Weather Photographer of the Year

I’ve seen a fair amount of debate on WordPress about the pros and cons of entering photography competitions.  To be fair, it seems to me the majority of posts have been anti.  The fear of being judged and found wanting, being a big motivator not to enter.  I’ve always been of the opinion that it’s worth giving an entry a go.  I’m not a fan of paid entry competitions, I believe these to be money making machines for the organisers but there are a great many free to enter competitions out there.  One of them that I entered last year was Weather Photographer of the Year.  I was lucky enough to take first place with the picture below.  The reason I’m posting it again now is I’m a judge on this years panel and having gone through 3,500 plus photographs, I was only able to choose 30 pictures.

I’ve seen so much better from the photographers on WordPress I follow, and those that I don’t, as I simply don’t have time to follow everyone, so my advice is enter!!.  Enter!! Enter!!  It’s worth it I assure you.  Enter and forget about it, you might just get that email which is what happened to me.  I couldn’t even remember the picture I’d entered.  The photography in this community that I’ve had the privilege of being a part of for the last 4, nearly 5 years is of an incredibly high standard.  I’m just passing on my knowledge of viewing a huge number of pictures recently.

We’ll be going through the shortlist on Friday,  I’ve approached the judging firmly as a photographer and looked for photographs I wished I’d taken.  I set myself such incredibly high standards and lately I haven’t been able to travel to take the pictures I’d want to post here.  I hope my back catelegue stands testament to that.  I’m very much looking forward to Friday and seeing what the other judges have brought to the the judging.  As well as photographers, the Chief Executive of the Royal Photographic Society for one, there’ll be meteorologists and a TV weatherman, who’ll no doubt have their own individual take on things.

The picture below shows a blizzard approaching a small seaside settlement AND me of course.  Driving became extremely difficult when, having got out of the 4×4 to take the picture, the blizzard hit within a few minutes and created complete white out for us.  I was quickly to learn why Icelandic roads have yellow markers every 25 yards to help you on your way.


49 responses

  1. Nil

    Let me sleep on it! ;-)

    Great photo, by the way! I can almost feel the wind gearing up! :-)

    August 7, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    • Have I already replied Nil? WordPress seems to think I have but I’m sure I haven’t. Thank you regarding the photo. As for photo competitions, it’s down to personal choice but I know from your output, you’d be a winner somewhere and it feels good to have your photography validated in some way. I’m still so insecure about my photography which is why I joined WordPress, to get feedback but feedback from a professional body of professionals is all the better and is an impetus to keep taking those photographs. For me anyway but accept it’s not for everybody. I don’t like the paid competitions with their ever changing closing dates for entries as they’ve not made enough money by the closing date advertised but there are plenty of free competitions out there that are worth entering.

      August 11, 2018 at 2:36 pm

      • Nil

        No, you hadn’t… WP can get confused temporarily sometimes… ;-)

        Well, on an impuls, I did try it once… Nothing big, more or less local… To my surprise, I came second. And then came the real surprise. The winner had submitted a picture he had stolen from a professional photographer, was disqualified and I went up a notch… :-) A different way of winning, no?

        I know about the insecurity – but it also is a mixed feeling – at least with me. Insecure and at the same time rather defensive too. Probably because it is often connected to emotions… it can be amusement, a flash of a look that reveals something about the person, the way the light touches something… But just because of that I don’t really like having my photos dissected in the sense of technical terms… It feels too much like being dissected myself… So I guess I am not really competition material… :-)

        August 13, 2018 at 2:01 pm

      • Hi Nil, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I totally understand your feelings. I found judging that it wasn’t all about the technical side of a photograph that mattered as much as the photograph itself. You work is great and congratulations on your win. I’m quite discerning in the competitions I enter. I just wanted to let the community know that having judged on such a major competition, there is so much great photography on WordPress, it’s always worth having a go but only if you’re comfortable with that. I totally respect anyone who isn’t happy with the process after all, it is all so subjective. You can’t just judge on technique though that of course comes into it. All the best my friend.

        September 12, 2018 at 11:39 am

      • Nil

        Thanks for the compliment, certainly coming from you… always a hartwarming feeling ;-)

        And it is true – there IS some great photography on WP.

        September 14, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      • Sorry Nil for the late reply to this comment. I stand by my compliment. Your work is great.

        April 10, 2019 at 11:52 am

  2. Makes me glad I live a long way south of Iceland, but on the other hand, we have a fire going not far from the town I live in so maybe Iceland is better. The rest of the world is burning it seems. I’d love to visit Iceland…a fascinating and very different and, in many ways, superior country. Wasn’t it Iceland that jailed the bankers after the 2008 collapse? I don’t think anyone else did.

    August 7, 2018 at 6:09 pm

  3. Sincere Congratulations Adrian—anyone willing not only to brave that cold storm, but further to stop for a professional-quality photograph of it-/is certainly deserving of the award in my book!! And a lovely nod to the photographic quality here on WP as well

    August 7, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    • Thank you Tina. It was great to be shortlisted and then to take first place was amazing. I was completely serious in my post though. I’ve now been through the process of judging a major competition and the photography here on WordPress really does hold it’s own against the best that we have viewed.

      August 11, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    • Thinking of you Tina. The incoming hurricane must be a great worry. I hope you manage to weather the storm. Best regards Adrian

      September 12, 2018 at 11:11 am

      • Thanks Adrian. Keeping a close eye on it.

        September 12, 2018 at 11:41 am

      • My brother lives in North Carolina. I guess he’ll be battening down the hatches. Wishing you the best Tina!

        September 12, 2018 at 1:44 pm

  4. WOW! I can why it won. It’s a startling image in itself, but hearing your story about it sorta seals the deal for me. Entering contests used to be fun for me but I’ve sort of stopped…just stopped.

    August 7, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    • Hi Debbie, thank you so much for your comment. Sorry it’s taken such a long time to reply. I’ve been dealing with a few health issues but on the mend now. It’s actually a lot of work entering competitions and I’ve pretty much stopped in recent times. I find that so many are just about making money from entry fees. I only ever enter the free ones.

      September 12, 2018 at 11:13 am

  5. I remember that photo, it is rather amazing! I don’t envy you going through 3,500 photos! I think by the end of all that I wouldn’t know what I liked any more. I have to admit that I don’t usually enter photographic competitions, because I am not a technical photographer so my images don’t really stack up from a technical point of view. But I did chance one last year and actually got a commendation, which was really nice. So never say never, I might try again :)

    August 7, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    • Hi Jude, sorry for the delay in replying. My health took a bit of a downhill turn but I now have oxygen overnight and it’s making a huge difference to how I feel during the day. Congratulations on your commendation. Photographs don’t have to be technically perfect to catch the eye of the judge. It’s just all about the picture and you’re in such a great part of the country to capture some amazing images. I do miss that very much to be honest though not so much the weather. :-)

      September 12, 2018 at 11:16 am

      • So sorry to hear that Adrian. MS is a bummer disease as I know. My brother had it. Hopefully medicine has advanced somewhat in the last six years and you are receiving excellent treatment. Having lived the last few days ‘in the cloud’ I know what you mean about the weather. If my joints are as painful this winter as they were last I am afraid I might have to make the decision that this is not the right place for us. God, I’d miss the landscape though! My thoughts are with you and I hope your heath remains stable for a long, long, time.

        September 12, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      • Thank you so much Jude. I am getting excellent treatment now. Cornwall has the most amazing landscapes but the weather really is such a challenge. The low cloud and the sea mists that can go on for days really do start to get to you. It was hard to leave but in the end the decision came down to the fact that I can always come back and visit, as I do regularly given my parents are there, but I don’t have to live under the cloud day in day out.
        I felt so sorry for the families that clearly missed that window of amazing weather that happened this year. That said, when it started, I was staying in St Ives and I looked at Sat24 and quickly realised I needed to be in St Just because the sea mist hadn’t penetrated that far south west. We stopped at St Michael’s Mount and could see the castle coming and going and we were half way. The weather yes is really is a challenge. I think TV does people visiting Cornwall a great disservice in many ways as with hugely powerful lights and large reflectors, they suggest the sun always shines. Nah! I remember that song by a-ha. The sun always shines on TV.
        I hope whatever decision you make is the right one but somewhere on the Kent or Sussex coast would be a good move.
        Best regards

        September 12, 2018 at 1:41 pm

  6. Sue

    What a marvellous, fairly minimalistic image that just shouts ‘Weather!’

    August 7, 2018 at 7:32 pm

  7. Sue

    Oh, and great to see a post from you, Adrian

    August 7, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    • Thank you Sue. Sorry it’s taken so long to reply to your comment. I’ve been having technical issues that thankfully, the ‘happiness engineers’ have solved.

      September 3, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      • Sue

        Pleased the ‘Happiness Engineers’ have done their bit, Adrian!

        September 3, 2018 at 5:26 pm

      • Hi Sue,
        Yes the technical issues are sorted. I’ve finally got oxygen therapy organised overnight have gone through exhaustive and slow tests but the equipment arrived on Monday and after just two days, I feel I have a new lease of life despite progression on the MS front. I think few of us realise just how important a good nights sleep is. I was showed the results of my sleep study and my oxygen levels were dropping every hour or so, kicking my heart into overdrive and I was never entering deep REM sleep that is so important to body repair and mental health. I hope all is well with you right now. Best regards Adrian

        September 12, 2018 at 11:24 am

  8. ik heb je altijd graag gevolgd want wat je ons toonde was altijd zo puur en mooi.Was heel blij dat je toen verdiend won

    August 7, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    • Thank you so much Lou. I’ve very much appreciated your loyalty. I’m glad you enjoy my work. :-)

      September 3, 2018 at 1:57 pm

  9. Such a crazy translate.I try in Englisch. .I always like to follow you.The photo’s you presents us are so pure and wonderful.I were so happy that you won that price and know you are in the jury i know you will do that with a lot of respect to the work of of other people.Have a fine time

    August 7, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    • Nogmaals bedankt Lou. Sorry dat het zo lang heeft geduurd om te antwoorden. Zoals ik tegen Sue zei, had ik technische problemen met mijn blog.

      September 3, 2018 at 1:59 pm

  10. Stunning.

    August 7, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    • Thank you so much Paula.

      September 3, 2018 at 2:00 pm

  11. Thanks for the encouragement to all of us readers. I’ve been posting more on Instagram than I have on my blog lately, and keep hoping to take a contest-worthy shot.

    August 7, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    • Thank you Debbie, I’m sure you will! :-)

      September 3, 2018 at 2:01 pm

  12. Good to see you back. I do admit I’m one of those who generally doesn’t bother entering competitions,but I’ll take heed of your advice. Hope the judging goes well.

    August 8, 2018 at 9:53 am

    • Hi Mr Dragon, Sorry it’s taken such a long time to reply. I’ve had a few health problems but I’m on the mend now. The judging went very well thank you. I really enjoyed the process. With competitions, if they’re free, it’s always worth having a go. There are far too many out there that are just after a profit.

      September 12, 2018 at 11:18 am

  13. Congrats on being judge of the competition this year (and winning it a year ago!!)!! I guess it is not an easy task to choose just one winner!
    As an amateur photographer, I have one question. How can I know about more photography competitions like this one?? I’m really interested!

    August 8, 2018 at 11:45 am

    • Hi Mercedes, I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. I’ve been having some health issues. There are many sites online that list photography competitions that are available to enter. This is one site I really think it’s worth entering the free competitions. There are many out there that are just about making money and charge a hefty entrance fee. Give the free competitions a go and good luck.
      By the way, I will be back in Fuerteventura staying in an Airbnb for 6 weeks next week and I cannot wait. I love your homeland. Not least for the beauty and the weather. We had a good summer in the UK this year. I’m looking forward to extending it now that autumn is here.
      Best regards

      September 12, 2018 at 1:28 pm

  14. That’s really interesting Adrian, you always I assume that everyone who enters will be of a high standard.

    August 8, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    • Hi Mark, sorry it’s been a while, a bit of a health hiccup. You do indeed assume that these competitions are entered always by incredibly accomplished photographers, many of which can be found on WordPress but you wouldn’t believe. You’ve posted many competition worthy images Mark. You wouldn’t believe some of the pictures we sorted through. Of course, the shortlist is of a very high standard but so is so much photography, certainly among the photographers I follow and more, on WordPress. I think some people are just afraid of giving it a go. I can say hand on heart that the competitions I’ve entered, I only do the free ones, I’ve forgotten I’ve entered and get a real shock when I’ve been shortlisted on a few occasions. It’s a nice shock. Always worth having a go I think. When you see a picture with a finger infringing on the lens, all WordPress photographers have a shot.

      September 12, 2018 at 12:26 pm

  15. Good to see you posting, Adrian. I, along with many others, have missed you. Good to hear news too about the judging of this year’s ‘Weather’ images.
    Competitions so often are subject to the personal likes of the Judge, and judges vary so much. Speaking of my own Camera Club we have had some excellent ones and some not-so-good ones and one absolute shocker. Also in club competitions there seems to be a reluctance to step outside of safe classic pictorial imaging – people are scared to submit images that are ‘different’ because they fear the judge won’t like their work. It’s a fact that social media has created a world where we all want to be ‘liked’. Whether it’s on Instagram or here on WordPress or elsewhere. One of the pleasures associated with posting on WordPress is pushing the margins a bit and not being afraid to let one’s creativity run a little wild.

    August 9, 2018 at 7:07 am

    • Dear Andy,
      So sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. My health took a bit of a dip and I’ve been through a whole load of tests. A sleep study for one measure O2 sats and heart rate. and the study clearly showed that my sats were dropping to the low 80s and consequently, every hour, my heart was going into overdrive to protect my brain and I was never achieving deep sleep that is so important to physiological and psychological health as of course you will know. An oxygen condenser was installed on Monday and I’ve had the most amazing two days. All my MS symptoms are still there of course but I have energy. Much of the fatigue has been much relieved. It’s probably been 18 months at least since I slept properly. The NHS can be slow but it for the most part, gets there in the end I think. As soon as I finally saw the respiratory team on Friday following all the tests, the equipment was with me Monday and I was receiving oxygen Monday night.
      It was very interesting being a judge. As a photographer I was up against three meteorologists so while many pictures were capturing interesting meteorological phenomena, as I photographer, I was looking for a little more than that. I didn’t support the overall winner, despite it being an amazing image but I can talk about that more when the winners are announced but I was very happy that some pictures I had to argue very hard for, made the shortlist and I picked first place in both categories along with runners up and argued very hard for those also. I think it’s a great shortlist, not sure if it’s been published yet but it’s a broad church and that was good to see. I was part of a jury of course, I can’t claim to be the expert but as a photographer, I was looking for photographs I wish I’d taken, with weather in mind, and I guess that’s all one can do and that’s what I tried to do.
      I’ll email soon Andy. Thanks so much for your comment.

      September 12, 2018 at 12:18 pm

  16. That’s a spectacular photo, Adrian. Once again, heartfelt congratulations to this award.
    I’m very much looking forward to this years contest.
    All the best from us in Cley. x

    August 10, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    • Thank you again Dina and Klausband. It was so interesting to be part of a jury judging such a prestigious competition. I felt very honoured and I did my very best to judge as a photographer appreciating not just technique, most modern cameras take care of that anyway but the photograph. What the story that was being told became quite important to me.

      September 12, 2018 at 11:51 am

  17. I remember this photo, it’s really nice! Thanks for writing this post, there are indeed some amazing photographers on WordPress! I often see pictures and wonder how these aren’t world famous already.. But regarding competitions, I think it’s sad to see that so many are more about post processing than the original photograph. It feels like it’s more important to be a software wizard than a photographer. It’s encouraging to hear real photographers like you are in a jury! :)

    August 12, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    • Hi camilla,
      So sorry it’s been a while getting back to you. MY health took a bit of a nose dive but I’m feeling better now.
      I really appreciate your comment. It really does raise issues that I think that those that set the rules for these competitions really need to address. If you’re combining frames in camera for example, you’re creating a picture that nobody would ever have seen except in the resulting photograph and that makes me uncomfortable. It’s false. Obviously if you photograph in RAW, you need to process the picture. If you photograph in jpeg, the camera does the processing for you but Photoshop can create a landscape for example that just doesn’t exist in reality and that is a worry. I was very conscious in my choices and I think we managed to create a very varied and interesting shortlist. As part of a jury, you only have one vote but I did my very best to make mine count as a photographer who likes to take dramatic landscapes as they are.

      September 12, 2018 at 11:49 am

  18. It’s so nice to see you here again, and to see this magnificent photograph again. I love the image and it’s worth seeing again.

    Your words are encouraging! I’ve moved recently, and am up to my ears in things to do, many of which involve exploring this area, which is only 1 1/2 hours north of where I used to live, but is in many way, another world. I feel I have more space for photography now. I retired well over a year ago but I think the old space was cramping me. I think it will be easier for me to follow through on finding ways to get my work out there more. Actually, I submitted six photos from an ongoing project about looking in through conservatory windows (which tend to be wonderfully foggy) along with a statement, for a book called “Seeing in Sixes.” And my work was accepted! The book will come out in September. Here’s a link:

    So your post is quite timely for me. It’s great advice.

    Please don’t stray too far from here, OK? It’s always great to see what you’re up to. It must have been interesting, choosing the winners in the Weather Photographer of the Year competition, especially with the mix of people judging. And I’m sure there’s something you can post here, even if it’s not perfect – then post it and tell us why you don’t think it’s quite right. That’ll be a learning experience, too.

    Have a great weekend, Adrian!

    August 18, 2018 at 8:10 pm

    • Congratulations!! That’s amazing news Lynn. Sorry it’s taken so long for me to get back to you. My health took a bit of a dip. Along with MS I”m dealing with emphysema and it came apparent that I would need oxygen overnight. The equipment was installed on Monday and I’ve had the first couple of proper nights sleeps probably for a couple of years. The NHS can be slow, the tests took time, but they always get there in the end and I’m receiving the therapy I need. I feel so much better. I have energy, and despite the MS, I’m feeling better than I have for so long so hopefully, I’m going to be back to posting more often. Thank you for the link. You can be sure I’ll be following it. I’m so happy for your success Lynn. You SO deserve it.

      September 12, 2018 at 11:34 am

  19. Stunning photo Adrian, and well worthy of first place ~ how cool. It is stories like this, and opportunities to see such high quality photos. Thank you for the post, you shine a positive light on photo competitions. Wishing you many more successes my friend, and a terrific end to the summer.

    August 26, 2018 at 5:26 am

    • Thank you so much Randall. Sorry I’ve been so slow to get back to you. I always really appreciate your comments given your particular skills. Much appreciated my friend.

      September 12, 2018 at 11:26 am

  20. Well Adrian, I enter club competitions regularly and I have now entered national competitions and my first Salon. I became a Scottish Photographic Federation Judge 2 years ago with a view to improving my own work and I believe it is helping me a lot. Technically my images are on the button where I need to develop is creativity. Sometimes the judges talk pants but most of the time they have spotted something that I missed – I see it as building lego you keep finding the pieces and it builds a stronger product. Criticism is subjective anyway and you don’t have to agree with it. In the end, you have to shoot in your own style but technically most feedback helps by either highlighting an area for improvement or confirming your own thoughts.

    October 29, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    • Sorry Scott, my health took a bit of a nosedive and I didn’t get to reply to your comment. You’re absolutely right and seeing and judging other people’s work really does reflect on your own. With technical aspects under your belt your have to find your voice and I think you and I have thankfully found ours. I’m a judge again this year for Weather Photographer of the year having taken first place in 2017. It was great to judge last year and I’m looking forward to seeing all the photographs entered this year. I hope all is well with you and your business is doing well. Best regards Adrian

      April 10, 2019 at 11:52 am