Since childhood, I have always been fascinated with severe weather. The raw power of Mother Nature and our atmosphere, I always found, to be awe-inspiring of how our planet works above the surface. Being the science geek I am (haha), I took it upon myself to study the weather in my spare time...both by reading university textbooks, and learning to make basic, accurate predictions by monitoring the clouds, wind, barometric pressure, etc. Childhood friends used to call me and ask if we were getting a storm. In 2004 I completed my diploma program in professional photography, opened Frozen Memories by Vera, and decided to include severe weather photography in my photographic adventures. I decided one day, I was going to eventually make a trip down to the southern plains of the USA. I wanted to witness a tornado...Ontario does get tornadic activity, but nothing like the southern plains. I joined several Facebook groups 2 years ago that were dedicated to storm images from chasers in the plains, and all over the globe. My first long exposure of lightning over Lake Huron (where I'm originally from), I posted on several of those pages. Indeed I was very proud of that image!
A fellow storm chaser from the southern plains, Jesse Post, saw my image and sent me a friend request on Facebook. I viewed his images shortly afterward, and was immediately drawn to his timeless imagery and his beautiful spirit. Although we never spoke for over a year after we became Facebook friends, Jesse became an inspiration to me in many ways. I continuously enjoyed reading his Facebook posts with his fantastic imagery, and reading about his amazing storm chasing adventures.
In October 2016, over a year after we became Facebook friends, we spoke for the very first time. Almost right away, I developed a crush on him...but I never told him. "I am all the way in Canada, 1200 miles away...it can't possibly happen", I told myself. So I kept quiet about my secret crush. We continued to converse about photography, websites, and severe weather for about a month. Then it slipped...he had a crush on me, too! We began to chat on the phone and FaceTime, and the beginning of a beautiful relationship began. I did make my way down to meet him, and attended the Chasercon storm chasing convention with him in Denver, Colorado. Upon meeting, we knew right away we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We just "knew". I made my way back down in March, and then again in April, where I decided to use the full 6 months allowed stay in the USA. We decided one day, we would love to open an exhibit together, provide timeless imagery, and storm education to the public to help protect lives. This is our goal as a couple, to provide the public with an invaluable service. Our unity, in both aspects, is perfectly flawless in every way.
One problem...I had to come back here to Canada just before my 6-month permitted time in the USA expired. Needless to say, neither of us are coping well...personally and professionally, this is extremely difficult for both of us. And that is an understatement.
In order for us to make this dream come true, personally and professionally, the immigration process involves a lot of time, paperwork, and $7,000 in immigration attorney fees and government processing fees. Although we are both working very, very hard toward the monetary goal, it has been suggested to start a GoFundMe to aid in these costs that need to be paid upfront in order to begin this process. Being a believer in giving back, I chose to refrain from using a GoFundMe. Instead, I have set up a fundraiser through our online store here. The FUNDRAISER page, found in the menu, is where you can choose an amount to donate. As a thank you, I am giving everyone who donates a high-resolution image of my work. The image is full size and 300 dpi. It can be used for personal (make prints for your home or office), or for business/educational purposes. *there is some technical difficulty with the digital download function which appears after the donation is made, so I am e-mailing everyone their image once the donation is made; it is emailed the same day*
Jesse and I thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts in being a part of this journey. We cannot wait to give back for the next 25 years or more, once we are able to reunite permanently. Much love and endless hugs to you all. And pleased take a moment to view his site at www.wickedstorms.com, and follow him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thestormstalker13