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Weird Weather

By Joseph Cha on August 12th 2013

Great weather is every photographers muse. When a photographer looks outside and sees great clouds or a great sunset, they can’t help but take pictures. But what about weird weather? It turns out, photographers can’t help but take pictures of weird weather too!

Lincoln Nebraska Heat Wave
On July 25, 1936 the people of Lincoln Nebraska were experiencing an unusually hot summer day. With the highs at 115°F and the lows at 91°F, it was the hottest night ever recorded in the United States outside of the Southwest! This picture is of people who didn’t have air-conditioning, who chose to sleep outside on the lawn of the state capital building in Lincoln. Photographer: Unknown


The Moment Before Lightning Strikes
This photo is very tragic, but it is beneficial for everyone to keep in mind. During a hike in Sequoia National Park, Mary Mcquilken noticed the hair on her two brothers head was standing straight up. This amount of static buildup is a key indicator that lightning is about to strike in that area. Unfortunately, two seconds after this photo was taken, a powerful lightning bolt struck them. If you ever see a phenomenon like this occur, the first thing you want to do is find shelter immediately. You can read the Mcquiklen’s interview and story here
Photographer: Mary Mcquilken


Fantastic Four Waterspouts
It’s a rare sight to see four waterspouts appear at the same time, but that’s exactly what happened in the Mediterranean Sea near Cyprus. Photographer: Roberto Giudice


On August 13, 2004 in Clayton New Mexico, a hail storm occurred. In this photo, the 15 foot cliffs are actually the result of a hail storm. It’s amazing that a heavy night of hail could resemble a glacier front. Photographer: Barbara Podzemry


Tanning Kids
The northeastern region of Siberia is the coldest permanently inhabited place on the planet. The winters are long, dark, cold, and in January the temperature is an average -65°F. During the Soviet era, children had to go through ultraviolet treatment to make up for the part of the year where sunlight was rare. Even Bane can’t complain about how dark his childhood was when compared to these children. Photographer: Mark S. Wexler


Snow Rollers
Have you ever gone outside to build a snowman and see that most of the work has already been done for you? Well if you were living in Vermont’s Lamoille River Valley in February 1973, that’s exactly what happened to you. In this photo we see what are called “Snow Rollers” which is a rare phenomenon that occurs when whether conditions are just right (fresh sticky snow, high winds, large open space). Photographer: Ronald L. Hagerman


If you’re a photographer, chances are, you love some great clouds. If you were in Namibia Africa near the Omataco Mountains on February 2004, you might have looked at the clouds, and had a heart attack. These extraordinary cloud formation is a twin lenticular cloud formation over the Omataco Mountains near Otjiwarongo. Photographer: Viveca Venegas


Lightning Tsunami
This is an image of a super cell cloud formation that formed over Nebraska in June 2011. Photographer Mike Hollingshead says “At times this storm looked like a giant tsunami in the sky”. Photographer: Mike Hollingshead


As photographers we’re always on the lookout for great weather, and always quick to embrace weird weather. Weird weather can happen anytime so always be prepared! And of course, always remember to be safe, because many weird weather occurrences can be extremely dangerous.


I’m a photographer and cinematographer based in Southern California. When I don’t have a camera in my face I enjoy going to the movies and dissecting the story telling and visual aesthetics.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Chuck Eggen

    Nothing beats being in the right place at the right time and oh, having a camera handy.

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