"I'm a dumb photographer that got into storm chasing"

(This is not Greg Johnson, but another storm chaser with a "life wish"!) (Image credit: Digital Camera World)

"My background is in photography. I'm a dumb photographer that got into storm chasing."

Since 2010, Greg Johnson has been a storm chaser. It's a pastime that led to him becoming a TV presenter, an author, a public speaker and a photography workshop leader on the subject of chasing tornados – or, indeed, hunting them, per the title of his TV show Tornado Hunters (which is streaming on Netflix). 

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However, the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to his tornado tours business and he is focusing on what got him started in the first place: the art of photography. 

"My real passion is photography and teaching, and so yeah, I'm teaching workshops," he said in an interview on the Mix 103 Morning Show, out of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada. 

Johnson leads photo adventure tours to locations like the Yukon and Nova Scotia, in-person workshops across Canada, as well as courses delivered online on how to use your camera. 

Watch video: The largest tornado Johnson ever witnessed

He remains best known, however, for his white-knuckle adventures as a death-defying storm chaser – though he insists that his habit of running towards tornadoes isn't because he has a death wish. "I have no death wish. I have a life wish. I do not want to leave this planet prematurely."

The Mix 103 interview offers a fascinating insight into what it's like to go from a mild-mannered photographer, who typically takes images from a very safe distance, to a tornado hunter who gets as close as possible. 

"It's the terror which keeps you alive honestly, because without that fear you would just drive into a tornado, theoretically," he said. 

"It's terrifying watching a tornado rip through a community. It's terrifying seeing a barn, a house, and vehicles being tossed in the air. Somebody's life is changing at that very moment, and it's a  terrifying thought."

We highly recommend listening to the full interview on Discover Moose Jaw, and checking out Johnson's photos, videos and workshops on his website

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out the best waterproof cameras, the best timelapse cameras and the best travel cameras

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.