A picture of dramatic clouds over a volcano has won the Royal Meteorological Society’s weather competition.
Looking like a scene from Mordor in Lord of the Rings, the picture of lenticular clouds surrounding the crater of the Villarrica volcano in Chile beat more than 3,000 entries to win the £5,000 cash prize.
Snapper Francisco Negroni camped out for ten days to get the shot he called “A Perfect Cloud,” where lava inside the volcano illuminates it.
He said: “I think it is one of my most beautiful photographs.”
To capture this shot he exposed his camera for over four minutes to gather enough light, also capturing the rotation of the Earth seen as the stars are stretched out into streaks, since their position in the sky shifts during the course of the exposure.
Lenticular clouds form when air flowing over the ground encounters an obstacle like a volcano. This causes the air to rise and cool, which can allow moisture to condense and form clouds.
Now in its eighth year, The Royal Meteorological Society’s 2023 Standard Chartered Weather Photographer of the Year drew in both amateur and professional snappers from 94 countries.
Organizers hope the shots both delight and inform on weather phenomena and climate change.
Runner up, Tran Tuan, took a terrifying drone shot of a wildfire destroying a forest in Bac Giang province, Vietnam.
The picture, Forest Fire Boundary, shows a split landscape half lush and green, the other half engulfed by smoke and flames.
Tran said: “Through the photo, I also want to convey to everyone the message of forest protection, the message of climate change.”
And German snapper Christoph Schaarschmidt braved huge sub-zero temperatures to come third with his picture of a frozen Fichtelberg Mountain in Saxony, Germany.
Dubbing his pic ‘Incredible Ice Sculptures’ he said: “It was not easy to photograph this landscape because it was about -14 degrees that evening, with strong winds.”
The picture captures a beautiful scene sculptured by an icy build-up of snow and rime, a type of ice that forms when supercooled water droplets freeze on contact with sub-zero surfaces.
The winner of the Young Weather Photographer of the Year is 17-year-old Jamie McBean with an awe-inspiring scene of bulbous mammatus clouds adorning the sky at sunset.
These clouds gracefully hang low over a row of beach huts following a dramatic thunderstorm at Herne Bay in Kent.
Jamie wins a cash prize of £750, plus a double-page spread in the Week Junior Science+Nature Magazine and a year’s subscription.
Runner-up in this category was reflections over the Pacific Ocean by Siyana Lapinsky.
14-year-old Siyana, from Malibu in California, captured the beautiful tranquillity of a sunset mirrored over rocks in the shallows of the Pacific Ocean.
There was also a smartphone category won by Lez Irwig, who captured a surfer in Sydney, Australia, contemplating the heavy convective clouds that announce an impending storm.
Lez, from Sydney, who took the picture on his Samsung S23 smartphone said: “One wonders what was on his mind as he stands in readiness.”
Runner up in this category was a delicate picture of a snow crystal by Diane Neves from Staffordshire, she called Snowflake Fall using her Samsung Galaxy S10.
She homed in on the intricate detail of a single snowflake in all its natural distinctiveness as no two snowflakes are alike.
Winner of the public vote was the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro illuminated by a huge fork of lightning by Brazilian photographer Fernando Braga.
Calling his picture ‘Divine Power ‘, he added: “This night was simply unforgettable for me. Like a dream come true.”
Liz Bentley, Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society said: “The judges had tough decisions to make this year.
“We’re delighted with the results, which show the capacity of the world’s weather for beauty and destruction, tranquility and power.
“The competition serves as a reminder that we must strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change to keep our heating planet from exacerbating extreme weather events.”
Marisa Drew, Chief Sustainability Officer for Standard Chartered, said: “I’ve been so impressed by the entries to this year’s competition, which have captured remarkable moments of extreme weather and the devastating impact of our changing climate.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”
Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.