23 of the best storm photos of the year

Well-known storm photographer mike olbinsky created the annual Storm Photo of the Year Contest as a way to help the public recognize the dedication of professional and amateur storm photographers.

Storm photography is often considered one of the most difficult genres to master. Not only does a photographer have to master composition and settings, but storm photography requires detailed planning and commitment while staying safe in an incredibly dangerous environment.

The Storm Photo of the Year Contest

More than ten years ago, Olbinski was not a photographer. After seeing a photo of stunning lightning on weather website Wunderground, Olbinski’s passion for storms and photography was born in an instant. Over the years, Olbinski would pack up the car and hit the road each spring, learning to track weather patterns that would turn into photogenic storms. He soon began capturing spectacular photos of fast-moving tornadoes, towering mammatus clouds, and even 5,000-foot-tall haboobs in his home state of Arizona.

Through it all, Olbinski recognized the sacrifices he and his fellow storm chasing photographers were making.

“I know countless photographers who like to take pictures of storms like me. When spring storm season hits, we spend weeks away from home and family, sleeping in our cars surrounded by fast food wrappers. But when the time comes, nothing can stop us from hurtling down a road to a supercell, a tornado, or a massive gust. We might not sleep, eat, and maybe only have a gallon of gas left. in our car, but we will continue nonetheless. We all share this motivation,” he says.

“The motivation to do the Contest “Storm photos of the year” is to reward those who work so hard every year. I see my fellow photographer’s storm images flowing through my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds all day,” Olbinski continues.

“A lot of them are stunning and then they disappear into the news feed and that’s it. All of the work these incredible artists put in and the images are usually never seen by a wider audience than their friends and family. My hope is to recognize the efforts, hard work and awesome photos of the storm photography community.

This week, Olbinski and his team of judges announced the winners of the 2021 competition. Storm Photo of the Year Contest and, as expected, they are an incredible display of talent, hard work and determination.

Chardonnay, Saone-et-Loire, France

Picture of the Year – 2nd place: Brett Wright

Malta, Montana

Picture of the Year – 3rd place: Enric Bach

Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Barcelona, ​​Catalonia, Spain

Lockett, TX

Tornado Photo of the Year – 2nd Place: Isaac Polansky

Creston, Ill.

Tornado Photo of the Year – 3rd Place: William Reid

Lockett, TX

Photographer of the Year: Amy Howard

Photographer of the Year – 2nd Place: Tim Baca

Photographer of the Year – 3rd place: Brett Wright

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