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Air 3 Tornado Approaching Hendersonville, TN

rickmurray1989

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On Saturday night, Dec. 9, an EF-2 tornado tore a path of destruction on a linear path ranging from Madison to Hendersonville to Gallatin, TN. Approximately ten minutes before the storm drew near to our house and we had to seek shelter, I was flying my Air 3 capturing the storm movement and lightning in 4K 60p video, hoping to extract still images at a later date. After alerts indicated that the storm was tracking directly toward my neighborhood in Hendersonville, I abandoned the process and crawled into a downstairs bathroom with my family, covered by an array of mattresses and pillows. Fortunately, we are all okay, and our house was not hit. However, our neighborhood did experience a lot of damage, and we were without power for nearly four days and nights.

Now that a few days have passed and power has returned, I have finally gotten around to processing some of the images. Here are two of them. The one with the bright explosion in the center captured the moment that the tornado hit a Nashville Electric Service substation in Madison. The second one shows the tornado funnel and accompanying shelf cloud as it headed our way.Tornado Lighting 3-Edit-2-Edit.jpgTornado Lighting 6-Edit-Edit-2.jpg
 
⚡️The landscape is incredibly beautiful! What an adventurous experience! Thankfully, both the people and the buildings remained safe.❤️
 
Those look amazing and WOW I don't know if I'd put the bird up in something like that. We only have the one so probably not.
Thanks for sharing !
 
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On Saturday night, Dec. 9, an EF-2 tornado tore a path of destruction on a linear path ranging from Madison to Hendersonville to Gallatin, TN. Approximately ten minutes before the storm drew near to our house and we had to seek shelter, I was flying my Air 3 capturing the storm movement and lightning in 4K 60p video, hoping to extract still images at a later date. After alerts indicated that the storm was tracking directly toward my neighborhood in Hendersonville, I abandoned the process and crawled into a downstairs bathroom with my family, covered by an array of mattresses and pillows. Fortunately, we are all okay, and our house was not hit. However, our neighborhood did experience a lot of damage, and we were without power for nearly four days and nights.

Now that a few days have passed and power has returned, I have finally gotten around to processing some of the images. Here are two of them. The one with the bright explosion in the center captured the moment that the tornado hit a Nashville Electric Service substation in Madison. The second one shows the tornado funnel and accompanying shelf cloud as it headed our way.View attachment 171143View attachment 171144
On Saturday night, Dec. 9, an EF-2 tornado tore a path of destruction on a linear path ranging from Madison to Hendersonville to Gallatin, TN. Approximately ten minutes before the storm drew near to our house and we had to seek shelter, I was flying my Air 3 capturing the storm movement and lightning in 4K 60p video, hoping to extract still images at a later date. After alerts indicated that the storm was tracking directly toward my neighborhood in Hendersonville, I abandoned the process and crawled into a downstairs bathroom with my family, covered by an array of mattresses and pillows. Fortunately, we are all okay, and our house was not hit. However, our neighborhood did experience a lot of damage, and we were without power for nearly four days and nights.

Now that a few days have passed and power has returned, I have finally gotten around to processing some of the images. Here are two of them. The one with the bright explosion in the center captured the moment that the tornado hit a Nashville Electric Service substation in Madison. The second one shows the tornado funnel and accompanying shelf cloud as it headed our way.View attachment 171143View attachment 171144
Love the photos! Glad you escaped the damage.
 
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Incredible photos, keep the great job !!!
 
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Unfortunately, there was significant damage to the buildings in the right of the frame, including the total destruction of the illuminated nativity scene just to the right of center. All in all, I consider us blessed.
 
Those look amazing and WOW I don't know if I'd put the bird up in something like that. We only have the one so probably not.
Thanks for sharing !
I agree with you. However, at the time, the winds were calm and I just wanted to capture the lightning for a newspaper that I write for weekly. I had no idea until a few days later that I caught the explosion and the funnel cloud.
 
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On Saturday night, Dec. 9, an EF-2 tornado tore a path of destruction on a linear path ranging from Madison to Hendersonville to Gallatin, TN. Approximately ten minutes before the storm drew near to our house and we had to seek shelter, I was flying my Air 3 capturing the storm movement and lightning in 4K 60p video, hoping to extract still images at a later date. After alerts indicated that the storm was tracking directly toward my neighborhood in Hendersonville, I abandoned the process and crawled into a downstairs bathroom with my family, covered by an array of mattresses and pillows. Fortunately, we are all okay, and our house was not hit. However, our neighborhood did experience a lot of damage, and we were without power for nearly four days and nights.

Now that a few days have passed and power has returned, I have finally gotten around to processing some of the images. Here are two of them. The one with the bright explosion in the center captured the moment that the tornado hit a Nashville Electric Service substation in Madison. The second one shows the tornado funnel and accompanying shelf cloud as it headed our way.View attachment 171143View attachment 171144
Outstanding photos. And I know, at 7 pm in Hendersonville, TN, it is DARK. So how do you get such amazing photos at this time of night? I've just recently purchased an Air 3 and would love to have some suggestions on how to achieve such detail and clarity of the ground and buildings in these low light conditions. I have seen your work in other places on the forum and all of the night work is clear, sharp and detailed. I am working with all of my manual settings but apparently don't have the correct combination. Would you be willing to share some of your expertise?

Thank you,
Ken
 
Outstanding photos. And I know, at 7 pm in Hendersonville, TN, it is DARK. So how do you get such amazing photos at this time of night? I've just recently purchased an Air 3 and would love to have some suggestions on how to achieve such detail and clarity of the ground and buildings in these low light conditions. I have seen your work in other places on the forum and all of the night work is clear, sharp and detailed. I am working with all of my manual settings but apparently don't have the correct combination. Would you be willing to share some of your expertise?

Thank you,
Ken
Ken,

The images were captured around 4:40 on Saturday, Dec. 9, as part of a 4K 60p video clip, from which I extracted several frames into Lightroom and post processed them using LR and Photoshop. I also used Topaz Denoise to clean up the noise in the images. The time/date stamps on the individual frames represent when they were extracted from the video clips. I would be happy to help you in any way that I can. I have been a professional photographer for many decades and I have a fair amount of experience in nighttime ground level, aerial and astrophotography.
 
Ken,

The images were captured around 4:40 on Saturday, Dec. 9, as part of a 4K 60p video clip, from which I extracted several frames into Lightroom and post processed them using LR and Photoshop. I also used Topaz Denoise to clean up the noise in the images. The time/date stamps on the individual frames represent when they were extracted from the video clips. I would be happy to help you in any way that I can. I have been a professional photographer for many decades and I have a fair amount of experience in nighttime ground level, aerial and astrophotography.
Ken,

The images were captured around 4:40 on Saturday, Dec. 9, as part of a 4K 60p video clip, from which I extracted several frames into Lightroom and post processed them using LR and Photoshop. I also used Topaz Denoise to clean up the noise in the images. The time/date stamps on the individual frames represent when they were extracted from the video clips. I would be happy to help you in any way that I can. I have been a professional photographer for many decades and I have a fair amount of experience in nighttime ground level, aerial and astrophotography.
When I capture normal still night images, I always use just the DNG (RAW) files for processing. I generally shoot in PRO mode on the Air 3 or the Mini 3 Pro, and I usually grab a mix of single images and 180° panoramas. I generally try to expose for the brighest lights in the scene as opposed to the shadows, so that I can reduce and/or eliminate the sky and flat surface noise that is inherent in high ISO images with the 1 1/3 sensors. It also helps to reduce the color artifacts that sometimes pop up when capturing nighttime images set against a skyline or out over Old Hickory Lake.
 
Rick,
Your decades of experience certainly shows. You do very nice work. I don't have anything for post processing at the moment other than what comes on a Mac but I understand DaVinci Resolve is good. You're welcome to comment on that. You mentioned you "generally try to expose for the brightest lights in the scene .............". Can you expand a bit on that? I generally try to keep ISO at 100 unless it absolutely won't work.

thanks,
Ken
 
Rick,
Your decades of experience certainly shows. You do very nice work. I don't have anything for post processing at the moment other than what comes on a Mac but I understand DaVinci Resolve is good. You're welcome to comment on that. You mentioned you "generally try to expose for the brightest lights in the scene .............". Can you expand a bit on that? I generally try to keep ISO at 100 unless it absolutely won't work.

thanks,
Ken
Hi Ken, I have found that working with night scenes requires a careful blend of higher ISO values, slower shutter speeds and manual white balance to make sure that the images are rendered accurately. By exposing to the bright lights, I mean to adjust the exposure (shutter speed/ISO) of the drone (unless you have one that allows you to adjust the aperture, too - I don't... yet) so that the brightest points in the scene, e.g. sun or moon, or perhaps street lights, do not bloom out and lose detail. I don't usually care about the darks of the scene, since they aren't my subjects and the shadows are where most of the noise is at. Besides, you can almost always bring up the brightness of the shadow areas in post (to some degree), however, if you overexpose the bright areas of the scene, it is usually impossible to recover the highlights - even when shooting in RAW.

I have captured some pretty good nighttime images at up to 3,200 ISO with the Air 3 and the Mini 3 Pro, and occasionally, the Air 2. However, I try to keep the ISO value to 1,600 or less in order to minimize noise and color shifts.

As for DaVinci Resolve, I have not used it. I am a long time Lightroom and Photoshop user, and I haven't tried many other processors very much.
 
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Great photos and glad you guys made it though ok. We didn’t see much from the storm here in west TN but followed along as news came this way about you guys. Always hate to hear towns in the area being destroyed by storms and they seem to be getting more powerful/common over time.
 
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Great photos and glad you guys made it though ok. We didn’t see much from the storm here in west TN but followed along as news came this way about you guys. Always hate to hear towns in the area being destroyed by storms and they seem to be getting more powerful/common over time.
I am glad that you all were okay. Our recovery process is going to take some time, but we will get there.
 
Hi Ken, I have found that working with night scenes requires a careful blend of higher ISO values, slower shutter speeds and manual white balance to make sure that the images are rendered accurately. By exposing to the bright lights, I mean to adjust the exposure (shutter speed/ISO) of the drone (unless you have one that allows you to adjust the aperture, too - I don't... yet) so that the brightest points in the scene, e.g. sun or moon, or perhaps street lights, do not bloom out and lose detail. I don't usually care about the darks of the scene, since they aren't my subjects and the shadows are where most of the noise is at. Besides, you can almost always bring up the brightness of the shadow areas in post (to some degree), however, if you overexpose the bright areas of the scene, it is usually impossible to recover the highlights - even when shooting in RAW.

I have captured some pretty good nighttime images at up to 3,200 ISO with the Air 3 and the Mini 3 Pro, and occasionally, the Air 2. However, I try to keep the ISO value to 1,600 or less in order to minimize noise and color shifts.

As for DaVinci Resolve, I have not used it. I am a long time Lightroom and Photoshop user, and I haven't tried many other processors very much.
Thank you for the information. I can already see an area where I was going in the wrong direction. After I apply your tips I'm sure my results will improve. Thanks again for the detailed explanation.

Additionally I apologize for my lack of sensitivity to your experience with the tornado. I just went back and completely re-read your initial post. I can only imagine what a harrowing experience that was once you realized it was headed straight for you and even though you suffered no property damage you were without power 4 days and nights. It's not springtime in your neck of the woods.

Ken
 
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Thank you for the information. I can already see an area where I was going in the wrong direction. After I apply your tips I'm sure my results will improve. Thanks again for the detailed explanation.

Additionally I apologize for my lack of sensitivity to your experience with the tornado. I just went back and completely re-read your initial post. I can only imagine what a harrowing experience that was once you realized it was headed straight for you and even though you suffered no property damage you were without power 4 days and nights. It's not springtime in your neck of the woods.

Ken
No need to apologize, buddy. We are all safe, but here is an aerial view of our neighborhood from the morning after the tornado. I was flying about 450-500 feet from my home at this point, at about 180 feet AGL.DJI_20231210101548_0063_D_MBMA3-Edit.jpg
 
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