23 of the Best Storm Photos of the Year

Mike Olbinski, a well-known storm photographer, created the annual Storm Photos of the Year competition to recognize the hard work of amateur and professional storm photographers.

Storm photography is often regarded as one of the most difficult genres to master. Storm photography is not only a difficult genre to master, it also requires a lot of planning and dedication.

Storm Photo of the Year Contest

Olbinski was not a photographer a decade ago. Olbinski was inspired by a Wunderground photo of a spectacular lightning bolt and his passion for photography and storms. Olbinski began to pack up his car every spring and would drive the roads, learning how weather patterns would lead to photogenic storms. He began to take dramatic photographs of tornadoes and Mammatus clouds that were moving quickly, as well as haboobs up to 5,000 feet high in Arizona.

Olbinski, along with his fellow storm-chasing photographers, were able to see the sacrifices they had made.

“I know many photographers who love storm photography as much as I do. We spend weeks away from our families and homes during spring storm season, staying in our cars, surrounded by fast food wrappers, and sleeping in our cars. When the time is right, we can blast down the road towards a tornado, supercell or massive downburst. Even though we may not have enough fuel or sleep, we will still chase. He says that everyone shares the same drive.

“The reason for the ‘Storm Photos of the Year” contest was to recognize those who work so hard each year. Olbinski says, “I see storm images from my photographer colleague across my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds every day.”

“Many of these images are mind-blowing and then they disappear down your newsfeed. These images rarely get seen beyond their families and friends, despite all the hard work they put into them. I want to acknowledge the hard work and inspiring photos of storm photographers.

Olbinski and his judges announced the Storm Photos of the year winners this week. They are, as you would expect, a remarkable display of talent, hardwork, and determination.

Photo of the Year: Alexis Mailliard

Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire, France

Photo of the Year – 2nd Place: Brett Wright

Malta, Montana

Photo of the Year – 3nd Place: Enric Bachs

Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Tornado Photo of the Year: Everett Occhipinti

Lockett, Texas

Tornado Photo of the Year – 2nd Place: Isaac Polanski

Creston, Illinois

Tornado Photo of the Year – 3rd Place: William Reid

Lockett, Texas

Photographer of the Year: Amy Howard

Photographer of the Year – 2rd Place: Tim Baca

Photographer of the Year – 3rd Place: Brett Wright