The sun quietly disappeared for a nap behind the dark clouds, the wind abruptly picked up speed; smashing the ajar windows into the panes; and the aroma of petrichor spread all across the room. “There’s a storm coming… Shut the windows and doors quick!”
The grumble of the thunder made your heart skip a beat and the shrill squeak of the wind squeezing through the gap in the windows sent a chill down your spine.
You and I quietly waited for the storm to recede at home. But, this is the story of the guys who dared the storm and captured the beauty in its rage.
The guys who waited patiently for hours for that one perfect composition; for the precise moment in the azure sky.
Presenting, KOLKATA CLOUD CHASERS, a team of passionate photographers who have the common love for cloud and storm photography.
Our very own Kolkata version of the Hollywood movie ‘Twister’. The following is an excerpt of our conversation with them.
Q. WHEN AND HOW DID KOLKATA CLOUDCHASERS FORM?
A. We, the members of Kolkata Cloud Chasers (KCC) have known each other for many years through the Kolkata Photographers Club (KPC) (the popular online photography club). But, few of the members there were mostly interested in landscapes and mainly Clouds and Storms.
Hence, Kolkata Cloud Chaser’s team was formed. Although we are still very much an integral part of Kolkata Photographers Club.
Q. HOW OLD IS THE GROUP? HOW MANY MEMBERS ARE THERE IN IT?
A. KCC is officially five years old now. We have 13 members. As we photograph extreme weather, acquiring proper information about the storm systems are very important.
Thus the team has specific members for specific operations.
|Chirasree Chakraborty (Call sign: Phoenix)||Sudip Roy (Call sign: Eros)||Debarshi Duttagupta|
|Suman Kumar Ghosh (Call sign: Goodboy)||Aparna Liya Bhattacharya||Joyjeet Mukherjee|
|Abhishek Saigal (Call sign: Thunderman)||Indranil Kar||Krishnendu Chakraborty|
|Krishnendu Chakraborty (Call sign: Zeus)||Diganta Gogoi (Call sign: Hellboy)||Sudip Roy|
|Debarshi Duttagupta (Call sign: Roadrunner)||Joyjeet Mukherjee (Call sign: Boltanator)|
|Agniprava Nath (Call sign: Lucifer)|
All our cloud chase vehicles are named SCIF (Storm and Cloud Intercept Fourwheeler). All our vehicles are equipped with GPS and CB Radios and Dashcams.
- Mahindra Thar
- Mitsubishi Outlander
- Maruti Wagon R
- Maruti Dzire
- Renault Duster AWD
- Maruti Swift
Q. WHAT IS THE GROUP ALL ABOUT?
A. We are a group of amateur photographers having special interest in extreme weather. To make it simple for the readers we love to photograph and in that process, document Cloud formations and storms. In that process we try to inform our viewers about extreme weather and climate change, which, is a very critical issue now.
Q. HOW DO YOU ACCURATELY PREDICT A STORM?
A. Storms can’t be predicted accurately, weather itself is an extremely unpredictable natural phenomena. But now a days weather monitoring systems have become advanced.
In India IMD, the India Meterological Department has a detailed website with hourly updates of Kalpana 1 (Satellite) images. We keep on studying those images to find out whether any cloud formations are taking place or not. Apart from that there are Apps on Google Play and IOS that provide a graphical interpretation of those data on a map. We take all these into consideration and come up with suggestions that a storm might hit southern or northern Bengal.
But we are not always right. Storms have a mind of their own and can change direction at their own will. Once we can lock on a storm with its current position, we can predict its path and drive to intercept the system and then photograph the storm.
We also keep safe distance from systems that are heavy on lightning bolts. These are destructive forces of nature and extreme caution has to be exercised while chasing and photographing storms and cloud systems.
Q. HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE GROUP, GIVEN THE WORK PRESSURES FACED BY ALL THE MEMBERS?
A. It is extremely difficult to go out on a storm chase with the full group’s presence. As we are all working professionals, priority is, of course
A) Professional work commitments
B) Family and then
C) Storm chasing
Many a times the trackers will track the storm systems from their home or office and pass on the information to the members Whatsapp Group. With those information others who are free, or near the storm location will photograph them.