Ann Arbor, Michigan – Clouds transforming into funnels. Winds reaching 80 mph. A storm creeping toward your home from two miles away.
How does Darryl Marshke remember the first time a storm captured his imagination? hit his Livingston County home.
Luckily, Hartland’s home showed only minor damage, with only a few shingles flying from the roof, and a few exhumed trees on the ground, he said. , much like the lightning he now captures in his photographs, that storm sparked his interest in capturing the power and beauty of extreme weather.
“The intensity of the experience intrigued me,” said Marschke. “I’ve always liked to see lightning bolts and clouds rolling in. Then I got a little more interested in the aspect of photography. Just showing the big picture of nature.”
Combining photography with his passion for storms, Marschke creates striking images of extreme weather, from lightning flashes around UM landmarks such as Michigan Stadium and Barton Tower, and others from his personal travels around the country. has been captured.
Marschke grew up watching National Geographic on TV with dreams of becoming a marine biologist. After a storm at his house, he took inspiration from the shows ‘Storm Chasers’ and ‘Tornado Chasers’.
One of his first attempts to capture a storm on camera was in May 2011 during a tornado in Joplin, Missouri. 158 died while en route to Arizona with his wife. A category 5 twister in 200 mph winds was his first attempt. , He said.
“We’ve had some bad storms, but these storms were on another level,” he said. “I’ve never seen rain and wind like that day. It’s like a storm has just arrived and we’re dodging it as best we can.”
This experience shaped his approach to shooting storms, as Marshke said he makes sure to keep a safe distance from advancing storms to avoid danger.
One of his favorite photos is the lightning strike at Michigan Stadium after a storm during a Michigan State University game in 2017. He has two ways of catching lightning. Using a camera with long exposure capabilities and knowing which clouds will emit lightning and predicting lightning strikes in real time.
“Part of the system was always having lightning in the same place,” says Marshke. “So I just waited for that cloud to cross the stadium. I was able to take that picture in one frame.”
His passion for storm photography has another use, helping NOAA officials map storms. Marshke said he was certified for Storm His Chase in 2021, learning how Storms occur, different categories of Storm strength, how to escape danger, and more.
With wide-angle lenses and other instruments, he said, he is providing NOAA with “an extra eye that Doppler can’t provide.”
“In the case of a tornado warning, the storm can call[NOAA’s information line],” says Marshke. “Tell them where you are so they can identify where it is and know how to prepare people in the surrounding area.”
According to Michigan.gov, Michigan experiences an average of 15 tornadoes each year. That is, Marshke more than ten times a year he is well equipped and ready to help officials.
But storm chases always start with an appreciation for the beauty of the weather. His hope is that one day he will be able to capture the weather in different landscapes.
“I hope soon we’ll be able to go out west like Oklahoma and watch a tornado fall over a vast open field,” he said. , low in the grass, in a tornado of beautiful nimbus clouds and possibly lightning there.
“My passion is about the beauty of nature and the power of nature.”
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