10 February 2012

Chaser Profile: Michael Cochenet


1) What is your name and where do you live?

Michael Cochenet and I live in the town of Ottawa in SE Wisconsin.

2) Do you have a website or a brand name that people identify you as?

www. twistedmesophotography.com

3) What got you interested in weather?

I was once deathly afraid of severe weather. One day it flipped from a fear to an obsession

4) What is your favorite aspect of weather? 

The fact that weather is unpredictable in some ways and when you think you've figured it out, you're thrown a curve ball.

5) When did you first start chasing?


6) What do you see chasing as... a hobby or a business?

Chasing to me is a hobby and if someone wants to buy one of my prints that is just an added bonus.

7) Who do you credit for getting you into chasing and what have they done to further your career?

Bill Paxton! Actually I dont have anyone who really got me into chasing. My chasing branched off from my earlier fear of severe weather and I guess you could say it was my way of confronting something that caused a lot of mental turmoil as a child.

[8)] Do you have any chase partners?

I usually chase alone unless my brother or girlfriend wants to tag along.

9) What is your most successful chase?

8/12/2011, a supercell that was not a tornado producer but was my first "classic" supercell that I was able to watch the life cyle of a wall cloud from beginning to end.

10) What is your most terrifying moment?

Photographing lightning and having a bolt strike less than a half mile from where I was.

11) About how many tornadoes have you seen?

one or two funnel clouds but no tornadoes yet.

12) What do you think about people who chase for sales and the need to get up close and personal with Mother Nature?

Everyone chases for their own reasons. If they make money with it.. awesome, if they want to get as close as possible...go for it 

13) Describe your dream chase. 

South Dakota with an LP putting down twin monsters like the April 11th 1965 Palm Sunday tornadoes in Indiana.

14) What is your favorite set up to chase?

Being that I chase even regular thunderstorms, any setup that produces storms is my favorite.

15) Which state has brought you the most success? Least success?

Most success Wisconsin, Least Iowa (was 75 miles north of Parkersburg the day of that tornado)

16) Do you want to pursue a career in meteorology? Would you ever chase locally for a t.v station?

Already have..Graduated with a BS in Meteorology in 2009 and still trying to find a job in the field. If any of the stations would open something like that in my area I totally would jump at the chance.

17) What do you see chasing as being like in 5-10 years?

Honestly I think in 10 years if you are not streaming video or building some sort of armored intercept vehicle, you'll be the outsider.

18) Despite all the deaths and destruction in 2011, are you looking forward to chasing in 2012 knowing you can run into a Tuscaloosa or Joplin?

Yes I am. 2011 was a very active year in very populated areas but I understand that death and destruction comes along with those kind of situations. Knowing that, I do not let that get in the way of me enjoying the chasing that I do.

19) Is there any point in time where you had no desire to chase anymore? What caused that and what gave you the power to move on.

Not that I had no desire to chase anymore but after the lightning bolt that was less than a half mile away I did not go out for a few days while my odds of getting hit by lightning were reset.

20) How long do you plan on continuing chasing?

Until Michael D Cochenet is carved into a granite or marble slab.

21) Outside of chasing, what do you like to do?

I mountain bike when I can and am an avid photographer. Starting in the next few weeks will be starting to build a 12 inch Truss Dobsonian telescope.

22) What kind of music do you like to listen to on the chase or in general?

I listen to 94.1 WJJO which is a Madison rock station. I can tolerate most music but rock - heavy metal is my music of choice.

23) What is your favorite professional and college sports team?

New Orleans saints (been a fan since 6th grade) and the Badgers (gotta be a fan of one team in my state)

24) Do you have a family or pets?

I am the middle child. My brothers are 19 and 34 (I am 29 at the present time). I have had an Iguana as a pet for the last 17 years and have had dogs (black and yellow labs) as the family pet all my life.

25) Tell me 3 things that someone outside of chasing may not know you for.

My obsession with the color blue, I am a southpaw that can drive stick and I would drop $10,000 on a Hyacinth Macaw if I could.

26) If you have kids or plan on having them... would you like to involve them in your chasing?

Yes I would but I'm not going to force them into it.

27) Do you have a job and what do you do?

right now I am a courier for a medical lab. I drive around blood, pee and sometimes poopey.

28) How do you feel about people who say they chase tornadoes for the sole purpose of saving lives?

That has become such a cookie cutter respose for people. No one is out just to save lives..I think they just dont want to admit that all they want to do is get super close and need an excuse why they are doing it.

29) If there was one event in history that you wish you were around for to chase, what would it be?

The F4 tornado that went through Wales WI back in 84...I was 2 at the time so technically I was around but would have loved to see it.

30) Do you only chase severe weather or do you chase hurricanes and winter weather as well?

Since I live in WI I dont chase hurricanes (although I would like to one day). but I chase everything from winter weather to severe weather.

31) Do you go to a college or university, if so, what do you major in?

Graduated in 09 with a BS in Meteorology from Northland College in Ashland Wisconsin.

32) What do you expect in 2012?

I am hoping this year is a good lightning year. Being where I am and not being able to get out too far I have taken to photographing lightning. I am also looking forward to Dec 21st 2012, Ill enjoy my one day of being 30 while waiting to see if the 22nd shows up.

What Michael has to say:

I love chasing storms and photographing lightning. I do not let it take over my life as I have many other things I enjoy doing. There will always be another storm, another tornado, another lightning bolt so I dont feel bad if there is a storm that I miss because more than likely Ill see it on Facebook or Youtube a day or two later. 

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