded with them and this chapter is no exception. When I first watched it I thought "May 15th, what the heck happened on May 15th?" Well done.

May 18th follows which brings an amazing, well documented long lived EF-4 tornado near Rozel Kansas. It doesn't get anymore classic than this. The entire tornado life cycle captured on tripod from a single spot.

A brief tornado on May 19th, which again is footage from an event I didn't even know happened closes the DVD and the credits role.

Final thoughts:

Definitely a buy or a trade. I am one who loves the raw style, classic chase footage DVD, even the parts that drag out a bit along with the pointless crotch shots from inside the car. As a storm chaser myself its great to see these as well as the same frustrations, and early on intense "CMON FULLY CONDENSE ALREADY!!" type moments that I experience while chasing. There is very little editing in the DVD. You get a chapter title and thats it, the tornadoes take over, and there are lots of them.

One thing you can always count on with a Shane Adams DVD is wall to wall tornadoes. Lots of language on the DVD, which I find hilarious, but is not exactly family friendly. No in car shots of the chasers screaming and yelling at each other (something growing in popularity these days that I personally can't stand.) Just weather, the way it should be.

Do buy if: You want tornadoes and only tornadoes. You enjoy the classic, raw, pure chasing style. Enjoy having a large collection. Want to see footage form lesser events you wont find anywhere else. Have been a life-long fan of Shane.

Do not buy if: You are offended by strong language. You are a fanboy and want to see in car shots of the chasers having emotional moments with each other. Only enjoy up close and near death experience video.