I drove into Austin two nights ago after my most thrilling photographic adventure since moving to Texas. My subject was a massive electrical storm that raged across Central Texas’ High Plains region during my drive back from New Mexico. I followed the storm for over six hours as it swept southeast anticipating – almost uncannily – my route to Austin.
I caught up with the storm first in the small town of Sweetwater, Texas. Outside of this town, lie the state’s largest wind farms. The turbine-dotted landscape of Nolan County is a testament to the fact that Texas produces more wind energy than any U.S. state. It was surreal to drive through fields of massive sentinel-like turbines as they were repeatedly struck with lightning.
Even when I couldn’t see the lightning bolts, I could always see the constant flashes caused by sheet lightning inside the storm’s towering thunderheads. While leaving Winters, Texas, I stopped to shoot this effect as it lit up the skies behind an old garage hangar.
Sometimes, if I stopped for too long, the storm would distance itself so much that I could see the Texas night sky emerging from its edges. This photo was taken outside of Coleman, Texas. (Click the image for a larger view on this one!)
Being in Texas’ High Plains country meant I could often get unobstructed views of the storm. This view from a bluff overlooking Brownwood, Texas was especially serendipitous.
My trusty storm chaser light-painted by my headlamp outside of Goldthwaite, Texas.
I took this picture outside of Lampasas, Texas (the bloodcurdling animal(?) screams coming from the woods to my immediate right meant I didn’t wait too long here for a better bolt). After unexpectedly following the storm for so long, I was convinced we would part ways soon. I thought this would be my last shot as the storm had drifted quite far from the road.
Remarkably though, I was able to catch up with the storm near Watson, Texas.
Finally, only 40 miles from Austin at nearly 4:30AM, the storm began rolling east as I headed south. This was my final picture of the still raging storm in Bertram, Texas.