WPY 2011

Photograph Details

Highly commended 2011


Joel Sartore, USA

Storm painting

'It was one of the most thrilling rides I've ever had,' says Joel. The violent wind tossed the little Cessna plane around 'like a cork on the ocean'. Struggling not to break his nose on his camera, he focused on the tempestuous raincloud emptying itself over Uganda's Lake Albert. His aim was to capture an image that spoke of the seasonal rain cycle in the Albertine Rift but also the drama of the moment. 'We could smell the rain as we bounced in and out of pockets of cold air,' says Joel. It was only later, once the plane had landed, that the pilot revealed how tricky it had been keeping the plane in the sky against the force of the down-draughts, some pushing down at 1,000 feet per minute.

Technical specification

Nikon D3 + 14-24mm f2.8 lens; 1/5000 sec at f6.3 (-1.3 e/v); ISO 1000.

Lake Albert, Uganda: latitude 1.72786, longitude 31.1414 Lake Albert, Uganda: latitude 1.72786, longitude 31.1414

Lake Albert, Uganda

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Joel Sartore, USA

  • Balancing act
  • Lion in the spotlight
  • The hidden plague