The second annual Storm Photos of the Year competition has announced its winners for 2022. Affectionately called “The Stormys”, the competition is organized by seasoned storm/landscape photographer Mike Olbinski. The well-known photographer created this annual competition as a means to provide more recognition to the dedication of both professional and amateur storm photographers.
Storm photography is often considered one of the most challenging genres to master. A photographer needs to be experienced with composition and settings, but at the same time, storm photography requires detailed planning and commitment while remaining safe in an extremely dangerous environment.
This year’s contest consisted of three categories: Photo of the Year, Tornado Photo of the Year and Photographer of the Year. The first two categories were to reveal the most “incredible, single photos taken from the prior year in their respective categories”, while the third category recognizes “the achievement of putting together an amazing set of 10 images taken in 2021.”
The winners for 2022 in their respective category were, Alexis Maillard for Photo of the Year; Everett Occhippinti for Tornado Photo of the Year; and Amy Howard for Photographer of the Year.
So here are the winners as well as runner’s up in the Photo of the Year and Tornado Photo of the year categories. Also, you can admire a selection of images from Photographer of the Year Amy Howard’s winning portfolio.
Photo of the Year: Alexis Mailliard
1. Chardonnay, Saône-et-Loire, France
Photo of the Year – 2nd Place: Brett Wright
2. Malta, Montana
Photo of the Year – 3rd Place: Enric Bachs
3. Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Tornado Photo of the Year: Everett Occhipinti
4. Lockett, Texas
Tornado Photo of the Year – 2nd Place: Isaac Polanski
5. Creston, Illinois
Tornado Photo of the Year – 3rd Place: William Reid
6. Lockett, Texas
Over a decade ago, Olbinski wasn’t a photographer. Olbinski’s passion for both storms and photography ignited the moment he had seen a photo of a spectacular lightning bolt on the weather website Wunderground. Over the years, Olbinski would pack up the car every spring and go on a trip, learning how to follow weather patterns that would turn into photogenic storms. Soon enough, he began to capture remarkable photos of fast-moving tornados, impressive Mammatus clouds, and even 5,000-foot tall haboobs in his home state of Arizona.
Photographer of the Year(portfolio): Amy Howard
Through it all, Olbinski recognized the sacrifices both he and his fellow storm-chasing photographers were making.
“I know countless photographers out there who love to take photos of storms like me. When the spring storm season comes, we spend weeks away from home and our families, sleeping in our cars surrounded by fast-food wrappers. But when the time comes, nothing can stop us from blasting down a road towards a supercell, a tornado, or a massive downburst. We could be on no sleep, no food, and maybe have only a gallon of gas left in our car, but we will chase nonetheless. We all share that drive,” Olbinski mentioned.
Photographer of the Year – 2nd Place: Tim Baca
The motivation to create the competition originated from a desire to have a photo contest dedicated entirely to the genre of storms, which led to building an annual archive of the best photos taken from around the world every year.
“I see my photography colleagues’ storm images cross my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter feeds all day,” Olbinski stated.
“Many of them are mind-blowing, and then they disappear down the newsfeed and that’s it. All the work these incredible artists put in, and the images usually never get seen by a wider audience than their friends and families. My hope is to recognize the efforts, hard work, and awe-inspiring photos of the storm photography community.”
Photographer of the Year – 3rd Place: Brett Wright
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