“Keep your focus on your passion in life and the things you enjoy doing. You’ll get there. Trust me. I’m doing it.” -Tim Samaras
Why do I pursue tornadoes?
They put me in my place.
Nature invokes our most primal instincts. I believe that we were meant to face it, but be powerless against it. We can adapt to it, but ultimately we are forced to realize that our strength is limited when all we can do is watch it mercilessly tear apart the world we created.
They make me feel powerful.
Tornadoes put the human-nature relationship into perspective for me, and there is nothing quite like putting yourself face-to-face with them. They bring out of me my power, but also a demanded deference to theirs. It’s fun to play with this feeling; in a world where we create our own power structures, seldom do we get to feel like we are truly powerless.
They make me feel powerless.
Every time I venture out in expectation of witnessing violent nature, at some point it hits me. For a moment I choke. I break. I place myself in the shoes of the people whose houses we’re passing and force myself to feel their fear – all of it. I recognize I am safe, or can easily route myself to safety. But for them I’m uncertain. I know what uncertainty feels like, and I know they feel it too. But at the same time I’m certain that my intuition has brought me here to feel this all, and to maybe catch a glimpse of what brings these feelings out.
They don’t have to be feared.
But when I do get to face this timeless nightmare responsible for taking so many of us from our world, I get to show it I’m not afraid. Instead of running, instead of hiding, I can stand tall in an open field just passively observing its every move. I am free to analyze it, feel it, and capture it.
My passion for understanding the way storms profoundly touch our lives is channeled through my photography here. With my work I attempt to give you a glimpse of what creates your instinctual fear, what emotions it makes me feel at the time, and what emotions I feel empathetically from the environment around me. All while also showing you how beautiful this can be.
-Cameron J. Nixon
Texas Tech University, Atmospheric Science Group
Valparaiso University, Meteorology ’17