DeLay told BuzzFeed UK: “We got lucky… It took us eight hours to chase [the storm] down. We were a safe distance from the strikes, about 10 miles away – it looks closer than it was. We had about 10 minutes to get in, take the shot, and get out before the lightning, wind, and hail reached us.”
The weather photographer, who hails from Dallas, Texas, had been planning the outing for months. He says he always knew he wanted his family in the photo, preferably with a storm in the background.
Up to that point, DeLay had never chased storms with his family before. “The structure of this supercell was incredible,” DeLay told us. “We had amazing light and lightning far enough away that I felt comfortable enough to get my family outside for a family portrait. I’ve been photographing storms and lightning for years. My wife trusts my judgement.”
DeLay’s family portrait was the final photo in the five-year Clouds 365 Project, which saw him capture stunning shots of clouds every single day.
[The project] has taken me to places I never dreamed. It has drawn me into open fields where, awe-stricken, I’ve captured rare and wonderful phenomena – like supercells that produce grapefruit-size hail, anvil-crawler lightning, double rainbows, and every variety of clouds – with my lens.
I’ve never been struck by lightning. I have been in an electrical field several times, where your hair stands on end and you need to get indoors or inside a vehicle ASAP. I don’t go outside when there are positive cloud-to-ground lightning strikes close by. Do I fear it? I do have a healthy respect for lightning. I think it would be foolish not to.