A photograph capturing the otherworldly beauty of tea hills in northern Vietnam has landed a Vietnamese photographer the first runner-up prize at the Weather Photographer of the Year 2020 competition, organised by the Royal Meteorological Society and AccuWeather. Taken by Vu Trung Huan, the photo shows the undulating hills of Long Coc in Phu Tho Province with the sunrays piercing through the early morning mist.

“The Long Coc tea hills have mysterious and strange features when the sun is not yet up,” Huan said. “Early in the morning, holding a cup of tea, taking a breath of fresh air and watching the gentle stretches of green tea hills… there’s nothing quite like it!”

The Long Coc tea hills @ Vu Trung Huan. Photo courtesy of the RMetS.

Dubbed “the Ha Long Bay of the midland” for their spellbinding scenery, the Long Coc tea hills are located around 125 km to the west of Hanoi. They are the main source of income for the local community, with the tradition of tea cultivation going back centuries in the region. The best time to visit as a tourist or photographer is at dawn when the hills, which many say look much like giant upturned bowls, are at their most spectacular.

A long-established institution tracing its origins back to 1850, the Royal Meteorological Society promotes academic and public engagement in weather and climate science. Its annual Weather Photographer of the Year contest was created as a platform for the world’s very best weather photography, and this year’s edition of the competition attracted over 7,700 photos from around the world.

The winning photograph was taken by Rudolf Sulgan, and it depicts a blizzard on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Here’s the image, along with a few other outstanding weather shots – all published here by the courtesy of the RMetS and the photographers themselves:

A blizzard in New York, USA @ Rudolf Sulgan (Winner)
A monster cloud over Umag, Croatia © Maja Kraljik (2nd Runner-Up)
Frozen Lake Baikal, Russia © Alexey Trofimov (Public Favourite)
A thunderstorm over El Paso, USA © Lori Grace Bailey (Shortlist)
A small tornado in Noush Abad, Iran © Hadi Dehghanpour (Shortlist)
A frosty bison in Yellowstone, USA © Laura Hedien (Shortlist)