Show #34–Mike Olbinski–Storm Chaser

Host Mike Howard, Tim Kemperle & Kathleen Bowie interview photographer Mike Olbinski.  Mike shoots a wide range of subjects, but in this interview we focus on his storm photos including some amazing lightning photos.




Mike Olbinski – Photographer

Mike’s Dust Storm video –
Types of photography

  • Landscape
  • Storm
  • Family
  • Weddings

Safety Issues with Storms

  • Lightning – biggest danger (use a wireless shutter release)
  • Flash Floods
  • Dust Storms – results in car accidents (pileups)
  • Not paying attention to where you are driving


  • Excellent camera and just because there is a new model doesn’t mean I need to replace the camera
  • Upgrading from a crop sensor to a full-frame made a huge difference
  • Lenses
    • 35/f1.4 – L series (favorite lens)
    • 50/f1.4
    • 70-200 f/2.8 – will use for weddings

Lighting Shots

  • Watch the radar and look for storms and go to the area
  • Setup in Bulb
  • Multiple 30 second exposures
  • In the desert – f5.6 with ISO of around 200
  • In the city – f8 with a high ISO to prevent the lights from being blown out
  • Lightning Shot
    • That was a close one” within a quarter mile of the strike…camera was mounted on the dashboard taking a shot through the windshield with the wipers on fast.  The exposure was approximately 25 seconds
    • Purple Rain” Hoping for a lightning strike before the rain went over the ridge
    • The Hills are Alive” multiple strikes within 10 seconds
  • Enhance photos with Silver Efex from Nik Software

Goal is for Storm Structure and/or a Tornado


  • Meteorology – Understanding what the weather is going to do is important to stay safe
  • Which storm chasers do you follow – Stephen Locke, Shane Kirk – both from  Kansas…actually follow around 50 from the Midwest.  Mitch Dobrowner...Black & White photography
  • How do you push yourself when shots are based on the luck of the weather…always looking to get a better shot than the previous shot






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About geephotant

geephotant (Geek-Photographer-Accountant) (aka. Mike Howard) is the creator of Nov Studios and the jpeg2RAW podcast. Mike is an accountant by day as the Controller for a large US based corporation. By night, he is a geek and has appeared on the Home Server Show Podcast & the BYOB podcast ( both found at He has also appeared on the Home Tech Show podcast ( and is now a regular guest on that show. Mike's true passion is photography and shoots when ever he can find time. As an amateur photographer, he is always looking to learn more about the craft.

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