Capturing Weather Through a Lens - 96five Family Radio

Capturing Weather Through a Lens

The BOM weather calendar is created to educate Australians on the science of weather and bring awareness to the risks it can bring.

By 96five Thursday 5 Nov 2020TrendingReading Time: 3 minutes

Main Image: Brisbane fog at sunrise (Michael Coombes)

Storms of ice and dust, the rarest of rainbows and ‘alien’ clouds all captured in the Bureau of Meteorology’s 2021 Australian Weather Calendar. 

The calendar, launched on 4 November, is 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.

Floodwaters and new growth in the Channel Country near Windorah, Queensland. Image: Helen Commens.

The calendar is testament to God’s amazing weather wonders on the Australian continent and all captured by everyday Aussies.

The image of fog lingering over Brisbane at sunrise was taken by Michael Coombes, who found himself on Mt Coot-tha overlooking Brisbane city at the crack of dawn one foggy morning, camera in hand.

‘I’ll get up early whenever fog is forecast, I just love it,’ he says. ‘The view you get from Mt Coot-tha is spectacular, especially when you get that fog that just kind of settles in, and rolls through the city as the sun rises.’

On this particular morning there was no one else around. That’s quite rare for this popular lookout, which is normally a hotspot for amateur and professional photographers alike.

‘I love how photography allows you to capture that one moment in time,’ Michael says. ‘That one snapshot just brings back everything that you were seeing at the time. And when you get it right, you just scratch your head sometimes and say, “wow, that’s what I was looking at.”’

The winning images from this year’s weather photography competition hail from all parts of Australia. From Tasmania 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.”

Dust storm approaching Mildura, Victoria. Image: Robert Klarich.

“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.

Mammatus cloud forms in sinking air and are most commonly seen at the base of cumulonimbus (thunderstorm) clouds. Image: Robert Ellis.

“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 Bureau’s 2021 Australian Weather Calendar can be ordered from the online shop at or by phone on 1300 798 789. It can be sent to friends and family anywhere in the world.