If you see a red Subaru parked under the storm, feel free to say hey! I intentionally keep myself pretty incognito while I'm out there - I don't drive an armored tank, I don't have any flashy lights or a recognizable paint job. It's a pretty anti-social thing for me and I'd rather not draw any attention to myself. That being said - if you see me, say something!
I never stood a chance. I suppose I feared storms for a couple years of my life. Around age 2, I was awakened by a night time thunderstorm. My parents grabbed their crying toddler and took him onto the porch of my grandparents house to watch the storm. They didn't seem to bother me after that. My dad always had an interest in severe storms and tornadoes, and him friending and inviting the staff meteorologist at WILL-TV/Radio and local weather celebrity, Ed Kieser to my first birthday party really set my path. Instead of watching cartoons as a kid growing up, I was watching VHS and Beta tapes of tornadoes that my dad and Ed would shower me with.
I got my first camera around age 7, and then shortly after taking a family vacation in the mountains and realizing I wanted more I bought my first manual film SLR camera with money I had saved up working as a newspaper delivery boy. I was a walking waste of film, riding my bike to the local school yard when thunderstorms would roll into the area. I later bought an 8mm video camera so I could film the storms from the garage once they hit. I'd come inside and edit together little clips on our VCR with my long winded video and sync it up with some song I was into at the time.
...And I guess I'm still doing essentially the same thing. The sky is always up to something. Even if it looks boring, it's still sitting up there scheming. I used to go back and forth between whether I liked still photography or videography better, but I think I have fallen into a happy middle ground and spend most of my energy going after time lapse imagery. It involves a lot of sitting around being patient while the camera shoots the sky, but I find myself most at peace during those moments with no one else around - just the changing sky and the redundant clicking noise of of my camera.
While I'm not out observing the weather in the open, I'm forecasting it from the office. I work as an Agricultural Meteorologist for Nutrien Ag Solutions in our Champaign, IL office. I also independently operate Chambana Weather, providing local weather information for Champaign-Urbana and surrounding communities. I provide daily weather forecasts for several central Illinois media outlets, including WILL AM 580/FM 90.9, the local NPR station. I also work closely with local school districts and the County Emergency Management Agency in severe weather preparedness efforts.
I am truly living my best life.