Behind the lens: Extinguished
Australia needed rain. Parts of the country had been burning for months and we were in the grip of the worst bushfire season in recorded history.
On the 31st December 2019, my family and I went to war with the Currowan Pyro-Cumulonimbus firestorm when we tried to protect our precious family home from the devastating Black Summer Australian bushfires.
That day was terrifying, and it’s something I will never forget. The fire hit us with brutal force and left our property a smouldering mess. Everything was either burnt or melted.
The blackened earth exposed scorched dead animals and trees that vented smoke for months afterwards. We lost a small cottage but managed to save the main homestead. My family and I all safely survived, but the internal scars live on.
Mother Nature works in mysterious ways and 21 days after the firestorm hit, she bought us the much-needed rain we had been praying for. But it was not in the way we were expecting. At first glance you may think this image is snow, but in fact it is hail.
At the size of golf balls, it instantly shredded everything that the fire hadn’t already destroyed. We saved our family caravan from being burnt, only to then have it be destroyed by hail.
To get this image I positioned myself undercover while I set up my camera. I needed to protect myself and my gear from the onslaught of torrential rain and the blistering hail stones. This allowed me to focus on the burnt trees as I wanted to capture the full effect of the hail, rain and smoke mixing together in this vicious downpour. The outcome of this image was an eerie yet beautiful combination.
In a matter of days, I saw two of the most extreme weather events I have ever witnessed. I consider this image extremely rare, having hail, rain and smoke all in the same single frame is something I can’t see myself capturing again anytime soon.