Chase2004 by Dave Sills


The following is an account of my first storm chasing trip to the US, complete with photographs, video captures and other goodies. Enjoy but beware – it’s long and full of chaser jargon. If you think you might like to try some storm chasing yourself, that’s great. But please take the time to learn about severe storms and chase safety first. Chuck Doswell’s web essay “Storm Chasing with Safety, Courtesy, and Responsibility“ is a great place to start.



Cast of Characters


Chase Partners: Mark Robinson, Sarah Scriver

Chase Caravan: Dave Lewison and Chris Kridler, Scott McPartland and Pete Ventre, Rich Cenci. Eric Bucsela

Cameo Chaser Appearances: George Kourounis, Charles Edwards, Ron Gravelle, Jack Kertzie, Jim Leonard,

Dave Patrick, Kurt Hulst and David Diehl, Steve Mayne, Bob Berry




Chase2004 Chapters


 The Long Wait – run-up to the chase




 Day 1 – Off to Iowa
 2004 05 08

 ON to IA




 Day 2 - Up to Minnesota??
 2004 05 09
 IA to MN




 Day 3 - Scott, Peter and “The Twister”?
 2004 05 10
 MN to NE




 Day 4 - The Big Bust…
 2004 05 11
 NE to KS




 Day 5 - …Then the Big Event in Harper County!
 2004 05 12
 KS to OK




 Day 6 - Disappointment in Oklahoma (again!)

 2004 05 13




 Day 7 - A Well-Deserved Rest in Norman
 2004 05 14




 Day 8 - Rocky’s Big BBQ
 2004 05 15
 OK to KS




 Day 9 – The Hunter Becomes the Hunted
 2004 05 16
 KS to NE




 Day 10 – Back on the Road…to Russell

 2004 05 17
 NE to KS




 Day 11 - Even the storms are tired
 2004 05 18
 NE to IA




 Day 12 – Big Bust #2
 2004 05 19




 Day 13 - Joliet sounds like a nice place…
 2004 05 20
 IA to IN



 Day 14 – Bring It On Home
 2004 05 20
 IN to ON



 Reflections on one helluva road trip





 Photography Notes

I use a beat up old Nikon EM with 50 mm, 28 mm and 70-200 mm zoom lenses. For the trip I used Kodak Elite Chrome Extra Color 100 slide film except on Day 1 when I was finishing up a roll of Kodak Royal Gold 200 print film. I’ve used PhotoShop to get the scanned images to appear as close to the slides as possible – not an easy task for high contrast images. In the end, I’m not a fan of the ‘Extra Color’ film. Some of the slides seem to have an unnatural redness to them. Plus, I found out later that the tonal range in high contrast shots is too much for most scanners to handle.

Videography Notes

For video, I use a Sony TRV-350 D8 Camcorder. It’s great value for the money but picture quality is certainly not top notch. I use Sony Hi8 MP tapes - reliable and  relatively cheap.


Last update on November 16, 2004