Chasing storms and stars enlightens photographer’s perspective in new exhibit

Chasing storms and stars enlightens photographer's perspective in new exhibit

Wright Dobbs opens up our perspective and shows us the serenity of the sky with his astrophotography and aerial shots of Tallahassee.

“Wright Dobbs & Alex Armitage,” a photography exhibition of works created by local artists Wright Dobbs and Alex Armitage, is featured at City Hall through Sept. 21. Dobbs is a meteorologist in Tallahassee, working for the National Weather Service. Alex Armitage was born and raised in Tallahassee but now lives on the road full-time. Dobbs and Armitage come together to share their passions for photography and the outdoors.

St. Marks Milky Way by Wright Dobbs is part of the photo exhibit at City Hall running through Sept. 21 2023.

Capturing the cosmos

There is nothing more powerful and vast than Earth’s sky. Our beautifully fragile planet, surrounded by its seven sisters, finds a home amongst the stars, dust, and gas that makes up the Milky Way galaxy. As we sit beneath this intricate system, we become one with the universe and all its possibilities.

The feeling is intimate and sonic, all at the same time. We are left with a sense of peacefulness that is impossible to capture, or is it? Astrophotographer Dobbs combines meteorology, a long exposure lens, and dedicated patience to capture the sky’s grandness and glamour.

Meteorologist and photographer Wright Dobbs has photos on display at City Hall through Sept. 21, 2023.

Dobbs’ foray into photography was a surprise. After an injury left him unable to enjoy bowling, Dobbs set out to find another hobby. His lifelong love of the outdoors and professional relationship with meteorology led him to storm chasing and star gazing. Lucky for us, he brought along his camera.

“I think I’ve always loved all things weather; I’ve always had a passion for the sky and of space,” says Dobbs. “Even though with our naked eye you can see a lot of the Milky Way, you can’t see the detail. When you use long exposure photography, a world opens up that the camera brings in.” Through astrophotography and drone-driven aerial photography, Dobbs delivers that detail to the naked eye and provides a much-needed perspective on the beauty of our Tallahassee treetops and canopied cosmos.

Lightning History Capitol Building by Wright Dobbs is part of exhibit at City Hall running through Sept. 21, 2023.

Planning leads to perspective

The power of the perfect photograph is in the preparation and the planning. Though Dobbs admits there is no perfect shot, he believes in his ability as a meteorologist to read the weather. It allows him to be at the right place at the right time to capture rare moments like the instance of a lightning strike beside the Capitol.

For this photographer, it is imperative to understand the weather and how it affects the visibility and location of the target, which for Dobbs is usually the Milky Way. “The Milky Way is a big portion of what I do because it’s the most prominent in the night sky,” says Dobbs.

“There are other things like the constellations, the Big Dipper, and the rare comet. The goal of my photography is just to get out and see what’s there.” Dobbs finds solace and peace in the Forgotten Coast, where he captures most of his shots between the magical time from dusk till dawn.

Summertime Storms by Wright Dobbs, taken with a drone, is one of the weather photographs on display at Tallahassee’s City Hall gallery through Sept. 21, 2023.

The eye of the photographer can go as far as their lens. For Dobbs, drone photography has allowed him to expand his artistic vision. Still marking unique astrological events like a solar eclipse on his calendar, Dobbs keeps watch of the weather and plans for ways to catch a new perspective of storms not captured by other devices.

“(My photograph) Summertime Storms shows a storm south of Tallahassee. I took that picture from the back of my house,” Dobbs said. “I took the drone up, flew enough to not see any houses. And there was a cool storm over the canopy of trees. The drone allowed me to see above all the trees.”

Georgia Storm, taken by Wright Dobbs, is part of the City Hall exhibit of weather photographs on display through Sept. 21, 203.

Chasing storms and premiering shows

Dobbs’ photography continues to grow and shift as he evolves as an artist, but when asked what he sees for the future, he admits the shot has not been set up yet. “I don’t know what is next. I don’t know what’s going to be out there,” says Dobbs. “I’ll keep watching the weather. With the way I take photographs, I can’t say what’s next, but I am always looking for what’s out there.”

Next April, Dobbs, with his storm-chasing enthusiast mother, will go on the chase through the Montana sky-scape for one of his dream shots: an image capturing the Milky Way and lightning, combining his two loves of astrophotography and storms. We await the results with anticipation.

Throughout August and September, Wright Dobbs’s photography will be featured for the first time at COCA’s City Hall Gallery along with Tallahassee artist, Alex Armitage.

“This is the first time I’ve ever had photos printed for a gallery. Seeing all those prints in a display – it’s a whole other ball game when you see the photos off your screen. And it gives you an appreciation of what COCA does for artists,” Dobbs said. Though new to the scene, the series captures the ancient skies with reverence and is sure to awe and inspire.

Tallahassee Night by Wright Dobbs is part of the photo exhibit at City Hall running through Sept. 21, 2023.

If you go

What: Wright Dobbs & Alex Armitage Exhibition

When: Through Sept. 21

Where: City Hall Art Gallery, 300 South Adams St. | Online at

Cost: Free

Contact: | 850-224-2500 x6

Dr. Christy Rodriguez de Conte is the feature writer for the Council on Culture & Arts (COCA). COCA is the capital area’s umbrella agency for arts and culture (www.tallahassee

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Wright Dobbs & Alex Armitage chase storms, stars in photo exhibit