NFT COLLECTIONS & PROJECT ROADMAP
RAREST STORMS ON EARTH @ OpenSea.io/collection/rareststorms
FOUNDATION 1/1 NFTs @ https://foundation.app/@MelanieMetz
Description: I was born gazing into the hypnotic sky with a camera in my hands, ready to capture powerful art that only Mother Nature is capable of conjuring. This is a collection of 12 unique 1/1 Photography NFTs and 1 super rare 1/1 tornado video NFT, representing the past 20 years chasing my dreams through tornado alley, in search of those extremely scarce moments when all the elements come together to create the perfect storm. Some images in this collection are from my early days of chasing as one of the “Twister Sisters”, while others are more recent. I chose photographs that are intimately tied to my personal journey, as well as those that best represent my style. I like to get close and shoot closer; to capture the raw power of the storm. Refer to my roadmap for a description of a Super Rare Video NFT.
Charitable Donation: 5% of all NFT proceeds from initial sales will be donated to Team Rubicon Disaster Response. They are a well-established non-profit organization of volunteer Veterans & Civilians coming together to help communities rebuild after natural disasters strike. Find out more about their mission and efforts at: https://teamrubiconusa.org/
*NOTE: 10% of proceeds from future NFT collections will be donated to help fund the "Girls Who Chase" initiative founded by Jennifer Walton. The mission of Girls Who Chase is to elevate the voices and content of female storm chasers; to help empower and inspire girls and women to pursue the weather, sciences and their passions.
An unlockable high resolution JPEG file for photo NFTs or MP4 file for video NFTs, plus a Print Release license for personal use. The highest resolution available for the image or video will be provided. Older images from earlier in my chasing career are lower resolution than more current images, as digital photography technology has greatly improved over the years.
One hour Zoom meeting to connect, chat and answer questions. The buyer must reach out to me via provided contact information to schedule a meeting time.
Initial Buyer: Signed archival print upon request up to 20” x 30”. The buyer must contact me to discuss exactly what size print they are interested in. We will chat about archival options for printing medium. The print will be produced by a high quality photo printing lab, as I do not currently have the equipment for creating my own prints.
Initial Buyer: Invitation to a full day of chasing storms with me in Tornado Alley! This is for buyer’s interested in photographing storms up close or simply wanting to experience the thrill of a chase. We will discuss details and schedule a date. The best option is to plan a short notice chase, meaning we will schedule for a day when the weather looks to be active. However, we can also plan the date ahead of time and hope for the best. Forecasts become more accurate within 3 days of a severe weather event. The best months for chasing storms are April, May and June. There will likely be a few good chase days in March, July and August as well, especially in the Upper Midwest. The buyer will need to cover their own travel, lodging and food costs for the trip.
Individual 1/1 NFTs: Collectors will receive the same items as described above. If anything is different, it will be either described in the marketing or will be a nice surprise!
I have specialized in Severe Weather Photography and Videography for 20 years and will continue to do so going forward. My years of experience and educational background in Meteorology have resulted in a high success rate with targeting and capturing the rarest, most artful moment of storms and tornadoes.
As current collections come close to selling out or when one year has passed since release of a collection, I will create a new Rarest Storms on Earth or similar collection with newly created work. The collections will continue to be 1/1 Photography NFTs along with only one super rare 1/1 Tornado Video NFT. In addition to collections, I will mint limited individual and mini-series 1/1 storm photographs, digital art, videos and animations on various platforms as appropriate and determined by the market. Refer to my description of “Super Rare Video NFT” below for more information.
Super Rare Video NFT Explained:
Within each collection I release, I will only include one tornado video NFT. Separate, original and individual 1/1 tornado video clips released on Foundation, or other such platforms will be listed at a higher price than the video released within a collection. So, purchasing a video NFT from the collection will be the best deal possible for the collector.
Supercells are the rarest form of a thunderstorm and only develop where atmospheric conditions come together just right. Only about 20% of Supercells end up producing tornadoes, most of which are not visually interesting. Supercells and tornadoes do not form in most places around the World. As a result of specific land features and the way in which spring air masses collide in the “Tornado Alley” region of the United States, this area is most favorable for these types of rare storms. And yet, each year there are only a handful of photogenic tornadoes that occur, if that. In addition, most tornadoes last less than 2 minutes. The odds of capturing high quality video of a photogenic tornado are very slim. It requires not only skill with the camera, but also skill in targeting, interpreting data, reading the sky, and understanding the storm. Storm chasing truly is an art within itself.
I believe that Crypto and NFTs are the way of the future. I plan to focus my photography efforts on creating and minting new storm featured NFTs of the highest quality work and rarest of storms. Currently, for any photograph that has been used as an NFT, prints and digital downloads will not be available openly for the general public through my website store. If someone is interested in purchasing a print, I will offer to onboard them to NFTs so they can purchase the NFT and receive the high-resolution download to make personal prints. I will reserve the right to create prints as gifts, donations, art shows, commercial use, galleries and publications such as calendars, books and magazines.
While my photography specialty will always remain storms and tornadoes, I will continue to learn and expand my skills and genre. I also plan to collaborate with others on projects as ideas and opportunities arise.
If you would like to discuss my plans and projects further, please contact me via a DM on Twitter or a direct email at: MelanieLMetz@gmail.com.
MY STORY (some of it)
Standing in front of a storm is where I truly feel alive. I am energized and renewed. My soul gathers it’s scattered pieces and I find myself again.
Sometimes I wonder where my passion for documenting severe weather comes from. Perhaps it was a past life or perhaps it was my dad. I remember how much I enjoyed watching the intense lightning storms with him during my early childhood years in Arizona, before his accident. But that doesn’t explain my drive to document and understand tornadoes.
Ever since I was about 5 years old, I would have recurring dreams about tornadoes. Dreams in which I was in a strange town, looking for shelter as a tornado was headed my way. I would start to enter the shelter when the tornado would hit. Luckily, I never died in my dreams. Somehow these dreams created a strong desire within to see a tornado in real life. Perhaps it was a way to conquer my fears.
As I grew older, I continued to feel the pull to experience the power and beauty of Tornado Alley weather. When I was a freshman in high school, I moved to Minnesota to live with my Mother. I’ll never forget that first summer, when the sky turned dark with shades of green. The tornado sirens began to blare. I was mesmerized!! All I wanted to do was stand out there and find that elusive tornado. Instead, I ended up in the basement as the storm passed, which was the safest option. I wanted more. At the same time, I thought I was strange because none of my friends shared this passion for dangerous weather. We didn’t have the internet and social media yet.
It was in high school that my passion for photography was born. I took every photo class possible and learned how to shoot with an SLR and develop film and photos in the darkroom. I was so excited to join the yearbook team as one of the photographers. It was thrilling to capture special memories on film. Through the years, I continued to expand my skills and take on a variety of photography jobs.
When I was 16 years old, my father came to visit 2 weeks before my birthday. I’ll never forget how happy he was and his final words of advice, “You can do anything you want to do! Don’t worry about the money. Follow your heart.”. Later that week he fell off a horse and hit his head on the asphalt, suffering a traumatic brain injury. He ended up in a coma for 13 years. He could breathe on his own, but he could never open his eyes or communicate. Although, he did come to me in my dreams often, and we would have long conversations. And eventually he came to me in a storm (more on that later).
In college I couldn’t decide what to do, I loved all sciences plus photography. Sadly, I listened to some horrible advice from advisors that discouraged me from committing to a Photography or Meteorology degree. Specifically, one of the Photography professors convinced me that I wouldn’t succeed in a photography career, or that I would be very poor if I chose that option. I still pursued classes in these fields, but ended up with a B.S. in Chemistry and Biomedical Science.
As I began working as a Chemist, I also began my real journey as a storm chaser and photographer on the side. My very first real chase was May of 2001 when I had the incredible opportunity to chase with the Doppler On Wheels (DOW) Research team, led by Josh Wurman. Sean Casey was also along on that trip, filming storms for an upcoming IMAX film. It was a dream come true to learn from the best of the best. I gained so much knowledge from listening to their forecast discussions, de-briefings and to see them in action! It was a 4 day chase trip. Finally, at the end of the trip we intercepted a very small, brief “bird fart” tornado at close range. It was thrilling and scary all at the same time! My first instinct was to run into the closest house and get into the basement. LOL!
Not long after, I attended a Skywarn class hosted by the local National Weather Service, taught by Peggy Willenberg. Peggy and I quickly became good friends and chase partners. We soon became known as the “Twister Sisters”. I grabbed that domain name quickly, learned basic html and built a website. While chasing, Peggy would drive while I took on the role as photographer/ videographer and navigator. After we got together, life became a whirlwind! We intercepted the birth of a tornado about 100 yards away and quickly gained unexpected attention from the media. We were flown to New York the next day to appear on Good Morning America. We were exhausted but it was so exciting and unreal! Over the years we ended up being involved with a a National Geographic Documentary “The Tornado Hunters” and a WE TV Reality Series, “The Twister Sisters”. Peggy and I also helped educate others through many public speaking events, conference presentations and storm tours. We had many incredible adventures over the years and made close friends, including a family that we helped rescue from the basement after a tornado flattened their home.
The best part about my adventures as “The Twister Sisters” was learning how our work, our show and our presence had inspired other girls and women to follow their passion for weather and storm chasing. I never realized the impact I was having on the World around me by simply following the call of my heart. It was humbling and emotional. I couldn’t ask for anything more from life.
Going back to my father in the coma…. On June 12th, 2005 I woke up somewhere in Texas, ready to chase. The first words that came out of my mouth were.. “Today we are going to see a wedge tornado and my father is going to die.” I didn’t think about it, I just said it very matter-of-fact. I couldn’t stop to process those words, as we had to hit the road for a big chase day with the production crew from the National Geographic special and a Minneapolis Star Tribune photographer. Later that day, I was standing on the side of the road near Jayton, TX and a huge tornado formed in the field directly in front of us. Nothing in it’s path but grass and maybe a few trees. As I watched that tornado form, I knew in that moment my father was leaving this existence and crossing the veil to the other side. I felt him there with me. I cried. An hour later I got the call from my brother. After 13 long years in a coma, my father left his body. It happened at the same time we were watching that tornado. My dad came to say Goodbye. And somehow he was part of that storm, that tornado. I love you dad. And I miss you.
During all my years chasing with Peggy, I continued to work full-time as a chemist and part-time as a photographer and adult foster-care provider. I don’t know how I did it all! In 2010 my husband and I took a huge risk and purchased a Framing Shop / Art Gallery in Telluride, CO. While operating that business, I continued to work full time as a Corporate Manager for an Environmental Testing company. I also expanded my photography business, shooting weddings, portraits and commercial work. While the shop was busy, it was hard to make ends meet. We were struggling financially and I was pushing myself way too hard. My health plummeted quickly in 2012. Doctors could never diagnose my “issues”, and yet I was in pain almost constantly, struggled to eat and developed heart palpitations.
My body was screaming at me, telling me I needed to rest. I stopped everything. I had to. We moved back to Minnesota. I quit my Corporate job and began to explore anything and everything spiritual. I had to heal from past trauma and find my way back to better health. I had to learn what balance and self-care meant. I had to find a way to manage my anxiety and depression. It took a few years, but I got there. On that journey, I continued part-time work as a photographer, shooting sports, portraits, babies, and the occasional storm. I continued to chase storms locally as my body allowed. The cleansing winds of a thunderstorm took all my troubles away, and made my pain disappear.
In 2016 I went back to school for 2 years to become a Massage & Shiatsu Therapist, because abdominal massage contributed greatly to my healing process. I wanted to help others on their healing journey. I built a thriving business, and continued to chase storms when time allowed. Then COVID hit. My business was shuttered for months. I was in shock and a deep depression settled in. After the initial trauma and grief of the pandemic subsided a bit, I decided to commit fully to my passion, to do the thing that brought me the most joy in life, photograph storms. I invested in new equipment to record and process 4K video. I organized my photography gear and hit the road. My depression lifted. I felt alive again!
During the storm chasing season of 2020 and 2021 I reached for new goals. I started my own brand as “Melanie Metz Storm Chasing”, instead of trying to force the “Twister Sisters” to rise from the past. It was time to stand on my own and be seen. It was hard for me. I have never felt comfortable being the “center of attention”. I’m the quiet one who hides in the corner. I am a true introvert. It has been an emotional process and an incredible journey to step into my creative energy more fully and start to be seen.
I am grateful for everyone I have connected with on my journey and for every moment in this life. Thank you for taking time to read this and learn a little more about my story.
With Love and Gratitude,