Stunning storm front clinches Clique’s March Challenge

It was a long six-hour road trip to Moree that put Rosie Kew in the right place at the right time. Kew was on a storm-chasing trip with friends and they had found themselves looking down the snaking line of a massive aquamarine storm front.

"It was this moment where everything came together after a day chasing elusive storms," Kew told Fairfax Media. "All of a sudden this light came out and there was this huge bank of clouds… we stopped by the side of the road and were just in awe."

Congratulations Rosie Kew of Alstonville, winner of the March Clique Challenge. Photo: Rosie Kew/Clique

Kew's photograph has clinched Clique's March Challenge, which focused on the theme of "colour".

Kew said the speed at which the clouds were moving left her little time to take the photo.

"We had maybe just 10 minutes from when we pulled up next to the highway. We could see the dust getting sucked up by the storm and we knew it was moments away from hitting us."

Kew, an occupational therapist in Brisbane, has been chasing storms for four years but first took up a camera as a young teenager when she was given her father's old Pentax film SLR.

As a child Kew had always been frightened of storms. "Part of getting over that fear was confronting them," she said. "And what started as a fear-conquering exercise turned into an absolute fascination with the power and majesty of weather. Weather makes you feel small like nothing else can.

"It's about capturing the beauty of nature that people normally don't see.It's quite a remarkable and rare experience when it all comes together."

Speaking of Clique, Kew said she found the photo club a good community that helped "push each member's passion".

"I get inspiration from the others. In these challenges we're all trying to find our own unique version of the same thing, which is an amazing concept when you think about it. About being around people who share your passion. There is a flavour of what appeals to what would feature in a newspaper. There is that photojournalist appeal to it and the feedback from photojournalists is really helpful," Kew said.

Edwina Pickles, photojournalist at The Sydney Morning Herald, judged the competition and said of Kew's winning entry: "The image really stood out for me. The detail and striking colours in the storm front are fantastic.You have the mix of blues, greys and blacks set against the yellow grass. It's a very striking image that represents the majesty and vastness of rural Australia."

Pickles said the "the overall quality of the entries was good".

"I found a lot of photos had great colour, but what set this photo apart was the story to it. There were some very impressive images in the competition overall," she said.

Kew wins a Clique prize pack, including a $1000 Nikon store voucher, a 12-month subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, a custom collage from PosterCandy, a framed 16x20-inch print of her winning image and a portfolio review by a Fairfax photographer.

Clique Photo Club is run by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age photography departments. It aims to inspire and teach better photography through monthly competitions, as well as workshops and events. To join, go to cliquephotos.com.au.