What Will You Do Different in 2020?

James K

EF2
Mar 26, 2019
190
77
6
Colorado
You'll figure it out James. When I started chasing in CO, I lived pretty far east in the metro area (tower/quincy), so I wasnt a challenge to get out. I started by going a few miles out, then a few miles more, then I realized I was travelling 20-30 miles away from home and it felt like a long way out. Now I live way out where I used to feel like it was far away from home and my easy chases will end at the Kansas or Nebraska state lines before I decide I've gone too far.

So yeah, you'll end up creeping further and further away from home base. Its inevitable. In any case, have fun and don't stress about distances/time. Just remember if you chase in Colorado, you're always chasing away from your house, no matter in you live in Denver or Strasburg or way out in Burlington.
Thanks Marc. I hope to do so. I think I'll also have more confidence next year too (since this past spring was afterall the first I even looked at anything like this)
In my case, I'm right near the mountains (far enough to be outside city-limits). At some point in the summer I figured out that the weather app I use could give a 'distance to storm' ... The ones I checked were all well over 100 miles away (a couple being over 200 miles) - just way too far for me.

It might be that I have to earlier in the day find a park or something to go to, closer to where storms are predicted, rather than waiting for storms to be truly fired up and then saying 'is there any chance I can even get to one'...

I'm sure what you said about creeping further and further away from the home base as time goes on is true. :)
 
Nov 25, 2008
222
35
11
Dallas,TX
www.wxdallas.com
2020 will hopefully find me getting out more but traveling a little lighter. Same chase rig as years past but dumping some stuff that no longer is necessary or suits my needs. I no longer stream live video or need to upload pics and video on the fly so some of that tech won't be needed. Hope to spend more time with the DSLR and upgrade a video camera or two.
 
Jun 16, 2015
462
1,063
21
32
Oklahoma City, OK
quincyvagell.com
May 28th was an eye opener with respect to chasing HP supercells. I've already trended against chasing low contrast/high precipitation setups over the past couple of years, but I plan on getting away from this even more in 2020. Not only are these setups frustrating, but for the type of photography I enjoy the most (wider angle landscapes and storm structure), there isn't much reason for me to favor a grungy target if there are, other/better options.

I'm going to try to put more effort and resources into chasing June/July, as opposed to early season, which relates back to me wanting to chase the Northern Plains more in 2020. I still like late May and will chase a few one-offs in the weeks/months leading up to then, but 2019 was tough with very few chases north of I-70. Even though I only chased a few times in the summer, there were some highly memorable chase events in favorable areas with few chasers on the roads. Many of the chases this year in May were not very enjoyable due to traffic, hordes and reckless behavior en masse. Of course, these plans will hinge upon weather patterns and schedules cooperating...

I plan on continuing to put more emphasis into still photography. I bought a new camera early this year and it took a few months to really get comfortable with it, resulting in a few missed opportunities early in the season.

While I still chase a lot of marginal/iffy setups, I plan on being more selective in 2020. I had a few events in which I drove over 1,000 miles in a single 24 hour period this year with little to nothing to show for it. That needs to end, for the sake of sanity.

Summary of plans for 2020:
  • Less chasing within messy setups.
  • Chase more in late season/Northern Plains.
  • Stronger focus on still photography.
  • Be even more selective with chase setups.
Edit:
I almost forgot to add that I hope to put more effort into chase vlogs and other videos about chasing topics. I started this over the summer, but it was toward the tail end of the season, so it didn't take off as much as I would have liked.
 

adlyons

EF0
Feb 16, 2014
47
28
11
26
Cheyenne, Wyoming
twisterkidmedia.com
I think I will be forgoing the the standard chasecation this year and just chasing local/some bigger 1 or 2 day trips. I'm going to be wrapping up a masters degree and beginning private pilot training along with taking on a bigger role at work. While I love my chasecations it gets really difficult to grind out for so many days. Fatigue is a huge issue when dealing with long drives and I am starting to feel the wear and tear of 5 and 6 day trips with constant chasing and driving. I've not had the best luck the last 2 years but that's okay. I think its just going to be a play it by ear kind of year for me.
 
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Reactions: James Gustina
Mar 8, 2016
177
258
11
Bloomington, IL
Honestly this year I did fairly well all around, outside of one day that I made a bad call on. I employed the changes I decided to make after 2018 and it definitely made a difference.

I guess the ONE thing I want to improve for next year would be my double tapping of my record button on my camcorder. 😅
 
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Reactions: TimMaynard
If we make it out next year (we want to move house, and that eats money!) then I don't think I will do much differently to recent years. I always strive to get the camcorder onto the tripod when I can, but then when I watch the footage back I know I still need to do it more often!

One thing is that I want to continue to refine the very short-term nowcasting, and also, realise that when something develops in a classic location, get onto it rather than sticking with slightly different target area...this was after getting burned with the KS tornadoes on May 28th NE of Hays (we started the day in Hays, then drove to Salina - and then didn't realise it would be a good plan to get back NE of Hays when the storm blew up!).

One thing I would encourage everyone to do is get a wind-shielded microphone for video work - I've lost count of the amount of nice looking storm and tornado videos on YT which are spoilt by horrible, rasping wind noise! :)
 
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Reactions: JamesCaruso
One thing I forgot to mention in my previous response is that I got back into shooting in film on occasion this summer and fall. Now that I'm back in that, one of my goals for next year is to get tornadoes on film in addition to the digital stills that I usually get. While I do bring camcorders with me chasing, and will invest in a Gripper for the HF R70 this year, my focus has always been on stills. I feel like I'm more "in the moment" when shooting stills vs shooting in video. But I'm really looking forward to shooting more in film this year. It helps that, here in OKC, there is ample support for film.

I'm not sure who on here regularly shoots in film, but Bedford's (who has locations in OKC, Tulsa, Fayetteville, and Little Rock I think) stocks all kinds of film and also develops film in house. Just a thought for those who might want to dust off the old film SLRs next spring.
 
Jul 5, 2009
888
633
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
If we make it out next year (we want to move house, and that eats money!) then I don't think I will do much differently to recent years. I always strive to get the camcorder onto the tripod when I can, but then when I watch the footage back I know I still need to do it more often!

One thing is that I want to continue to refine the very short-term nowcasting, and also, realise that when something develops in a classic location, get onto it rather than sticking with slightly different target area...this was after getting burned with the KS tornadoes on May 28th NE of Hays (we started the day in Hays, then drove to Salina - and then didn't realise it would be a good plan to get back NE of Hays when the storm blew up!).

One thing I would encourage everyone to do is get a wind-shielded microphone for video work - I've lost count of the amount of nice looking storm and tornado videos on YT which are spoilt by horrible, rasping wind noise! :)
Paul, I enjoyed your post because misery loves company - your May 28 2019 sounds a lot like mine, targeting Salina area and stubbornly not allowing ourselves to be lured back to the west when what would become Tipton/Waldo blew up... That was our last good opportunity last season, and we blew it. And, similar to you, unsure whether we will even get out there this year to make it right and supersede the screw-ups (for me, it's a work issue).
 
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Reactions: Paul Knightley
Jun 1, 2008
490
393
11
Chattanooga, TN
www.linkedin.com
Part of me feels like I've lost chasing skill since 2016. However the patterns have been difficult.

1. Do not chase Dixie. That was easy when I lived in Kansas. It is harder to say no from Tennessee.

2. Do not chase obvious HP. If it evolves that way, it's life. If it's obvious in the morning, do something else that day. Very hard to be so disciplined with limited days to chase, but HP days are low reward high risk of failure.

3. Wait until June. That's nearly impossible if the 6-10 day forecast has a classic look in May, and then it holds together in the 3-5 day. June requires more driving and effort, but may very well be less tiring than May traffic.

All that said 2019 was good to us, not great but good. Documented two tornadoes on separate cycles May 22. However total tornado minutes were below goal. Interestingly, we only saw 1-3 other chaser vehicles that day so maybe May is doable.
 
Jun 4, 2018
66
58
11
29
San Angelo, TX
First off I would love to be able to chase more next year. Being in the military we'll see, but fingers crossed.

Second, I would like to get a decent DSLR for stills/ video and leave the GoPro to function purely as a dashcam/ time lapse camera. A decent camera would also allow me the chance to practice photographing lightning even when not chasing.

As far as tactics go, my one and only chase day last year (20 May) went ok I feel like. It was my first time making and following my own chase forecast and it put me right where I needed to be on storms in north TX before they crossed into OK and really fired up (I didn't have time to stay on them since I had work early the next morning). I was able to catch a couple of funnels north of I20 around the town of Post, and some ok structure along the I20 corridor near Colorado City before I had to head back. So that was a win for me. I guess for next year I just want to keep improving on what I've been doing. Also some work on the car needs to be done to make sure its 100%.
 
Jan 16, 2009
567
493
21
Kansas City
I feel I have a good grip on most aspects of the chase so I will not change much in that area.

I might stay further ahead of the storm for large scale shots other than trying to be beside the actual tornado. Maybe get a couple time lapses that distance as well.

Gear wise I always look to upgrade or add … I might add a Go Pro to my dash cams mostly as I will also use it while climbing 14ers.
 
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Reactions: Jeff House