Storm chasers provide amazing Richmond weather imagery

By Andrew Freiden - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -  Since NBC12  launched Send it to 12 on our website, we've gotten some great pictures -- but certain shots have stood out.

When the sky looks threatening, Rick Kidd and James Betts don't run for shelter. They grab their cameras and head outside.

"We both have a passion for weather and the awesomeness of nature," Betts said.

They watch the radar closely, looking for an isolated storm. The best pictures come from storms that have lots of lightning but not much rain.

"If James hasn't called me first, I usually call him," Kidd said. "I get the hall pass from my wife and we're in the car, heading toward it."

Once they find a good spot, they set up their equipment and start shooting.  But to capture pictures like this, you don't just point and shoot.  James and Rick use a special technique that combines 3 to 5 pictures into one.

"Getting more value between light and shadow, creating more of a surreal image instead of a standard photograph," Kidd said. "It's a technique that's wildly used, it's really catching on, the purists frown on it... but I enjoy it."

The end result is some amazing images of nature's power in the Richmond region.

"That's really what it's about for me, capturing something that normally people won't see," Kidd said.  "If I can capture that with my lens and share it with someone, I've achieved my goal.

"I can't thank NBC12 enough... Jim Andrew, Tommy saying stuff about the photos on First Warning Weather, I'm getting bombarded with emails, phone calls.. my wife's happy..."

The First Warning Weather team is happy too -- as we add these great photos to our weathercasts.

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