Ralph Wetmore was born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, the sixth of seven children. After graduating from Purdue University in 1969, he entered the United States Air Force. In July 1971, he and his wife Shirley came to Tucson, Arizona after his tour of duty in Vietnam. Over the years, he completed his enlistment in the Air Force, worked as a probation officer in Tucson, and returned to graduate school at the University of Arizona, studying counseling and psychology. Every summer he would chase the lightning storms and every winter he would travel to several wildlife refuges around the Southwest. In 1983, he obtained his PhD and began working in private practice as a licensed psychologist. His and Shirley's first son, Ross, was born in June 1984 and their second son, Drew, was born in February 1987. As the boys grew older, they would travel with Ralph, helping him chase the wildlife and the lightning storms.
From 1971 through the present, Ralph has been photographing throughout the Southwest, specializing in wildlife, nature, and lightning photography. He has been represented by several stock agencies including Science Photo Library, Tony Stone Worldwide Photo Library, and Getty Images. He is currently represented by Alamy and Mira Stock agencies.
His first book, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge - A Photographer's and Visitor's Guide, was published in 2009. That was the culmination of over 15 years of photographic trips to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. His latest book, Thirty Years of Lightning Photography in Southern Arizona, has just been published in September 2010. It is the collection of over 30 years of chasing lightning storms throughout Southern Arizona.