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Meet the Sept. 'Stormy Weather' contest judge

Posted by Teresa Hanafin  October 18, 2010 08:28 PM

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Jim Reed

Just as professional weather photographer Jim Reed chases storms all over the country, I've been chasing him to be our judge for the September contest. He finally stopped to catch his breath in Montana, and right now is looking over your entries in the September contest with an eye to narrowing the 147 entries to a Final 25.

Don't doubt Jim's bona fides as storm photographer. That's him in the photo above, chasing a spectacular landspout tornado in western Kansas.

You can spend hours looking over his portfolio of storm images and wondering how the heck he captured those images. Passion, dedication, skill, and a lot of guts.

Jim Reed
According to his site, Jim was born in Albany, Georgia in 1961 and raised in Springfield, Illinois by his mother and grandmother. He attended the University of Southern California where he graduated with a bachelor of fine arts degree.

His career as a photographer has its roots in his childhood fascination with severe weather. In 1969, when Jim was 8 years old, he and his mother unwittingly drove through the outer bands of Hurricane Camille while returning from a family vacation to Florida. By age 11, Jim was shooting home movies of nature's wrath.

His professional career began as a filmmaker and writer in Los Angeles in 1983, shortly after his graduation from USC. For the first eight years of his career, Jim found himself writing everything from TV commercials and music videos to feature articles and motion pictures. His spec screenplay "Trouble on 162" was purchased by producer Norman Jewison and led to a two-year writing contract with Warner Bros. Pictures.

But despite his early success as a writer, Jim was drawn back to his childhood love of photographing storms. In 1992, he moved from Los Angeles to Wichita, Kansas, where he turned his camera once again on the sky.

Today, Jim is recognized as one of the world's most accomplished weather photographers for his one-of-a-kind images of America's changing climate. A full-time documentary and fine art photographer, he has spent nearly two decades capturing almost every type of meteorological phenomena - including tornadoes. He has documented 17 hurricanes, including Hurricane Katrina. In 2004, he penetrated the eye of all four major hurricanes to strike Florida.

Jim's approach to weather photography has been singled out as one of the most unique and interpretive amongst photographers today. His credits include America Online, Microsoft, National Geographic, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Nikon, The New York Times, Reader's Digest, Time Magazine, Discovery Channel, and the World Meteorological Organization. He has appeared live on every major American television network to discuss severe weather, storm chasing, and global warming.

Jim has written cover stories and feature articles about our changing weather for Scientific American, Popular Science, Weatherwise, and Men's Journal. He is author of the award-winning photo book, "Storm Chaser: A Photographer's Journey" (Abrams, New York). He is also co-author of the bestseller "Hurricane Katrina: Through the Eyes of Storm Chasers" (Farcountry Press; with Mike Theiss), and "The Wonders of Weather" (Farcountry Press).

Jim's work has been honored by Pictures of the Year International, Communication Arts, National Press Photographers Association, American Photography, Photo District News, American PHOTO, Applied Arts Magazine, New York Photo Festival, Prix De La Photographie Paris, Advertising Photographers of America, Editor & Publisher, and MSNBC Readers' Choice Picture of the Year. He has been invited as a guest speaker by a variety of organizations and universities.

He is currently traveling around the country, and encourages everyone to use a NOAA weather radio!

I'm so happy that someone of Jim's caliber agreed to judge our contest that this month, I'm giving copies of his Storm Chaser book to each of the top three finishers in addition to the gift cards.

Jim hopes to have his Final 25 choices to me on Tuesday. We'll post those for a couple of days, and then Jim will send me his Top 10 choices for posting later this week.

Good luck to everyone!

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