What is SkyPix?

SkyPix is a purely educational, nonprofit website devoted to sharing my (Roger Edwards’) photos and stories revealing the beauty, majesty and power of clouds, weather and water.   Though my images can be licensed privately, this is a noncommercial site and doesn’t have a “buy” button.

What are the legal restrictions and copyright rules?

Unless otherwise noted, all images are Copyright © 1986 through 2016 by Roger Edwards, all rights reserved. Photographic images containing my copyright notice must not be altered, must not be traded in any manner (including but not limited to sale, barter, or gift), must not be duplicated by any means (including but not limited to broadcast, photography, electronic transfer, printing, or photocopying) and must not be reproduced or downloaded for any purpose other than personal viewing, without my expressed written consent. I won’t tolerate unauthorized redistribution, display or reproduction of my work. My attorney and I take copyright protection seriously and will prosecute vigorously if necessary.  Don’t make it necessary.

Why did the address in my browser change?

I’m using two addresses for SkyPix:

The new domain (skypix.photography) and the longstanding skypix.ws redirect.  Both work. The skypix.ws URL automatically points to the same place.   Any stormeyes.org deep links for the old SkyPix may close at any time.

I am interested in publishing some of this photography. What are the terms?

Publication requests are handled through a stock agency, Insojourn Design and Images.  Please e-mail me (the photographer, tornado at stormeyes dot org) or Insojourn (info at insojourn dot com) for more details, and be as specific as possible about your needs (specific photos, image resolution, publication medium, time window, etc.).

Can I use some of your shots in my commercial website or business for free?

No. My transportation, equipment and lodging to take these photos weren’t free; so the photos themselves can’t be either, if the intent is for-profit in any way.  This includes commercial web use.  Please e-mail me or my stock agency to license this photography legally and we’ll work together.

I represent a school, nonprofit or government agency. May I use your photos on our website?

First and foremost, this gallery exists to educate and inform.  Therefore I almost always grant such requests with specific written permission.  Please write me with your request, stating the purpose and title or web URL (address) of each image’s page that would be used.  If your web URL changes in the future, you must promptly inform me so I can update my records of who is authorized.  [Unauthorized users tend to lose their websites, so please inform me of any pirating you may see.]  Each web page containing an image of mine must include a working link to SkyPix (skypix.ws or skypix.photography). There must be no alteration or distortion of my imagery without consent, and the copyright notice must remain visible.

I am a student or teacher. May I use your photography for a class project or demonstration?

I am pleased to provide images for this purpose, as long as you write in advance to let me know.  Mostly this would be free.  However, I may charge for professional time and services rendered, if your request needs more than minimal effort to fulfill, or if you have an academic or sponsorship grant that will cover photo-licensing fees.

I am an NWS storm-spotter trainer or WCM. May I download your photography for use in spotter training?

Yes.  No advanced permission is required to download my imagery for government, university or nonprofit storm-spotter or weather-safety training purposes only; though I do appreciate knowing if my imagery is used in your spotter or safety talks.  The displayed images will suffice for PowerPoint use.  Should you desire higher resolution or larger versions of any particular image(s) for your training needs, please write.

What is the history of SkyPix and your photography?

I have been observing storms and attempting to photograph them since early childhood in Dallas; but it wasn’t until my first full year in college that I got a 35-mm camera and began shooting slides.   At first, I was lousy at it, but got a few lucky shots in the midlate ’80s that still rank among my favorites.   I switched from slides to digital shooting in spring of 2006.  Now I take my cameras everywhere I go, whether for work or pleasure. It pays to be prepared; since our sky can reveal its most stunning and mysterious forms at any time! The SkyPix website began way back in 1995 and four domains ago, as a single-page collection of stories linking to 256-color GIF scans (now 16 million color JPGs) from slides and a few prints. This was probably the first image gallery on the Web exclusively devoted to a large variety of work by one weather photographer.  SkyPix also was the first website (to my knowledge) from any photographer, anywhere, to provide GPS lat/lon points for the majority of photos.   SkyPix has expanded a lot in a decade and a half, and will do so for the rest of my life, as long as there is a World Wide Web. The gallery grows continually as does my passion for the interplay of light, wind and water (in all its forms); hence, newer categories like Unusual Weather Damage (2001), Water Works (late 2003), Fog and Mist (late 2006), Burnscapes (2011) and Aerials (2015).

What do the numbers mean at the bottom of most of the photo pages?

In January 2004 I began adding “GPS” links to the old SkyPix site and including an edited, public-domain, USGS satellite image (courtesy MS TerraServer), covering the spot where I shot each photo.  With modern mapping software, I no longer need to undergo those time-intensive steps.  Instead you simply get a latitude and longitude for the shooting location in plain text that you can highlight and paste into your favorite mapping tool to see exactly where I was.  Unlike most outdoor photographers, I see no compelling reason to “keep secret” my shooting placesjust the opposite, in fact; I want to share the information! As of this writing I am still one of the very few nature photographers in the world freely publishing exact GPS points for most of his images.  If one isn’t linked, I haven’t been able to retrace an old location precisely enough yet, or am guarding someone’s property privacy.

Why did you switch to a WordPress site in early 2015?

The old full-circle HTML format, which I lovingly maintained for 20 years, still was visually appealing, got lots of web hits and good feedback, but was very time-consuming to maintain and update.  Also, screen sizes have grown such that the old 500-pixel-wide images were too small.  Now I use 960-pixel-wide images (when you click on the screen photo).  Other advantages of the new format:  images are easier to track and upload, the new site is full of metadata and fully searchable, and an image with multiple themes (e.g., Sunset and Okie Winters) can be placed in more than one category at the same time.

Are there any digital photographs in SkyPix? Film?

Yes.  Yes.  SkyPix images from 2006 and onward were shot with progressively higher-resolution Canon digital SLR equipment. Photos from 2005 and before were taken on assorted varieties of 35 mm slide film as conditions and specs warranted.  I will occasionally rescan old slides to improve clarity, resolution and representativeness, and upload the improved version here at the new site.  If you remember some slides from the old SkyPix that you don’t find here, be patient; they’ll show up as time permits, better than ever.

Are there any video captures in SkyPix?

Never! Use of freeze-frames from video is a common (and when not explicitly stated, very misleading and deceptive) practice on many pages containing weather “photos,” especially by storm chasers.  Not here!  I only use actual photographs which I have created using a still camera.  Video captures are not photographs.

How authentic are SkyPix photographs? Do you materially alter them (i.e., insert a tornado or lightning where there was none, or substitute a new foreground)?

Absolutely, positively not! A few well-known weather photographersand many nature photographers at largehave resorted to altering their images, e.g., placing a major feature like a tornado or pretty foreground where there was none originally, or removing a boring part of a shot and replacing it with a more interesting part of another photo.  I don’t engage in such fraudand never, ever will!  Such practices are patently dishonest and deceitful…a diabolical cancer spreading through the art and business of outdoor photography.  All SkyPix images were minimally processed from RAW digital files or were scanned from authentic still photographyno video captures posing as photos, and no swapping out for another foreground or background.

What kind of digital processing is done for SkyPix?

I do edits in Photoshop to remove artifices (stuff not there in the actual scene) such as:  dust, glare spots, film scratches, unnatural noise, vignetting, excessive light or dark, and off-tones introduced by the scanner.   The goal of my processing is to be minimal and to make the image can look as close to the original slide or scene as possible.  This also is why I do not do crazy HDR work that makes photos look unnatural.  The goal of any honest photo processing is authenticity.  You can be assured that the image you see is rendered the closest possible to how I saw it through these eyeballsnot oversaturated, overprocessed loudness masquerading as photography.

Are all these photos yours, or did someone else take some of them?

Every photograph in this gallery was taken using my right index finger on a camera body.

What equipment and film have you used for these shots?

Digital bodies are Canon full-frame DSLRs.  Film bodies were Minolta, Pentax and (in the 80s) Mamiya manual SLRs, and of course manual-focus lenses with those mounts.  As in the film era, I still shoot all-manual (focus, exposure, f-stop, ISO setting, etc.).  I use a Bushnell tripod that is still going strong after being blown over in severe inflow to a tornado, dropped down a steep hillside strewn with granite boulders, mounted (and fallen) in the ocean, hit by icebergs, bathed in sulfuric geothermal steam, dislodged from being stuck in hot salt mud, dropped onto concrete in single-digit temperatures, and scraped through volcanic sand.   When it finally breaks, I’m getting another like it.  I have some ND, GND and polarizing filters but don’t often use them, preferring instead to bracket through exposure ranges and then deploy filters only on the most unfriendly dynamic-range situations.  Compared to many outdoor photographers, I am something of a minimalist, by necessity.  Many of my shoots occur in rapidly changing and sometimes dangerous weather situations, such as under storms producing tornadoes, painful hail and frequent lightning strikes.  Under such duress, I can’t afford to waste time opening and closing things or fumbling around with this gear and that.  Therefore I prefer to travel light and well-organized, with just one or two bodies, a handful of easy-to-swap lenses, memory cards, one tough tripod, and a filter or two.  During the last 8-10 years of slide film, my film of choice was (overwhelmingly!) Provia 100F, for its broad-spectrum versatility and unmatched lack of grain.  Older SkyPix images (1980s into mid ’90s) also were shot on an opportunistic mix of Velvia 50, Sensia 100, Ektachrome 100/200, Kodachrome 64, and (in just a few cases) print film.

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