Mother Nature at her most awesome: The stunning collection of weather photographs showing the elements in full force
This incredible set of photographs shows nature at its wildest and most beautiful.
The Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society organises a competition each year for the best weather pictures.
And its 2013 calendar is one of its best yet with lightning bolts, dust storms and enormous clouds creating dramatic series of natural spectacles.
One of the star moments Down Under was captured by amateur photographer James Collier after he witnessed a thunderstorm in March.
James, from Geelong, Victoria, watched as the storm cell caused an abrupt increase in wind – with gusts jumping from 30 km/h to 115 km/h as the storm passed nearby.
He said: ‘It was calm, almost surreal. I was clicking off ten second time exposures when all of a sudden it let go.
“I really jumped and nearly fell out the back of the wagon. I wasn’t sure I had pressed the button and had several seconds of anxiety before I confirmed that I had it.
“There was a lot of sheet lightning and only the occasional bolt, missing what I thought was the best bolt as I adjusted the camera.
“I continued to shoot when the cell let go with this massive bolt. It was stunning to watch but all over in a second. I very nearly didn’t go out that night.”
Matt Titmanis shot nature and man made in perfect harmony for January.
The science teacher, from Perth, was on his way to Australia Day celebrations in January this year when he got his camera out.
With perfect timing, Matt photographed a multi-coloured fireworks display in the foreground of a huge lightning storm.
And full-time photographer Peter Macdonald, who has specialised in shooting the outback for 20-years, was left mesmerised by the dust storm used in September.
The photo, taken in 2008, captures the sheer size of the 50km storm which was so large it only within the lens from 4km away.
Peter, from South Australia, said: “Unfortunately I left it too late to run. A howling mass of sand hit me, I could barely see, and had difficulty finding the car.
“When I did I stupidly opened the door and it was amazing how much sand got in.
“It was around 45 minutes before the storm turned into something like a sandy fog with visibility increased to 100 metres.”
The calendar, now in its 29th year, was launched to promote the understanding of meteorology and oceanography.
This year saw hundreds of entrees, leaving project manager Robert Kershaw with the daunting task of whittling it down to 13 for the calendar and front cover.
Robert said: “From an Australia Day lightning display that competes with fireworks in Perth, to rows of deep pink and violet stratocumulous clouds in country Victoria, or clouds casting dappled shadows on the terracotta-coloured Simpson Desert – this calendar presents an enduring record of the moments when nature puts on her most dramatic show.”
The calendar can be purchased from: http://shop.bom.gov.au.