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                   Thursday, September 25, 2014 11:01PM CST

Work intervals

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Chasing
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Now that I'm off of Facebook, I figure I need to get back to posting a little more regularly on here. The past month has been a whirlwind of work and storm chasing travels, with at least 5,000 miles put on my car since mid-August. That hasn't left any time to think up anything to blog about, much less sit down and type something out.

The reason I've been so busy is that while storm chasing occasionally pays for itself, it doesn't do much to help me with making a normal living. My real job is in web development and internet multimedia. I've very rarely stayed at a full-time 9-to-5 job very long, only doing that when absolutely necessary. I've opted for a contract and/or hourly employment arrangements with multiple companies to build and manage web sites. That has generally worked out nicely so far. I can usually work from home and be free to take off whenever the weather says it's time to go.

The only drawback with my career choice is that it is full of ups and downs, it's not a steady paycheck. Therefore, when the times come when there is a lot of work available, I usually take as much as I can to add a margin of safety for the leaner months. This is especially true when the opportunities present themselves during slower times of year for severe weather (like now). So, I've been hitting the gas pretty hard on multiple fronts since mid August, all while maintaining coverage of St. Louis severe weather. It's a lot of work - many days I finish with one 8-hour contract workday, then spend the afternoon/evening on a second job. There is very little time for relaxation, hobbies or anything else during intervals like this. Overall, I probably put in more work hours per year than the average 9 to 5 person does. But, it's all worth it to maintain the lifestyle of freedom I have and love. When the next big severe weather outbreak looms, I don't have to worry about getting approval for days off.

Having said all that, I hope it makes a little more sense why I get so upset about copyright infringement. I work hard to be able to do all of this - not just to capture the images themselves, but also 'behind the scenes' at my main career. A lifestyle that even allows for the pursuit of these photography goals *at all* requires work far beyond going out and shoot the images! I have to arrange my life and career to be able to do all of this. If less people stole my images, I'd have less hours to put in dealing with issuing takedowns and searching for stolen copies. If just a few of those infringers would instead pay me a fair price for the image they used (and most of them certainly can afford it), I wouldn't have to put in as many of those afternoon/evening work hours in. It's really infuriating to see someone benefit from my images and not give me anything in return, all while I'm here burning the candle at both ends to make it all happen. Anyway, that's enough of that, as I know some are tired of hearing me rant about copyright issues.

So, on to some weather and travel topics. I am watching a potential severe weather day in the Midwest that models show for Wednesday or Thursday of next week as an upper trough swings through. Any time we get more than 20 knots of flow over half-decent instability here in the Midwest, it's a chase day - particularly in the cooler season months when lapse rates are typically better (thanks to cooler air aloft). This event is still too far out to nail down, but it's worthy of eagerly checking each new model run.

One of my current on-site contract jobs has been in West Virginia. This might allow for some decent fall foliage runs in the mountains, as well as some icy road coverage at my former locations. So far, the weather in both WV and STL has been quiet, and I've not had time available for any photo excursions - so forgive the lack of any images in this post. There just hasn't been anything interesting lately that I've had any time to shoot.

That's about it for now. I'll try to do another post or two about the upcoming chase potential if it continues to look interesting.

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