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Storm chaser Jordan Cantelo a traveller of Australia's outback to frame the perfect photograph

Chris Lewis, Monday November 6, 2017 - 12:29 EDT
Audience submitted image
Timing is crucial says Mr Cantelo, but also admits there is a "fair amount of luck". This photo is taken at Dowerin, in WA. - Audience submitted

Jordan Cantelo travels hundreds of kilometres to some of the most remote places in Australia, all to capture the perfect storm.

Mr Cantelo lives in Perth and relies on weather prediction apps to show him where storms are developing in time for him to drive there.

"Every storm is so unique and different and I just appreciate and admire how the weather builds up and creates this raw energy."

Peace at the storm's heart

"I don't know what it is but it allows me to reset in a funny sort of way," Mr Cantelo said.

"It's a hard thing to describe but I just find peace out there."

Capturing storms has risks

Mr Cantelo has experienced a few scary moments in his pursuit of the perfect storm, including lightning strikes close to his car.

But he said the experience is "totally" worth the risk.

"Some people like racing cars or jumping out of aircraft, or going surfing," he said.

"I can't get enough of sitting out there in the Wheatbelt or in the Australian outback, watching these clouds form into mighty storms as they flick out lightning, gusty winds, heavy rain and hail.

"I can't think of much better, it's just sensational and I love doing it.

"I love to watch the storms build up, to be there physically and witness the force of nature. Having my camera with me lets me share the sheer enormity of the experience."

From travelling the world to shooting storms

A world traveller in his 20s, Mr Cantelo came home with a bag full of eye-capturing photographs and the reaction from family and friends encouraged him to pursue landscape photography further.

Today however, capturing storms is his passion.

"Overseas some countries boast about having big mountains; over here in Western Australia, we have big clouds," he said.

Managing a storm-chasing life

Mr Cantelo does have a full time job — a fire officer for the WA Government — but full-time storm chasing would be a dream come true.

Until that happens, he shares his images on social media including Instagram, where he has over 20,000 followers.

"The main reason I share my images is to show how diverse Western Australia's Wheatbelt is," Mr Cantelo said.

"This is probably just not broadcast around the place because we just don't have the population like those other bigger areas."

Having time to chase storms is vital, and Mr Cantelo said having a spouse who understands his obsession helps.

"Irene is fantastic and she supports me in what I love to do," he said.

"She understands how important it is me to get out and reset — I suppose she knows that she'll get a happy husband at the end of it."

Together, they are raising Jacob, their two-year-old son, who Jordan hopes will be able to come out storm chasing with him when he's older.

"It will be one of those things you know, when a father and a son can hang out together doing something like storm chasing."

Showing the scale of storms

Mr Cantelo tries to compose his photos so that the scale and magnitude of the storm he's shooting is obvious.

"If I can put a tree, a house, or a person in the photo, you can generally get the scale of the storm and how large the lightning bolt is and the rain shafts that come down," he said.

One of his photos composed on that principle shows a windmill surrounded by dramatic storm clouds and lightning bolts; the shot won Silver Distinction award in the Science, Wildlife and Wild Places category at the 2017 Australian Professional Photography Awards.


© ABC 2017

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