Ty Smedes: Preserving mother nature


Photo: Miranda Cantrell/Iowa State Daily

“Magical Moments in Nature,” an art exhibit by Ty Smedes, is currently showing at the Pioneer Room in the Memorial Union. Smedes is an Urbandale-based nature photographer who also photographs agriculture, landmarks, small-town living, and major attractions in Iowa. The exhibit runs July 11 through September 9.

Brandon Friederich

Earth’s resources have sustained a multitude of different life forms for thousands of years. It is no secret, though, that as the global human population increases, more and more of the planet is being inhabited.

Land is being excavated, modified and destroyed every day. Natural landscapes are disappearing rapidly, and for photographer and author Ty Smedes, informing people is the first step toward stopping the decline of the Earth’s nature preserves before they vanish altogether. 

His photography, which is currently on display in the Pioneer Room at the Memorial Union, is of wildlife and nature. The exhibit captures realistic natural scenes, and is part of Smedes’ effort to show people just how beautiful mother nature can be. 

Smedes is no amateur photographer. He has been photographing nature scenes for more than 30 years, and has experience shooting in different parts of the country. Smedes is serious about his work, and during the past has taken the time to understand every aspect of each subject he photographs.

“I spend a lot of time researching. I read about all of my subjects,” Smedes said. 

One photo on display, appropriately titled “Bald Eagle,” was taken just last year on the Des Moines River. The photo captures a bald eagle flying over the river bank with a fish in its claw. 

“To get that shot, I learned about the eagle’s habits,” Smedes said. “I had to know when they roost and fish. I also had to pick the right time of day so that the sun was behind me shining over my shoulders.”

Smedes has ventured all over Iowa in search of prime spots to photograph. He uses his research to enhance his ability of understanding the land formation and geography. The result is knowing exactly where to shoot.

“All but the northeast corner of Iowa was glaciated at one point. That northwest part of the state is called the ‘drift-less’ area and has a very rough topography, with lots of hills and valleys,” Smedes said. 

In addition to being a seasoned photographer, Smedes is also a published author. He frequently writes articles featured in nature magazines such as Iowa Outdoors, and has two books published.

Being able to write about his own photographs allows Smedes to convey his message most effectively.

“I want to educate people about the vanishing (nature) preserves. Ultimately, I hope to make a difference,” Smedes said. 

The exhibit is free-of-charge and will be on display until September 9.