Awesome Timelapse Photography Shows the Power of a Storm Supercell

Capturing a breathtaking weather formation on a timelapse

We've seen some pretty impressive timelapses over the years. Footage of the Earth from the ISS, the aurora, cities, stars, and immersive landscapes. Yet still, even after all of that, we can still be impressed. Like this short video by Mike Olbinski, of a storm supercell near Booker, Texas.

Olbinski managed to chase a huge storm around the city, recording four different clips of it from different angles. He mostly relied on one-second intervals, which he used for the first three segments in the video, and then slowing it down to five-second exposures as the storm started to dissipate. Using timelapse footage, you really get a feel not just for how incredibly large this supercell was, but also the sense of motion of it, the constant shifting and changing of its surface—even while remaining stable.

Olbinski explained some of the shoot in the Vimeo description:

No, there was no tornado. But that's not really what I was after. I'm from Arizona. We don't get structure like this. Clouds that rotate and look like alien spacecraft hanging over the Earth.

We chased this storm from the wrong side (north) and it took us going through hail and torrential rains to burst through on the south side. And when we did...this monster cloud was hanging over Texas and rotating like something out of Close Encounters.

The timelapse was shot on a Canon 5D Mark II with a Rokinon 14mm 2.8 lens. It's broken up into four parts. The first section ends because it started pouring on us. We should have been further south when we started filming but you never know how long these things will last, so I started the timelapse as soon as I could.

One thing to note early on in the first part is the way the rain is coming down on the right and actually being sucked back into the rotation. Amazing.

A few miles south is where part two picks up. And I didn't realize how fast it was moving south, so part three is just me panning the camera to the left. During that third part you can see dust along the cornfield being pulled into the storm as well...part of the strong inflow.

The final part is when the storm had started dying out and we shot lightning as it passed over us.

Between the third and fourth portions we drove through Booker, Texas where tornado sirens were going was creepy as all heck. And intense.