Weather News

Western Australia's barren Wheatbelt and wild weather the perfect storm for landscape photographer

By Tom Edwards, Friday October 23, 2020 - 13:05 EDT
Audience submitted image
Mr Cantelo suggests using a telephoto lens to photograph lightning as a way of minimising the risk of injury. - Audience submitted

With Western Australia's storm season on the horizon, it is a great time to grab your camera and shoot some stunning weather photos.

Perth photographer Jordan Cantelo specialises in capturing dramatic weather landscapes, often around the Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions.

Many of his pictures feature bolts of lightning illuminating dark skies above barren rural landscapes in desolate rural areas.

"The first sign of thunderstorms, when you hear that crack of thunder and you see that first flash of lightning — that sends shivers down my spine," Mr Cantelo said.

"It's just that excitement. You're like a kid in a candy store when you see this stuff kicking off.

"To be able to capture this in photos, you're very blessed."

Prime storm photography areas

Mr Cantelo first developed his love for photography while using a disposable camera to document a work experience placement in the late 1990s.

He is a former Australian Institute of Professional Photography Photographer of The Year and has amassed more than 50,000 followers on Instagram.

The southern Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions are his favourite stomping grounds due to their flat rural landscapes and high propensity for storm action.

But taking eye-catching photos of wild weather events can present risks.

"I've had lighting come down probably 50 to 60 metres away from me," Mr Cantelo said.

"It's at those sorts of times when you think you're pushing the limit."

Top tips from an expert

With high rainfalls on the east coast and energy from the Pilbara feeding into the west coast trough weather system, this year's storm season is off to a promising start.

And while COVID travel restrictions were still in place, Mr Cantelo said it was a great time to 'wonder out yonder' and make the most of WA's excellent photo opportunities.

"Make sure you've got a reliable car … and have a personal locator beacon just in case you get stuck," he said.

"It's a pretty harsh environment and you're usually chasing when it's 40 plus degrees so make sure you have water and food for a couple of days."

While most towns in the Wheatbelt and Great Southern have 24-hour fuel available, this cannot always be relied upon so Mr Cantelo said to ensure you take adequate provisions.

"And if you can chase with other people, it's always a lot more fun," he said.

"You get to enjoy the experience as well and it's also good to let someone at home know where you're heading."


© ABC 2020

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