This image of the northern lights captures the brilliant light in a lake’s reflection.

Storm chasers near Ponoka do it for the love of the chase

When it comes to storm chasing or northern lights, Team Tanner is ready to shoot

They may be considered amateur photographers in the traditional sense of the word but when it comes to storm chasing, Team Tanner is where it’s at.

Based out of Alix, the central Alberta duo, Darlene (Dar) and Theresa (Tree) Tanner have found a love of storm chasing and capturing the northern lights (aurora borealis). That love has translated into a large following in social media circles, and it’s growing.

The pair have been seriously photographing these fantastic weather phenomena seen in these parts of Alberta for the last five years but that love of the sky and weather patterns has been going strong for about eight to 10 years, says Dar. Whenever they can get out of work, they’re taking photos.

With a good understanding of social media hashtags, plus tagging key pages on Twitter and Facebook, Dar and Tree are going one place, and that’s up. The #TeamTanner car (and hashtag in social media sites) is hard to miss and the two have just received sponsorship from Ember Graphics out of Stettler and have been selling prints and canvases for some years now.

How did that love for weather photography occur? “We didn’t really notice all of that in Red Deer,” explains Dar, who said they moved from Red Deer to Alix about 10 years ago.

That move to the country gave them the chance to see exactly what all the fuss was about regarding storms and northern lights. Tree says they first started out with smart phones but then moved to digital SLRs. But their gear is mostly entry level equipment. “You don’t need anything fancy,” explained Tree.

The two have travelled every which way along the central Alberta corridor covering Rocky Mountain House, Drayton Valley, Ponoka, Bashaw and down to Drumheller. Dar says they know much of the back roads in the area, which has helped find some great locations.

Using specialty apps to determine the best times for northern lights or the best location for storm cells has also helped Team Tanner ready for a good shot. That, and social media. The two will take to Twitter to find the best locations or to chat with other chasers.

But the real trick to getting the shot? “Patience,” stated Tree simply.

“Just go out there and look at the sky,” added Dar.

Sometimes it’s a long haul to get the right image, which may never come, Dar said. “It’s (storms and aurora) just like the weather. You can’t predict it.”

And the two love the chase enough that they’ll stay up late into the early hours of the morning to catch the reflection of the aurora in a lake or the rotation of a storm cell.

For Dar, it’s all about, “The excitement, the thrill. The energy that you get from it.”

“Time means nothing,” added Tree.

#TeamTanner now has more than 2,300 followers on their Facebook page called Photography by Team Tanner and they can be seen Tweeting, posting live and sharing photos for all to see.

That love for capturing the northern lights has created an opportunity for them to travel to Iceland in September. It will give them a chance to take photos of the picturesque landscape along with the aurora borealis.

“It’s a photographer’s paradise, they say,” explained Tree.

As for storm chasing and capturing the northern lights, don’t be surprised to find #TeamTanner capturing it all in the best locations central Alberta can offer.

 

This hill makes an ideal backdrop for a storm cell that swept through central Alberta.

Sometimes the best shot comes with the picturesque central Alberta farm scape.

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