Contributor’s Note: This is just a little getting to know section involving the contributors at Madness To Creation. Here we have Will Wight. Will is a meteorologist out of Norman, Oklahoma and he’s also a photographer for the site. He’s photographed the likes of In Flames, Steel Panther and Skillet. He’s also a storm chaser. His work has been featured on ABC World News, with the tornado that leveled Rochelle, Illinois. This is just a little Q & A to get to know him. Fans can check out his socials and his work at the following locations:
Noah: What is the highest category of tornado that you’ve encountered?
Will: The highest category of tornado that I’ve ever encountered was an EF-4 tornado in northern Illinois. It was actually my first tornado, believe it or not, it was in Rochelle. I actually got interviewed by ABC World News for that, that was the video that they captured from a storm chase of mine.
Noah: How close have you been to being sucked up by a tornado?
Will: *laughs* There was one time in one of my storm chases where my buddy wasn’t paying attention to where the system or the storm was going and if we would’ve stayed where we were for probably another five or so minutes, we were likely going to get hit by it, I don’t know if we would be sucked up or not, but we got within 200 yards of a tornado that was touching down. That was definitely a lot closer than I wanted to be.
Madness To Creation: Give me a day in the life of what you do as a meteorologist.
Will: My day starts at 7 AM and it either goes to 7 PM or 7 PM to 7 AM, we do 12 hour shifts here at my office, usually it starts off with a briefing on what the previous night was like, and depending on either night or day shift, the tasks might be different, but I’ll stick with the day shift just to make things easier. On a day shift, a lot of what we do is first check on all of our clients all over the world, we usually have four people on a shift, so we each break up our tasks differently. We have someone that does marine checks, which is checking on all of our marine clients all over the world, to check to make sure that there’s not any storms impacting them, any high waves, any high seas or any high winds. We also have someone that checks our winter weather so that our clients all across the United States, to check those issues for alerts. Two inches is the minimum for snow or more, so we check to make sure that there’s not any winter impacts for our clients across the United States, and then we have a separate person who checks our event staff and our event clients. For instance, checking out a concert or a football game, if they have any impacts for wind. Usually, our minimum requirement for wind is 35, so if there is a wind gust of 35 or more, we’re going to alert our clients of those impacts for that day.
Then, throughout the day, we will keep on checking those clients throughout the day as well as completing different tasks as far as severe weather, if there’s severe weather going on throughout the week. There’s two times during the day shift we’ll update our clients to severe weather, whether it’s during that day or over the next three days, so they have a heads-up and they can plan for it, and then we’ll also do excessive rain outlooks, so if there’s a chance for rain, our clients can plan for that. Later on, we’ll prepare products or our shipping industry, so we’ll do transit for for those all across the world. We’ll fill our forecasts for them for usually the next five to seven days, along their route so they can do their transit, and then we also do tropical weather usually in the second half of the shift. For instance, there’s a tropical storm that’s just off of Northwest Australia, we’re forecasting for that as we speak, hopefully to give Australia some much needed relief from their wildfires.
Madness To Creation: Did you ever see some of that footage from those Australian wildfires?
Will: I’ve seen some crazy images, there was actually a video this morning from Good Morning America, the images coming out from there are just unreal. I’ve heard that these wildfires are worse than the California wildfires and worse than the Amazon wildfires combined.
Madness To Creation: Do you think all of that has to do with climate change?
Will: It’s a mix of a bunch of different things, I’m not quite sure what they did for prepping for it. For instance, in the United States, a lot of times we’ll do those prairie burns, which are preventative measures to prevent wildfires. I’m not sure if they do that over in Australia, but I do know for sure that it’s been very dry down there, they haven’t gotten rain in a long time, so I’m sure that contributed to a lot of it, which I’m sure is then related to climate change. Unfortunately, I’m not the biggest climate person, but climate change is definitely a huge impact that we have to deal with.
Madness To Creation: Anything else you want to add in terms of your meteorology?
Will: It’s an amazing profession! If anyone is interested in it, I would highly recommend looking into it more. It does involve a lot of science and a lot of math, but even if you’re not good at it, I was not good at math, I was not good at science, don’t give up, keep trying and you’ll get through it, just take time to put in a little extra effort, but it’s a good career to go into. Every day I wake up and I’m living a dream, I’m forecasting all around the world from anything from severe weather to marine to tropical for the world’s biggest forecasting firm, so it’s amazing!
Trevor: How did you get your photography website going?
Will: I’ve been bouncing around between a few websites over the years. I started out with Wix, which I was able to make a free account with, there’s a free platform to start out with if you want a free website. I then upgraded to Zenfolio, that’s who my new website is with. I like Zenfolio because they offered an option for being able to sell prints, and they made a lot of different options for selling prints, so that’s why I went to the newest platform, they more made it for me. This costs a lot more, but it gave me a lot more different resources to use to get my photos and my company out there a little bit better and a little bit faster.
Madness To Creation: What’s your favorite thing to do about your photography?
Will: That’s a good question! Being the meteorologist that I am, I love shooting landscapes, I love shooting severe weather, I’m hoping to go storm chasing down in Texas. I love that kind of stuff, but it does get a little bit boring after awhile doing the same thing over and over again. More recently, I’ve been trying to mix it up by trying to do more portraits, concert photography, macro shots and nature shots. For me, I try to give myself a mental challenge, I try to test myself, I try new things, and I did film photography for a while, which was really fun, for film photography you just don’t take a shot and delete it, once you take your shot, that’s it. What I liked about film photography was that I challenged myself to take the best photo every time because you only have roughly 25 photos on a film roll, so once you’re done with that, you’re done, you can’t redo it, so that challenged me to try to capture my best photos every time the first time. For me, it’s just trying to challenge myself, try to get out there and try to do new things.
And there you have it! Check out www.wwightphotography.com for some amazing photos!