Twisted Off

by Kelly Landrum

twisted off seeking critique kelly landrum

Gallery: Clover, SC: An Afternoon in May

Tags: seeking critique

Category: Journalism

Exif Information:
Make : Canon
Model : Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Date Time Original : 2011-05-15 18:00:24
Focal Length : 100/1
Shutter Speed Value : 1/1024
Exposure Time : 1/1000
Aperture Value : 8.0
F Number : 8.0
Iso Speed Ratings : 1600
Flash : 16
Metering Mode : 3
Orientation : 1
X Resolution : 72.0000000
Y Resolution : 72.0000000
Software : Adobe Photoshop CS4 Windows

Published: Wednesday 1st of June 2011 05:13:55 PM


Arthur Plumpton

Quite apart from the cause of the damage, the appearance of the broken section of the tree is unusual and of some beauty, with the appearance of the linear elements of the wood structure after having been twisted and the flayed portion at the top which resembles a rooster's comb. 


Impressive example of the power of nature. Although we who live above the 49th tend to think sometimes that we are hard done by with our winter snowstorms, they are really very small beer in comparison with the hundreds of destructive tornadoes and humid heat that our friends in the south have to endure. Happily, modern communication and detection technology can reduce the dangers to those in the affected areas.  

Landrum Kelly

Thank you, Mike.  Even the direction of the rotation--counter-clockwise as viewed from above--can be verified here, since this section tapered down toward the small end that was the top of this tree.  I was very happy with this shot, since there were some who said that the damage was done by straight-line winds.  The devastation in some areas was too total to support that as a likely hypothesis.  In addition, debris was in one case wrapped around a telephone pole.

I have no idea at what height above the ground this was twisted off, nor how far it was carried.  I have seen the path of a tornado (1992 or 1993) where most of the trees were snapped off about ten feet above the ground, on the average--but those were pines, whereas this appears to be a hardwood, possibly a red oak.  I am not sure.  Such trees do not easily snap off. 

When I drove into Hurricanes Camille (1969), Agnes (1972), and Eloise (1975), I saw plenty of trees down afterwards (and sometimes during), but not, to my recollection, any twisted trees.


Diane Hooper

I like this.  I think a crop of just the center of the tree would give an interesting abstract, too.


Mike Palermiti


Nice work with your equipment and settings.

This image documents the rotary power of the tornado well.

Regards,  Mike

Landrum Kelly

Thanks, Jamie.  Here is another angle.


Landrum Kelly

Looks more like a sweet gum than an oak.


Jamie Kraft

i didn't realise the winds would be locally circular.  i thought that phenomenon would be in a fairly small area.  it's been such a terrible year for tornadoes.  my parents are finally getting to use their custom-built storm room.

Jamie Kraft
Good Choices

Nice macro lens.  good choice of aperture.  the sharp bit is absolutely sharp and the blurry bit is well into the blurry zone.  interesting that it's a kind of forensic picture.  best, j

Landrum Kelly

Well, Jamie, I am glad that your parents are safe.  Being from Oklahoma yourself, you know full well that it is right in in the middle of Tornado Alley.

Luckily for the little town of Clover, SC, this was a relatively weak funnel that bounced and skipped right across town, doing damage here and there.  A big one taking that path would have taken a good bit of the town.

But, yes, the trees top will spin under a funnel.  I had a couple of near misses myself while chasing them in Texas--but I never saw the funnels, nor got pictures of them.  I did see an entire thunderstorm with a very sinister wall cloud rotating in front of me as I was driving out from Wichita Falls to Sheppard AFB (just eleven miles from the Red River and Oklahoma!) back in 1986.  It passed, I taught my graduate seminar, and then I went back home to W.F.


Jamie Kraft

Chasing the puppetmaster.

Landrum Kelly
Twisted Off Tornado damage in Clover, SC--comments welcome.


Next Image >>