+
upworthy
Science

Check out these breathtaking images from the 2022 Weather Photographer of the Year contest

Rainbows, storm clouds and frozen waterfalls, oh my.

weather photography

Weather is beautiful.

Capturing the perfect image is difficult even under the best of conditions, but when trying to get a snapshot of once-in-a-lifetime moments in nature, the task becomes herculean. The reward, however, is witnessing beauty almost too dazzling to be real.

On Oct. 6, Christopher Ison was awarded the title of Weather Photographer of the Year for his breathtaking photo of storm waves crashing against a lighthouse. According to My Modern Met, judges received entries from more than 119 countries and created a shortlist of 22 stunning images. The annual contest, held by the Royal Meteorological Society, celebrates weather of all forms, from whimsical rainbows to chaotic lightning storms and phenomenon in between.

Below are the eight winners this year. Believe it or not, some pictures were even taken with a smartphone.


Main winner: "Storm Eunice" by Christopher Ison

Photo location: Newhaven, East Sussex, U.K.

Camera: Canon EOS R5

storm eunice

"Storm Eunice"

www.rmets.org

Ison’s bold, dramatic, almost monochromatic image comes as a result of Storm Eunice, an intense cyclone that wreaked havoc in the U.K. in February. Its 122 mph wind speeds set a new record in England.

Needless to say, getting the photo successfully (and safely) would not be easy. Ison chose to head to high ground and stand slightly further away from the harbor wall. With his back to the weather, he snapped the image.

"When the storm was predicted and that it was carrying the first ever red warning for the south coast, I knew I had to find a spot to record it – this was going to be big!" Ison shared.

2nd place: "Frozen" by Zhenhuan Zhou

Photo location: Ontario, Canada

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

niagara falls

"Frozen"

www.rmets.org

Photographer Zhenhuan Zhou perfectly captured the mystical essence of a frozen Niagara Falls in winter. Extreme low temperatures cause sheets of ice to form over the water’s surface, giving the illusion that the Falls have completely stopped, when in reality water continues to flow underneath.

The cold imagery is balanced out by the warm glow of a single light emanating from a cozy cabin, which clearly belongs to some kind of winter fairy.

3rd place: "Ghost Under the Cliff" by Emili Vilamala Benito

Photo location: Tavertet, Barcelona, Spain

Camera: Sony SLT-A99V

Brocken spectre

"Ghost Under The Cliff"

www.rmets.org

The shadowy figure shrouded in a rainbow seen in Emili Benito’s photograph is called a Brocken Spectre—an optical illusion that occurs when the observer’s shadow is magnified as it’s cast onto a cloud or mist.

The Brocken Spectre is a type of glory. Glories are often seen by air travelers, who notice the shadow of their airplane cast on clouds below. The airplane’s shadow will be moving along on the cloud tops, surrounded by a rainbow-like halo of light as it flies through the air.

Public vote winner: "Departing Storm Over Bembridge Lifeboat Station" by Jamie Russell

Photo location: Bembridge, Isle of Wight, U.K.

Camera: Nikon d7500, Sigma 10-20 lens

double rainbows

"Departing Storm Over Bembridge Lifeboat Station"

www.rmets.org

Photographer Jamie Russell has apparently been chasing storms all across the Isle of Wight, capturing gorgeous rainbows. But the one found after a show in Bembridge was the ultimate prize, causing him to rush into “waist-deep water, fully dressed” to compose this image.

This double rainbow comes as a result of sunlight being refracted twice within a raindrop. A key characteristic of the “second bow” is a fainter hue and reversed color sequence.

Mobile category winner: "Sunset" by Aung Chan Thar

Photo location: Kyaikto, Myanmar

Camera: Vivo X70 pro+

Myanmar sunset, sunset photography

"Sunset"

www.rmets.org

This one’s a delight to weather enthusiasts and architecture buffs alike.

The richness of the sunset happens because of Rayleigh scattering, aka nature’s Instagram filter. When the sun is very low (as in sunrise and sunset), its light has to travel further through the atmosphere. Blue light, which is shorter in wavelength than red light, is therefore scattered away and deflected before our eyes can see it. The longer wavelengths of orange and red light are scattered less, and therefore more visible. Not to mention gorgeous.

Mobile category runner-up: "Scotch Mist" by Vince Campbell

Photo location: Tarbet, Loch Lomond, Scotland

Camera: Samsung SM-J530f 3.71mm

scotland photography

"Scotch Mist"

www.rmets.org

I knew that smartphones could take some pretty epic pictures, but I didn’t know they could be this epic.

Photographer Vince Campbell was up before the sun and walking with his dogs Oscar and Ollie to capture this beautiful misty scene.

This is a “misty” scene, rather than a “foggy” one, because of the visibility. Mist and fog are both caused by water droplets suspended in the air close to the ground. Mist is less dense and dissipates more quickly. The rule of thumb is—if you can see more than 1,000 meters (in the pictures, for example, you can see all the way across the lake), then it’s mist. If you can’t see past 1,000 meters, it’s fog.

Young Weather Photographer of the Year winner: "Mammatus Sunset" by Eris Pil

Photo location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Camera: Pixel 3 Phone

Mammatus clouds

"Mammatus Sunset"

www.rmets.org

"The sky was completely lit up in a way I had never seen before, like these beautiful backlit watercolor clouds,” recalled Young Photographer of the Year Eris Pil.

What looks like a Van Gogh painting in the photo are mammatus clouds, which, despite their fluffy, pleasant seeming demeanor, are created under tumultuous conditions. Often, but not always, they are sweet-looking harbingers of severe thunderstorms and even tornados. But hey, they’re nice to look at.

Pil shared that this photo was her “first time ever witnessing” mammatus clouds, and that she hopes for the “opportunity to see them again.”

Young Weather Photographer of the Year runner-up: "Tyndall Effect" by Shreya Nair

Photo location: Trivandrum, India

Camera: Redmi Note 9 Pro

light beams photo

"Tyndal Effect"

www.rmets.org

Photographer Shreya Nair was taking a walk through their backyard in India when they spotted light peaking through the tree canopy.

This heavenly effect is known as the Tyndall effect. Similar to a Rayleigh scattering, the Tyndall effect is a scattering of beams of light that attach to floating particles like smoke or dust. Again, because blue and red light have different wavelengths, they are affected differently during this weather phenomenon. The Tyndall effect is why the sky appears blue.

Wanna bask in beautiful weather year-round from the comfort of your own home? The Weather Photographer of the Year 2023 calendar is available on pre-order.

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

Health

Interesting video explains why people looked a lot older in the past than they do today

Were people unhealthy? Did they spend too much time in the sun?

Norm was only in his 30s?

Ever look at your parents' high school yearbooks and think people looked so much older back then? All of the teenagers look like they’re in their mid-30s and the teachers who are 50 look like they’re 80.

When we watch older movies, even those from the 1980s, the teenagers appear to be a lot older as well.

Why is it that they looked so much older? Was life harder? Did people act more mature? Did they spend more time outdoors and less time playing video games? Is it their sense of fashion? Were they all smokers?

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

My wife surprised her coworkers when she came out as trans. Then they surprised her.

She was ready for one reaction but was greeted with a beautiful response.

All photos by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

Zoe comes out to her coworkers.


Society, pay attention. This is important.

My wife, Zoe, is transgender. She came out to us — the kids and me — last summer and then slowly spread her beautiful feminine wings with extended family, friends, and neighbors.

A little coming out here, a little coming out there — you know how it is.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

MIT’s trillion-frames-per-second camera can capture light as it travels

"There's nothing in the universe that looks fast to this camera."

Photo from YouTube video.

Photographing the path of light.

A new camera developed at MIT can photograph a trillion frames per second.

Compare that with a traditional movie camera which takes a mere 24. This new advancement in photographic technology has given scientists the ability to photograph the movement of the fastest thing in the Universe, light.

Keep ReadingShow less


Time travel back to 1905.

Back in 1905, a book called "The Apples of New York" was published by the New York State Department of Agriculture. It featured hundreds of apple varieties of all shapes, colors, and sizes, including Thomas Jefferson's personal favorite, the Esopus Spitzenburg.






Keep ReadingShow less
The Emmys/ Youtube

Jack Black won his first Emmy on Dec 17, 2023

If there were an award for “Most Entertaining Personality On and Offscreen,” Jack Black surely would have won it many times over. The man can turn any moment into pure spun comedic gold of epic proportions. Whether he’s playing iconic video game characters or doing an improvised interpretive dance at home, the man knows how to bring a smile to people’s faces.

Case and point: the “Jumanji” star’s endlessly enthusiastic acceptance speech for his first ever Emmy award.

The actor and musician won the coveted Children and Family Emmy Award for his voice performance in “Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight,” a spin-off series in the ultra popular animated franchise.

Fittingly, Black was every bit as animated while accepting the award.

Keep ReadingShow less

Simon Beck didn't set out to become a world-renowned snowshoe artist, yet here he is. The former cartographer was trained in engineering at Oxford, but has spent the past ten years making jaw-dropping art in the snow and sand using only his feet.

Beck uses geometrical and geographical tools to plot out his designs, but it's still baffling to see him walk exactly where he needs to to create them. His designs can take 12 hours of walking or more, and he'll take around 40,000 steps for an average-sized piece. It's beautiful, it's creative, it's exercise—and it's fleeting.

Keep ReadingShow less