The Storm Chasing Photographic Adventures of Mike Hollingshead

Curators’ Corner

The Storm Chasing Photographic Adventures of Mike Hollingshead

Many of you might remember this viral photo of ominous storm clouds approaching the Statue of Liberty during Hurricane Sandy. While the superimposed image was decidedly fake, the background itself was indeed real – it was a Nebraska storm shot by Mike Hollingshead.

“It’s been a pain, but I guess it also helped spread my name,” Hollingshead told Raw File.

Hollingshead, 37, lives in Blair, Nebraska and shoots storms for a living. He’s self-taught, both in meteorology and photography, and has been chasing storms for more than a decade. He told Raw File that he clocks about 20,000 miles a year in his Mitsubishi Eclipse.

The job is a crapshoot. Often he comes away with amazing shots, but other times he runs himself into exhaustion with nothing to show for his time and energy.

“I’ve driven eight hours only to get out there and have nothing happen,” he told Raw File. “And then all I have in front of me is eight more hours of driving home because I don’t want to waste money on a hotel.”

Hollingshead grew up in Nebraska and was always fascinated by the severe storms that rip through the Midwest every spring and summer. His first chase landed him face-to-face with a tornado in Iowa, an experience that got him hooked and eventually led him to pursue a full-time storm chasing career.

Running parallel to Hollingshead’s adventurous life out on the field is the circulation of his images online. Prior to the Sandy image, his 2004 photos from a Nebraska storm were mislabeled as a storm in Texas, and then later mislabeled again as Hurricane Katrina.

It’s certainly a crazy life for Mike Hollingshead. Check out a few of his images below, and click here to see his full portfolio.

Images © Mike Hollingshead