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
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
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
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
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
Ones like this always make me smile.
6. The benefit of local knowledge – liverpoolecho.co.uk
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
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.
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.’
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
A familiar image – but from the floods this time around. Yes, Tewkesbury was hit again
16. And the impact on sport – Get Surrey
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
It’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 Gazette
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
20. The calm after the storm – WalesOnline
And so the clean up begins – under a rainbow in Aberystywth.