Photographer Mitch Dobrowner is known for his artistic storm photography. His black and white images elevate extreme weather to fine art and his latest photo is no exception. Vortex No. Duae is a stunning photograph of a tornado vortex touching down in South Dakota. Dobrowner has expertly captured the incredible, elegant shapes that form the powerful storm.
To achieve a photo like this—as is often the case with storm photography—it's all about patience. This particular image came toward the end of what was an uneventful chase. Dobrowner had brought his 17-year-old son for an adventure with expert storm chaser Roger Hill and their day was winding down when they saw a supercell forming nearby.
“We eventually caught up to a newly formed supercell which began to drop a series of tornados,” the photographer tells My Modern Met. “The image Vortex No. Duae was captured towards the end of that day. I watched as the outermost shell clouds of the tornado unwove revealing its core underneath. But to be honest, the best part of that day was that my son had an experience with me he will always remember.”
It's a sweet sentiment that shows how often photographs can have a special, hidden meaning for the photographer. Whenever Dobrowner looks at the image, he'll be reminded of the time he spent with his son. And, at the same time, the public can observe it as an artistic documentation of Mother Nature.
Certainly, this isn't the first tornado that Dobrowner has captured. So we were curious about what challenges one faces when looking to photograph something of this magnitude. “It's such a surreal sight,” he admits. “Their stature and prominence always overwhelm and amaze me. Each one is so different and individual. The biggest challenge is to stay focused, to remain calm and ‘see' as a photographer…. to be patient as the light, composition and various other elements are constantly changing. To wait for the right moment—if there ever is a right moment.”
While Dobrowner realizes how destructive storms can be, he hopes that people will gain a new admiration for them through his work. And while he acknowledges that most people are interested in hearing how “scary” it was to take these photos, he's more interested in evoking the emotion he feels while standing in front of these creations of nature.