20 great storm photos which show us how journalism is changing

aber2

The recent storms – which are continuing as I write this – have dominated many local news websites and their associated newspapers. Great images have not been in short supply.

This isn’t meant to be a ’20 great images’ post, but a collection of images which tell us something about how we cover big weather stories in 2014. The sources of the pictures, the way they were captured, the way they were used and the stories they told combine to tell us one thing: Journalism is changing, and, if the storms of 2014 are anyting to go by, for the better.

1. The one everyone will remember – PA

wow

For every big news event, there is always an image which everyone will remember. I think, for the storms which greeted the arrival of 2014, it’s this one, which, judging by credits in the various newspapers it appeared in, came from the Press Association. To my untrained eye, it manages that double rare feat: Combining a news line – just look at the wave watchers – with a view you’ll probably never see again – look at the waves!

2. The arty one – walesonline.co.uk

walesonlineporthcawl

For all the damage and destruction it can cause, there’s no denying water at its most active can also be very beautiful. This photo which appeared on WalesOnline from Porthcawl is an example of that.

3. The scale of the damage … Daily Post

daily post

There’s hardly any water in view here but the damage it has caused is clear to see. For commuters in North Wales, it’s clearly bad news. It makes me want to ask what a child is doing on a railway track too.

4. The lucky escape one – westernmorningnews.co.uk

mullionwesternmorningnews

This one made the front pages of some nationals too, but a montage of images served up on the home page of the Western Morning News made it a must click story for me. Watching the waves, the wave comes over, the family lucky to be alive. Remarkable footage.

5. The quirky ones – Dorset Echo

dorsetecho

Ones like this always make me smile.

6. The benefit of local knowledge – liverpoolecho.co.uk

WEATHER-Flood-125321_082-6465993

Pirates on the Mersey? Not quite – it’s a well-know pirate ship landmark which fell foul of December’s storms, taking another battering last week. And my favourite example of how local knowledge is essential to grabbing a great picture.

7. The sunken car – getsurrey.co.uk

surrey advertiser

Cars swamped in floods are ten-a-penny. This one, from the flooding between Christmas and new year in Guildford, stands out to me because the shot seems so peaceful, so normal …. then you realise what’s going on with the car.

8. The ‘Was it an apocolypse?’ one – Western Morning News

westwardho western morningnews

Back to the south west and the Western Morning News for this shot of a crazy golf course …. after the waves had retreated. A freelance image, it’s one which makes you stare and stare and stare. And then go ‘wow.’

9. Bring on the drones – Oxfordmail.co.uk

thedrone

This impressive shot of Wallingford bridge was captured by Karl Mitchell-Shead who took it using a DJIF550 Hexcopter from 200f. It was then used on the Oxford Mail’s flooding liveblog. In other words, a great picture from a drone.

10. The one with the canoe – getreading.co.uk

getreading

Floods always bring with them a photo of someone with a canoe. This was felt a little different as it came with a good story – the free to use canoes dropped around a village near Reading.

11. The power of UGC part one – Daily Post

powerofugc

There’s so little in this image, yet so much. Stunning. And from a reader.

12. The power of UGC part 2 … dailypost.co.uk

trainstuck

We know we can’t be everywhere – and that’s why respecting UGC is so important. This picture could easily have told a much more dramatic story.

13. The presence of hyperlocal sites … burnham-on-sea.com

barb-flood-rescue-2

This shot was everywhere on Monday, and on the BBC on Sunday night. It began life on hyperlocal community site burnham-on-sea.com, which has a close relationship online wit the hovercraft rescue service involved. I don’t know the origin of the photo – whether it came from the rescue service or from the website owners, but it’s a reminder to the regional media of just how good many hyperlocal sites are.

14. The feeling of hopelessness – Cheddar Valley Gazette

What now boss ? The Street to Taunton road

Because the weather tends to drive people inside, weather photos often don’t include people. This one I like because of the sense of hopelessness it conveys.

15. Not again! – Gloucestershire Echo

tewkesbury flooding

A familiar image – but from the floods this time around. Yes, Tewkesbury was hit again

16. And the impact on sport – Get Surrey

impactonsport

A sense of desperation washed over me when I saw this picture. The small football ground, the tiny stand … and a huge clear up bill.

17. Video killed the …. Worcester News

grab

pd26117403_w1500_ThumbIt’s enough to make a photographer weep – a grainy, almost pixelated video screen grab dominating the front page of a regional newspaper when there have been floods in the area. That’s what the Worcester News did, and it shows just the impact video can have. The picture, even if it isn’t sharp, tells a story which trumps technical quality of image. I believe this will happen more and more in the coming months and years.

Photographers, I don’t believe, should fear though – being a photographer in the regional media these days needs to be as much about video as it does stills photography.

18. Where does it stop? – Witney Gazettewitney gazette

witneygazette

There’s something remarkable about aerial shots. I remember the front page of a Westmorland Gazette the other year after Cumbria had been hit by flooding. The pictures throughout were dramatic throughout, but none more than the one on the front, showing a flooded caravan park from the air. A caravan park I’d stayed in six months earlier … and I could see ‘my’ caravan (actually a pine lodge) almost flooded out.

This image is credited in the Witney Gazette to airexperiences.co.uk, a company which will give you the chance to fly a plane, helicopter or hot air balloon.

19. The morning after – from westernmorningnews.co.uk

westernmorningnewsbeauty

20. The calm after the storm – WalesOnline

walesonline calm after storm

And so the clean up begins – under a rainbow in Aberystywth.

3 comments

  1. Some great photos, in our part of Kent I have never seen such high levels of water ever and I read we have more to come. For me it is an inconvenience for other less fortunate it has been far more devastating.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s