In September, The Weather Channel revealed the winners of its annual It’s Amazing Out There photo contest. Now in its third year running, the contest invited professional and amateur photographers to submit their best photos of nature, adventure and weather. After weeks of deliberation, the team of judges which consisted of award-winning photographers and digital journalism leaders, narrowed the list down to 64 finalists from a whopping 66,000 submissions, and finally, selected three top-prize winners.

Here are the winners of the 2016 It’s Amazing Out There photo contest: 

Grand Prize Winner
“Fire On Ice”: Polar Bear on Hudson Bay, Canada, waiting for the bay to freeze to begin the annual seal hunt. (Submitted by Greg Gulbransen)

Photo: Fire on Ice

Photographer: Greg Gulbransen

Gulbransen received top honours, earning him USD15,000. About his winning photo, Gulbransen said:

“The weather turned that day. It got really really cold and all of a sudden, we woke up and went outside and saw the sun was coming up. The temperature changed so rapidly that the water was evaporating like that. We had this amazing fire-and-ice situation. It didn’t last very long, maybe 20 minutes. I just knew it was magical.I said to myself, ‘I hope a bear walks into this scene’ and sure enough this bear just walked into the scene. The bear walked out there with his head down. I was so cold, I couldn’t feel my fingertips and I was praying my battery wouldn’t freeze and I said, ‘bear, would you just lift your head about 8 inches?’ And sure enough, it lifted its head and that’s when I got the shot. I knew it was a special moment when I took it.”

Second Place
“Jomblang Cave, Indonesia”: The toughest selfie I’ve ever taken… After being lowered into the cave, you have to hike through slippery mud and cascading water to get to this spot. Set up the tripod, focus, take a test shot, and then climb onto rock tower without falling and shoot with a wireless remote (Submitted by Dale Johnson)

Photo: Jomblang Cave, Indonesia

Photographer: Dale Johnson

An epic selfie indeed, this photograph won over judges, awarding him second place and USD5,000. How does one attempt capturing such a picture? Johnson explains:

“I like to go off the beaten path. I’ve been trying to find cool, new places to explore with my camera on the weekend and on my days off. This cave is one of them.Between 10AM and 1PM the sun will shine through when conditions are right. On that day I wasn’t sure if I was going to get the sun shining right, luckily we did. And it was an amazing experience. The scale you can see with me standing there, it’s a pretty big space and there was water showering down from above. I scampered up there with my wireless remote and I’m trying to keep it from not getting too wet, not knowing if I’m getting any pictures or not. I scurry back down, walk back to my camera and sure enough I got a few shots. I adjusted a couple things and would go back up. I think I did it maybe two or three times before I felt that I got the shot and then packed everything up.”

Third Place
“Nature’s Fury”: Super cell thunderstorm with cloud to ground lightning (Submitted by Derek Burdeny)

Photo: Nature’s Fury

Photographer: Derek Burdeny

Burdeny received third place honours and USD2,500 for his submission.

“I was chasing some storms in Texas with some friends. The [weather] models looked good, so we got in position and watched this thing develop. It was a beautiful storm and everything was good for tornado production. It was really rotating. It never threw a tornado down, but it was really photogenic.”

The contest also allowed fans to vote for their favourite submissions and for four weeks before the top winners announcement, fan-fav winners were selected. These are the winners:

Week One Winner
“Ozzie” (Submitted by David Eppeley)
Week Two Winner
“Lightning On The Susquehanna River” (Submitted by Tony Bendele)
Week Three Winner
“Beauty After The Storm” (Submitted by Walter Dorsett)
Week Four Winner
“Storm’s Coming” (Submitted by Michael Zuccato Jr.)

Going through the list of the 64 finalists, we found a few of our own favourites that we felt were worthy of recognition:

“Snowy Owl In Flight”: This Snow Owl was nest to the road and I was able to capture it as it took off. (Submitted by Tom Samuelson)
“Climbing Matanuska Glacier”: A lone climber on Alaska’s Matanuska Glacier. Sun was setting and some dark clouds were building. (Submitted by Jim Nicolaus)
“Fisherman On The Dam”: I caught this after sunset as three fly fisherman were crossing the dam on a small creek in Tennessee. (Submitted by Shane Durrance)
“Catch Of The Day”: An egret grabbing it’s breakfast out of the water (Submitted by Ramkumar Ramakrishnan)
“Thermaling”: Turkey vultures warming up on a fence near Cambria, Ca. (Submitted by Suzy Simons)
“Bunker Barrel”: A school of bunker fish diving through a wave barreling onto the shore. This photo was taken during October 2015. It’s likely that some big bluefish were chasing these bunker trying to trap them, Needless to say I ran back onto the beach with my tail between my legs to take in what I had just witnessed, before running back out to photograph the sunset. (Submitted by Ryan Moore)
“Big Sur”: The Milky Way over Julia Pfeiffer Beach in California (Submitted by Andrew Ling)
“Grassy Nap”: After a long day driving we arrived at the park just in time to spot 3 lions sleeping in the tall grass before the rain started from the distance. (Submitted by Philipp Beckermann)
“Weeki Wachee Springs”: A birds eye view of the Weeki Wachee River. This river located in Weeki Wachee Florida (Tampa Bay Area) runs out to the Gulf of Mexico and is fed by a natural spring which keeps the spring at a cool 72 degrees year round. Notice how lush the nearby vegetation is! One thing is for sure “IT’S AMAZING OUT THERE” (Submitted by David Underwood)
“Step Of Rice Terrace At Chiangmai, Thailand.”: Rice terrace at Chiangmai, Thailand. before rain. (Submitted by Sarawut Intarob)
“Adventurous Soul”: Spray painting cars at Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas (Submitted by Richard Parker)
“Sunset Gallop Through The Marshes”: This image shows a herd of Camargue White Horses galloping through a marshy area in the Camargue region, southern France. (Submitted by Steve Lange)
“Ice Cave With A View”: I spent about an hour in the ice cave with my friend and my dog. At the back of the cave is a waterfall with a skylight that had blown my mind. As I was leaving I saw the sky softening and the pink hues on lips of the clouds. I had that feeling that this was going to be special. So I waited and counted the cave kisses dropping on me and my camera. On December 27th, a day after I was here, an avalanche occurred in this cave. (Submitted by Jason Matias)
“Quiet Reflections” (Submitted by Douglas Terry)
“Barred Leaf Frog” (Submitted by Christian Sanchez Acre)

All photos courtesy of The Weather Channel



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