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Storm chasing into amazing light

Storm chasing is a dangerous and unpredictable hobby, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. For me, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of chasing a storm cell and trying to capture the perfect shot.

I had the opportunity to do just that when a severe thunderstorm warning was issued June 12 for our area. I grabbed my camera and headed out into the field, hoping to get a glimpse of a tornado or just amazing cloud formations.

As I drove, I watched the storm clouds build in the distance. The sky turned darker and darker, and the wind and rain started to pick up. I knew that I was in for a wild ride.

I reached the location I had planned out where I could see the whole Cloquet Valley spread out in front of me. I parked my car and set up my camera, hoping to get a good shot of the storm clouds. As the storm came in I realized I was not going to get the shots I wanted. So I decided to head over to the Wrenshall area with all the open fields to catch that side of the storm that had tornadoes to the west.

The storm was moving fast, and I had to be quick. As I headed that way, I got caught up in the core of the storm and the rain was coming down so hard, I had to pull over as I couldn’t see more than a foot in front of my car and the water was flooding the roads. This is part of the danger of storm chasing — knowing when to stop and make sure you are safe.

After a few minutes, I was able to continue to my location. As it turned out, I was never quite in the right place for the photos I wanted. But as I chased the back side of the storm, the sun came back out and produced this amazing double rainbow. I quickly pulled over and took a few shots from my car. It was amazing how dark and light it was around the rainbow.

I packed up my camera and headed home, only to be shown one of the most amazing sunsets I have seen in a while. So I headed to the Veterans Overlook on Minnesota Highway 23. While I missed most of the sunset, I did get the end of it and was just in awe of the beauty that nature can send our way. I was left feeling exhilarated. Even though I didn’t get what I started out to capture, I had captured another beauty of the storm’s aftermath.

Storm chasing is not for the faint of heart, but it is an incredible experience. If you’re ever thinking about trying it, I encourage you to do it. Just be sure to take safety precautions and always be aware of your surroundings.

Amber Nichols is a frequent contributor of photographs for the Pine Knot News. Catch her array of photo albums on social media, search for Amber’s Impressions Photography.

Summer’s on

Summer offically got it start on Thursday and perhaps that may bring with it some drier weather. It’s been a sodden spring, with wet and wooly weather throughout. We are far out of the drought days of the past few years, for sure. It was stormy this week and last, including a small tornado in western Carlton County on June 12. For more on that, see Jennie Hanson’s column on Page 23.