On the Radar Sony World Photography Award winner Mitch Dobrowner
2nd May 2012

  • mitch-dobrowner_bears-claw.jpg Bears Claw
  • mitch-dobrowner_rope-out.jpg Rope Out
  • mitch-dobrowner_jupiter.jpg Jupiter
  • mitch-dobrowner_veil-storm.jpg Veil Storm
  • mitch-dobrowner_storm-over-field.jpg Storm Over Field
  • mitch-dobrowner_arcus-cloud.jpg Arcus Cloud
  • mitch-dobrowner_monsoon.jpg Monsoon
AUTHOR The Milk Maid
PHOTOGRAPHY Mitch Dobrowner
1st - 22nd May 2012 - Somerset House

Selected from more than 112,000 entries from 171 countries, and a shortlist of more than 120 photographers, Mitch Dobrowner's dramatic thundery skies recently earnt him the top prize in the Fine Art/Landscape category at the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards.

Hailing from America, Dobrowner told me that he’s been fascinated by storms since childhood. “I have fond memories of being caught in thunderstorms and feeling the winds and rain in my face.” He began photographing storms primarily in the southwestern United States, seeking out the nastiest and most unstable weather possible. It wasn’t until the summer of 2009 that he shifted his focus from the southwest and began to research the most severe weather he could find. “This brought me to Tornado Alley and the Great Plains (USA). After experiencing a 60,000 foot mesocyclone in Valentine, Nebraska (July 13, 2009) on my second day of shooting, I decided that my experiment was a project. I had never seen anything like that in my life; the experience was like standing in front on a 60,000' high, electrified, vacuum cleaner. “

And the results are a true spectacle. A remarkable combination of drama and movement captured in a moment, that makes the intimidating storms look almost serene hanging over the endless and arid landscapes. This almost eerie sense of calm makes it easy to forget the high risk conditions Dobrowner has placed himself in to get these perfect shots. Despite the danger he doesn’t allow himself to be precious with his equipment… “To me, my camera is a tool... it’s not something to polish and shine and never use. It acts as my paintbrush. And though I need to understand it, as it needs to feel like an extension of my hand, it can’t be something that I’m intimidated by. I don’t want to be thinking about it when I’m standing in front of a 60,000-foot cyclone. I just want to be concentrating on composition and exposure, and just have the ability to focus on what is in front of me.”

He uses a Canon 5D Mark II with a 24-105mm or 70-200mm L series lens, which he says affords maximum creative flexibility, despite this Dobrowner sights his beanie has his most vital piece of equipment…”I wear it on my head to keep the hair out of his eyes.”

So, with this new accolade, which he says is “surreal, humbling, shocking” what is next? "I'm planning to begin researching volcanoes and/or volcanic lands over the next year. This includes a trip to Iceland, maybe Hawaii and up the coast of California. Eventually I would love to photograph the deserts and volcanoes in Chile. The castles and history of England is also of interest to me."

Mitch Dobrowner’s winning image is currently on display at Somerset House, along with other winners and entrants shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards.

For more information click here.