May 8, 2021

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The striking winning images in the Storm Photos of the Year contest revealed


Electric photography! The striking winning images in an international storm photo contest revealed, from jaw-dropping lightning to incredible tornadoes and menacing cloud formations

  • The inaugural Storm Photos of the Year competition saw entries pour in from around the world 
  • There were two categories in the contest, Photographer of the Year and Photo of the Year 
  • U.S storm chaser Scott Peake won Photo of the Year with a stunning shot of a tornado and a rainbow

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Talk about striking photographs.

These are the electrifying winners and finalists in the inaugural Storm Photos of the Year competition – and they show some of 2020’s wildest weather.

There were two categories in the contest, Photographer of the Year and Photo of the Year, with entries pouring in from around the world, from the bright lights of Manhattan to the wilds of Australia.

U.S storm chaser Scott Peake won the Photo of the Year category with a stunning shot snapped near Ashby in Minnesota of a ferocious tornado at the end of a rainbow.

Meanwhile, Tim Baca from New Mexico claimed the Photographer of the Year award with a portfolio that judges deemed had ‘a variety of compositions with subtle editing and great foregrounds’.

Mike Olbinski, an Emmy-award winning photographer and filmmaker who founded the Storm Photos of the Year contest, said that despite the challenging circumstances of 2020, the ‘submissions were mind-blowing nonetheless [with] some absolutely insane captures, from close-range lightning bolts, stunning compositions and the raw power of tornadoes’. Twist your way down to see the cream of the crop… 

This image, taken by Scott Peake near Ashby in Minnesota, claimed first place in the Photo of the Year category. It shows a tornado at the end of a rainbow that crosses a long road. You can make out the tornado’s path from right to left as crops have been yanked from the soil

Two intense lightning bolts land in the Hudson River, framing Manhattan's One World Trade Center. The striking image was taken by Gary Hershorn, a finalist in the photo of the year category, from the shores of Jersey City. The judges applauded the photographer for his rare capture of 'upward streamers', which can be seen on the brighter strike on the right

Two intense lightning bolts land in the Hudson River, framing Manhattan’s One World Trade Center. The striking image was taken by Gary Hershorn, a finalist in the photo of the year category, from the shores of Jersey City. The judges applauded the photographer for his rare capture of ‘upward streamers’, which can be seen on the brighter strike on the right

Danijel Palcic took third place in the photo of the year category with this gorgeous shot snapped at sunset of a downburst of rain with two powerful lightning strikes hitting the coast of Croatia

Danijel Palcic took third place in the photo of the year category with this gorgeous shot snapped at sunset of a downburst of rain with two powerful lightning strikes hitting the coast of Croatia

George Paraskevaides captured this powerful lightning bolt hitting Nicosia in Cyprus, illuminating the whole city. The image was a finalist in the photo of the year category

George Paraskevaides captured this powerful lightning bolt hitting Nicosia in Cyprus, illuminating the whole city. The image was a finalist in the photo of the year category

Julien Stephant took this electrifying image, which was a finalist in the photo of the year category, in Genoa, Italy. It shows a 'waterspout tornado' moving towards an industrial port with bolts of lightning adding to the dramatic scene

Julien Stephant took this electrifying image, which was a finalist in the photo of the year category, in Genoa, Italy. It shows a ‘waterspout tornado’ moving towards an industrial port with bolts of lightning adding to the dramatic scene

Another photo taken by Scott Peake in Minnesota, this time of a powerful 'drill-bit tornado' leaving a cloud of debris in its path as it narrowly misses farmhouses on the right. It was a finalist in the photo of the year category

Another photo taken by Scott Peake in Minnesota, this time of a powerful ‘drill-bit tornado’ leaving a cloud of debris in its path as it narrowly misses farmhouses on the right. It was a finalist in the photo of the year category

Tim Baca won the Photographer of the Year award thanks to a portfolio that judges said had 'a variety of compositions with subtle editing and great foregrounds'. This image by Tim shows menacing clouds in the countryside west of New Cordell in Oklahoma

Tim Baca won the Photographer of the Year award thanks to a portfolio that judges said had ‘a variety of compositions with subtle editing and great foregrounds’. This image by Tim shows menacing clouds in the countryside west of New Cordell in Oklahoma

This incredible long-exposure image captures flashes of lightning at Cuervo in New Mexico. The photo was taken by Photographer of the Year Tim Baca. The judges said of his work: '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'

This incredible long-exposure image captures flashes of lightning at Cuervo in New Mexico. The photo was taken by Photographer of the Year Tim Baca. The judges said of his work: ‘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’

A monster storm brews over Sublette, Kansas, with dark thunderous shades bruising the sky and clouds swirling ominously. The unique formation was captured by Photographer of the Year Tim Baca

A monster storm brews over Sublette, Kansas, with dark thunderous shades bruising the sky and clouds swirling ominously. The unique formation was captured by Photographer of the Year Tim Baca

A rare upward lightning strike races skywards from the Seceda mountain in the Italian Dolomites. It was good enough in the judges' eyes to make photographer Bernard Geraghty a finalist in the photo of the year category

A rare upward lightning strike races skywards from the Seceda mountain in the Italian Dolomites. It was good enough in the judges’ eyes to make photographer Bernard Geraghty a finalist in the photo of the year category

This mesmerising image was taken by Michael Morgan outside the rural town of Maleny in Australia. It took second place in the photo of the year category. It was praised by the judges for being more like a 'fine art photograph' with a 'beautiful composition of a lone tree, a grazing cow and a distant lightning bolt against a stormy sky'

This mesmerising image was taken by Michael Morgan outside the rural town of Maleny in Australia. It took second place in the photo of the year category. It was praised by the judges for being more like a ‘fine art photograph’ with a ‘beautiful composition of a lone tree, a grazing cow and a distant lightning bolt against a stormy sky’ 

Melanie Metz captured this rare scene of both a tornado and a rainbow. She shot the image in Dalton, Minnesota, and it was a finalist in the photo of the year category

Melanie Metz captured this rare scene of both a tornado and a rainbow. She shot the image in Dalton, Minnesota, and it was a finalist in the photo of the year category 

A lightning bolt strikes the side of a mountain in the French Pyrenees in this powerful landscape shot by finalist Maxime Daviron

A lightning bolt strikes the side of a mountain in the French Pyrenees in this powerful landscape shot by finalist Maxime Daviron

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