Ben Jacobi is a nature photographer and storm chaser. Ben first became interested in severe weather growing up in Iowa Park Texas—right in the heart of Tornado Alley. In 2009 when he was 20 years old, he chased his first storm. Ben is inspired by the power and majesty of the thunderstorms. On his own, he has studied Meteorology to enhance his knowledge of how thunderstorms evolve and behave. Each year he drives hundreds of miles across the southern plains pursing dramatic super cells. Jacobi is a self-taught photographer who learned his craft through reading books, magazines, internet articles, and experimentation. His work has appeared in galleries around Texas including Amarillo, Wichita Falls, and Breckenridge. He has had his work published in Nature’s Best Photography Magazine and the Wichita Falls Literature and Art Review. Ben is currently the co-president of the Red River Photography Club and a member of the Red River Image Cooperative. He has also had memberships with The Wichita Falls Art Association, Kemp Center for the Arts, North American Nature Photography Association, and Texas Photographic Society.
My photography is capturing that elusive moment in nature when light, shade, color, contrast and subject all come together in a harmonious display. This fusion, captured in a second, is what fuels my passion for the art. As a nature photographer I feel it is my purpose to document the majesty and mystery of creation. Towards that end I strive to create images that inspire and resonate. I am especially fascinated by dramatic thunderstorms and the infinite cosmos. I enjoy the challenge of the pursuit and then capturing the final result. Nature can be unpredictable so the task demands planning and perseverance. Sometimes this means strategizing the safest and fastest route to circumvent the storm or camping under a canopy of uncountable stars to capture that image—the unforgettable shot. The photograph starts before I press the shutter.
How long have you been photographing?
I started photography when I was 14 and I’ve been doing it for 13 years. I’ve been good
at it for maybe two….
I always wanted to be a
photographer but it
seemed like a pipe dream
the way other kids want to be an astronaut or athlete. I never actually thought I would pursue it. My parents bought me a point and shoot camera. I wanted them to get me a professional film camera, but they wouldn’t let me get the chemicals.
How did you get into
I started storm chasing
about 7 years ago. A storm
chaser came in to Metro
Photo were I was working
and wanted to buy a camera. Two weeks later he called me and said that he couldn’t figure out how to use the camera. He invited me out with him to go storm chasing and told me that if I taught him how to use the camera he would teach me to chase storms. We chased together for about 3 years and then he passed away. I continued chasing out of respect to him.
You travel quite a bit, don’t you?
Yes. I just took a trip to the Grand Canyon. It was my first time to ever go there. We went through New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. We went 3600 miles in four days. It was a very tight schedule. We say the Grand Canyon for the first time, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. I didn’t get to go to all the places that I wanted to but it was an awesome trip.
What’s your gear set up look like?
Currently my main camera body is a Nikon D800. I also have a D5100 and a D700. I mostly use those for timelapse or back up cameras in case I need them. I have an array of different Nikon lenses. My go to lens is my 18-35. It’s my widest angle. I just recently bought a 20mm 1.8 that I use for astro photography, shooting pictures of the Milky Way and star trails. I love that lens.
How long have you worked at Metro Photo?
I have worked here for almost 10 years. I actually had no intention of ever working here. During my senior year in high school we had a career day and so I put down photographer thinking they would stick me with the newspaper or something that actually used photography but they put me at Metro Photo and I was initially bummed because I wanted to get out and shoot pictures. When I first showed up here to talk to them about it they were really busy and while I was waiting I noticed a guy looking at flashes and figured that I would just talk to him while I waited. He started telling me what he was looking for and I glanced around at their inventory and I ended up selling him a flash while I was waiting and they asked me to put in an application. Not long after that I ended up being in charge of the sales floor and inventory.