Aug 04, 2017 411

Chasing the Wind

Above: A windmill stands strong against a severe storm near Amarillo, Texas.

My name is Martin Lisius. I'm a cinematographer and filmmaker. For thirty years, I have specialized in capturing images of extreme weather, mostly in the Tornado Alley region of the US where I live. The images I am showing here were shot on a Sony a6300, a6500 and Sony PXW-FS7. These are the cameras I use to do most of my work.

The first storm photo I took was when I was 12 years old. It was a fat bolt of lightning I captured while shooting from the kitchen window of my parent's home in north Texas. That's when I fell in love with dramatic weather.

In the early 1990's I shot and produced several documentaries about severe weather and accumulated a sizable amount of quality footage. That's when TV and film producers around the world came to me to license material for their projects, which inspired me to create StormStock in 1993.

In the middle to late 1990's, I was involved in some fun projects including time as a technical adviser on the movie "Twister," a guest on "Oprah" and as a footage supplier and actor in a Chevy Trucks commercial titled "Storm Chaser." By 2000, folks were calling asking if I would take them storm chasing. That is when I founded Tempest Tours Storm Chasing Expeditions, along with William Reid and Chuck Doswell.

For the past four years, I've been filming my new documentary about storms. It's essentially a sequel to "The Chasers of Tornado Alley" which I produced in 1995. The main cameras for the new doc are the a6300, a6500 and PXW-FS7 with a Sony 18-110 f/4 cine zoom. They are reliable, flexible and fast. And, they hold up well in the extreme weather I work in.

The a6300 and a6500 make good B-cameras alongside the PXW-FS7. Both offer S-log video in 4K and match well in post-production. In addition to video, I use these two cameras to shoot stills for time-lapse. And, I purchased a camera cage so that I can mount them to a motion control device or to the hood of a car.

I've traveled thousands of miles to shoot the documentary capturing tornadoes, incredible supercell thunderstorms, and amazing lightning in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming and Iowa. I've filmed in heavy rain and blowing dust, have been bitten by the prairie biting fly, and was pelted by flying gravel more than once. But, that's part of the experience. I find it invigorating!

You can see some of these images in a 4-minute film I produced titled "Wakinyan."

Or watch "Tempestuous Skies," another short film I shot with Sony cameras.

You can follow me on my Vimeo channel.

Finally, if you are interested in the Sony 18-110mm f/4 G OSS cine zoom, please check out my review of this versatile lens.