The Independent Artist Podcast

Once in a Lifetime Moment/ David Mayhew

June 12, 2023 Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong/ David Mayhew Season 3 Episode 11
The Independent Artist Podcast
Once in a Lifetime Moment/ David Mayhew
Show Notes Transcript

Chasing storms and capturing their image is what photographer David Mayhew is passionate about! He combines his knowledge of science with his love for adventure to photograph once-in-a-lifetime moments.  In this podcast, David shares his stories of the beauty and the powerful destruction he witnessed from these storms and the ethics involved with documenting the aftermath.

In the preamble conversation, Douglas and Will discuss vehicle challenges, metal detectors at events, and stepping into our collector's world.

Visual artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong co-host and discuss topics affecting working artists. Each episode is a deep dive into a conversation with a guest artist who shares their unique experiences as an independent professional artist.

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artist podcast sponsored by the National Association of Independent Artists also
sponsored by zapplication I'm will Armstrong and I'm a mixed media artist I'm Douglas sigworth glassblower join
our conversations with professional working artists
hey everybody welcome back to the show you have caught us getting ready for the Old Town art fair so we've got a lot on
our plate this week yeah I'm gonna be driving right through uh your hometown on my way down I'll be coming in coming
down from the Minnesota area and and heading on down through your neck of the woods before I I hit the Chicago mixing
bowl of traffic and everything else right I remember last year I turned into that little neighborhood getting ready
to line up for old town and I look in the rearview mirror and there you were you were right on my tail it was pretty
crazy last year Well you heard that Sanford and Son theme song blaring from
my windows and my junk box truck yeah it's gonna be an interesting one I
mean you talk about the juggling of all of our lives and and things like this I've had my kids up in Minnesota for the
past couple weeks oh yeah and I'll be taking them down to Chicago with me where we uh passed the Baton uh my ex
and her partner uh Kim Eubank and Jonah green are gonna be at that show as well showing their they're great work okay
doing a little handoff right there in the windy city so that'll be kind of that's a little easier than not picking
up at airports and meeting places across country right to talk to my kids about that they'll they'll tell you but um
it'll be a long drive down there and then they're gonna uh get to see the city and then head back down to the
Southwest for camp Camp so oh well good for them awesome hey speaking of I've
had trouble with my truck lately and speaking of driving to shows okay I've rented uh this is kind of an interesting
conversation or maybe not maybe it's super boring but I've rented Vans the last two times yeah and so I've rented
the transit and then uh this this past weekend I rented the Dodge ProMaster the
2500 and it's it's extra tall I can stand up inside of it I'm I'm six three
it makes a difference doesn't it yeah a huge difference but like incredibly easy
to load um really easy but God damn you cannot
speed in those things it is right you know you're I'm coming down out of the mountains of uh New Mexico and headed
east and we had uh you know we get all the fronts and especially in the spring when you have these violent fronts they
they start out west first and it's just like wind coming down out of the mountains so it's like 35 45 mile per
hour winds with with like 55 mile per hour gusts that thing is a sale like
that Dodge that tall Dodge like my God like it'll it'll it'll change the lanes for you if you're not careful oh geez
are you do you guys deal with that I mean or we just we just got the tall and we have noticed that well here's
something interesting I don't know if this is a thing or not I haven't had a chance to look into it but so Renee and
I are driving back from the last show and she takes the wheel and she's driving she's on the freeway and she
says to me hey how do I do the how do I do the cruise control I'm like oh yeah
I'm sure as you said like on the wiper nope not there so we're trying to learn our new vehicle and she's like we bought
a van with no cruise control I'm like how the what the I mean we don't have a cruise control I mean we drive
cross country and then I thought well maybe because we're the tall if it's an issue with you know that it's not safe
to I don't know so people out there can tell me if the tall transits actually do come with the cruise control yeah you
you get you you get screwed there because they've had cruise control on my van now if I got knocked with the wind
it had a couple of safety features where the wind would come and it would jerk the wheel and then it would hit the um
the brakes for me like like wow yeah so there are safety features now I was in a
brand new one it had 17 miles on it when they put my when they put me in behind
the wheel uh 17 miles and I was like and now it has three thousand
um time for an oil change there you go there you go right you know I mean it
also brings up another Point like I've got this truck I I feel like rental vans are now reliable enough that you can
just like if you're only doing eight to ten shows a year are you ever tempted were you guys ever tempted to like rent
one as opposed to buying one because I'm super on the fence right now just like okay I don't know that I want the the
payment when it's also like anime granted I rented this thing for two weeks and it cost me about two grand
so okay that's a huge expense but you know if I'm just going for a weekend yeah I I haven't had that thought but I
have thought to myself geez wouldn't that be a nightmare to be you know when I've seen other people who do that but
perhaps it is I mean if it's in somebody's business model that they're not perhaps driving cross-country every
time and after rent one that maybe it makes sense for sure well you do get uh Enterprise is who I'm using and we are
not getting paid by Enterprise by any any damn stretch but uh I do use Enterprise because they've got those
rental Enterprise truck rentals and they have the Vans and then they also have um
if you're not renting uh the oversized cargo which I still had the tall big
long tall guy it was unlimited mileage so that really yeah so okay it's like
500 a week and then unlimited I don't know what it was it was just but that you felt like after when you said that
that number though earlier was that including like the gas for the what you paid for it okay yeah so I don't know I
guess you have to you have to put it on one of those spreadsheets which we know you'll never do to figure it out no I'm
not gonna do it uh I will uh have one of our listeners put it on a spreadsheet and then lecture me to show and then I
won't listen to them that'll be and then you'll say oh my God I have to leave for the show my van doesn't work I need to
rent one well you know yeah I don't know it's a nightmare yeah I like I just I'm
hemorrhaging again hemorrhaging money again this year I hate that yeah I just bought a uh two thousand dollar crown
for my tooth which was uh nice 3D printed which was really weird I got a
little AI in my mouth as much as I have disdain for for the AI World um is it in the shape of anyone in in
particular or is it just a tooth yeah it looks like an Aaron heckenberg
no I don't know man it's it's uh it's expensive and then I'm paying to have new shocks put on my truck that I want
to take behind the shed and put a bullet in the back of its head but uh man just
I don't know bad decisions all around oh now hopefully things turn around on that but hey something interesting that
happened to Jessica's I didn't know that they did this but they had metal detectors for every guest Patron whoever
walks through the door nice and I mean obviously gun safety is on everyone's
mind here it's only a matter of time before something bad's gonna happen out there you know thanks Sunshine yeah uh
no you're right it's there's gun violence all over the country and that is a huge concern I mean how how big of
a Target do you have to be to have a street festival um I've heard a lot of people say well
thank God the Texas season is over because we feel like that's gonna be the most most likely victim is a Texas show
yeah um or anywhere I don't know anywhere really yeah if you're going to shoot up
a art show wouldn't you think most of the Texas folks are armed anyway like what isn't it gonna turn into okay
Corral it could yeah yeah right I don't want to talk about it
I am the biggest uh like my wife like controversy uh and argument and stuff I
just feel like like running away that conversation just makes me want to like hey set your laptop and make it run away
I guess I think what I'm hearing from you or what I would guess is none of us
are going to stop We're not gonna stop doing our shows because of that I mean we're not gonna like live in fear that's
not our Mo right we're not going to stop living our lives but the reality is it's out there and we think about it Highland
Park a couple years ago or was it a year ago had that shooting right before an
art festival a year you know a couple weeks before oh yeah that's right that's right so that was too close for Comfort
well it is but I I live by the world according to GARP rule like by the by
the house that the plane crashed into because it's not going to happen again yeah so was there a safer Place probably
than Highland Park after the shooting probably not I don't know yeah hmm hey
everybody don't shoot up on our Channel don't do it don't do that it's bad it's
bad to do that there I stopped the stop the next crime spree new topic new topic
speaking of shooting cortisone shots you ever had a cortisone shot for anything
uh no well I got a big ass cortisone shot through the top of my foot a week
ago are they trying to hide needle tracks I perhaps they filed where they
did the incision up my foot I'm having some problems between your toes nobody
will find them all right well I'm having some residual nerve issue from leftover
from the surgery so every now and again it feels like my foot is literally on fire so they said well we could give you
a cortisone shot and I said well how does that work I've had a cortisone shot another like into my back and whatever
and they said it's the same thing just goes through your foot I'm like okay sounds good let's do it let's take care of it until they they pull out this
needle that like is probably a about an eight inch needle and then they come
with it towards the top of my foot and it's not like there's muscles and flesh
around around your foot it's like they're having to stick it between bones and just jab it in there it was it was
an experience that I was not happy no no that's no good that's no good so I got
shot in the foot I shot myself on the foot God I did want to tell an interesting story from a while back
um so right after we did South Lake I had kind of this really interesting situation happen a woman walked in our
booth and she was looking at one of our signs of examples of how some of our installation pieces can be used and she
saw this picture we have of this beautiful English garden floating Pond and she says oh my God that's my mom's
house her mom has bought our work before and we had a picture from former Garden well an hour later I have the same
conversation with a different woman she says that's my mom's Garden ah I'm like would your sister be here by
chance and she goes she possibly could be so that was kind of a weird kind of a coincidence well then her mother
sends us a message and says would you like to come visit my grounds oh I have
another another area that I would like to have an installation and I'd like to have your input on it wow so she used
the word grounds the grounds which kind of gave it away like oh yeah this is
going to be a little Fancy no sure it's gonna be there there will be Gates involved there will be grounds it was it
was it was probably the most beautiful place I've ever seen in my
life in person I mean they had lions at the front entry that were that were
imported from Britain the gates were from from the from Europe we
accidentally missed the entrance I don't know how we missed it it's this big grand entrance and we pulled into the
area that said surface entry only well you you were the you were the help
we were the help yes so anyway my whole point of this story was it was so much fun to walk walk around and be shown her
grounds and and to kind of see the other side of our collectors that that we are
selling to people who have disposable income and have white amazing lives so
right that was a really really cool experience for us oh that's awesome I I
do love to get to to do and you know I always and moan about the deliveries there's nothing better than a show where like you're talking about
South Lake but yeah South like everybody lived right there yeah I was I sold to so even if I sold big pieces they were
like thanks and then they walked down the street and they're they were uh hey I do want to give a shout out to uh to
Terry and the folks that run that South Lake Show yeah that we talked about it last week but man I just it's an
all-volunteer group and they fed us and they were calm and they were like they let us do our kind of Our Own Thing
within their parameters but man I just really enjoyed my experience there and
yeah I just wanted to say thank you since especially since it is like I said an all-volunteer show it's it's really
well done and I I enjoyed my time there too the second time I've done it was that your first time yeah first time
there in in um in South Lake so um we have talked in the past about Superstition oh and um and you know like
good luck charms and lucky shirts and all that kind of stuff well little did I
know that my back up Square Reader that takes credit cards I
lent that to a really good friend of mine yeah Jesus Christ man you gave it back
and this was hot I mean that thing was that thing was so hot I'm like why why in the hell is this my backup Square
Reader oh yeah so let's just say that's my nude lucky Square Reader that was my
uh God I was I was dry have I told the Dolan's boots story before Oh yes yes
you did he said here take them like it's like Dolan guyman's magic
black cowboy boots that's pretty awesome put on those it's like a Superman Superman's chest man uh I really enjoyed
my talk with David Mayhew this week um he he kind of walks the line and and puts himself out on the in the front of
danger and gets out there on the road so totally cool I mean I think back to what was that movie in the 90s about with
Helen Hunt like twister that makes me think of that man that's so funny I was trying so hard not to bring that up with
him yeah well I was like man I bet he gets that all the time I'm sure he does but
it's like that's our cultural um reference Benchmark in reference for for storm chasing and whatnot so yeah
all right Dave and me you coming down out of the mountains from the mountains of Colorado coming straight into the
playing states to uh do a little storm chasing hope you folks enjoy the talk this episode of The Independent artist
podcast is brought to you by zap the digital application service where artists and art festivals connect hey
well do you remember the old way of doing these applications with red dots on the slides and self-addressed stamp
envelopes do you uh still have a rotary phone Douglas no I don't remember that
well I just like that they were with us back then when we made the switch from analog to digital it's a huge switch and
now zap is the industry standard and they're always creating features that make our lives easier too so I do like
what zap does and I do like that most of the shows I apply to are ons application
exactly so so I personally appreciate what zap is doing and thanks for not making us reinvent the wheel every
single week like we used to have to do
sir welcome to the podcast David Mayhew Storm Chaser photographer yeah let's
just let's get right into it I feel like we're on limited time we're we're struggling with insurance agents and
sleeping children if I have to leave I will be back that sounds good sounds good yeah and my daughter's supposed to
be asleep she's currently playing in her room so we'll see I know how naps go how
old is she she is three okay usually Tuesday is daddy daughter day so she's
that's the only day she doesn't get daycare nice so I was kind of banking it again now for a nap for us to chat well
you know if it happens it happens if not um we are flexible we've tried for a little while to get you on the air and
it's really just kind of shuffling show schedules and yeah yeah any hidden facing tomorrow potentially yeah you are
getting ready to go on the the road tell me about this trip you've got coming up uh well I've got a friend who should be
coming in tonight but he just texted me saying that his flight was overbooked okay he didn't assign him a seat so you
might not be flying for another six hours this year I've tried to do my art shows earlier in the year
so I can have more time in Prime storm Chase season which is usually May in June right my wife is heading out with
the little one to Atlanta for 10 days well she's got family out there and we're heading out in the plains and see
what we can find while we're out there what's your favorite I mean is there you're headed up I mean I know where I
know where Tornado Alley is just kind of in song but where's your favorite place to go look well I'm based out of Fort
Collins Colorado so whatever's closer to home is best yep um Colorado Wyoming Nebraska Kansas on
my main stomping grounds but I've chased everywhere in between so we'll see what this week looks like it's
not looking fantastic but I might be heading down to Texas Panhandle possibly tomorrow and I may end up in the Dakotas
by the weekend okay hopefully that moisture gets up because the Canadian fires need to be put out because we're
getting smoke down here yeah seriously yeah I'm more I'm nervous I'm headed off to Minnesota coming up by this weekend
and I'm not looking forward to the smoke that's up there and if it is Smokey we may just stay here in Santa Fe for
another week or two so let's get a little history taken care of first uh we can hear by your voice you you maybe
didn't grow up in the States but I could be wrong where'd you grow up uh originally from England yeah yeah let me
give you the full background so I was actually a design engineer initially I got into design engineer because
I kind of had a sort of artsy background uh my my junior school I got
all the top awards for art because I'd draw everything exactly as I saw it and
then I went to high school and my my art teacher was an impressionist so I went
from top to bottom yeah into the design field I don't mean to laugh but I went through
something kind of similar it was I went into the fine art program and they were kind of like
um yeah look at you drawing things that exist that's adorable so I went from
from uh painting and printmaking Department over to the illustration Department pretty quickly so I was like
Eric Lee was architecture before so yeah um so yeah I got into the design field
and then got a job with Fiat Auto that took me around the world in different roles so I came to the US designing
combine Harvesters for case New Holland in Chicago area yeah and down the road
they had a there was a college that had a meteorology program so I hooked up with them went out did storm chasing so in college you were you
were doing that way back when uh well no that was off to my degree that's when I was working but uh okay I just hooked up
with the college that did it so yeah so is this uh this is before you met your wife because that was my wife's big
question was like how is he married how does how does he how does he stay away with the yeah I told her I was like
yeah I want to go out with David and uh go storm chasing she was like I don't I don't think so that doesn't sound
I hear the pattern of feet around where is she yeah anyway yeah I'm talking on the phone see bring
her on in hey sweetie come stay high to say hi to whale hi there's a guy on your
dad's computer what's he doing hi she just saw me hi there can you tell she
got into her Cinderella makeup kit oh you look beautiful oh
what do you think about your dad going off and chasing big scary thunderstorms
he's silly why would he do that when she gets upset with me she says go back to your art show Daddy
absolutely get that man that's cheeky
yeah mine are mine are 13 and 50 and I missed that age oh yeah she's still got the Minnie Mouse voice oh she does do
you like Minnie Mouse yeah well you had to get out of England you couldn't take photographs of uh
drizzle yeah right yeah we I figure in England we have as many words for
different types of rain as the eskimos do for snow oh sure
it's drizzling it's spitting it's pouring whatever
[Laughter] well let's see if I can get this one down and she's down she's gonna be at
least an hour okay yeah but you know I mean this is this is kind of the name of the game as far as um dealing with
artists and schedules and mine and yours and everything so take care of family don't worry about it yeah cleaning
makeup or you're gonna show up on on screen
cover to make up yourself which is maybe more likely got my nails done all right David talk to you in a minute
bye bye nice to meet you have a nice nap
uh art show friends if you are lucky enough to be um David mayhew's neighbor
you always know where the weather's coming from and when all right
yeah when I tell you but I try yeah you do you do a good job better better than
the shows sometimes yeah yes that that I agree with it's like don't tell them
they'll they'll freak out well I was really surprised I mean I was at Oklahoma City this year and in the past they've always bragged about not
shutting for severe weather at times when they should have done and then they they shut for an evening when we just
had light drizzle in the evening it was like okay somebody had something to do yeah so you were in uh you came back to
the States and or you came to the states and you were studying I was working as a design engineer yes
in Chicago and there's the college close to where I was working at a meteorology program so
I hooked up with them I went storm chasing and got into that and just around the same time digital photography
came into fruition so I had this uh video camera that took Stills at a whopping
640 by 480 pixels oh man yeah but what I loved is taking those
images and editing them and drawing out the detail the colors the Vibrance the contrast
and I thought that's kind of fun yeah you got into that and got fed up with the nine to five and uh took my
five-year bonus and put that into studying photography the college and uh combine my two hobbies and while I'm
living in Chicago with all those shows that are there yeah I was like well let's give that a go and those were the days where I was happy to have paid for
my easy up booth and come home with a couple of extra hundred yeah those are the days right before you over commit
yourself and get mortgages to pay for and and uh adorable little girls in the other room sleeping right she's out now
so that's good excellent we bought ourselves a 45 minutes or an hour hopefully right what was your first
storm chasing episode like when you were you were there in in school how old were you and and uh well tell me about that
how old was I uh that was 2001. okay don't make me do the math now
that's all right Belleville I'm looking after the three-year-old um but yeah
it was great but the problem with doing that the college trips was they pick a week and if nothing happens that week
you got nothing you're done uh yeah so it's nice to be a little more flexible but now I've got to balance it with art
fairs so that's that's the big challenge there is when to do art shows and when to go chasing yeah what um you know
Danny's talking about art shows I mean some some of these shows that we do you've got to want to just set your
camera up and watch the tents go flying I mean yeah that's a double whammy for me is uh because I know what the storms
can do so it makes me freak out when they come through during a show yeah so I often text a lot of a lot of people I
know at the show I've actually started by Doug's suggestion I've created art fair weather forecasts
um on Facebook Okay art fair weather forecasts yeah I'm not
sure if it's Gonna Fly much maybe other people who are doing shows can post on there and other people follow if I'm doing a show I'll post on there and tell
my usual crew you know check it out on Facebook and I'll keep you posted if there's anything to be worried about so
right on it's perfect you were texting me I think I told you you were like the
sixth person to text me about Fort Worth while I wasn't there hey you were doing
this at Fort Worth now we're doing the oh I just made a bunch of money hey and I'm like hey everybody F off you're like
hey the weather at Fort Worth is like I'm not there and you're like hey calm down buddy take it I know take it easy
your last podcast and it does hurt not to be in Main Street yeah creme de La
Creme sets the standard for the year it does it does and how many freaking shows do you have to do to make up for it when
you don't make the ones that you want to do right yeah anyway so your first uh
your first experience storm chasing was a successful with the college stuff yeah it's kind of up to them yeah where we go
and they're a little more cautious but stepping out on my own is this was this was before smartphones yeah right I
mean not like to age myself wow yeah back when we started with the college they would have to stop at libraries to
use the internet to do forecasting to see what's going on or call back to the uh the lab the meteorology lab just see
what they needed to do but right when I first went out I didn't even have have any of that I just picked an area went down there and what came at me came at
me all right did you get lucky or or no I mean it's just it's it definitely
scratched an itch of some kind well my first ever storm Chase I took a photo that was my best seller for 10 years oh
my gosh your first trip out yeah it was just a a corn crib a white Corn Crib in
Illinois with stormy skies in the background and um a wheat field in the
foreground yeah and that was um corn field of corn you've got a I
mean you've got a niche I mean it's not just storm chasing it's like they're kind of action shots too there's there's really not anybody else that I can think
of that's doing photography out on the circuit that that is doing live action
kind of photography of catching motion I maybe maybe you can think of somebody
but I'm sure there are folks out there screaming I'm sure there it is I'm like there's me there's me
the action well redeem has the action of his fireplace don't forget that oh yeah
that's that's true Risky Business yeah actually that brings me to a point that
I wanted to make about um photographers and art shows because if you remember way back when back when
I started shows if you go around an art show back then you'd see a lot of the same images it would be Southwestern
photography yes Crystal males Maroon Bells Aspen trees all the same yeah but
you look around what everyone's doing now there's such a diversity it's so much better everyone's got a unique
Niche yeah it's a lot more of a wide scale of what everyone's working on that's interesting yeah it it all seemed
to kind of fall under the category of if you know where it is you can find it and you can go and get the shot because I
had a non-art show friend post a picture of wherever it is in Pennsylvania where the roof is is coming in in a prison and
there's an old Barber chair sitting and the the roof is gone I'm like that and I've seen that at art shows and this guy
was not I'm like oh it's not his work he just knew where I was so so it all kind
of I mean it's it it is important I think these days to find your your Niche
your your Niche yeah and you've definitely found it but tell me a little bit about like um you said I mean your
first trip out you got lucky what is I mean what is storm chasing involve tell me about this trip you're getting
ready to go on and and how you you set up for something like that so my car is
set up with a laptop in the vehicle where I get mobile data for for radar
yeah plus GPS so I know where I am relative to the storms so I look at the forecast models online uh most of which
are done out of Boulder here in Colorado um it's just computer generated
anticipated what anticipate what the storms are going to be and they're getting pretty good
but you've got to look for various conditions for tornadic storms to form
you've got to have share which is changing speed wind speeds at different layers yeah think about it this way but
if you put your two hands together and you had a rolling pin between your hands and you move them differently of course nobody can see what I'm showing you here
no but you're describing it well if your hands are moving in different directions or at different speeds you get a roll a
horizontal roll okay then you get a lift um if you see the back of the storm you
get the the cumulus climbing tower um up the back of the storm that turns
that role into a vertical spin okay and that's some of the premise of tornado
formation so you've got to have the share you've got to have left which is usually a front or an outflow boundary from another storm instability so
moisture and heat so it's like you've got like one front coming in on top of the other or or one air mass coming in
on top of the other and then if something really violent happens that's what kind of pulls it up on its end is
that yeah so basically as a code if a cold front is coming through the cold air is heavier and more dense so that
comes underneath so the front if you look at the the atmosphere vertically you're going to have a sort of a certain
degree of elevation where whatever's hit hitting that gets lifted up as it moves
through and it pushes to the atmosphere so then you've got a pass muscle of air moist warm air that initially Rises at
the dry a diabetic rate when it hits the condensation level it lifts at the web a
diabetic rate but so basically it's a warm moist parcel in a cold moving into
cold air because you've got colder air Aloft okay imagine all these winds coming off the Rocky Mountain up at altitude it's cold air up there and
you're forcing this balloon with warm air into it right once that warm balloon
hits at it it's just going to wash up keep going up and up do you have to have the I mean I know the planes the plane
states are where we we think of as tornadoes I mean if the things with with global warming and everything seems to
be moving and changing a little bit but yeah typically you're you're getting into the planes do you need that space
in order to create the tornadoes uh it's not so much space basically with
global warming some of my um friends that I've chased with the meteorologists did a white paper a few
years ago saying the Tornado Alley is actually moving south east into what is now called Dixie Alley so Tennessee
Alabama Louisiana are now getting hit really hard and that tends to be really early season stuff yeah like February
March kind of time and those move through as a big cold front pulls down it's a big school line and chasing there
is less than optimal you've got trees you've got Hills and highly populated areas I'd imagine too it could kind of
sneak up on you so you're not exactly knowing where it is people don't see it's coming so
um chasing for me in places like Kansas and Nebraska where it's flat and what I love about Western Kansas is you
actually have a grid network of Roads every mile wow that is a north to south and an east to west in those places you
don't even need to look at a map you just you just go and say oh those
midwesterners thank you for your grid yeah that's amazing makes it a lot easier
yeah so we know all right we have our science lesson a little bit we know what how they're formed and
um you've got your radar and that's how you're you're chasing them down but I mean it seems like it's such a you have
to almost like pen point accuracy in order to find those storms but you're just you're getting yourself I mean are
you chasing or do you find yourself getting in the way of them and just waiting too or you how's it work it
depends I mean early season storms tend to move faster than later Seasons so for a lot of those storms positioning ahead
of the storm is key optimal yeah and try and let them come to you because trying to keep up
with some of them is is impossible imagine a storm that's moving North East at 45 miles an hour and you're having to
drive east the north then East the north to keep up with it yeah you're barely going to get a chance to jump out and take a photo of it but later season
stuff which is what I try and Target tends to be more isolated slower moving
and better structure interesting so where are you I mean this sounds like a lot of time in the car like even more
time in the car like how much how much time do you spend driving around when you're off Jason sometimes you get a
pattern where the storms are in the same area right now there's the Texas Panhandle there's probably three days of
chasing right down there back to back okay uh probably not gonna make it down there for it but
um an average I calculated a few years ago an average storm Chase was 550 miles in a day
there's an average and I've done over a thousand miles a number of times the last race I did uh which was still here
in Colorado where I got the hail damage that I showed you yeah you sent me tell me about tell me a little bit about that
one I mean that was you sent me you're like oh just just out there chasing and I mean I think of East Coast hail and
it's like pink pink pink pink pink pink and right I'm not gonna go outside for a minute and this was really violent I
mean how big were these pieces of hail looking at the dents on my vehicle it was at least three inches wow at least
that's the circle on the windshield where it cracked out with a circle broke your windshield out
broke my smashed out the windshield the sunroof and smashed in one of the rare side windows fortunately the front
windshield and the sunroof have a laminar on them so even if the glass is all correctly shattered it doesn't cave
in it holds up okay and it's the guy was telling me it's supposed to take about 2 000 pounds of pressure per square inch
wow for a little cave in so yeah you're mostly covered you know you got that so
you're you're telling me one of the reasons we were juggling a phone conversation was both uh you're you're
sleeping a three-year-old but then also State Farm your insurance do they know
what you're doing I provide them with the correct answers to the questions they query on yeah
a perfect example um my my wife's background is a lawyer and she basically says whatever question
your answer just give a short precise answer additional information that you use 100 you don't need and that's
exactly what I've done I haven't told them I haven't denied it and that goes for everybody I mean that that happened
even somebody cut out my catalytic converter when I was uh parked in a parking lot in Texas I had to get to the
show and I you know my setup window and so I was like well there's an exhaust light on here and yeah I'll deal with it
later I called my my diesel mechanic buddy who was like yeah you're fine just you know you do whatever unless you know
something else is going on but turns out they had saws all the entire catalytic converter out and when they
were asking me questions about that I'd already been screwed over by an insurance company and I'm like they're
like well how long did you drive it I drove it immediately to the dealer
you know like I didn't tell them anything yeah they're like well I'm not a mechanic I'm not I don't feel comfortable answering this sir we just
asked you so yeah it's a need to know basis for sure right Darren Olsen's had his cut
out three times two this year already three times yeah I just saw him at Belleville and he said he just had it
done at Brookside as well as um Bayou in Houston wow that's um yeah
he had it replaced down in Bayou and was get and he's already ordered up a kit
that's a security okay whatever something that wraps around you can't
take it off and before he even got back to get it on they took it again come on I wonder if it's the same this is a
small I think it's a small box truck yeah I've got a Dodge Ram 3500 it's a fifteen hundred dollar part lined with
pla uh Platinum I think is what it's lined with it's like it's it's a really
expensive part or they could strip it out and just uh metal you know just for metal but um it
costs six seven thousand dollars worth of damage that they did to my truck because they nicked all sorts of stuff
underneath there but um anyway all right tell me uh give me some storm stories let's get down into the let's get into
the you've been in this yeah bent down in it let me tell you tell me some of your worst stories I wanna I wanna
hear let's pick your brain Let's Get Down in it yeah well I already told you about Dixie Alley and how that's moving down there
yeah uh do you ever get caught in there uh no I've not gone to dixiel refused to chase it's like it's like the storm
chases that go for hurricanes I mean I don't want to be in it right I was going to ask you about that yeah that's that's too much for you yeah I want to observe
it but not participate Yeah so basically I've seen the two widest ever recorded tornadoes um what's 2.5 miles wide in
Hell of Nebraska and the biggest was 2.6 miles right in El Reno uh Oklahoma those
storms are just very daunting because obviously they're big tornadoes yeah just like the the home tornadoes come
out of a meso cycle and out of the out of the wall cloud but it's like the whole wall cloud is sitting on the
ground so it's basically a big cloud on the ground yeah so photogenically there's not much opportunity there and
it's very high risk the problem with the El Reno one was it changed Direction and
sped up uh and actually took the layers of three of my Chase colleagues as they were coming in from the north it was the
storm was heading east it suddenly took a Northeast trajectory trajectory and sped up wow and caught them out as it
went up there and then it hit the interstate and then turned East again which was very bizarre so but the the thing about that storm
that was that's uh May 31st I think um 2013 so it's going to be the 10-year
anniversary of that coming up wow and and there you go and you're just going out into it again tomorrow right yeah
that one that one I bailed because I knew it was a nasty situation I couldn't see much I always tell people there's no point taking a photo no one's ever gonna
see yeah and there wasn't an opportunity there for for me in particular I did get photos of the tornado but nothing that
would be hanging on the wall for in someone's house so I mean that kind of brings us
to um the I want to hear more more kind of the fun part of the stories but
you're talking about your colleagues life being taken and I mean that's that's one thing of getting these
beautiful images of like the contrast of these the the storm and the light and
the color and all of the things that you're capturing in your work but at the same time once you've captured that I
mean what's the the decimation like after the fact do you ever just stick around and kind of kind of see or
uh usually not because usually when you're storm chasing you have to be ahead of the storm because if you're behind it and it hits something then the
roads are going to be closed or blocked or even just too wet to travel on so usually ahead of the storm there was one
of the college trips we went and saw some damage the day after and yeah it's
pretty harrowing stuff yeah for sure yeah I mean it brings brings some levity to the the kind of the beauty of your
work too I mean it's it's uh the the tragedy most of it's out in the middle
of nowhere that's the benefit okay a lot of people a lot of people think that when storm chases in the area we're bad Omens because we've been the storms with
them but it's kind of the opposite we actually report what's this people know what's hidden their way okay if they see
us in the area they you know to check their radios or TVs and that sort of thing yeah yeah and are you
just in a regular car like just a regular yeah it's a I have a apparently Forester okay basically with my
engineering background I drew up a list of all the things that were important and number one is reliability you've got to have a car that can get you there and
get you away number two for me was visibility you got to see what's coming at you I've actually just bought a
reversing camera that I'm gonna mount to the roof that you can turn on and off at well so I can see what's behind me when
I'm racing away because I've actually missed a couple of tornadoes yeah I've been out of my visibility range so a
couple of brief ones uh one of the other things is um fuel economy and fuel range there's
nothing worse than being on a store and having to turn around to go and get gas oh my God yeah I went out with a
colleague and you had to do that I'm like oh my God and then of course some off-road
capabilities but I mean 98 of your driving is going to be on paved roads right when I got this new car I went
chasing in Nebraska and the town was called Beaver Crossing um where the tornado ended up hitting
the first tornado that drop was so gnarly it was just it's the sort of thing that you see in
the movies where the storms growling like a lie it just felt off yeah um so I was
chasing this and uh I said well I'm gonna play it safe I've got a new car I'm gonna stick to the paved Road
so when I was heading away from the storm I got hit by What's called the rare flank downdraft it's winds that
come around the back of the tornado which create the circulation and these ones were actually 100 mile an hour and
I was carrying a lot of debris wow um so I was four miles away from the circulation of where the tornado was
when this hit me had I taken the dirt roads I would have been out of there and ahead of it I was
playing it safe right of course the three windows down one side and coated the inside of my vehicle with mud
um and the telegraph polls that were beside me started bending I just fortunately I was at the end of the road
of the telegraph poles yeah I had to drive forward another 20 feet and they all snapped off behind me so yeah you
can hear him flexing too like are they just kind of they're they're bending like what's that look like they flexed a
little bit but you know my eyes are all over the place so but yeah I was just fortunate to be
able to move forward and get out the way there and another another chase that got hit by an irrigation line you know you
know when you're flying you see those circular Fields yeah the irrigation lines that go around down one of those flew into his car and stuff so oh man
just from there from the rear flank downdraft so yeah are you traveling with guys that are uh like scientists guys I
mean are you the only photographer that that that does what you do I know everything well many people from both
sides of the world they're a lot of meteorologists out there obviously being associated with the college I know a lot
of those meteorologists then there's a lot of videographers who sell their videos to
the Weather Channel or whatever money doing it if you do it for photography
but I say I'm a I'm a photographer that storm chases and most of most other folks are storm chasers with a camera
yeah yeah that makes a different side to it if that's my perspective anyway but
that's there's obviously there's some great other people to get some great shots out there for sure and I'm not because of my art fair season and I'm a
three-year-old I'm not out there as much as some of them some of these guys are pure storm junkies and just out there
all the time yeah do you do you get I mean you have to get a charge out of this I mean this has got to be you'd
have to kind of throw yourself into the the description of of junkie uh storm junkie or no if I go out for a week
straight I'm I'm I'm pretty much done with it yeah at the end of the week and these guys are going for months and on
an end there's one guy um Daniel Shaw who comes in from Australia each year and does three months straight wow yeah
there's some some really committed guys and these um I mean the storms keep they seem to be getting worse and worse is
are you seeing that too or are we just paying more attention to the storm terms and so we think like they're getting
more reported and so it seems like they're getting worse or is that true that yeah there's two sides to that coin
I think things are getting worse but mainly because of stuff moving down to Dixie Alley that's a more populated area
starts getting hit down there and so there's more damage more death and so forth down there I mean I'm from the
south all of our power lines are above ground and right you know if they have that's a you know and it's like my wife
you know we were first dating and she moved to Richmond and we'd get a bad thunderstorm and all the power would go
out and some people would be out for a week or two you know just she's like that was
just a thunderstorm like why like we have all these gigantic oak trees down south and they're you know a limb Falls
and knocks out an entire power grid so yeah you're you're chasing you're headed off uh where do you head out like
what do you what what's your first first Direction depends on where the storm's gonna be um so my planning for a day is
basically looking for the best Target air as far as where moisture is concerned you want
winds to be backing at the surface to cause the turning in the atmosphere for tornadoes but you also want to consider the road
Network so usually I'll try and find a location that what there's a good Junction of major roads so I can adjust
quickly yeah and sometimes they'll pick an area that has an overall better Road networks than another
even if the other area is looking better just because it's you know yeah you're more likely to get the shot that you
want so but yeah it's I mean seeing storms form and seeing that rotation in
the sky even before it drops it's just exhilarating and you get so many different textures colors at Sunset and
what I tell everyone who comes to my booth is everything that I photographed is a once in a lifetime moment that
moment has gone it's never going to repeat that so that's one of the Beauties is that nobody can do like like
we were talking earlier about going to a fixed location and everyone can go get that shot right what I've got nobody
else can get because that moment's gone so it's kind of neat do you look at photographers like Matt heminghouse who
who make a like a little diorama with his chickens in his living room and just think he's a huge
he's got it easy I love I love Matt heminghouse and
that's just a great guy yeah well I always think about when I think about the art shows I think about how every different medium has is pluses and it's
minuses The Grass Is Always Greener over there so I think a lot of people think that photographers have it easy because
all you need is a camera you get a shot you can sell it multiple times right and you just need to reprint it but if you
look at what's being photographed there's a lot to getting that shot yeah so for me I've got to have a vehicle
I've got to do all those miles I've got to have my laptop set up I've got to have all the data with me and it's a big
risk in what I'm doing so right it's not just I mean sometimes I I think painting
has it easy because I I wish I could go down to my basement and just yeah make some pieces down there as opposed to
going to all this stuff when I go out there's no guarantee what I'm gonna get if I'm gonna get anything so right how
how often is it that you get a new shot like are you looking to get a couple of new shots a year or is it just kind of
depend on the season my goal is five good shots each year nice
um and by five good shots I want stuff that's going to be in my the limited edition pieces that I sell the bigger
pieces right usually in my booth I try and swap out I'd like to say a quarter of my booth
each year just to change things up with new shots so my larger pieces I do limited editions of 30 so I keep them
keep them tight um that way encourages me to go out and get more which brings me to your point
from your last conversation with the Coconut Grove uh director yeah please link on her name Camille Marchese yes so
she was saying she moves artists around so that it mixes up the show which I totally get from her point of view and I
I could hear in your voice that you're thinking wow Booth spot for me is pretty important yeah same for me I think it's
it comes down to I mean that that's not a bad philosophy but I also think it's down to the artist to change up their
stuff too I agree a number of books that I've seen that look the same year after year and I think some of them need a
breath of fresh air and most people do but uh yeah I think it's the onus is on on the Artist as well as the show to mix
things up I totally agree that's funny I'm glad that you made that point because it's a point that I did not make with her that I wish I had but I we all
have a tendency to to lean into the stuff that sells and it's tough to bring new images into the booth and there are
pieces that I've done that I've definitely had I've had to retire because of my own sanity and I can't
just continue to make them right but then I'll run into people at a show and they're like how do you still paint
something that looks like this and I'm like yeah that's that was definitely me and you know you give it a little bit of
breathing room and you can rethink something but um I agree with you that's that's you've got to have the new stuff
uh in your booth to excite people year after year so to keep it fresh I love
what you said about photography too and I want to bring back that point and kind of kind of talk about that again about
it it The Grass Is Always Greener I mean I joke with Douglas when he's talking about his his Kiln and his you know
right yeah the the furnace and having to take out the bottom of the furnace and all this glass and then he nerds out
about glass stuff that I I'm like I can't even hear you anymore oh come on and I'll be like gosh I know
what you mean I gosh I have this box of pain it must have weigh 15 pounds and uh you know it's I can set up my
easel and my my studio and I'm getting ready to move up to Minnesota again for the summer skipping the desert desert
sun and um it's it's not gonna take me that much but at the same time it takes me so long to make a painting that it's
like then exactly yeah but yeah I can I can make it in rain and doesn't matter what the weather is just I just need
some light and an easel and my pens and brushes so that's easy but you have to
be in the right random frame of mind for what you did right too so it's going down the basement I'll just slap another
one on exactly and then what your issue is that you've got to have enough stock for all the shows that you're doing yeah
if you have as successful as you are you may run out one show for the next search
you don't have to cancel out whereas I can just send in an order to to get more pieces done right and so that's much
less and I finish a painting and I'm gonna show it right when I'm done with it it's it's done it's like it's one
painting you know and you're taking how many I can't not I can't even imagine
how many images you are going to go through after you're done storm chasing this week like how many how many images
I this year I've started showing an image that I took in 2014 because I went back because I had one from that same
day yeah that I was gonna retire from uh from the shows because it's not selling as well I went back and thought Oh I
missed this one let's bring that one now nice yeah yeah oh and of course you've seen my you saw my hand etched Metals
didn't you know where I'm doing all the metal grinding as well it did yeah talk to me about that what's happening there
well John covet I got bored and I got my hands on some power tools yeah the lab prints on aluminum sheet sends it to me
I grind out the shapes different brushes have different effects some more Sparkles some more swirls for the
chaotic clouds yeah so I do that cleaned it off send it back to them they reprint they send it back to me and I put an
epoxy resin on top wow so they're reprinting the same image on top of the
other yeah okay do they have to line it up properly yes it's it's bang on so basically I can
be as detailed as doing individual stalks of grass with a Dremel tool cool um yeah so those pieces are kind of
more one-of-a-kind piece so I can command a higher price for those and they'll be getting received fairly well
yeah yeah I'm going to keep going with those so I love the tactility I love to get my hands dirty on some of that stuff too it's not just me running out and
clicking a few Shadows here more to it than that yeah that's really interesting it's it's interesting to see
what covet has done to all of us and and the different kind of ways we've taken I
don't know taken our work in different directions I definitely feel you on that it's interesting to see what people have come up with it has changed my
perspective on setting up archers because I used I I hate I'm not a big fan of setting up and tearing down on
all of that and I used to be a bumbling grumbling don't talk to me while I'm sitting up yeah get out of my face and
now I'm like well I'm grateful that I'm here so yeah yeah and I'm kind of enjoying the setup a little more than I was
a certain degree noise canceling headphones uh helped me quite a bit those little airpods I put in and I'm
listening to music or book or a podcast or something but I come off as a just an
arrogant prick because I'm like hey Will hey hey that guy's a jerk
you know so many people and if everyone comes up to you while you're setting up depends on the show I mean some shows
you can take your time and if they give you time I take too much me too some
shows you've got that two hours I mean that's what I like I always talked about on the show about like I like those
longer shows and typically though you are talking to the same people like Oklahoma City I've noticed that you do
talk to the same folks all week you know whether they're going to buy from you is one one thing but they I do
feel like they talk to you all week long and kick your tires and they might come back and buy something later on right
yeah Oklahoma City is a love-hate relationship I'm so glad that the has been run is now there's new management
that's being run more with the Artist as the heart of the show as a festival
that's carrying artists they're looking after us now so that I'm very happy to see that and I had a good show this year
oh that's great that's great news and you didn't have any um photo opportunities at the show
no I mean the first part of the week was on and off wet which made that kind of
miserable yeah just sit around using that Tuesday Wednesday Thursday is like yeah I am here right the weekend was
great and that's what we needed the Saturday was was just what I wanted right so if what's your uh what what are
your top three uh shows that you think people could possibly die at first because of the weather like I I feel
like oh yeah some of these shows that we do I feel like they're they always get hit with like the craziest storms but
well Belleville Illinois yeah always gets a front coming through and there's
always booths going down this year we did not have that we had light drizzle at opening on Friday and it closed on
Friday and the weekend was was beautiful so that was a big change yeah Oklahoma City is is right in Prime territory
there more Oklahoma is just down the road and that's renowned for big tornadoes they've already had some this year I keep seeing post on Austin Texas
yeah haven't you seen quite a few of those I think that seems to be getting hit a lot that seems to get hit quite a
bit but there are any are there any shows down there well there's arm I'm sorry there's armadillo I I actually met
my wife because of um Des Moines nasty weather we got chased off the street and
and I met her at a little bar there called Janko and and met her and uh yeah
so you know the storms bringing bringing uh little lovely things into your booth
and and lovely things into my my life as well so it's it's it's good for sure I
love those storms those kind of I don't know the the Des Moines storms where it looks like somebody's just poured like a
cup of ink into a cup of milk you know when you're looking out across the you're like what the hell is that like I
haven't ever even seen anything like that but uh any particular life uh life
risking uh moments there on the road for you I'm sure there are some but I don't like to put my life on
the biggest threat for me is not actually the storm or the tornadoes it's driving yeah either driving long hours
and long distances or when you're on a storm there's a lot of storm chasers and there's a lot of what we call Yahoo
Chasers which are locals who say I see there's a storm out there I'm gonna go chase it and then just drive out with no
idea nothing on their phone and blow through stop signs and red lights and
overtaking heavy rain and hail on one-way roads without being able to see
what's coming it's it's a little ridiculous but so there's yeah there's there's a lot of different groups of us
in amongst storm chases and some of those the ones that give us the bad name are those yahoos that are just out there
for for shiggles as I like to say right and are you seeing like is there a similar community that you you run into
with with storm chasing like you do with uh art shows and in the art world like we only need those both my art fair
family in the storm Chase family tell me a little bit about that Community what's that Community like it's a pretty good
Community I know a lot of people out there and often if you're in the same area there's there's the spotter Network
so on the radar system I mean I I could show you here but no one's going to be able to see it
but you can see all the dots of where everyone else is and who's out there so you'll see who's around and
try and catch up with some folks when you're out there so how do you go about capturing one of your images are you do
you set your tripod up or are you just grabbing the camera and going kind of on the fly or like how do you how do you do
that I'm now shooting with a 62 megapixel camera and when you're that high resolution any Shake you'll notice
when you go into the detail so it depends on the moment if I have time
and it's a golden shot I will get that tripod out I have two different tripods
one's a little quickest to set up than the other and the other is a little more sturdy in wind but my best pal is a
monopod which is a single arm you squeeze a trigger you put your foot on
the bottom you extend it up to the height you want and then you've got a certain degree of stability
and then you just crank it down and throw it in the car and off you go again so wow if you're too close and you've
got a very brief moment to get that shot before you before it's bye bye Kansas yeah then that's what I use very cool
yeah so you're you're pretty careful out there your wife isn't getting too angry at you for for taking many risks you're
not much of a risk taker in spite of what you do for a living it's a calculated risk yeah I mean rule number
one is always have an Escape Route so when people are in my booth and look at one of my tornado shots they say were
you scared at the time I said well no I see it I know where it's going and I buy a road that's going the other way so I'm
fine um it's when it's wrapped in rain or there's multiple storms the storm with
that the hell that caught me out as between multiple storms there and they're fast moving and low visibility and yeah I remember one of these storms
I got called in off the wait list for Cherry Creek one year and I was heading back from Des Moines
and I was leaving Des Moines and I got the call well I'm yeah I whatever I made the call and I was like hey got any room
so they actually had a spot anyway turned around and and I kept getting texts from all of my friends on the road
that were like oh my God I know you you're headed this way but but hunker
down somewhere because it's really nasty and that was a scary a storm as I've
ever seen coming across the plains like just rocking plus I was in a a van at
the time a high-profile van which people meant right I'm gonna talk a little bit
about that with Douglas when we do the Preamble for this but it's like it's a different Beast he drives a van I've always had a truck
uh with a big long bed and it's a different you know it's a much more aerodynamic thing whereas this is just
like it's just like you're in a box kite pushing you all over the road yeah I hear a lot of stories of other artists
because obviously we're crossing the country and right through Tornado Alley quite a lot so a lot of people are gonna encounter this stuff so
and I actually just got interviewed by um BBC Radio in England because they just started doing the emergency alert
system that we we have over here you know and so it gets abducted or severe weather which for me is I mean it's a
great system but when I'm storm chasing I'm on a storm and I know there's a storm suddenly my phone starts blaring
at me I'm like yeah I know that's what I am you're like no no I'm trying to get the shot yeah exactly so annoying
well yeah it is or you know if they tell you there's an amber alert and somebody's getting picked up by a white
van not good for us on that end yeah but
I've seen a lot of people at gas stations who have driven through stuff who are just completely freaking out I'm
sure it's it yeah that's why it's nice to know what I'm going into I mean I'd
suggest to all artists traveling make sure you have a an app that has radar I
use radar scope I actually subscribe to a different data which gives me lightning and other stuff as well but
um you can at least see the direction of the storms where they're going where you're at relative to the storm so
yeah yeah do you have an app that uh you'd suggest for us traveling besides radar scope that that combines travel
with weather is there something out there like that yet I don't know because you really have
to know what's a most most apps I'm going to tell you what's happening somewhere else that you're heading to because they don't know where you're
heading to yeah so for forecasts I always double check the National Weather Service forecasts for local areas
because a lot of the apps just use computer generated numerical models without somebody
actually doing a forecast for you a lot of areas have microclimates that are going to change things a little bit
um you got to know what happened what's going to happen what's happened the day before to know what's being set up set
up today as opposed to just looking at models what's what's the one that I I'd have to close close out right I've
got in there yeah but I mean it just seems like there's oh climber I think it is which is part to do with the National
Weather Service and that sends you alerts of any warning weather warnings in the area
that you're at whether it's a fire fire danger that day severe storms or whatever yeah so
yeah so it's not a big surprise that the most dangerous thing that you run across is other people
um yeah that that I'm kind of down on the humans right now so it's it's not a huge not a huge surprise I
mean there's goodness everywhere but good Lord there's some a-holes on the road yep um it's impossible so uh tell
what else what am I what do you hoping I'd ask like what what are we what are some holes that I'm I'm I need to fill
uh uh oh let's see I tell people that forecasting is as
much as an art as science yeah it's not 100 accurate if it was my job would be super easy yeah right I don't know
exactly where to go and when so that adds to what I'm doing it's a luck of
the draw and awesome the further west you go uh the harder it
is to predict what the weather's going to do it's almost like um a short barreled gun versus a
long-barreled gun like it doesn't have a chance to even out too much so like in New Mexico they'll predict rain and
nothing will happen for two weeks yeah um yeah you're on the edge of all that dry yeah yeah down there as well so
that's very hard a lot of the a lot of storm chasers say that Iowa sucks
because Iowa is so hard to forecast interesting for some reason I don't know why um usually you go out there and Chase
expecting something great nothing happens and then when nothing's expected there's um EF5
tornado ripping through there so yeah terrifying do they kind of spin like a top like is it is it is that why they're
unpredictable like is that what what's happening like it just kind of well there's so many different elements um required like for as I was explaining
earlier lift lift can be one storm can produce a pool of cold air that flows
out when the storm's decaying yeah and that pool of air can create more storms ahead of it but the the cold air could
also kill the atmosphere so there's also a scenario where it's a capped
environment when you start getting warm air higher up in the atmosphere you need even more energy for the
the storms to initiate to break through that cap and once once they go they Unbreak that cap there's all that pent
up like a Boiling Pot with a lid on it you take that lid off yeah it's uh if
it's capped it's just not gonna go so there's what's called a a high risk High bust scenario the atmosphere is really
juicy and if it goes it's going to go big but if it's capped and it doesn't go you could be sitting there looking at
Blue Skies right exactly yeah so how worried are
you about Ai and the creation of photographic
images and and storms without anybody even being there and I've seen some some
pretty breathtaking images that don't of things that don't exist I mean how do you feel about that I mean I kind of yes
I've seen some storm chases do Ai and apparently it draws on their image database or something okay some of them
look some of them look Fantastical and some of them look feasible and Fantastical
yeah so it is kind of scary I mean even now people steal images from other
people and take the storms and throw it into the background of another storm and claim it's a storm that's going through
say Chicago or something and then it goes viral and there's all Bs yeah yeah
also every time a hurricane comes through somebody takes a picture steals a picture of somebody's supercell to an
attic storm and say hey this is the hurricane coming it looks like this and I was like Wow but yeah no hurricanes
are too big to get any any photos in one frame of a still
so there's a lot of stuff going around already so is it going to be much I don't know I mean to me it's it's the
man and it's the storm and it's the experience or it's the artist and the experience no matter what it's like in
our industry I feel like people want to meet us they want to almost like check
and make sure that it's a decent human making the work as well because they don't want to hang anything in their
house I mean that they want that personal connection with the art on the street right so I don't know but I I
mean I do worry about um but I mean it is a lucrative business it can be once you get to the top of
your game and you're producing at a certain level and you're at the at the right shows you can make a really great living so I see
the Temptation in wanting to cheat but it is it is tough it's a tough pill to swallow when you see people that are or
you hear about it or you worry about somebody coming and me like well I'll just punch in you know these 10 words
into a computer and let them spin me out some images go from there yeah yeah I do
wonder if people are going to come in with made up stuff yeah um yeah I think for me to get out of the
art shows is is this one straight shot or is it multiple images put together frequently I mean I probably heard that
about five times this last weekend right and I'd say no it's one straight shot my proof sheet is my storm Chase log on my
website where I share the sequence of the storm developing so you know I'm not making up stuff right oh that reminds me I was going to say
um you know how there's different categories for art shows right some show split film photography and
digital photography separately the digital photography is also put in with digitally created work digital yep
for me to put a sign on my booth that says digital photography and or computer
manipulated words I despise the amount of work that I put
in to have the word manipulated on a sign in my booth makes me gag yeah I bet well I mean
that's why there's duct tape though now I have nothing wrong with them digital work no Creations the and Kaleidoscope
um work that some people do great but I just don't want that word manipulated in my boots no I get people I you know when
you're at the show and you get that teenage kid with trying to show off to his girl and saying yeah that's photoshopped as he walks by
I I have a presentation that I do to a lot of floating clubs actually did it for the storm Chase convention
um I did a presentation on how to photograph storms and I I have the
sections as pH is an f word where instead of Photoshop
p-h-o-t-o it's f-a-u-x shop where people are making up stuff right Photoshop it
depends what's the implication if if it's edited yes it's edited if it's made up that's that's different
I tell people people say well ad editings manipulation in the first place and go yeah but you go to the movies
don't you yeah those are edited too right right but there's a big difference between Dodge and burn and
um you know uh bringing out the contrast if you're digitally just to get the proper colors and the right drama
than making up a thing you know we all know that right that also brings me into
wonder how different artists get asked different things at art shows
people come into my booth and say wow you must have a really good camera and I say well when you go to a piano
recital do you go to The Pianist and say you must have a really good piano right
but that I mean that goes back to my my old adage it's like you're the you're the hottest person in the bar and they
just want to you know they're coming up to you and be like yeah you come around here often you know like that's a stupid
thing to say but at the same time they're just like they're fumbling they're trying to make a connection they're fumbling over their words yeah
you're the pretty lady David you just they just want to talk to the pretty lady yeah we all get all sorts of weird
things I want to me and some other photographers want to make up a bingo card of some of the witch things that we
get asked or see at an art show like exotic pet and you can cross that off and see if anything go live big old
yellow snake yeah what was the usual stuff or yep I'll be back later or whatever it is of
course I mean it's I do think that there are there are uh we're all saddled with burdens I was
trying to think about the different things that people have said to me and then I've gone to my wife I'm like
nobody's ever said that to you you're a jeweler they never have said that and I think that you're uh that she's lucky
and then I go into her booth and I try to sell and then I realize that I I never once get eye contact with anybody
and I I'm like well there's half of my sales technique I don't even I can't even see how interested they are because
they're looking down I can't even see their eyes so everybody has their own their own kind of burdens but I feel
like with yeah I think with the AI thing it's it's like a whole new set and you've got to steal yourself for the
next round of uh offensive things that people are going to be saying to all of us really right
um right well just with the Advent of um smartphones everyone's a photographer
photography critique yeah and a graphic designer and I mean there goes the whole field right and illustrators it's all it
all but that brings me back to one of your earlier questions actually about whether storms are getting worse but yeah everyone's obviously population is
bigger and everyone now has a cell phone so if anything goes down anywhere it's going to be cool yes someone's
gonna capture it and it's gonna it it's I used to get really annoyed when I'm
doing an art show or if I miss the best storm of the day um some some I was talking at Belleville
somebody had a relative who lived in Pete's Colorado he said oh I have a my daughter-in-law or something lives in
Pete's Colorado pizza I know Pizza they have this fantastic land spout tornado
that somebody there had a cell phone and caught it no single Storm Chaser was there but it was one of the most
beautiful tornadoes ever wow so um you're talking about like Iowa being like uh the most volatile don't
forget that Iowa in Cedar Rapids had that duration and I think it was 2018 and the ratio is a school line a line of
storms that has a bow in it and the bow is caused by these excessive winds that come out of it they had winds I think it
was 140 mile an hour winds oh my goodness hurricane Force for over 20 25
minutes um wiped out trees buildings
um easier very bad and Broad damage at least with a tornado it's generally a small area so the chance of it actually
hitting you is minimal whereas at the ratio it just hits a whole big area like a hurricane really I've always
pronounced that wrong uh I think I've always pronounced it like dereko or like rhyming with Jericho so pronounce that
one for me again duration duration all right cool one more thing to be afraid
of but you think that those you think it it's it's the storms are getting worse but they're also everything's being
recorded at once so it like it it seems is the sky falling I mean are how how
are we in in worse danger as artists in our little you know set up in a craft
Hut that's basically a box kite you know just I feel like there's there are disasters
just then there always have been but do you feel like we're in more danger or is it is it a lot of Chicken Little
yes and no uh basically if you think about it all these storms are a warm
droplets of moisture on aircraft yeah and the Gulf of Mexico is warming up and the oceans are warming up so there's
more warm moisture around but what seems to be happening the last number of years have actually not been terribly
productive as far as storm chases have been concerned because the early storm season stays South but the jet stream
seems to be kicked North far earlier so there's not been that much activity
compared to normal in the central plains a lot of it has skipped all the way up into Canada from Texas and the middle
areas being missed wow this year has been more than active um than usual uh but was now for example
there's now a big low pressure system over the Great Lakes there's a lot of cool area in the
Eastern Plains whereas we're starting to warm up in the Foothills uh over here in
Colorado area so yeah yeah some areas more some areas left right so of course
now we've got the risk of fires and everything as well there's all the smoke here in Colorado from from Canada
so it's crazy how they're not getting that up there but yeah some of that moisture might be going up there later this week but right whether it's going
to be enough to put out those fires there they can't imagine so you're capturing a lot of Beauty in your work
and what I see is the drama of the colors and the beauty and the strength of nature is there anything that you
would not shoot as far as uh as far as the storms Go is is there stuff that
you're not interested in is that that maybe other people would be well there's always this question among
Storm Chasers about ethics yes so there's a a storm chaser who
photographed the aftermath of a scene posted a photo photo of a dead girl oh
my gosh so do you I mean he he claimed he's a photojournalist
I mean is it is a great Chaser and a decent guy but also a guy at the same
time but he claims he's a photojournalist and this is part of his reporting do you post stuff like that or
not or do you not do it out of respect for the family for example if I got a tornado and it's ripping up someone's
house the debris in the sky is cool to see and as long as you're not seeing any
individual being hurt I'm okay with that but once if I got a picture of a car in
the air with with people in here yeah what what do you do then so it's
not something people would want to have sitting on their wall I'm not sure I mean it's like well shot of a lifetime
what the hell do I do with it oh so yeah the aftermath
stuff is you know dramatic and intense but uh carries weight to it it does and
I mean you're talking about the ethics of it is there a certain um responsibility that comes along with
reporting like do you feel a responsibility or a need to report the aftermath that it's not just the beauty
of it is that just like that's just not what you're doing well when I'm out there the the spotter Network posts our
location and a number of times when I've been out there National Weather Service has called me up asking for observations of
what I'm seeing what's going on um they see rotation on on radar am I seeing any of that is there a lowering
is there touchdown and so forth so yeah that's that's all good you know information to pass on and Report you're
not really a photojournalist you're really more of um how do you describe the work that you do it's if it's not
necessarily photojournalism then maybe the responsibility of cat showing the other side is is not there
right I'm showing the beauty of the Beast I try and capture the emotions of the sky from the dramatic through to the
Serene is high cool my work skyscapes instead of Landscapes
um well done yeah but when you're storm chasing I'm not if I'm
alone and I'm there and I witness the tornado I'm I'll report it of course if there's other Chasers around I'm
probably too busy taking photographs and I know other people are reporting it a lot of people like to to claim it as
their reports right there's a trophy kind of thing collecting trophies so I
think that exists yeah oh yeah some people report stuff as tornadoes that's not tornadoes even if
it's just a little dust dust ball that's spinning out that they can say hey I'm
not another another notch on the Belt sort of thing that's always what I do with snakes I see a snake and I'm like I
saw a rattlesnake and my wife's like you're adorable go in the house
but I get it you know I I get the the idea of wanting to maybe sound uh bigger or just maybe being terrified and uh
just blurting it out but you don't feel like there's a responsibility in recording the the aftermath in your work
like that's not a thing that you do no I I mean I'm I'm if if I've gone through a
big chase and there's nothing going on the next day I would most of the times when you go back and you look there's
going to be everything's gonna be cordoned off there's often um oh not not police military
um to go out and they're recording off a town so people don't come and loot
um so you often can't get in but uh some of the things that you can you'll see just what flying debris can do bits of
straw that can be impaled into brick Oh my God at velocity you know it's
kind of wild or a plastic fork that's into a bit of metal wow you wouldn't
think it's even feasible but uh yeah yeah I'm I'm sure you've seen it
like that's that's crazy um man I really appreciate you and your
time and look at that penny is just crawling right on time right
I've completely wasted your your One Vacation hour of the day
thank you so much David I'll let you get back to Parenting and um I can't I can't thank you enough for your time I mean
it's funny we'll leave some of the segments of of uh us juggling time and kids and
State Farm because like that that is the artist's life right I mean that's we're constantly traveling all this stuff and
that's what what we find ourselves doing with the show all the time as well so thanks again I'll let you get back to
your life all right all right speak again soon sounds good all right
I really enjoyed your talk here with David it's really interesting to me that he's in such a you know such a dangerous
field yeah and yet he has like these safety measures in place that you know he kind of knows what he's doing he's
got a beautiful child and a beautiful wife and lovely family and he doesn't want to uh risk it you know it's
calculated risk we've talked about off and on during this this show and this is
definitely part of that um I mean it's it's so funny to think
about the parallels of him and his his storm chasing buddies and then his his art show buddies as well and and the
parallels that you have with those things so yeah really really interesting I just really appreciate his generosity
too I mean whenever I'm at a show with him he's he's always given the word of what you know what we should keep our
eyes on keep your eyes on the sky kind of thing and and giving us a heads up on what's nobody's got better weather apps
than David making that's right and that guy knows and um he's not leaving himself out there for any any danger a
storm so if you get a chance to get on this text thread when you're at the same show that he's he's displaying his work
then then definitely check that out he's also like he was just saying uh starting a Facebook group too
um posting different things and yeah um you know if he's got time but selling work takes precedent but uh definitely
yeah very generous just like making and selling work takes precedence to podcasts so we've got to get our we
gotta get back to it so really great week yeah hey who do we have coming down the pike who are you talking to next I'm
sitting down with a couple of Zach bins so nice both of them both of them different work yeah so two for one yeah
yeah uh learned a lot about Carl at uh at one of my shows recently we were
neighbors and just just a fun personality and then pop would come over
and talk a little bit and I'm like you know what if I talk to one of them without the other it's not going to have
the same effect so it's definitely a twofer yeah see if he can get see if he can get the grandson to come in and um
and give us some comic relief all right buddy looking forward to it we'll talk to you soon all right take
care around bye this podcast is brought to you by the National Association of Independent
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From The Independent Artist Podcast