Featured image: Lightning over Gulf St Vincent and Happy Valley Reservoir, Adelaide, South Australia – Jody Shadgett
If you love incredible photos of the weather, the new 2021 Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian weather calendar is a Christmas present you need to buy for yourself this year!
The calendar, launched on 4 November, has been created to educate Australians on the science of weather and bring awareness to the importance of understanding weather and the risks it can bring.
Each year hundreds of photographs are submitted and narrowed down to only 13 final images.
The winning images from this year’s weather photography competition hail from all parts of Australia. From South Australia to Sydney’s northern beaches, Brisbane city to Channel Country in south-west Queensland; every state and territory’s weather was captured in this year’s calendar.
“Australia experiences such a dynamic range of extreme weather events. The calendar is a great opportunity to share powerful weather-related images and teach Australian communities the science behind each photo,” says the Bureau’s Community Engagement Manager Brooke Leung.
“Last year’s Mildura dust storm is featured in the calendar and it’s a remarkable image. We rarely see dust storms cover a whole city as they usually occur in arid and isolated areas of central Australia. Dust storms are a combination of really dry conditions, strong winds and an unstable atmosphere which can cause the dust particulars to travel long distances in the air.”
“Keen cloud observers will appreciate the beautiful shot of a mammatus cloud in Oberne Creek NSW. These are pouches of falling air which are sometimes found around thunderstorms. They are known to pilots as they can create severe turbulence for aircraft and are to be avoided.”
Robert Ellis, who lives in the Riverina region of NSW, captured a photograph of a mammatus cloud after looking out of his window, as he does every day, and spotting the spectacular clouds above his cattle farm.
“My father bought this property just after the Second World War in 1949, and this is the only life I’ve ever known. But, to this day I’m still constantly in wonder of the weather, the sky is always different from one day to the next,” Robert said.
The South Australian entry this year, was an incredible lightning photo by Jody Shadgett.
Jody was fast asleep when this electrical storm hit Adelaide back in 2014. ‘My husband actually woke me up and told me to get my camera,’ she recalls. ‘Now every time someone comments on my photo he puts his hand up and says, ‘if it wasn’t for me it wouldn’t have happened!’ He takes all the
glory for it.’
Jody, who describes herself as a ‘backyard storm chaser’, says it was one of the wildest storms she’d ever seen. ‘After I’d grabbed this I shot I packed all my equipment away because a bolt of lightning actually hit between the Happy Valley Reservoir and my house, and I could feel the hairs stand up on my arm – I thought to myself, ‘that’s way too close for me.”
Jody says it’s the first time she’s seen different colouring in the lightning strikes, indicating the cool change moving through. ‘You can see there’s a hint of red on one bolt and blue on the other, it was just fascinating to watch.’
Jody says she won’t travel during a storm for safety reasons. She’s happy just to shoot from her back verandah. And who needs to leave home when you can capture a scene like this, which Jody says is a dream come true.
‘Since then I haven’t even attempted to take another lightning photo – I know I’m never going to get any better than that.
The Bureau’s 2021 Australian Weather Calendar can be ordered from the online shop at shop.bom.gov.au or by phone on 1300 798 789. It can be sent to friends and family anywhere in the world.