Sunrise Over The Soybeans

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Looking east at sunrise over a soybean field from near Progress Drive in Hiawatha, Iowa. Both images captured at 6:16 am CDT, Thursday, August 4, 2016. Sunrise was officially at 6:03 am. iPhone 6 Plus camera.


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Pastel Skies Following The Storm

Friday, August 26, 2016


Arriving near home from a storm spotting trip to Delaware County in northeast Iowa on Thursday, August 18, 2016, the skies were in a state of pastel-like hue. All of the posted images today were captured from 35th Avenue, just west of Highway 13 and just NE of Marion. The above image looks west at 8:10 pm CDT.


Looking northwest at the same time.


8:11 pm, looking north. The image below is different only in being converted into black & white using the Nik Collection Silver Efex Pro 2. Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.


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Brilliant Sky On Way Home

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


After I had decided to head for home following my storm spotting drive to Delaware County, Iowa on Thursday evening, August 18, 2016, I was compelled to stop several times while southbound on Highway 13. As I distanced myself from the approaching line of storms to the northwest, the setting sun broke out from behind the clouds in spectacular fashion. In the image above, a panorama captured at 7:44 pm, the setting sun begins to emerge from the clouds as seen from 325th Street, about 2 miles south of Ryan, Iowa.


7:46 pm. Once clear of the obstructing clouds, the sun created a fiery red sky. A segment of the approaching line of storms can be seen on the horizon at far right. Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.

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Not THAT Group Of Planets, THIS One

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


Arriving too late at a good observing site to view the close conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Mercury in the west sky after sunset on Monday, August 22, 2016, I had an alternative. Gleaming in the SSW sky was another group of planets--and a red giant star in the constellation Scorpius. All three images were shot from the grounds at Echo Hill Presbyterian Church just north of Marion, Iowa, and were captured from 9:01-9:04 pm CDT. All are exposures of from 6-8 seconds at f/9, ISO 2500 and 34mm focal length, and feature foreground weeds light-painted by my cell phone flashlight. The three bright objects at center of the images are, bottom-to-top: red giant star Antares (apparent magnitude 1.03), planet Mars (-0.41) and planet Saturn (0.43). Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.



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Too Distant To Stay

Monday, August 22, 2016


Though this line of storms had been my objective as I left Cedar Rapids, Iowa on the evening of Thursday, August 18, 2016, the severe-warned cell seen in the previous two days' posts soon became the main event. The line was approaching from the northwest, some 50 miles distant in NW Fayette County Iowa when the above image was captured (7:00 pm CDT).



The northwest sky was growing ever darker as I captured the above image at 7:16 pm. Both the above and top image show my vehicle parked alongside 255th Street (D34) in Delaware County just west of Highway 13 and about 4 miles south of Manchester.


7:34 pm. The line of storms are more visible now, but still some 30 miles away. Because of their lack of strength and the fact that daylight was waning fast, I soon decided to call it a day and head for home. Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.


NEXRAD radar image of the weather situation around the time of the middle image. The target icon shows my position in relation to the storms. The boxes are severe thunderstorm watches.

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Parting Shots From Popup Cell

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Daylight was waning fast as the structure of the severe-warned storm cell located in northwest Illinois continued to expand on the evening of Thursday, August 18, 2016. Knowing that my photography opportunities were fading here in Delaware County, Iowa, I decided to head back to Cedar Rapids. While southbound on Highway 13, I captured the four images posted today. Above, my vehicle was located about 1.3 miles north of 275th Street (D42) at 7:36 pm CDT. The storm was moving away and about 73 miles to the east at this time, near Stockton, Illinois. The small bright area of the overshooting top can still be seen.


A more zoomed-in view a minute later.


7:44 pm. Looking east from 325th Street at Highway 13, about 2 miles south of Ryan, Iowa.


7:46 pm. With my vehicle as a foreground element. Because of distance or a decrease in severity, the overshooting top has now disappeared from the structure. Note the thin inflow cloud at right in all four images. Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.

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Where Did This Come From?

Saturday, August 20, 2016


My attention was squarely on the line of severe storms riding east along the Minnesota/Iowa state border around 6:30 pm CDT on Thursday, August 18, 2016. My intent was to capture some potential distant cloud structure by driving north on Highway 13 into northeast Iowa. Leaving Marion, Iowa, two small cells began to appear to my right (east), located along the Mississippi River just southeast of Bellevue, Iowa. As I continued my drive north to intercept the northern storms, the two twin cells grew. I thought, "Oh cool, that's a nice little scene..." The above image looks east at 6:49 pm on the big bend section of Highway 13 about 1 mile east of the town of Coggon in northern Linn County.


Stopping at one of my favorite spotting locations on 255th Street (D34) at Highway 13, about 4 miles south of Manchester in Delaware County, the two cells to the east had merged into one. The above image looks that direction at 7:15 pm, during the time the storm had become severe-warned. Note the strong "ice cream dollop" overshooting top at center, indicating its very strong updraft. The storm was now located about 68 miles distant, near the Elizabeth, Illinois area just east of the Mississippi River.


Briefly pulling up shop and driving east across Highway 13, I stopped here at a railroad crossing located on 255th Street about .7-mile east of the highway. Time was 7:21 pm. The overshooting top is partially obscured by a wisp of anvil cloud.


Back to my former spotting position. 7:27 pm. The mature storm's anvil has spread some 25 miles across. Though the line of (weak) storms--my original target--were at this moment advancing from the northwest, this storm cell stole the evening's show. What had been perceived by me as a superficial little pop-up cell to the east had become the main event! Nikon D7200 DSLR camera.


Radar screen capture of 6:50 pm (top panel) and again at 7:30 pm, showing the state of the eastern storm cell and my spotting position (target icon at left) in relation to it.

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