Winners Announced - Weather Photographer of the Year 2021
The Royal Meteorological Society has announced the 2021 winners of its popular, annual Weather Photographer of the Year competition in association with AccuWeather. Giulio Montini’s spectacular photo, ‘Morning Fog’, taken on an opaque autumn day from a small church on a hilltop in the town of Airuno, Italy, took top prize. The photograph led a plethora of entries that celebrated the indomitable and unquestionable awe and beauty of weather.
Of a shortlist of 21 images chosen from over 8,900 photos taken by more than 3,300 photographers from 114 countries, ‘Morning Fog’ was chosen as the overall winner by an esteemed international panel of judges.
“This photo can only be taken from one point. There is a small church on top of a hill in the town of Airuno, in the province of Lecco in Italy. Under the mist passes the river Adda. In the autumn months, on some days, it is possible to see this show with the first lights of sunrise. After 20 minutes, everything is over.”
On winning the competition he added:
"This award repays me for the cold hours endured, waiting for the perfect light for that photo."
AccuWeather, Senior Weather Editor and panel judge Jesse Ferrell commented:
“Fog conditions at sunrise can create surreal landscapes with unique colours that can only be captured from high above. Here, we see the sun’s rays illustrating the cotton-candy nature of the fog – quite the capture.”
Liz Bentley, Chief Executive of the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) said:
“It can often be easy to be drawn towards the extreme weather photos. We have had some stunning entries on that theme this year that have made our shortlist, but for me, there is also a photographic beauty in the still, serene weather, which Giulio has captured beautifully.”
Young Weather Photographer of the Year
The Young Weather Photographer of the Year 2021 (Under 18 category) was awarded to 17-year-old Phoenix Blue, from Kansas, with this photo of a ‘Kansas Storm’ in Goddard in the US.
Phoenix took this photo on an iPhone of the “beautiful clouds coming in right before a storm.”
Jesse Ferrell said:
"Anyone who has experienced a severe thunderstorm knows about the eerie deep green/blue colour sometimes present as the storms approach. This photo captures that in a bottle, and it’s all the more impressive that it is the winner for the Youth category.”
The Public Favourite
The shortlisted images were put to a public vote, with an overwhelming response of 12,392 votes cast for the 21 finalists representing 15 countries. The winning image was ‘Lightning from an Isolated Storm over Cannes Bay’, taken by Serge Zaka from France. This photo was also placed in third place by the judging panel.
The judges commented that few storms are as beautiful as those isolated over water. The photographer was a perfect distance away from this storm to capture three things crucial for a winning photo composition: the sky, the storm, and the water.
Weather Photographer of the Year 2021 (Mobile Phone Category)
New for this year, the sixth year of the competition, there was a mobile phone category, attracting a high standard of entries to rival the main competition. Because of the quality of photos, the judges picked made a top ten list of images as seen in the collage above.
The winning photograph in this category was Christopher de Castro Comeso from Abu Dhabi, UAE with ‘Foggy Morning’. Christopher took this image of the Qasr Al Hosn, one of the oldest landmarks in Abu Dhabi, in December 2020 when the temperature dropped.
He was on his way home after dropping his wife at work when he saw the fog forming. Immediately, he took out the only camera he had – his mobile phone – and captured this beautiful shot.
Judge Jo Bradford commented:
“This photo stood out for the ethereal quality of the light as it penetrates the mist and diffuses the beautiful desert colours creating an almost otherworldly scene. This picture sums up exactly why the smartphone has become such a popular camera; it was in Christopher's reach in the moment the mist appeared and allowed him to capture this beautiful scene.”
The Runners Up (decided by Judging Panel)
- First runner up: Evgeny Borisov – Self Portrait in a Boat
- Second runner up: Serge Zaka - Lightning from an Isolated Storm over Cannes Bay
Runner up in the Young Weather Photographer category was Fynn Gardner (age 14) from Australia – Thunderstorm vs Beauty.
Runner up in the Mobile Phone category was Susan Kyne Andrews with Between Showers.
The winners were announced on Saturday 16 October, at the Royal Meteorological Society’s WeatherLive
All the winners and finalists can be seen on the RMetS website: www.rmets.org/photography
The calendar featuring the best of Weather Photographer of the Year 2021 is now available to buy via the RMetS online shop.