South End Storm ChaserAugust 24, 2017 7:28 am
When dark clouds creep toward Uptown, most of Charlotte heads for cover. Instead of heading inside, photographer Lewis Norman is grabbing his gear and making his way to the highest point possible, often to the rooftops or the top decks of parking garages.
Even if you’re not familiar with the Instagrammer @normthestorm5, you’ll likely recognize Norman’s stunning skyline photos that are shared on popular Charlotte accounts. Sharp-eyed South Enders may recognize the view from Norman’s photos as the view from atop South End apartment complex The Ashton.
“The vast majority of my pictures are from either the rooftop area that faces out looking at the city or the back parking deck looking down the Light Rail Trail toward the Dilworth and industrial side,” says Norman.
With almost every big storm in Charlotte, a photo from Norman appears afterwards, showing the skyline or other neighborhoods with clouds rolling in, rain pouring down, or lightning bolts reaching down toward the city. Norman, who also snaps pics of the Queen City on sunny days, first got into photography while he was living in Asheville.
“I ended up winning a Nikon Coolpix at a work conference,” says Norman. “It’s pretty hard to take a bad picture in Asheville.”
Norman moved from Asheville to South End ten and half years ago and began getting more serious about photography after his wife got him a new Nikon as a Christmas gift. When Norman got into photography, he really enjoyed photographing storms. However, his Instagram handle and nickname had been around for years.
“My nickname in college was Stormin’ Norman.”
When storm season rolls around, Norman is ready with his go-to weather resources, including local meteorologists, the weather channel and an array of websites to keep him in the loop.
“I’ve gotten really into looking at the weather. Sometimes I’ll just get lucky but I monitor it very closely in the summertime,” he says.
Once a storm is near, Norman is ready to make his way to one of his go-to spots, watching the storm to see if the clouds get too close and he needs to run inside.
Norman’s favorite storm moment wasn’t marked by spectacular lightning, the sunset over the skyline or the intense rain pouring down. Instead, it was meeting his neighbor and now friend Nick Rend, whose photography he knew from Instagram.
“I had been following him for about a year at this point and then there was this crazy storm last July and we both ran up on the roof – only two people dumb enough to run up on the roof in a lightning storm – and took pictures for an hour,” says Norman. The two had lived across the hallway from each other but had never actually met.
“That was probably the most memorable for making a good friend out of it and someone who has taught me a lot about photography” he says.
To see more photos from Norman follow @normthestorm5 on Instagram here.