Saskatchewan tornado in wedding photos stirs social media storm

A series of wedding photographs depicting a Saskatchewan couple embracing as a tornado tears through the landscape behind them are whipping up a storm on social media.

Photos captured over the weekend are making international headlines

Professional photographer Colleen Niska was snapping photos of a newly married couple on Saturday when a tornado formed behind the posing love birds. She decided to keep snapping, and the resulting images have gone viral. (Colleen Niska)

A series of wedding photographs depicting a Saskatchewan couple embracing as a tornado rips through the landscape behind them are whipping up a storm on social media. 

Colleen Niska, a professional photographer, snapped the images on Saturday in a rural area outside of Saskatoon. 

Niska shared the photographs in a Facebook gallery, writing that she'd "dreamed about a day like this" and that these kinds of images "will only happen once in my lifetime!"

In an interview with CBC on Monday morning, Niska said she was shooting the wedding photos about "20 minutes east of Davidson" when the bride spotted the funnel cloud.

The couple quickly agreed the shoot should continue.

"We weren't really that scared," she said. "We had a vehicle ... we were so far away, we had time to get away."

A gallery of images, including the one above, uploaded to Facebook has been shared more than 12,000 times and attracted international media attention. (Colleen Niska)

As of Monday morning, Niska's gallery was shared more than 12,000 times by Facebook users, accumulating nearly 17,000 likes and almost 1,000 comments.

The photos were picked up by media outlets throughout North America, with some commenters saying they watched reports on their local news programs in U.S. states such as Oklahoma and Virginia.

"It's been pretty crazy all the feedback I've been getting," she said. "I've had emails from everywhere ... CNN, ABC, NBC. I was told it was on Good Morning America."

The couple has been overwhelmed by the response and is trying to maintain some privacy, she said.

Some people have questioned whether the photo is a fake, something Niska said she expected. She posted several different versions of the photo on social media to show that's not the case.

"Nothing's Photoshopped into it," she said.

A series of wedding photographs taken during a rash of wildfires in Oregon, U.S., in June were shared tens of thousands of times on social media networks and were picked up by media around the world. (Josh Newton/Associated Press)
Many Facebook users also expressed disbelief at the couples' seemingly casual response to the tornado unfolding behind them, while others drew comparisons to Oregon newlyweds who used a raging wildfire as the background for their wedding photos last month. Those images quickly spread via social media and made headlines around the world. 

Social media was also buzzing with amateur video of two tornadoes that touched town near the town of Outlook, Sask., over the weekend. 

On mobile? Watch the video of a tornado near Outlook, Sask., on Youtube here [Warning: Video contains profanity]

Warning: the following video contains profanity

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.