|A tornado touches down May 19th, 2013 near Elmore, Kansas|
The joy one obtains from creating photographs can't be lost in the persuasive power photography has to push forth ideas. Adams used his marvelous prints of the Sierra's as a tool to convince lawmakers in Washington that wilderness needed protection. Certianly, it was easier and more cost effective sending prints to persuade members of Congress than to take the long journey to the mountains of California to witness the wilderness on their own. Let's face it, that could've backfired. What if it rained or snowed the whole time? Sending beautiful prints was a brilliant idea.
I've been lucky to be able to participate in a similar circumstance here in my own regional neighborhood. Wisconsin resident and wilderness advocate Martin Hansen loved the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. The archipelego of 21 islands is designated as a National Lakeshore and is managed by our National Parks. Hansen loved these islands and wanted to prevent any further development from compromising their wilderness status. Hansen hired writer Jeff Rennicke and myself to do a book on the Apostle Islands. Hansen then took copies of the book to Washington D.C. to use just as Adams had, as a vehicle to persuade lawmakers to protect the islands.
Today many of my peers are working on projects to further their photography but also use their work as a voice for change. James Balog's incredible film CHASING ICE, documenting the receding glaciers of the world, Karen Kuehn is working on protecting our waters, Daniel J. Cox is documenting the rapidly changing arctic. Personally, I'm very interested in global warming and the effects it's having on weather patterns especially here in the Midwest.
Over the last decade I've experienced warmer winters here and our summers are producing more violent storms, especially those involving straight-line winds. Those selective and damaging storms have tripled in numbers in recent years. The issue of global warming is indeed controversial. The debate over its causes shifts constantly between science and politics. However, the bottom line is, it's happening. A warmer planet is changing our weather.
|Rain released over Oklahoma/Texas border|
|Green color indicates hail inside super cell storm, Oklahoma|
This May, 2013, coverage continued by joining Melanie Metz, a veteran storm chaser/educator based in Minneapolis. We followed storms in Tornado Alley in both Kansas and Oklahoma. A few of those images can be seen here. Photography is such a valuable tool in educating people in an instant. A good caption carries the purpose one step further.
|Wall Clouds forming near Elmore City, Oklahoma|