Sunday, January 18, 2015

2015 Game Plan

Ah the winter doldrums. Preperations for chase season 2015 are well underway. Its been a fairly productive winter for me in that regards. I've tackled quite a few items on my to do list. That list seems to have this magical power of being able to regenerate itself when I knock an item off though. Like how starfish can regrow a severed arm, I cross an item off and *poof* another one pops up in its place. The end of the list only exists in theory...anyways...

I often get asked what will I be doing different this year and if I've made any big upgrades etc etc etc.

The answer to that is this year will be pretty straight forward. The biggest upgrade is the creation of a new website illinoisstormchasers.com with one of my regular chase partners. This site has some good potential, and we've got big plans for it. Its only 2 weeks old and the response has been good so far. Aerostorms will always be my "personal" brand that I identify with, but ISC will be more of a collaborative effort with greater public outreach potential.

Chasing wise, I will be adding a dash cam this year. Over the years there have been random surprise moments I wish I had captured on film. Things such as very close CG strikes, near misses with animals, drunk drivers careening off the road and smashing into a telephone pole ahead of us, and even quick spinup tornadoes that come and go so fast by the time I hit record I've already missed it.

Over the years Ive continued to develop my chase strategy, and am finding a personal preference as to where I want to be in relation to the storms and tornadoes. I am going to focus a lot on that this year, and plan to be in a similar position on all the storms if possible. This will hopefully lead to an increase in quality footage. Too many times in past years Ive sat idle too long and let storms slip away because people I am chasing with want lightning photos or shots of distant anvils. No more. There are dozens of chances to get those shots in a year...only a handful of chances for tornadoes...and while I'm at it...no more sitting behind the tornadoes while they slip away, making for a more difficult pursuit of the next cycle (Pilger day.)

Hoping the chase-mobile survives the season. Overall it runs good, but the 9 year old vehicle with 227,000+ miles is starting to show its age and abuse. Its beginning to get a little moody and quirky. I've begun putting money away for the inevitable replacement...but I need to get at least 1 more year out of it before the purchase wont become a complete financial burden.

Hoping 2015 is a better year than 2014 obviously. Every chase knows I don't even need to explain why. Not just for tornadoes, but even structure. I've barely used my DSLR and want to get some great images.

I've cleaned up my social media presence, got my Youtube channel all updated and spiffed out. Same with twitter. I have a far greater understanding on how this stuff works than I did in previous years. I now know what kind of content people want, so Im hoping I get a chance to deliver it this year and increase my numbers/revenue. In the end that part is up to the weather. Years like 2012 and 2014 do little to help me out there.


One big new thing Im going to attempt this year is a chase-cation. Ive always been a marathoner and will continue to be one, but I've missed being out there for the long hauls, playing some really marginal days that can still pay off big, and spending time with all the awesome people out in the plains. I havent nailed down the dates yet, but Im thinking something like a May 20-June 10th unless an awesome pattern presents itself before that.

Thats about the extent of my plans. Nothing extreme, just going to continue advancing in my self driven chase career, hoping to achieve that next milestone while figuring out ways to make chasing more sustainable for me. Never give up the passion, its worth fighting for!

See you all out there!

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