DOWNTOWN — Barry Butler believes out of every negative, there's a positive.
The Chicago professional photographer takes that mindset with the wild May weather.
"Bad weather is great photography," he said. "I review weather reports throughout the day and when I see weather patterns changing bringing the Chicago area a storm, I feel like a kid at Christmas time."
Butler said this spring has brought a variety of interesting weather, which has led to some eye-popping photographs (see the slideshow above).
He said the tulips along Michigan Avenue bloomed a few weeks earlier than past years, and there have been days where a lack of winds have brought calmness along Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.
But he also said April and May have brought a "spring of extremes."
"Thick fog, high winds and lightning seem to be more prevalent than in previous springs," he said. "These are volatile weather times and Chicago is no stranger to that."
Butler said he and other experienced photographers take tremendous caution when out in the elements. His checklist involves many things outside of reviewing weather data.
"I let someone know where I am going and how long I will be there," he said. "I’m in weather-proof clothing from head to toe and have weather-proof covers for my gear."
He also stays away from water if there is lightning in the air.
"This is a mistake many people make," he said. "No one should be on the beach/lakeshore or in the lake when lightning is in the air."
He'll even plan an escape route if he's near the lake when winds are high.
"One doesn’t want to trip when escaping a big wave," he said. "And during storms, it’s a good idea to have a strong structure above your head for protection and remember that trees are not your friend. I have seen too many stories that remind me that Mother Nature wins when it’s her against us humans."