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Quick Video Shot – Supercell Storm Traveling Over Illinois That Slammed Oklahoma The Day Before

Editor’s Note:  I have about 2 terabytes of video content I’ve taken over the last year, and I’ve started going through it backwards in chronological order. This bit of video is of the huge storm that killed 24 people, destroyed 1,150 homes, and tallied up $2 billion in damages – but as it traveled the day after through Illinois.

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from the article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Moore_tornado

May 21, 2013 — my wife and I took the afternoon to drive out to film some wind turbines outside of Carlock, Illinois.  The sky was fine going to the wind turbine field, but as we were returning back to Peoria it just became black, dark, and sirens were going off everywhere.  It wasn’t until the radio did the Emergency Broadcast System noise that I decided to hit the side of the road, where I was able to get about 90 seconds of video of the storm front as it moved across the cornfields.

My video below is not a really dramatic video, but it shows the enormity of this squall line even after slamming into Oklahoma the day before.  That storm was moving fast, and it was huge:

A team of “storm chasers” that call themselves Fast Unit 53 captured some footage of the actual EF5 tornado, and their footage was used on KOCO.  Their footage is quite stunning, they were literally in front of the cell.  The term brass cojones comes to mind…

Be careful out there, amateur storm chasers.  Seriously.  Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and coworker Carl Young were killed on May 31, 2013 while chasing a tornado in El Reno, Oklahoma, and they were seasoned experts.  I know quite a few people who are thrill seekers who think they’re storm chasers.  Be smart, give yourself lots of room between you and the twister.  From an article at the Associated Press:

Tim Samaras, his son Paul and colleague Carl Young died Friday night when an EF3 tornado with winds up to 165 mph turned on them near El Reno, Okla. After years of sharing dramatic videos with television viewers and weather researchers, they died chasing a storm that killed 13 in Oklahoma City and its suburbs.

“It’s something we’ve done countless times in the past and have done it successfully and safely,” said Tony Laubauch, who was working with Tim Samaras’ chase team Friday night. “And, you know, whatever happened on this one, it’s just horrible beyond words.”

The men’s deaths in pursuit of the storm are believed to be the first among scientific researchers while chasing tornadoes, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said.  “They put themselves in harm’s way so that they can educate the public about the destructive power of these storms,” said Chris West, the undersheriff in Canadian County, where the men died.

Tim Samaras, 54, of Bennett, Colo., had a reputation for being safe but was trapped on the highway with his son, Paul Samaras, 24, also of Bennett, and Young, 45, who taught geology at Lake Tahoe Community College in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

“I don’t know if I would say I worried about it because one of the biggest things he stressed was safety,” said Tim’s brother, Jim Samaras, who confirmed the deaths to The Associated Press. “He knew what to look for. He knew where not to be and in this case, the tornado took a clear turn toward them.”

Tim Samaras and his Twistex tornado chase team produced material for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and meteorological conferences.

“He looked at tornadoes not for the spotlight of TV but for the scientific aspect,” Jim Samaras said. “At the end of the day, he wanted to save lives and he gave the ultimate sacrifice for that.”

The Oklahoma storm that killed the three chasers developed right in front to them. Tim Samaras tweeted a photo of clouds rising through a volatile atmosphere and noted: “Storms now initiating south of Watonga along triple point. Dangerous day ahead for OK — stay weather savvy!”

It was his final tweet.

 

The Daily Lamp – Hourglass Lamp, Which Needs NO ELECTRICITY, for the People of Moore, OK

Today’s Daily Lamp comes in the aftermath of the horrible tornado tragedy from Moore, Oklahoma — the EF 5 tornado was 1.3 miles wide as it tore through houses, killing at least 24 people, including 9 children.  A very sad time in Oklahoma.

When these kinds of things happen and power goes out, people should be prepared to experience days — if not several days — before they get light and power back after tragedies like these.  That’s why I picked this Daily Lamp to represent today.  Meet Danielle Trofe’s Hourglass Lamp, in both Table and Floor varieties.  From Danielle’s website on Hourglass Lamp:

The Hourglass Floor Lamp is powered by kinetic energy generated from the falling of sand. This off-the-grid lighting solution illuminates interior environments using LEDs. The four foot tall, lean hourglass is suspended and rotates on a hinge so that it can be flipped with ease to extend the life of the light. This creates a user connection and a greater awareness of the value and finite source of light energy.

Dim: 5 W x 6 D x 55 H “

Materials: Handblown Glass, Hand Turned Sustainable Wood, Sand from Recycled Glass, Welded Steel Stand, LED’s

Options: Dark Wood with Black Stand or Light Wood with White Stand

Kinetic energy – this means that YOU DON’T NEED POWER for this fixture to provide light.  If you’re in a place with weather that frequently if not at least infrequently kills power to your home, look into getting something that allows you to have light without having power.

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My thoughts go out to the people of Moore, Oklahoma in this time of terrible tragedy.  Mother Nature always wins.

Modern Rock Diaries Plays Oklahoma City on Friday!

My buddy Clinton Trench and the band he’s in, Modern Rock Diaries, is playing Oklahoma City on Friday!!  Check out this video, it’s pretty awesome.  I’m gonna be talking to Modern Rock Diaries drummer and light man pretty soon, as their entire lighting rig is MIDI.  Friday night at The Blue Note in OKC!

Check out the video, it is black and white and full of awesomeness.

Tickets are eight bucks in advance, ten at the door.  ROCK!

That’s A Light Shame: Oklahoma City’s United States District Court House Exterior Lighting FAIL

I’m starting a new segment here on JimOnLight.com called “That’s A Light Shame.”  What this segment will focus on is shameful lighting situations all over the world, from safety to aesthetic, from art fails to general all-around epic fails.

I have found something that needs some shame shame shame finger pointing, perhaps because of its grand significance in the economy right now, or perhaps just because I’m anal-retentive and it’s been like this for nearly a year, continually getting worse.  With the economy being how it is (as daintily as Christina Romer put it the other day on Real Time with Bill Maher, ‘we’re pretty darned f**ked) and the growing frustration of the American people with our governmental fails right now, you’d figure that something like the exterior lighting of a US District Court house would warrant even some symbolistic care, right?

Nope, fail.  Non lighting designers could probably give two shakes in the wind (?) about this subject, or the entire thing altogether.  But for those of us interested in urban panning and city image, this thing looks like a freshly swollen canker sore on the face of Oklahoma City.  See for yourself – here are some images of the US District Court house in Oklahoma City, right across the street from the site of one of the most horrific attacks in American history, the Murrah Building bombing.  Perhaps that’s yet another reason to change those lamps and perhaps replace some filters, being that the OKC Memorial is right across the street, and people visit it at all times of the day and night.  Check it out below.

Here’s the court house during the day, both from afar (my balcony) and a bit of a more zoomed-in shot:

Ha haa, look, it’s a toy court house!

Now here is the first bit of exterior lighting degradation, when apparently some color filters were removed from the fixtures in the little vertical coves on the center of the facade.  Notice the Court House over on the left of this city view shot:

Here is what the last several months have been like on the front of the building – some fixtures completely out, some without filters (which apparently are supposed to be that steel blue like in the others).  These pictures were taken when my bestie was in town back in early June, and the lamps had been out for months before that as well.

 

These last two shots are of the court house on the evening of August 10, 2011:

Call me anal (or don’t, as I really don’t appreciate it, funny enough), but this is an eyesore on Oklahoma City’s downtown image.  I spend a LOT of time looking at the image of downtown, listening to the sounds that the city makes when it wakes, lives, and sleeps.  Right now, downtown Oklahoma City is kind of a disaster with all of the Project 180 stuff that’s going on – perhaps this too will get fixed at some point in the future.  Hopefully someone who has some influence on this situation will read this post and take some action.  I think Oklahoma City is a pretty cool city, and having an attention to detail is something for which we should all strive, especially when so many other things are being done to “update” the image of the downtown area.

But hey – WHAT a great start to what I am SURE will become a pretty hilarious segment on JimOnLight.com!  If you have your own Light Shames, send me an email through the contact form, let’s get them published and corrected!  Together, we have a very loud and important voice.  Let’s do the world some Light Good!

RED Prime Steak in Oklahoma City – You Need to Train for This Much Awesome

I’m trying not to be a big fat ass this year.  I’ve been pretty successful so far, I’ve lost a few pounds a week.  The one thing I’ve tried hard to do is to stop eating fast food, and instead spend that money on the nicer restaurants around the world.  I’m a lighting nerd, OBVIOUSLY, so one of my favorite parts of this lifestyle change is enjoying the unbelievable lighting designs that the nicer restaurants offer.

I got a bit of a wild hair the other day while driving through downtown Oklahoma City – I saw this place called RED Prime Steak on Broadway, over by Bricktown.  Myself and local photographer Kristen Lee of the famous Stella Shot Me photography studios went to check out the scene.  I mean, after all the entire place is red inside from the street.  At first glance from the road, RED looks like a pretty upscale place.

Well, it is.  It’s pretty absolutely excellently awesomely upscale.  As a matter of fact, if you are into eating some unbelievably delicious bovine, enjoying some serious mixed drinks and wine (srsly) and being wow’ed by an outstanding lighting design, you need to check out this place.  From the moment you walk into the entrance, designer Rand Elliott’s vision of a “red wind” is ever present, leading you to the center of the venue.

The main bar – up front by the street level:

RED is full of all kinds of nooks and crannies, as well as open sections with tables and seating – Rand Elliott‘s initial design concept for RED was of that representing a “red wind.”  Elliott made this happen with strips of red neon on a grand aisle of the restaurant that shine onto the original brick walls of the restaurant.  It’s quite stunning, actually.  Below is a capture from the RED website with a rendering and a hand sketch:

Check out the “red wind” section of the restaurant – red neon tubes create the ambient light that filters throughout the venue:

Our server, Ross (who is also the head caterer for RED Prime Steak) gave us a tour of the entire facility (as well as providing some excellent choices and recommendations) – the restaurant has a ton of space above it that is used for parties, exquisite or otherwise; there are several very private booths and tables meant for romantic meals or parties of several people.  I’m a huge fan of steak AND light, so this is a place I’ll be revisiting very soon.

The best thing about the lighting design in my eyes is the attention to minute detail throughout the restaurant – a slice of neon hidden there, white accent lighting hidden in crannies to accentuate the soul of the room, and a sense of quality brought forth from the lighting to the food.

If you’re in Oklahoma City and you haven’t tried RED Prime Steak yet, I have no idea what you could possibly be waiting for to happen before you make your RED experience.

Check out a gallery of the images taken at RED Prime Steak that night – great photography by Kristen Lee of Stella Shot Me Photography Studios!  Click on a thumbnail and a magical land of full size images opens up for your enjoyment!

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A Downtown View of Oklahoma City, Lit for the Holidays

Living in a condo tower downtown has its privvies, I guess.   I’m not really much of a downtown dweller, at least lately, but I seem to leave home and return home these days when the sun is still a snooze slap away from waking up.

I certainly take a lot of pictures of the downtown nightscape – my apartment is right next to the Oklahoma City Murrah Building Memorial, and it faces the downtown skyline.  Parts of Oklahoma City are bustling with holiday-themed lighting, and I’m planning a series of photos of the city at night.

Here’s the first installment of architectural lighting from Oklahoma City, OK – this set from the 13th floor of my tower – for reference, here’s the city skyline in August:

…and here’s a detail of the Chase Bank building (and I don’t know the tower to the right yet):

Wider city shot – It’s true – apparently crosses cover the idea of “Holiday” in general here in Oklahoma…

Here’s looking the other way at Oklahoma City, looking southwest:

More shots – click on any one in this gallery, and a Gallery View will open up for your enjoyment!

5 Hours of Light into 90 Seconds: Oklahoma City

I got bored and made a video of downtown Oklahoma City, from 5pm to 10pm.  I took all of this video and condensed it down into 90 seconds – it’s cool to watch the city flick itself awake as the sun goes down.

Enjoy the video!

Oklahoma City, from 5pm to 10pm, in 90 seconds. from Jim Hutchison on Vimeo.

Editor’s note:
I like my Flip HD for most things video, but when it comes to really saturated light or low level light, it’s disappointing!  I need to save up for one of those little pro-sumer 3-chip digital video cameras.  Anyone got a suggestion on a model and make I should check out?

The Black Crowes, Riverwind Casino, Norman, OK

I saw the Black Crowes this last May at the Riverwind Casino in Norman, OK – as you know, Phish is reuniting for both a summer tour, and a run of shows at Hampton Coliseum, to which I have tickets, and will be attending!  I was running through footage of lighting designer Chris Kuroda’s work tonight, and realized I had taken some video of a few of the moments in the show. Chris has been lighting the Crowes, and doing a beautiful job.

If you’re Chris Kuroda and you’re reading – I have been trying to get through to you for an interview – would you be interested?