LIghtning over Happy, TX ©Jim Livingston

Storm Chasing in Texas with the Irix 15mm

The Texas Panhandle isn’t often listed as one of the most photogenic areas in the United States of America. To those who take the time for a closer look, it’s a land of hidden treasures, raw beauty and inhabitants as rugged as the landscape itself. Its unique wildlife, hard-working people and wide vistas are a paradise for photographers with the creative vision to tell its stories.

…these massive storms are as wildly beautiful as they are dangerous…

Many of those stories can be told by documenting the weather that makes this environment challenging, and that process is, in itself, a challenge. Situated in the heart of “Tornado Alley“, the High Plains of Texas “brew up” immense, powerful storm cells that sometimes leave wide swaths of destruction in their wakes. Because these massive storms are as wildly beautiful as they are dangerous, a unique breed of gutsy photographers can be found hot on their heels, capturing the spectacle for lucky viewers everywhere.

We’ve got the tools…

There are a few tools of the trade that every storm chasing photographer needs, and one of those is a solid, sharp and fast wide-angle lens. With that and the other photo opportunities this region offers in mind, Irix USA recently put our Irix 15mm f/2.4 Firefly in the hands of Jim Livingston, a landscape and fine art photographer based in Amarillo, Texas.

Jim and the Irix 15mm did each other proud…

Lightning at sunset ©Jim Livingston

While Jim no longer specializes in storm chasing, his first experience with the lens was photographing a pair of storm cells near the little town of Happy, Texas. As expected, he wasn’t disappointed and neither were we. Using an intervalometer and his Pentax K-1, he captured 600 photos of the storm, including those illustrating this article. (Did I forget to mention that storm chasers burn through shutter actuations like kindling?)

Jim and the Irix 15mm did each other proud and we’re looking forward to seeing what he chooses to shoot with it next!

A Perfect Match

In the meantime, this shoot highlights another perfect niche for our rectilinear wide-angle lenses. With its fast, f/2.4 maximum aperture, hyperfocal scale, click stop at infinity and focus lock, the 15mm delivers the quick setup, light gathering capability, sharpness and minimal distortion necessary for capturing these works of Mother Nature. The 11mm f/4 lets you take in more of the wide-open spaces, with a slight compromise of a few stops.

Both lenses also feature full weather sealing

Weather sealing on the Irix 15mm

Both lenses also feature full weather sealing, so you can keep shooting even when you’re closer than you should be (another habit of storm chasers). Don’t try that with those budget wide-angles!

More from Jim Livingston

Read Jim’s thoughts on this shoot in this blog post. Stay tuned to his blog for more of his experiences with Irix glass. Don’t forget to browse Jim Livingston Art to purchase your own works of art from the bold and beautiful Texas Panhandle.

Are You a Storm Chaser?

If you’re a member of the photographer species that can’t get enough of what nature has to offer your camera, get the most out of your efforts with a fast, ultra-sharp, ultra-wide Irix lens. Grab yours from any of our authorized US retailers:

B&H Photo & Video
Focus Camera
Perry Computer & Photo Supply

Written by Dana Crandell

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