Little Bits of History

First Tornado Photograph

Posted in History by patriciahysell on August 28, 2010

First photograph of a tornado

August 28, 1884: Near Howard, South Dakota a tornado is photographed for the first time. The process of taking photographs came to the public in 1839 and was named as such by Sir John Herschel. The first photo was taken in 1827 by Joseph Niépce and required an exposure time of eight hours. Niépce went into partnership with Louis Daguerre and the exposure time was quickly dropped to a mere thirty minutes.

The early process allowed for only one copy of any picture to ever be made. By August 1835, a negative on paper was produced by William Fox Talbot in a process called Calotype. It allowed for many copies of the picture to be made. These first pictures were not quite as nice as Daguerreotypes. However, the less defined pictures was offset by the ability to make copies. In fifteen years, the number of photographic shops more than doubled.

By 1884, the negatives were being made on celluloid or film. Color photos were possible in 1907 when the first color film was introduced. Digital photography was introduced in 1981 when Sony first marketed a camera for the public. That camera saved images to a disk and they were displayed on television screens. The first truly digital camera arrived in 1990 from Kodak.

Warren Faidley bills himself as the first full-time professional storm chaser. Roger Jensen began chasing storms in 1951 and is generally said to be the first storm chaser ever. Storm chasers seek out all types of weather: lightning storms, thunderstorms, hurricanes, fires, blizzards, hail storms, and of course, tornadoes. There was even a movie about this, called appropriately – Twister.

“To photograph is to confer importance.” Susan Sontag

“Every day we have some weather, and yesterday was no exception.” – John Carr

“As I have practiced it, photography produces pleasure by simplicity. I see something special and show it to the camera. A picture is produced. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs.” – Sam Abell

“One of the things about a tornado, it comes so quickly you don’t have time to get in a panic. If you do, you’re probably not in one.” – Mike Huckabee

Also on this day, in 1845 Scientific American begins publication.

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One Response

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  1. photographyfree4all said, on August 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Great information. Amazing how far we’ve come. I’m glad I got to see this shot!


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