Category: Weather & Climate



Pursuit (4K) from Mike Olbinski on Vimeo.

Video Description from

Blu-Ray discs available here:

Music by Peter Nanasi, find his work here:

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On June 12th, I broke down into tears. Minutes earlier, I had been outside my truck, leaning against it, head buried in my arms, frustration and failure washing over me. I wanted to quit. I got back in the car and as I drove, the pain got the better of me and the tears came.

This past spring was a tough one. Supercell structure and beautiful tornadoes had been very hard to come by. In fact, the tornado in the opening of this film was the only good one I saw this entire year. I had been on the road longer than ever before. Driven more miles. I was away from my family for 12 straight days at one point, and when I got home, I had to tell them I was going back out 24 hours later for June 12th. It was just too good to pass up. It promised to be a day that I could get everything I had been hoping for this spring and I had no choice. My wife understood, even though I knew she wished I stayed home. And I wished it too.

I knew right where I wanted to be that day. But this year I struggled with confidence in trusting my instincts. Maybe it was because the lack of good storms this spring made me question my skills, or maybe it was something else inside of me. Whatever the case, I let myself get twisted and unsure, and found myself 80 miles away from where I had wanted to be when the tornadoes started to drop and the best structure of the year materialized in the sky. The photos from Twitter and Facebook started to roll in and I knew I had missed everything.

It may not be easy to understand why, but when you work as hard as I did this spring, a moment like that can break you. I felt like I let my wife down. But mostly I let myself down. I forgot who I was and that’s not me. Or it shouldn’t have been me. I failed myself. And it seemed like the easy choice to just give up and head for home.

But I didn’t. I’m not sure why, but the pain slowly began to subside. I realized it was only 4pm and the storms were still ongoing. Maybe if I could get in front of them the day could be saved. Ninety minutes later, I got out ahead and saw some of the best structure I’d seen all spring and a lightning show that was so incredible it’s one of the very last clips of this film.

And that’s why this film is called “Pursuit.” Because you can’t give up. Keep chasing, keep pursuing. Whatever it is. That’s the only way to get what you want.

I learned something about myself on June 12th which carried over to the final few days of chasing this spring. I trusted myself again and those days were incredibly rewarding. This was who I’d been all along but had forgotten. I can’t wait for next year.

The work on this film began on March 28th and ended June 29th. There were 27 total days of actual chasing and many more for traveling. I drove across 10 states and put over 28,000 new miles on the ol’ 4Runner. I snapped over 90,000 time-lapse frames. I saw the most incredible mammatus displays, the best nighttime lightning and structure I’ve ever seen, a tornado birth caught on time-lapse and a display of undulatus asperatus that blew my mind. Wall clouds, massive cores, supercell structures, shelf clouds…it ended up being an amazing season and I’m so incredibly proud of the footage in this film. It wasn’t the best year in storm chasing history…but I got to chase storms and share it with you guys. All worth it.

I wanted to do something new this year, so I worked with composer Peter Nanasi to develop a custom track for Pursuit. I’m super excited about it and loved the process of exchanging ideas and building the song as the editing of the film progressed. I am so thankful to Peter for what he came up with, I’m in love with this track!

The time away from my family turned out to be over a month all told. I’m always and continually blessed by a wife who supports what I do and backs me completely. But not only do I have her to thank this spring, but also her parents who hung around for a good chunk of May and early June, to help out wherever needed, watch the kids, run errands and generally be there for Jina. I don’t have enough words to convey how appreciative I am for them being around while I was gone.

I think that’s about it. I could write a lot more, but I’d rather you watch the film and hopefully have a taste of what I saw this spring. There is nothing quite like strong inflow winds, the smell of rain and the crack of thunder. I miss being out there already.

I hope you enjoy and I’ll do my best to answer any questions in the comments below!

Technical Details:

I used two Canon 5DSR’s along with a Canon 11-24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 135mm and Sigma Art 50mm. Manfrotto tripods. The final product was edited in Lightroom with LR Timelapse, After Effects and Premiere Pro.

5th Anniversary of ‘Thunder Thursday’

5th Anniversary of ‘Thunder Thursday’

This iconic image is a video still taken during the infamous ‘Thunder Thursday’ thunderstorm event that happened 5 years ago on June 28th, 2012, the image shows lightning striking the Tyne Bridge that spans the River Tyne between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Gateshead in North East England. The fact that this day is still remembered shows the impact and enormity of the thunderstorms that hit many parts of the UK during that day.

The supercell thunderstorms were caused by cold air riding over very warm humid air; this caused the warm air to surge upwards, creating large thunderclouds. This video will explain it:

The storms produced a large amount of rain, large hail, numerous lightning strikes and even a tornado. Here are a collection of videos to give you an idea of the storm that hit the North East of England with Newcastle and surrounding areas being worst hit:

Peterlee Skies Time-lapse

Peterlee Skies Time-lapse

I decided to spend Saturday afternoon creating some time-lapse photos.

The Nikon Coolpix P900 has a few time-lapse modes that differ mainly in the recording time and interval.  The output is always 10 seconds:

  1. City (about 5 minutes real time; 300 or so pictures)
  2. Landscape (25 minutes)
  3. Sunset (50 minutes)
  4. Night Sky (150 minutes)
  5. Star Trails (150 minutes)

Here are the videos I had taken today:

Peterlee Skies
Peterlee Skies
Peterlee Skies
Peterlee Skies
Peterlee Skies
Camille Seaman – Storm Chaser and Photographer

Camille Seaman – Storm Chaser and Photographer

Storm chasing has really taken off over the last decade or so, perhaps due to technology making it easier to capture storms either as video or photographs. The internet plays a big role because it has made it easier to stream live footage of storms, this can be great for people who have an interest in weather but more importantly it can help save lives. Technology means that a single thunderstorm can be tracked from its birth to its death.

Despite all of the technology, the weather will remain unpredictable; technology cannot predict where lightning will strike or how long a tornado will stay on the ground.

One person I have just found out about is Camille Seaman, she is inspired by her grandfather. In the video below, she quotes:

When I was a little girl, my grandfather took me to sit outside in the sun on a hot summer day. There were no clouds in the sky. And after a while I began to perspire. And he pointed up to the sky, and he said, “Look, do you see that? That’s part of you up there. That’s your water that helps to make the cloud that becomes the rain that feeds the plants that feeds the animals.”

Her photographs are amazing and awe inspiring to say the least. To actually be underneath these huge storms must be amazing; at least technology allows Camille to show what she has witnessed and seen, simply amazing.

Let me know your thoughts!

More about Camille Seaman here: