May 8, 2017 West Denver Hailstorm

Denver and the entire Eastern part of the state was under the gun for potential severe weather on Monday afternoon; the first severe day of the year.  There was a tornado warned storm around Agate on the Palmer Divide and the radar definitely showed a couplet, but only sustained funnels were reported by chasers on the ground.  The main threat was hail; big hail and lots of hail, and straight line winds.

I went out east of Denver to start, took a conference call for work while I was watching the major hailstorm wreck havoc over Denver.  After my call, I headed east until I eventually punched through the line of cells and was able to see the storms on the east side.  Watched several cells get close and then headed home.  Although there was a lot of lightning, I was nearly to Kansas and will wait until another day to catch the nighttime action closer to home!

Denver hailstorm May 8, 2017

May 8th, 2017 Denver Hailstorm taken just east of DIA.

Sitting at DIA looking west was the damaging hailstorm, looking east was this smaller storm cell.

Denver hailstorm

Planes were landing, must have been an incredible view from the left window seats!

Scud cloud that looked suspicious.

Hailstorm

Love the colors at deep dusk. This is near Cope as the hail core of this storm was merely a cornfield away! Note the in-cloud lightning.

Great cloud structure and some in-cloud lightning

Love the rain and clouds!

Cloud to Ground lightning inside the rain, barely visible. The storm was looking pretty evil and I took off after this picture.

2015 Denver Gem and Mineral Shows

Was able to break away from our busy schedule and make a trip to Denver for a couple of the Denver Mineral Shows. As always we head to the Merchandise Mart for Zinn’s show as this is where all the display cases are. I have included many photos from these cases as there were some outstanding specimens on display this year. We also went to the Colosseum Show. I find that I don’t buy too many minerals, especially ones that I can find locally here in Colorado. Instead, I tend to focus spending my money on literature, display mounts and tools. I bought a subscription to the Mineralogical Record and man these are amazing journals! I suspect, although pricey, I’ll be a subscriber for a while. In the January/February 2015 issue on the fantastic Pederneira Mine in Brazil I learned much about pegmatites, some information relevant to where I dig!

Here are some of the cool minerals displayed in the specimen cabinets at the main show. Obviously a small selection as there were tons (literally) of beautiful and amazing minerals on display, just some that caught my eye. Many are Colorado or close-to Colorado specimens, a bit of scouting as I may pay a visit to those localities in the upcoming years!

ello-optimized-1acce03b ello-optimized-5c22aa9c ello-optimized-6a4b9ef2 ello-optimized-8d01fe59 ello-optimized-32a491a4 ello-optimized-43d64232 ello-optimized-44b8eec2 ello-optimized-53d71202 ello-optimized-54be7804 ello-optimized-716a447b ello-optimized-1533cac9 ello-optimized-7668fee3 ello-optimized-32750161 ello-optimized-44018277 ello-optimized-a48f57d4 ello-optimized-a70218fc ello-optimized-ce662928 ello-optimized-e13f5825 ello-optimized-e32a89e4 ello-optimized-ecb07cfd ello-optimized-eccfe611 ello-optimized-ee1ed7fd

Study of Explosions – 4th July Fireworks

When I was a kid, my Gramma Queenie told me stories of when she worked in a fireworks factory. Not remembering exactly what my Grandma did, I have always wondered how the fireworks were put together to create such an amazing light show.  I wondered if this is what she did for her day job? I also wonder about the skill that goes into making such an amazing work of art. Of course, then the orchestration of all of these mortars is a whole other level of artistry!

Every year I enjoy the 4th of July fireworks but they don’t last long enough…so this year I decided to photograph them and I would then be able to view them over and over and perhaps get an idea of what went into the making of them based on my Grandma’s old stories. This year the show at Erin’s Uncle/Aunt’s house were quite phenomenal (both in real life and in digital form) and I figured I’d share in case you enjoy these things too.

tn_FourthOfJuly14-4259 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4300 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4306 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4311 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4315 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4317 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4319 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4326 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4327 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4330 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4331 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4332 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4336 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4338 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4343 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4345 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4351 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4352 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4368 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4369 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4371 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4374 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4376 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4378 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4383 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4384 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4398 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4402 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4404 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4408 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4414 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4424 tn_FourthOfJuly14-4425

Colorful Colorado Tornadic Supercell – May 21, 2014

Finally spring has arrived!  I swept off the dust on the old Baron Mobile Threat Net unit and reactivated my subscription and tuned up the technology in my chase vehicle…now I’m ready to chase!  Anticipating that May 21, 2014 would be a Denver Cyclone Regime I planned ahead and was ready to head out early for a fun first chase of 2014.  Adam Boggs was also up for heading out and so we planned the rendezvous at Brighton. Adam, a fellow chaser, is an incredible navigator and can keep an eye on the sky while I drive which is so much better than chasing alone!

I anticipated due to the higher dewpoints that it would be a hazy day and likely that the supercell modes would be HP.  This is somewhat dangerous to chase as often any tornadoes are rain wrapped and you have to be right there to witness them.  So our strategy for the day was to get directly in front of the storm and let it chase us, getting a great view of the structure and possibly seeing any tornado that was not rain wrapped.

Several cells popped up over the high country but quickly merged into one large supercell southwest of Denver.  All the cells northwest of Denver were quickly vanishing as they came onto the front range, so there was only one play, the Denver Supercell.  Chasing in a city is simply dangerous, hence why we were waiting just NE of the city for it to come to us.  Adam and I intercepted this storm as it was “putting down tornadoes” in the Aurora area, we were north of DIA.

NOTE:  Click on any image for a larger view…on some photos I upped the brightness a bit because it was very dark under these storms.

Colorado Supercell SW of DIA

Here the Supercell went Tornado Warned for the first time

Adam taking a snapshot

Adam taking a snapshot

We repositioned getting closer.  With the sun behind the cell from our vantage point, the colors were really starting to “pop”.  The contrast with the newly green wheat fields were making this storm spectacular.  There were planes still landing at DIA as this storm encroached; eventually folks at the airport went to shelters and there was so much hail the snowplows had to clear the runways.

Supercell near DIA

Supercell near DIA

Mature supercell

Mature supercell

As with any chase, it is a game of get into position, take some pictures and take in the beauty of the storm, then reposition again, and so on.  The next tornado was reported in Watkins.  We were about 3 miles NE of there at this time and didn’t see any tornado, obviously it was rain wrapped.  However with our view directly in the path of the storm the colors were amazing!  If you’ve ever heard about the “clouds being green” when there is hail near; this is what they mean…

Supercell with tornado near Watkins

Supercell with tornado near Watkins

We were just mesmerized by the colors of the storm at this point in time.  It was likely the most beautiful supercell I’ve witnessed from a color perspective!  The pictures just don’t do it justice!

Fantastic colors of this tornadic supercell near Watkins

Fantastic colors of this tornadic supercell near Watkins

Gorgeous colored tornadic supercell

Gorgeous colored tornadic supercell

Once again we repositioned to keep the storm from pummeling us with big hail and potential tornadoes.    We figured since this beast kept putting down tornadoes (that we didn’t see even though we were “right there”); we’re bound to see one if we continue with our great position.  Unfortunately there was just too much moisture…

Supercell-2032

Tornadic supercell continues to put out some incredible colors

Nasty supercell

Wouldn’t want to be in this core…

For most of the chase thus far, and especially at this time, the clouds were churning and swirling but there was no tight visible rotation to call into the National Weather Service. Since we weren’t core punching and were ahead of the storm all day, we couldn’t report any hail events either.  There were enough chasers on the road and only one storm that we figured any severe event would be witnessed and called into NWS.

North of Bennett this lowering caught our eye; but again not enough visible rotation to call it a funnel.  This is about a mile or two away.

Fantastic feature although no visible tight rotation

Fantastic feature although no visible tight rotation

colorado supercell

Looking away from the core of the storm; incredible colored inflow!

Looking straight up.  Colors everywhere!

Looking straight up. Colors continued to be amazing!

Great looking structure

Great looking structure and interesting “finger”…

Simply said...WOW!

Simply stated…WOW!

Looking NE at the inflow Beaver Tail

Looking NE at the inflow Beaver Tail

As we were driving Adam suggested we stop to take some pictures as there was something behind us that wasn’t normal.  The rain band had taken on an eerie look.  It must have been due to lighting with the position of the sun and our position.  Anyway, the colors were still phenomenal and we got this unique rainband shadow thing next to the core of the storm!  Cool!

Weird but cool cloud shadow?

Weird but cool cloud shadow?

Wonderful contrast of this supercell!

Wonderful contrast of this supercell!

Excellent storm, excellent chase!

Excellent storm, excellent chase!

All in all, this was a fantastic chase.  Although we were in great position with this tornadic supercell all afternoon, we never did see any tornadoes even though 8 were reported.  I suspect they were rain wrapped and only visible if you were “right there”…but it is odd that going through a city that no pictures have turned up yet given nearly everyone has a camera.  We’ll wait and see what the final count ends up being later this year when the NWS finishes its analysis. We only got into the hail a couple of times with the largest being larger than quarter size…otherwise a perfect chase day!

This supercell was overtaken by a line of storms coming north and that is when we threw in the hat.  We ended up in Fort Morgan, had some dinner, and had a relaxing drive back to Brighton where we first met up.  Looking forward to more great chases this spring!

Chase: Denver Lightning July 10, 2009

This was a great night from my little perch east of Larkspur.  This storm had great structure from my location and I set up the camera on tripod taken open exposure shots of the storm.  Meanwhile, I was enjoying the show to my South East (much more lightning but much further away).

Kristy (my sister) said that was probably the most intense lightning storm she can remember in Denver.  As I got a lot of open exposure shots from the tripod, I decided to do another experiment with time lapse.

Denver Lightning

Denver Lightning

Denver Lightning

Denver Lightning

Denver Lightning

Denver Lightning

Denver Lightning

Denver Lightning

Lightning over the DirectTV dish farm

Lightning over the DirectTV dish farm

Elbert Lightning