David Hoadley began chasing storms as a teenager on a summer night in 1956 in Bismarck, N.D.
"I still remember the broken power lines in wet grass that night, snapping and jumping in the air with bright sparks like flashbulbs, illuminating darkened homes and toppling trees in a ghostly light," said Hoadley, of the Falls Church area.
So began a hobby as "a self-taught weather enthusiast" that led to U.S. Postal Service officials recently choosing one of Hoadley's storm photos to be displayed on a "Cloudscapes" sheet of 15 stamps featuring nine cloud formations taken by amateur and professional sky photographers. Meteorologists across the country are using the stamps to educate the public about atmospheric science. The stamps, issued last month, include information about each cloud.
Hoadley, 61, who has lived in the Falls Church area since 1970, took the photograph of the cumulonimbus mammatus clouds in 1971 in northeast Kansas. His car got stuck in mud, so he missed shooting photographs of tornadoes. But after a farmer pulled the car out of a ditch with a tractor, Hoadley got back on the road and drove until he saw the anvil cloud canopy overhead and the thunderheads turning gold in the setting sun.