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Mitch Dobrowner - Storms 

The images produced in this series represent the beginning of a new project that started as an experiment in the summer of 2009.
Growing up on Long Island, NY I've always loved being caught in thunderstorms. Since childhood the memories have been seared into my brain. Now fast forward to today Ė and while photographing the landscapes of the Southwest Iíve always gone out in the nastiest, most unstable weather possible. Thus I decided my next move was to locate the most severe weather I could. This brought me to Tornado Alley and the Great Plains of the USA.
The Trips
The trips to the Great Plains are an adventure unto itself. As I write this I sit in Tucson Arizona preparing go out on my 4th trekÖ.. chasing after monsoon thunder/lightning storms. In each of the last 3 trips we have traveled 5600, 4800 and last month 6100 miles (over 16,000 miles in total) Ė seeing over 14 states. Besides the great storms Iíve had the honor of seeing the midwest and central states - whose small, tight knit communities make up a majority of the United States. But thatís another story (and maybe another project).
The Storms
The first time I witnessed a structured supercell thunderstorm was June 12th, 2009. What I saw would give me a fresh prospective on the power of Mother Nature and how small and insignificant we really are.
One memory is of June 13th, 2009 in Valentine, Nebraska: I was standing in a wheat field with wind gusts eclipsing 50mph, witnessing lightning strikes every few seconds, hearing the rumble of hail Ė all while standing in front of a 60,000 foot high mesocyclone. I could not believe what I was seeing; it was unlike anything Iíve even see before in my life.
It was also then that I realized that these storms are living, breathing things. They are born everyday, they fight against their environment to stay alive, change their form as they age, they lose their strength Ė and eventually they die. Standing in front of one of these phenomena of nature is an adventure into the extreme. For me, Iíve had the honor to witness Nature in her beauty (illustrated in landscapes) but these storms (besides being beautiful) represent Mother Nature in a fluid, ever-changing manner. Seeing Nature in this manner is an extremely personal level experience as it has helped move my relationship with nature and our planet to a newer level.
The hope is that the images presented communicate how I feel while standing in front of these amazing forces of nature.
Mitch Dobrowner
[January 2011] 



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