The Royal Meteorological Society has announced the winners of this year’s Standard Chartered Weather Photographer of the Year Competition.
For 2023, the coveted Weather Photographer of the Year Title Prize Winner is Francisco Negroni from Chile. The winning shot, A Perfect Cloud, depicts Villarrica (Chile’s most active volcano) illuminating two rings of lenticular cloud with the warm orange light from the lava within. The snow on the volcano-top contrasts the lava's glow, and the star trail above signifies the passing of time it took to capture - a once-in-a-lifetime shot! The winning image was taken using a Nikon D610.
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With this photo, Negroni beat the other 24 shortlisted images as well as entries from over 94 countries, winning the top prize of £5,000 (approximately $6,120 / AU$9,585). The winners were chosen by a panel of experts from the fields of meteorology, photography and journalism, including members of the UK's Met Office and broadcast television station ITV's weather team.
The main title runner-up was awarded to Tran Tuan, whose photograph shows an aerial drone shot, taken with a DJI Mavic Pro, of a wildfire destroying a forest in Bac Giang province, Vietnam. Titled Forest Fire Boundary, the photograph shows a split landscape; half lush and green, the other half engulfed by smoke and flames. A powerful image that draws attention to the current climate crisis.
The winners of the other three categories are:
Smartphone Weather Photographer of the Year
Lez Irwig, for Braving the Storm captured on a Samsung Galaxy S23. The photo shows a surfer looking out towards a stormy skyline, contemplating surfing among the heavy connecting clouds. Irwig wins the cash prize of £2,500 ($3,060 / AU$4,790). You only have to take a look at our list of the best phone cameras to see the incredible advancement in handsets, and this is a showcase of what is possible.
Young Weather Photographer of the Year
Jamie McBean, for Overhead Mammatus over Beach Huts at Herne Bay. The 17-year-old captured unusual, bulbous, mammatus clouds at sunset, overlooking a set of beach huts in Herne Bay, UK. McBean wins a cash prize of £750 ($920 / AU$1,440), plus a double-page spread in the Week Junior Science+Nature Magazine and a year's subscription.
Public Vote winner
Fernando Braga, for the photograph Divine Power. Over 9,000 members voted for Braga's image, which captures forks of lightning framing the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. This dramatic image was taken on a Nikon D750 using the AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G.
The 2023 competition saw an increase in entries, raising more awareness of the impact of climate change on our weather systems. "The judges had tough decisions to make this year, as we had such variety and quality of entries from all over the world," said Liz Bentley, chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society.
"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."
Congratulations to all of the winners and runners-up. You can see the full list on the competition website.