All posts by Stephen

Southern Oklahoma Storm Safari

A wall of rain and thunder rumbles serve as the opening curtain to my Safari success.
One of my peak moments as lightning strikes a sign across the highway from me!
Another peak storm safari reward. I drove a total of 270 miles and savored lots of epic moments. For the first time in my life, a clap of thunder actually shakes my car!

This beautiful shelf cloud dances before me as the storm continues to blossom. The southern end is rotating.

Beautiful storm and sun contrasts as the show begins west of Ardmore
Scud or funnel? A mad dash through lots of stop lights, speed limit 35 or less towns provides this as my view. By the time I arrive it washes out. However a magnificent lightning show awaits me.
By 9:20 pm I must begin the trek back to Dallas, with the next day being a work day. Yet even the south end of my storm brings me magnificence.


Celebrating Celestial Beauty

Between late April and July 2017, many amazing celestial events inspired a deep celebration of awe and wonder of boundless beauty. This included long distance intercepts and neighborhood chases between my front and back door.  Following are some snaps from my celestial celebrations:

Last Saturday I drove 15 miles and intercepted a juicy, wild show. After it faded there, I followed it to Sunnyvale, located southeast  of Dallas and enjoyed three hours of action
Allen, Texas: Whiteout rain and winds to 50 mph. Photo taken with windshield wipers running full blast while parked.
Dramatic clouds hung low as Allen storm rolled in.

Driving up 75/Central Expressway Plano, and hot on the trail,  my adrenaline surges as I head for the prize.
Once in Allen and comfortably parked, awe fills my heart as intense clouds approach from the north
After savoring nearly an hour of elemental wildness in Allen, I drive south, continuing my dance with celestial beauty and follow the show through Garland, Mesquite on onto Sunnyvale.
New thunderheads blossom up ahead of the outflow boundary while storm heart carries forth on the left. Mesquite, Tex
Beautiful distant thunder clouds play with sun as my chase has ended and I ready to return home.
After work one early May evening, this amazing cloud formation triggered adrenaline and passionate desire to go get ’em. Near Sulphur Springs, 50 miles away, success was had
This is my best Sulphur Springs capture as this celestial man breathes lightning. Who does he resemble?
Another Sulphur Springs capture, looking southeast
A groggy but awe inspiring time was had as I savored a 6:30 am lightning show in my neighborhood, late May
New cumulus towers build into departing storm which passed just south of our neighborhood Memorial Day weekend. I charged south to intercept the developing line. Before all was said and done, it was a 250 mile round trip.
Chasing south I met my objective intercepting pulsing lilac lightning, winds and rain blowing sideways, and near zero visibility.  This photo is taken with windshield wipers running full blast. My objective was to punch through to the other side and watch it come through from the beginning. What an amazing intercept!
Finally in Madisonville, Texas I reach the other side, where winds shift from northeast to south, and buoyant warm humid air flows upon me. Pulsing lightning and this seething dramatic sky approaches
After savoring wild rain, wind and lightning in Madisonville, I begin my trek back north to Dallas. An unexpected happy surprise greets me south of Corsicana. A thunderstorm blossoms north of the front just in time for another intercept!

Another east Texas chase brought me this wonderful take home prize. An after- work chase to Canton, Texas; 125 miles trip total.
I am so deeply grateful this show waited till my work shift ended at 7:30 pm. From my work parking lot, I rejoiced to five thunderstorms surrounding me in all directions

Lightning Celebration -Wow!

Captured during storm intercept, McKinney Texas
I celebrate a neighborhod lightning show mid week, thanks to a miraculously broken atmospheric cap.
Lightning leads the way to my McKinney storm intercept last Friday.
Another awesome lightning capture from this week’s early morning light show in my neighborhood
Lightning ripples beautifully along the outer edges of thunderhead
This magnificent lightning bolt was such a pure glee both to witness and capture during my Plano Texas intercept last Friday night
With joy I celebrate God’s magnificent fireworks!
Celebrating God’s passionate creation as lightning explodes across sky during my McKinney intercept.


Soul Nourishing Storm Chase-April 4th, 2017

This is what I went after, a magnificent supercell thunderhead blossoming visibly before me, with me in hot pursuit.  Just getting out and chasing was soul nourishing, but I was committed to going all the way.

Here I am coming closer, marveling at the amazing  contrasts and forms of the thunderheads before me. Captured in McKinney Texas.

Stopped at a light, but getting closer.

Almost there! An occasional vivid bolt leaps between earth and sky off to my northeast (left corner). My goal is to get on the eastern side of the building line straight ahead.  Rain and small hail mix together, slapping my windshield.

Not the best quality, but wanting to post just to show the potent energy of this discharge right overhead. Moved camera just as it leaped.

I’m so happy to have arrived to my goal! Now the supremely soul nourishing time has come for me to simply watch and savor. Looking east.

Magnificent Lightning, February 2017

Captured this magnificent lightning discharge during one of our earliest spring thunderstorms this year.

As balmy humid winds gusted across my post in Richardson, Texas on this late February night, I gazed with awe and joy at occasional bolts dancing across our northern sky.

Magnificent Skies-First Quarter 2017

Captured this magnificent lightning bolt on March 27th before dawn. It danced at the tail end of a potent derecho squall line which blasted through our neighborhood.

Same lightning show as above, March 27th.

Eerie and beautiful sheet lightning graced the sky as well in this display of celestial Magnificence on the 27th.

The evening of March 26th brought me on a storm chase to McKinney, TX and a lovely display of lightning jumping off very intense storm clusters. The highlight of this evening was outrunning a tornado warned storm and large funnel cloud rushing towards me from the west as I raced southward.  What a mystical yet eerie feeling it was to behold the funnel hanging so low above the earth it was lit by city lights.

Magnificent contrasts of sun and storm sky played before me during a quick break on this work day, March 24th. My soul was nourished to witness clips of a thunderstorm containing some heavy rain, vivid flickers, a couple lovely bolts and loud roars.  What a joyful greeting for me after my return from the 11 night cruise. This also served to break a drought, both for me regarding lightning as well as the earth regarding rain.

During the early evening, God did some awesome hand writing across our western sky on March 24th.

From March 8th through March 20th my wife and I savored a cruise across the southern Caribbean. This cruise brought magnificent skies to us, and included a powerful ocean storm on my birthday, March 17th. Photos from the ocean storm will be added in a separate post.  In this photo, full moon rises on balmy humid night over the ocean, casting mystical moods. Shot from our patio view.

Another majestic moon-cloud pattern off our patio.

Moon now higher presents Jupiter, the bright dot below, following suit.

Thunderheads and palm trees, shot in Cartegena, Columbia. What a joy it was to set foot on another continent, South America!

The thunderhead danced and curled majestically overhead.  I heard no thunder, but did enjoy a lovely view. Cartegena, Columbia.

This lightning discharge was captured in Richardson, TX looking north towards Plano on 2/26/17. It’s a single flash, captured with my cell phone.

Another capture of mystical lightning from February 26th.

On February 9th, I had fun with the full moon rising over my head. Me and Moon selfie 🙂

Here moon ascends over the planet of my head…

Celebrated this magnificent sunset in my neighborhood on February 5th.

Savored my first thunderstorm of the year in the predawn hours on January 15th.

Savored my first cloud to ground lightning in a brief but beautiful thunderstorm on January 25th.

Spectacular Lightning-2016 Summer

Deep night thunderstorm, Dallas area.

During  summer 2016, I savored a few lovely thunderstorms and captured truly spectacular lightning bolts in my heart, minds eye and on camera.

Every time I see lightning, the awe-struck, gleeful little child inside of me rejoices with great gusto.

All these were captured after the amazing July 4th and 5th captures listed in earlier lightning posts.

Enjoy 🙂

This spectacular lightning bolt, taken in the morning before work is one of my favorites of the year.

Same lightning show as prior photo, with plenty of lovely thunder and pounding rains to boot.

This bolt tore with spectacular finesse yet majesty through a thunderhead towering over our southern horizon.

Another one of my favorites, captured immediately after my work day ended. Tremendous claps of thunder replied.

Lightning ripples across our southeastern sky on this gentle warm evening.

This anvil to ground lightning beneath overshooting thunderhead top brought me great joy, even though the storm itself began dissipating as it reached our location.


Beholding Celestial Beauty, July and August ’16

These past two months have brought sacred moments of celestial beauty which I felt blessed to behold, mostly by phone in the field.

I give great thanks for the blessing of being alive and the opportunity to savor these moments…


New thunderstorm developing out ahead of an outflow boundary, looking southeast during mid-afternoon.


Towering cumulus rise heavenward at the tail end of dissipating thunderstorm, mid – afternoon. Cooling breezes rush in from the east where the rain shield still tumbles. Photo looking northeast.


I behold stunning celestial beauty as towering cumulus blossom in the eastern sky right outside my back door.


Distant tropical thunderstorm reflects in the water where I work at Richland College. Photo looking southeast.


A lone thunderhead blossoms, teases me, then breaks into a shower before dissipating at sunset. Photo looking northwest.


A magnificent celestial mountain of thunderhead blossoms to my north. Though it’s Texas, this scene reminds me of frequent skies I witnessed in southern Ohio decades ago.


Lovely rainbow and flock of Canadian Geese captured after work.


Rainbow appearing to tumble into the water fountain, captured after work.


Deepening evening casts beautiful shades to the southeastern sky.


This magnificent sunset captures my awe!


Curly cue thunderhead edge to right dances with ice halo or “sundog”. Photo looking southwest. Radar shows a significant lightning storm below the thunderhead.


Magnificent mountains of thunderhead beckon me to chase during my work day lunch break. Photo looking northeast.


Lunch break downburst in developing storm. Looking west.


I step out the back door as my lunch break commences, greeted by these magnificent thunderheads approaching my area from the south. What a delightful, unexpected and awe inspiring surprise! Occasional thunder deeply whispers below.


During a quick break during a work conference, I behold these beautiful thunderheads rising over downtown Dallas.


Thunderheads more than 150 miles over the horizon create these celestial angel wings to end the month of August.


Magnificent towering  cumulus cloud dancing in sky towards setting sun.


Beholding the beauty of towering cumulus during steamy tropical airmass, late August. Photo looking north.


At the time of this photo, these thunderheads were producing prolific lightning about 20 miles to my north, in Allen Texas. With it being a work day, chasing was out of the question. Still, from the distance, they presented me with a great example of celestial beauty.


Captured these beautiful thunderheads blossoming heaven ward across my southeast during an August lunch break. Beneath them, about 30 miles from my location, a prolific lightning show presented itself on radar. Unfortunately they were too far away to chase during my allotted one hour. At least one co-worker is now using these clouds as her computer screen wall paper courtesy of my sharing this celestial magnificence with our entire work team.


At the end of my August work conference in downtown Dallas, I was treated to this soul inspiring scene of new thunderheads blossoming upwards in advance of outflow from thunderstorm overhead. Heavy rain and occasional thunder peals echo across streets and buildings.


God’s Jaw Dropping Fireworks-July 4th 2013

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God put on quite a show in advance of our man-made fireworks between 5 and 7 a.m. in our neighborhood, July 4th.

Time and time again, my jaw dropped as I exclaimed things like “Wow!”, “Thank you God!”, “Awesome”, and so forth.

This storm yielded some of my very best lightning captures to date.

This first shot reminds me of a backbone with ribs.

Now, here are samples to share with you:

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I love how the lightning loop-de-loops. This is all one strike.

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All one discharge, no photo stacking here…

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A two for one special, again all in one flash…

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I love the way the dancing lightning highlighted rolling clouds.


This eerie shot highlights cloud silhouetting against celestial fire.


A little rain won’t snuff out God’s fireworks or dampen the show.

Photos and story copyright 2016, Stephen Eric Levine

Dallas to St. Joseph Texas- Awesome Storm Intercept


A splendid distant lightning display was one of my storm chase and intercept rewards.

Strategy- July 3rd, 2016:

After a spell of searing heat and dry weather, an opening appears before me in the form of thunderstorms clustered around Wichita Falls, TX; slowly moving eastward.  A second cluster lines north/south across southern Oklahoma.

My aim is to intercept the biggest and best of the bunch, so I take off from the Dallas area around 6 pm and head north on I-35 towards the Red River.  My goal is wild winds, rains and magnificent lightning.

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A massive anvil cloud extends out from the storm complex hugging the Red River east of Wichita Falls. As I move north of Denton, the storms in southern Oklahoma dissipate but the ones near Wichita Falls remain strong. I modify my goal from Durant OK to somewhere west of Gainesville, TX along 82 West.

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Here is the radar presentation of the storm line. It’s my hope they will hold together so we may intercept one another in the middle.

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About 25 miles west of Gainesville, the first storm clouds appear as artistic silhouettes upon distant sun drenched sky.

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Alas, west of Muenster, TX, the first towers appear, inviting me to join them. It’s cool how I could see all the way through to the other side of the storm line.

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How soul nourishing it feels inside of me, as joy fills my heart. I’ve hungered for an intercept like this for months – me, the vast sky and wild clouds dancing within. An occasional lightning branch dances within the towers up ahead.

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This hilltop view yields a majestic view of storm layout. I thrill to its awesome beauty.

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Towards nightfall, a distant lightning show unfolds. This and the following lightning photos are taken from about 2 miles south of St. Joseph, TX.


Lightning comes closer, and I celebrate its fiery magnificence.


My heart fills with awe and delight as I behold God’s electric creation.


Of particular interest is the snake-like nature of the lighting, and the lack of ribbons and branchlets.


This interesting discharge travels almost as far sideways close to the earth as it does between earth and sky. Notice the distant simultaneous lightning bolt dimly over the horizon, probably around 100 miles away.


Here is a crop of that awesome discharge.

All during this dusk show, my heart fills with reverence, awe and gratitude for beholding this wonderful show.

With a 1.5 hour drive back home, I’m guided by spirit to break away and return to the Dallas area.

Meanwhile a storm several miles south of me begins to kick itself up into gear, bringing frequent lightning and strong winds blasting against my car. At the same time, a new storm pops up over the northern horizon, offering occasional leaping bolts. A very dramatic escort towards I-35, Gainesville and beyond.

Story and Images Copyright 2016, Stephen Eric Levine.