Storm chasers hit Gympie to catch rare light show

NOT everybody is sick of the heat.

Sunshine Coast storm chasers Phil Staatz and Anthony Lombardi knew the conditions were ripe when a spectacular electrical storm headed towards Gympie last night.

The passionate chasers tracked north to capture some rare lightning crawlers cracking over Gympie from a newly-discovered spot at The Dawn.

In their first chase to Gympie the enthusiastic pair from Caloundra said they would drive up to 100km to chase a storm.

 

"Tonight was a bit of an adventure for us - dirt roads, dead ends - trying to find somewhere to shoot," Mr Staatz said.

"It's frustrating when you can see the lightning but can't find a good spot to shoot."

Navigating through unfamiliar country roads in the dark, the Sunshine Coast storm buffs were relieved to find the wide paddock on Dawn Rd framed by a weathered farm gate to shoot towards.

The pair have become a solid storm chasing team after finding themselves at the same storms around the Coast, and after each taking it seriously for 18 months have produced some incredible shots, including Mr Staatz's famous Mt Coolum lighting capture.

 

'Stormy Nights' was taken by Phil Staatz of Mt Coolum under fire last September.
'Stormy Nights' was taken by Phil Staatz of Mt Coolum under fire last September. Phil Staatz

"It's actually a fair bit of fun trying to predict where to be," Mr Lombardi said, the on-the-road navigator of the pair.

"We always try to predict to be next to the storm - not in front of it so we don't get hit by the rain," he said.

"You start to pick which way storms come form and the paths they'll take because of the current conditions and terrain."

The job involves late nights and chasing the unpredictable.

"My wife knows if she sees storms coming she rushes home because I'm out of there," Mr Lombardi said.

"There's a lot of late nights where you don't get any shots but we love it so it doesn't matter."

Sunshine Coast storm chasers Anthony Lombardi  and Phil Staatz camped out at Gympie on Wednesday night to capture the striking light show on camera.
Sunshine Coast storm chasers Anthony Lombardi and Phil Staatz camped out at Gympie on Wednesday night to capture the striking light show on camera. Frances Klein

But there are the incredible shots out of seemingly nothing.

"Sometimes you really surprise yourself with what you have captured," Mr Staatz said.

"The camera can capture a lot more light in detail than what the eye can - it's pretty amazing."

Follow Mr Staatz and Mr Lombardi on instagram at Phils_images and Fluid_images.

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