When nature strikes, this storm chaser is usually with striking distance
By Kenny Darr,2023-06-09
Lori Grace Bailey, a local woman, has a unique passion for photographing extreme weather events.
While most people seek shelter during storms, Bailey fearlessly runs toward the chaos, camera in hand, documenting nature's wrath.
"I love shooting the landscape and astrophotography," Bailey said.
Bailey's love for photography dates back to the early 2000s when she purchased her first camera, a Canon Rebel she recalled.
Initially, she took pictures of her children, but soon realized the camera's potential for capturing stunning images.
"A Canon rebel or whatever it was. I started taking pictures of the kids but then I started to realize it took really great pictures," she said. "These new digital cameras, even in 2003 would take great photos."
Since then, Bailey's photography journey has flourished . She captures a wide range of subjects, including weddings, graduations, and wildlife.
"So I started to take pictures of flowers and the pets and the dogs and the wildlife and watching coyotes run in the desert and it just took off from there," she said.
She even dedicates a few weeks each year to storm chasing in the Midwest.
However, it is Tucson's monsoon season that truly excites Bailey.
"It was just something else finally to just experience the monsoon for yourself," she remarked. "Especially if you’ve ever had any kind of passion for weather."
Bailey's storm-chasing adventure has taught her valuable lessons.
"When I first started I was just trying to take pictures and I would just push the shutter button over and over hoping to get a shot of lightning," Bailey explained.
But she went on to say it's about patience and being in the right place at the right time.
"Capturing a bolt striking the Elephant Peak, it just involves a little bit of patience," she revealed. "Obviously it took me 6 years to get that shot."
The photograph she refers to is a stunning image of a lightning bolt hitting the top of Elephant's Peak.
Despite the risks involved in her passion, Bailey takes every precaution before each chase, as she had previously been struck by lightning in 2001.
Through her relentless pursuit, Bailey has amassed a collection of breathtaking photographs, which she takes great pride in.
"You want your work to be shared and to have that seen by so many others and to be recognized after all of that hard work that goes into really not just capturing a normal shot, but to capture and bring home something extraordinary," she said.
Bailey encourages aspiring storm chasers to start capturing their own stories, even if they only have a cellphone camera.
"If you have just a cellphone, start taking pictures," Bailey exclaimed. "Don’t wait to try to update your equipment to start enjoying these beautiful skies."
While experts predict an average monsoon season for Tucson in 2023, Bailey eagerly awaits the opportunity to capture the essence of mother nature and the beauty of Tucson.
"Can you imagine just envisioning all of the potential with Saguaros and the coyotes and all the beauty the Sonoran Desert provides," Bailey said. "And then put a huge bolt of lightning on top of it all, it goes without saying."