Mental Floss

22 Finalists From 2016's Weather Photographer of the Year Contest

Michele Debczak
ALAN TOUGH/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
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The Weather Photographer of the Year competition just concluded a successful first year. After more than 800 photographs were submitted, the winners were announced at the Society's Amateur Meteorologists' Conference on September 10. With so many stunning entries depicting rare and unusual weather phenomena, it was difficult for the committee to choose just a handful of prizewinners. Fortunately we’ve assembled 22 of the top finalists for your viewing pleasure.

1. Photographer Alan Tough captured these colorful nacreous clouds using an old compact camera.

ALLAN MACDOUGALL/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

2. This unusual ice formation was the product of "successive days of cold, strong Northerly winds, snow, frost, and spindrift," according to photographer Allan Macdougall.

ANDREW BAILEY/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

3. This photo of freezing fog and hoar frost, snapped by Andrew Bailey at the Herringfleet Mill in Suffolk, England, placed third in the over-16 competition.

BEN CHERRY/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

4. Photographer Ben Cherry documented this rare upward-reaching lightning bolt, known as a sprite strike, while photographing a storm off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. His image was awarded this year's top prize in the over-16 category.



CAMELIA CZUCHNICKI/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

5.  Second place winner Camelia Czuchnicki captured this striking shot when two storm cells clashed over New Mexico in June 2014.

CAMELIA CZUCHNICKI/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

6. The unique swirling cloud formation observed in this storm is known as a barber’s pole. Czuchnicki spotted it over Broken Bow in southeast Nebraska.

GRAHAM NEWMAN/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

7. The oil super-tanker Guanabara was caught in the crossfire of a lightning storm when Graham Newman snapped this photo off Australia's west coast.

JAMES BAILEY/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

8. In "Hailstorm and Rainbow Over the Seas of Covehithe," an oil tanker on the horizon tries to escape from the cover of a massive storm cloud. The image earned photographer James Bailey first place in the 16 and under competition.



KEVIN PEARSON/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

9. This photo was captured on a chilly spring morning as the Sun rose over the Somerset levels in England. As photographer Kevin Pearson writes, "In the distance is Glastonbury Tor which dominates the landscape and can be seen from as far as 25 miles away on a clear day. It always makes for a good backdrop."

MARK BOARDMAN/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

10. Mark Boardman’s image shows the moment when a shower of hail blanketed a radio telescope at Jodrell Bank in the UK.

MAT ROBINSON/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

11. This rainbow appeared in front of England’s Derwent Valley in the middle of a light snow, providing Mat Robinson with an excellent photo opportunity.

MAT ROBINSON/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

12. The fluffy formations of mammatus clouds fill the frame of Mat Robinson’s photograph "Mamazing."



MICHAL KRZYSZTOFOWICZ/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

13. In this photo, a sun halo illuminates the sky over the Halley Research Station in Antarctica.

PAUL KINGSTON/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

14. Over 2500 members of the public voted on their favorite images from this year's contest, and Paul Kingston's "Storms Cumbria" was named the most popular of the bunch.

PAUL ANDREW/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

15. Paul Andrew's ominous image shows an evening storm over Mono Lake in California.

PAULA DAVIES/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

16. The feathery structures featured in this photo aren't feathers at all, but rather frost patterns on a car windshield. 



STEPHEN BURT/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

17. In this shot from 2014 the iconic Matterhorn mountain in Switzerland peeks out from behind orographic cloud winds.

STEPHEN LANSDELL/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

18. A supercell corkscrew updraft, photographed by Stephen Lansdell in Nebraska, glows brilliantly. Lansdell called it "a wonderful display."

STEVE SMITH/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

19. Clear weather was forecast for this mid-May morning when photographer Steve Smith found himself caught in a cloud tunnel in North Wales. 

TIM MOXON/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

20. Photographer Tim Moxon wasn’t the only person attracted to this slow-moving tornado forming over Colorado. He captured another spectator who had pulled over to take in the sight. For this photo, Moxon was awarded Overall Weather Photographer of the Year.  



TOMASZ JANICKI/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

21. "First Light" depicts the first rays of the sunrise as they hit the Snowdon summit in Wales.

DMITRII DEMIN/2016 WEATHER PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR

22. In "'UFO' over the Caucasus," what looks like a flying saucer is actually an unusual cloud formation near Mount Elbrus in Russia.

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