The eye of the storm

By Wang Qian | China Daily | Updated: 2022-04-13 08:05
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A supercell evolves into a squall line in Hulunbuir, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, taken by photographer Liu Yijing in August 2020. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Young photographer chases his dream of darkening clouds and gathering tempests as he pursues the majesty of nature, Wang Qian reports.

When storm clouds gather, and the wind howls in anger, the natural reaction for most people is to seek shelter. But some run toward the danger. Photographer Liu Yijing is one of that rare breed, as he captures and frames nature's wrath.

For the past year, Liu, 21, has traveled about 24,000 kilometers across 11 provincial-level administrative regions in China, chasing and recording thunderstorms. From the first signs-a stronger breeze developing into a gale, a turbulent sky, and birds fleeing-he prepares for what appears to be a daunting task. In 2021, he took more than 48,000 time-lapse photos, showing Mother Nature at her most violent.

Liu has received a great deal of recognition for his work. His photos captured a complete supercell structure that occurred in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region on Aug 22. The image has been picked as the cover photo for the May edition of Advances in Atmospheric Sciences, a key publication in its field.

"It is a typical supercell and I still have a vivid memory about how thrilled I felt the moment it formed. While recording, I couldn't control myself and kept screaming," he says, adding that the picture and video have gone viral on the internet, even among meteorologists.

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