TeamTanner is an Aurora Borealis and storm chasing duo based in Alix. It is likely you have seen their photos on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media and weather websites. What you may not know is that Darlene and Theresa Tanner began their journey photographing the skies around 10 years ago snapping photos just like anyone else, on their iPhones.  

“When there was a storm around here, we would go out there and take pictures of it with our phones. Then, we kind of got into more photography, so we got a bigger camera like a DSLR,” said Theresa.  

They taught themselves how to use a DSLR camera through Youtube tutorials and guidance from a couple of their friends who are also into photography. Each year, they work to upgrade their equipment and knowledge.  

Both Darlene and Theresa work full time, and when there’s a night of active Auroras or storms it may mean they are going to work without any sleep.

“If we suspect there's going to be something, we'll set our alarms and check our phones to look out the door. If we see something we'll just go flying out the door.  In November, when we had that really nice (aurora) show, it was with the pinks and the reds. It was like four in the morning and Dar was getting ready for work. She looked out the door and they were right over the house. She woke me up and we both went opposite directions and she was late for work,” said Theresa laughing.  

They say you can catch the northern lights all year-long in Central Alberta but the displays are most vibrant in the spring and fall. In order to keep track of the northern lights, the Tanners make use of apps like Space Weather Live but also from word of mouth from aurora chasers from around the world.   

“We have a bunch of Aurora chasers from all around the world. We all talk to each other. We have a friend in Norway and he'll say ‘Okay, I see them.’ Then somebody in Scotland will say ‘Okay, I see them too.’ Then, somebody in New Brunswick will say ‘Okay I see them.’ It's like an oval and it goes around clockwise so it comes our way,” explained Theresa.  

Through Aurora Chasing, the pair have created a unique global network of friends who also enjoy the auroras and photography. 

Photo of menacing storm clouds

Photo courtesy of Theresa and Darlene Tanner. 

Storm chasing is a two-person job 

Storm chasing is a little bit different for the pair. There’s an element of danger to storm chasing that appears to be enticing to the pair.  

“Time just flies so fast too when you’re storm chasing,” said Theresa.  

“You’re not hungry and you don't even barely drink, and you're like just going,” added Darlene.  

They say storm chasing safely is a two-person job and it’s always important to have an escape route planned.  

“When we go, we're usually together. We both have different vehicles too, but we like to go together. Then, one can navigate the weather radar maps and where the roads are and where they're going to go. The other person is driving so that there's no distractions,” said Darlene.  

Despite the precautions they take, they have been caught up in some storms.

“I got caught in probably 120 kilometer hour, straight line winds by Cold Lake chasing a big storm and there was nothing I could do but just stop and wait it out… I was north of Cold Lake so there was nowhere else there you could go. I just kind of just hunkered down and hoped that nothing would hit the car and just waited it out. When it was all over, there were trees all over the place and it was pretty crazy, but I got some good pictures out there,” explained Darlene.

However, they say the goal of storm chasing is not to get caught up within the storm.

“We always try to stay on the edge. We don't like to get caught in the hail and all that unless it happens by accident. Normally, we always stay on the edge and stay away from it,” said Darlene.

“We like to take the pictures from afar because then it looks better,” added Theresa.

Their eye catching photography is not going unnoticed. Theresa won first prize in a Stettler County Photography Competition a few years ago. The pair have both had work in Canadian Geographic as well as sold work in Europe. 

You can check out their striking photographs and social media accounts below:

Theresa’s Instagram and Twitter

Darlene’s Instagram and Twitter

TeamTanner’s Facebook account

**All photos in this article are courtesy of Darlene and Theresa Tanner **