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Shock and Awe; The West Point Supercell

The 2013 storm season was notable for producing several slow moving supercells including this one on June 14th west of West Point, Nebraska. I photographed the storm as it rotated in place for approximately 30 minutes. It produced abundant cloud to ground lightning. Many of these strikes were dangerous anvil bolts such as the one below. Anvil bolts often reach out and strike the ground far away from the rotating updraft base. Still images and supercell time-lapse movie below.

7:09 pm, anvil bolt.  (purchase print)

7:12 pm, cloud to ground lightning.  (purchase print)

7:15 pm. Anvil bolt strikes a power pole to the right and simultaneously causes a power flash further down the road. This image shot with an extreme wide angle lens thus that strike is much closer than it appears. I’d estimate an 1/8th mile.

7:16 pm, cloud to ground lightning.

7:17 pm, cloud to ground lightning. (purchase print)

Play Movie! The West Point Supercell by Stephen Locke

As always please leave comments below (tell me your favorite print) and share this blog with friends!

Anne Potter Russ - December 3, 2013 - 12:34 am

Wow! As always, amazing work.

Joe DeGregorio - December 3, 2013 - 12:34 am


Shane Kirk - December 3, 2013 - 12:34 am

Awesome Stephen! It was nice running into you up there. I would have cried if I’d missed this chase day.

James Wilson - December 3, 2013 - 12:35 am


Ed Long - December 3, 2013 - 12:35 am

The video is amazing. Most of us City Dwellers never see the forest for the trees. To see a storm like that as a whole is very impressive!

Jill Green - December 3, 2013 - 12:39 am


Ed Ball - December 3, 2013 - 3:30 am

7:17… That is amazing. I want to see something like this in person.

David A. Yaeger - December 3, 2013 - 7:54 am

Stephen I was watching in amazement how when the lightning strikes hit that you were fast enough to capture many of the good ones. How in the world do you do that so well? Awesome shots too.

Ferenz Kallos - December 3, 2013 - 1:06 pm

Fantastic Work ! this music did not feel right… the image is super dramatic, and the music is too busy, it kind of “Kill” the power of the image. it is a rule in Art to put opposites together to reveal things. with such dramatic images, a super quiet music would work better. in my opinion. opposites create more interesting results than similar. Again, fabulous photography, courage, being at the right time in the perfect spot !

Lisa Blier - December 3, 2013 - 1:57 pm


Pam Vulte - December 3, 2013 - 6:16 pm


Em Là Mây - December 4, 2013 - 12:33 am

The video is amazing.

Mark G. Farmer - December 4, 2013 - 1:37 am

Amazing…..Just Amazing.!

Ali Clift - December 4, 2013 - 3:30 am

Beautiful and a little scary !

Tom Reubzaet - December 4, 2013 - 2:29 pm

Waauw. Hope the winter wil end soon!

James Stordahl - December 4, 2013 - 9:27 pm

You are a very good photographer!

Roland Delhomme - May 22, 2014 - 4:40 am

Bravo! So glad you got to catch such an amazing storm in its full glory-thanks for sharing it!

Bryan Finch - April 7, 2016 - 10:52 pm

Very cool compilation is super cell storms!

Dorothy Barger Fuller - June 23, 2016 - 1:42 pm

That is very scary. Super pictures taken by this photographer. Seemsto me like he putshimself in danger to snap them. Ireally onjoyed watching. Had never seen a picyure of a supercell. Thank you. Stephen Locke.

Paula Underwood - June 24, 2016 - 2:02 am

Well, this is what you get when you cut down all the trees.

Cherie Koerner Tober - June 24, 2016 - 12:28 pm

Would love to have the pic right before the video. Would like to frame for my meteorology son to hang in his dorm room. Please let me know how much for a copy if possible. Thanks!

Cherie Koerner Tober - June 24, 2016 - 12:29 pm

….or the second to last still shot


The Kite Builder

I met an eccentric fellow named Don Larkie. He builds kites by hand and claims to own at least 500! The kites in this photo essay are all huge, approximately  13 ft long. He appreciates uniqueness and none of his giant flying koi fish are alike. Don describes himself as a reverse engineer. He discovers the technological principles of a device, object, or system then builds it himself. Ironically, Don may never see the images I made of him here, he does not own a computer! Perhaps someday he will reverse engineer a computer and build one himself. On a personal note I find it fascinating there are still people like Don who live somewhat organically, eschewing the digital realm, choosing instead to work with raw materials and natural elements such as sunshine and wind.

The pilot kite way up there is 100 square feet!

Share this blog post with friends and leave comments below!



The Rozel, Kansas Tornado by Stephen Locke

I’m in a mood. I’ve been forecasting daily for the unusual possibility of tornadic weather on October 3rd and 4th. In addition, I experienced tornado dreams last night in bed and they’ve been haunting me all day. Yes I’m in a mood, a tornado mood. Thus, I shall randomly post this previously unpublished video of the Rozel, Kansas Tornado. Not sure why I postponed for so long the release of this video… but now it’s up. This is the entire 20 minute lifespan, tornadogenesis to final ropeout, edited down to fit into a 10 minute video.

Do you ever have tornado dreams? If so, tell me about them in the comments section below. And share this blog post!


Tammy Nevills - October 2, 2013 - 1:54 am

Amazing footage, Stephen! I was plagued with tornado nightmares throughout my childhood, and was therefore terrified of storms… whenever the skies darkened I would tremble and sob. But by the grace of God I have been released of the fear, and now the storms make me feel alive again. I still have the dreams from time to time tho….

Janeen Sanchez - October 2, 2013 - 2:28 am

Had those nightmares as a kid, and still do, pushing 60, now and then.

Sue Melena - October 2, 2013 - 2:52 am

Nice job Stephen! I’ve had tornado dreams my whole life but it is because I grew up in Ruskin listening to neighbors tell stories. I had a tornado dream last night too. I was in a car with my Mom and daughter. A large sloppy tornado is bearing down on us. We had no exit route and became airborne. I started to scream the “Our Father” and woke up.

Patty Ingalls - October 2, 2013 - 4:09 am

A couple weeks ago, I had a dream I was in a boat chasing a water spout with Reed and others. LOL! It was AWESOME, of course!

Shane Kirk - January 29, 2014 - 2:22 am

I had a dream about one not long ago(last fall). I was chasing alone and way too close to a tornado. It turned and headed toward me and I remember saying to myself I wasn’t supposed to go this way. But I did. Must have scared me good because I woke up right after. At least I felt like I did…..

Diane Wilkens- Moro - April 23, 2015 - 3:07 pm

When I lived near McDonald, Kansas as a small child, age 9, I went to stay with my cousins in Trenton, NE. A tornado came through their farm and we took shelter in their dirt cellar. I remember the loud noise and all the sounds to this day. It took out many buildings and trees but we survived. In my 20’s I also lived in Hays KS. My husband was on the fire department at that time. Th most tornado’s I saw in one day was 13. But I am not afraid and do not have dreams about them.