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Lessons Learned About Blizzard Chases.....


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Shadow Angel (Beau Dodson) over at the world-famous EUSWX Forums successfully chased the 2nd Denver/W KS snowstorm at the end of December 2006.


Here are his summaries of the important things he learned for future blizzard chases:




Very VERY impressive storm in Southeast Colorado. That would have been the place to go.


Here are lessons learned from Colorado. Second winter storm chase for me (or third depending on how you count).



1. ALWAYS have a GPS handy (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) (had to go buy one because mine was not programmed for Colorado)


2. Always make sure you have extra windshield fluid. We bought 3 gallons. Already knew this but I always like to remind myself ot that one. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


3. NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER listen and trust the local NWS Office. If you don't know the office then do your own forecast. I don't know if Denver is or is not a good office. Every office has good people. No doubt about that. With that said (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) The forecast for the Denver Area was the NUMBER ONE (yes number one) worst/busted forecast I have EVER experienced (and that says a lot). AWFUL forecasting. They not only busted on the day two and three forecast...they busted on the CURRENT forecast over and over again. I have never seen anything like that. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/sad.gif) I am sure they just had a bad day. Next time I will do my own forecasting. I never even looked at the models. Didn't really have a lot of time...if I was going to actually sleep. Next time I won't make that mistake. Trusting other peoples forecast is a big no no.


4. Always check the back-up cameras settings.


5. Before deciding on a hotel make sure you just pull into the parking lot and find a wireless signal...check out the latest info. Once you know the current analysis then choose your spot to sleep. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)




The front end of this event gets an A and the back end forecast gets a big fat F. The goal was to photograph an extreme event. Thankfully we did that. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) The goal was also to photograph a blizzard. That did not happen. Will have to try again.


All in all this was a great chase...well worth it. Some locals in Boulder told us that this was a rare event - the amount of the heavy snow on everything. They get heavy snowfalls but this was defin a beautiful one.






Beau posted many tremendously amazing pictures from that snow chase, in Boulder and in Evergreen Colorado. You might want to savor the ENTIRE topic. WARNING: IT'S A LONG, BUT FASCINATING TOPIC, WITH 31 PAGES!!!

Blizzard Chase - December 29th-December 31st, 100+ Photographs posted of insanely beautiful Boulder




In this post, Beau elaborates on how he set his camera settings for great shots of the snowscape in Boulder and Evergreen:



Thanks...glad you enjoyed the pics (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)


Most of the photos this time were taken with the Canon EOS 1DS Mark II

Main lens was the Canon 24-70mm. Seemed to work best for almost everything.


I take a lot of photos. I try not to spend a ton of time on the settings. I am still learning. I have learned a lot in the past year. Big advance on this trip was the night photos of the snow. I finally figured out to set the ISO to about 1600 at night (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) and then the K settings pretty low or as low as I could go. SEEMED to work okay this time around. Had more pure color to the photos instead of the blue or orange. Sometimes it is impossible...or so it seems at night.


So best settings at night




Low K Temp Number like 2000 something.


Kept it on RAW and JPEG - large.


No filters other than the protective UV filter.


Go back and forth between flash and no flash. Flash is great for certain snow scenes. I mixed it up this time.


Stuck with one lens because of the heavy wet snow. It became very difficult to not get the equipment wet. I should have brought my camera hurricane protective kit. I left it behind. A lot of the photos from the first night (a few pages back) ended up with me being VERY wet. Thankfully I dressed for the weather. The snow was as wet as it could be. Fun fun.


Night shots...tripod is a must. Also wireless remote so you don't shake the camera.


As far as numbers. Less than you might think. Prop out of every 4 photos I will use 1. I sometimes take the same photo several times...change a few settings.


Lessons on camera this time...


Check camera settings before every shoot

Bring extra towells

Lighter tripod would be nice

Keep the stupid lens cover in ONE spot. It seemed like I was CONSTANTLY looking for the silly lens cover. lol (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)



That is all I can think of right now.


I wish I had more time to take photography classes. Eventually I will get there. I have had to learn myself. I guess that is not all that bad. You can learn a lot just by practice.








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