Capturing a Tornado as it Forms
On April 3, 2012 a series of tornadoes broke out across the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including an EF3 in Forney, Texas. Freelance designer and photographer Parrish Ruiz de Velasco, who says he never leaves home without his camera, was driving that day and witnessed one of the tornadoes first hand as it developed.
Knowing something ‘big’ was about to happen, Parrish began to document the experience, culminating in a shot that would not only be on the front page of major newspapers across the country, but would also be selected as one of TIME’s Top 10 Photos of 2012.
The image above is the first of 250 that Parrish would take. On his website thetexastornado.com, Parrish recounts that he saw some strange movement in the clouds and decided to pull over to grab a few shots.
Only a couple minutes after the first photo, the clouds appeared to be only 100 yards off the ground. Parrish knew something ‘big’ was coming.
After making visual contact with the tornado, it quickly disappears back into the cloud. Undeterred, Parrish decides to follow the storm cloud and all of a sudden the tornado reappears and Parrish begins to snap away.
The rain is intense, and Parrish is forced to put away the camera and focus on driving. After driving far enough north of the tornado he takes an exit and heads east in hopes of a closer look. Before he knows it, he’s in the direct path of the twister. Note the pedestrian on the left frozen in disbelief.
The tornado is now massive and getting bigger by the second. This shot gives you a sense of the power and might of a tornado.
This is the shot that would eventually go viral. After being hung up on by his local television station Parrish persists and emails the Dallas Morning News. They bring him in, and the next day Parrish’s incredible capture is everywhere online and on the front page of newspapers across the country. The full recount can be seen on thetexastornado.com
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