The Best Adventure Photography Trips: Great Plains, USA

Sep 1, 2009
Outside Magazine

"Statistically speaking," says photographer Jim Reed, the author of Storm Chaser: A Photographer's Journey, "Wichita splits it right down the middle." "It" is Tornado Alley, an area in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska where twisters roam between late March and early July. If you don't have NOAA's Storm Prediction Center ( bookmarked, consider going with an outfit like Storm Chasing Adventure Tours. Its weeklong trips (from $2,600; literally go wherever the wind blows. A typical day involves 400 miles of driving in weather-radar-equipped SUVs hunting for trouble in flat, storm-wracked places. With a decent zoom (70–200mm), you should be able to get shots from one to four miles from the center of a storm. Light will be low, so consider putting something colorful in the frame, like a red barn. Don't become fixated on the funnel; extreme weather creates dramatic light and cloud formations, meaning the best shot might be behind you. And delay happy hour: Surreal storm pictures are often shot during "astronomical twilight," the 30-minute period approximately one hour after sunset.

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