Wildest of weather: the winning shots from Storm Photos of the Year
Storm Photos of the Year, a new photo competition launched in February, has announced the winners of the best storm photos from 2020.
Nearly 650 images were submitted from eight countries in the competition, which is run by seasoned storm/landscape photographer Mike Olbinski.
Storm Photos of the Year was created out of a desire to have a photo contest dedicated entirely to the genre of storms, and to build an annual archive of the best images taken every year, from anywhere across the globe.
According to Olbinski, the competition seeks to "skip the conception of public voting and popularity contests, and instead have the artists know that their image was judged by photographers who know storms and understand what it takes to get these photos."
"Winning would mean these judges held your photos in the highest regard," he says.
The competition had two categories, Photo of the Year and Photographer of the Year. The first sought to find the most incredible, single photo taken from the prior year, and the second award looked to recognise the achievement of putting together a portfolio of 8-10 images all taken on different days in 2020.
The image that took 1st place in the Photo of the Year category was captured near Ashby, Minnesota by U.S. storm chaser Scott Peake. A slow moving and photogenic tornado, free of rain, gave photographers a rare opportunity to capture the twister up close and with rainbows and a variety of foregrounds.
A 'fine art' styled photograph by the Sunshine Coast's Michael Morgan depicting a lone tree, a grazing cow and a distant lightning bolt against a stormy sky in Queensland won second place, with Danijel Palčić's sunset downburst of rain with two powerful lightning strikes along the coast of Croatia winning third.
Meanwhile, Tim Baca won the Photographer of the Year award with a 'fantastic' portfolio that had a variety of compositions with subtle editing and great foregrounds. "Storm chasing and photographing on the fly can be difficult, but Tim managed to find gorgeous locations to place in front of some epic storms," said the judges.
Nenah Demunster was a very close 2nd place finish, with an 'unbelievably diverse portfolio and great storytelling images.'
Finally, Amy Howard took third with a set that featured rainbows, hail-covered roads and farm animals.
First place prizes included $750 USD in cash, a Davis Instrument VantageVue Weather Bundle and an Air Quality Sensor, 20x30 prints from MagnaChrome of their winning image and a Lightning Trigger IV from Stepping Stone Products. Second place each won $200 USD and third place took home $100 USD.
You can see more of the finalist images across both categories at StormPhotoContest.com.