Ty Schmitt is a landscape photographer by profession, but his true passion is for the angry sky above.
For the past eight years, Schmitt has been chasing storms, a lifestyle many were first exposed to in the 1996 blockbuster Twister. The photographer spent the past five of those years closely tracking storms in the Midwest, and the three years before that shooting monsoon thunderstorms in Arizona.
“People come from around the world to chase storms in the Midwest as it produces the most photogenic storms in the world,” Schmitt tells me over email. “The Great Plains is the Mecca for storm chasing/storm structure and tornadoes.”
For anyone requiring proof as to whether this assessment is true, Schmitt has just released an 8K time-lapse video revealing some of the dark beauty he captured in the Great Plains during the 2019 spring storm season. (“One of the best seasons in recent history,” according to Schmitt.) From Darkness to Light is a love letter to the majestic, occasionally terrifying art-in-progress constantly churning above our heads, occasionally cohering into brief masterpieces. Schmitt recorded the swirling, shimmering, unfurling images in the video while traveling over 30,000 miles in the course of three months.
“Most people don’t realize that it can sometimes take upwards of 100,000 miles of chasing before you finally come across a storm that has perfect structure, awesome lighting, and produces a tornado,” Schmitt says.