The Royal Meteorological Society has announced 2020’s Weather Photographer of the Year, providing a ton of gorgeous options for new desktop backgrounds. If we can’t go outside due to a deadly global pandemic, at least the outside can kind of come to us.
The top prize this year went to Rudolf Sulgan for “Blizzard,” a chilly image of New York’s Brooklyn Bridge during a severe snow storm. He was awarded $646 for his photograph, as well as a HERO8 Go Pro and one year of membership to the Royal Meteorological Society.
“I made this image in 2018, during a strong blizzard as El Niño’s periodic warming of water often disrupts normal weather patterns,” said Sulgan. “My main concern and inspiration are that my images hopefully do a small part in combating climate change.”
Sulgan’s photograph wasn’t the only spectacular image to come out of the competition held in association with AccuWeather. Over 7,700 entries were received from around the globe, which a judging panel whittled down to just 26 finalists.
First runner-up was Vu Trung Huan’s enchantingly beautiful “Tea Hills,” taken at the Long Coc tea hills in Phu Tho Province, Vietnam. Maja Kralijik won second runner-up for “Monster,” a photograph of a shelf cloud in Umag, Croatia.
The Public Favourite pick was Alexey Trofimov’s “Baikal Treasure,” which he took during an expedition on Lake Baikal in Russia. This photograph beat out the 25 other finalists from 15 countries to win the public vote.
“It was noon, not really my photo time,” said Trofimov. “But the light that the sun gave, refracting in blocks of ice, caught my attention and made me take this picture.”
The Royal Meteorological Society also announced the Young Weather Photographer of the Year 2020, a category for photographers aged 17 and under. This year’s award went to 17-year-old Kolesnik Stephanie Sergeevna for “Frozen Life,” an image of a green leaf suspended in ice.
“I wanted to take this shot because it is a ‘part of sunny Summer frozen in ice,'” said Kolesnik, who lives in Russia. “Time seems to have stopped for this leaf.”
Runner up was Emma Rose Karsten’s “Surf’s Up,” taken with an iPhone XS in the parking lot of Lafayette High School in Wildwood, Missouri, in June this year. It just goes to show that you don’t always need an expensive camera setup to capture stunning images.
“I was meeting my friend to hang out in my school parking lot (COVID kept us in so we met to talk from our cars) and this huge, awesome cloud rolled in,” said the then-17-year-old. “My eyes played tricks on me because I initially thought this was a huge wall of water. Shortly after this cloud appeared it rained, but not a significant amount. It was awesome.”
A 2021 calendar containing all the winners and finalists is currently available for preorder at the Royal Meteorological Society’s website. It may be a helpful, hopeful reminder that there is a world beyond doomscrolling in your apartment.