Nothing conveys the powerful force of nature more than the gathering of a massive thunderstorm on the horizon, the shattering echo of lightning as it ignites the sky. Most of us will likely head for cover when such a storm threatens, but Kansas photographer and filmmaker Chad Cowan actually chases them down, having driven almost 150,000 miles (241,401 km) across the United States over the last decade, capturing images and footage of awe-inspiring supercell thunderstorms as they develop.
Done in collaboration with Kevin X Barth, "Fractal" is a stunning timelapse of these natural entities in accelerated, symphonic motion and shot in crisp, ultra-high definition:
Having grown up in America's Tornado Alley, Cowan grew up fascinated with storms. As he grew older, he became obsessed with them, and with a few weather-related tools given to him by his grandfather, began hunting them down as soon as he got a license to drive.
Cowan's goal is to impart the soul-shaking wonder that characterize these incredible storms, and their place in nature. As he explains:
The ingredient based explanation for supercell thunderstorms cites moisture, wind shear, instability and lift as the reasons for their formation. I prefer to focus on the big picture. Supercell thunderstorms are a manifestation of nature’s attempt to correct an extreme imbalance. The ever ongoing effort to reach equilibrium, or viscosity, is what drives all of our weather, and the force with which the atmosphere tries to correct this imbalance is proportional to the gradient. In other words, the more extreme the imbalance, the more extreme the storm.
Cowan plans to continue filming these astonishing aerial events, and hopes to produce a longer version of Fractal soon. Ultimately, these images remind us that nothing happens in isolation. As human activities of all kinds -- the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, the diverting of waterways for dams -- accelerate the pace of climate change, storms such as these may get stronger, more destructive and more frequent. It's a starkly beautiful reminder of nature's power, of how everything is connected, and of the collective task we now face to intelligently and cooperatively deal with the unfolding climate crisis. To see more, visit Storm Lapse.
[Via: This Is Colossal]