Ari Rex's lens broke shortly after taking a striking photograph of a thunderstorm which hit Canberra on January 30, 2019. Yet it may have been worth it, as the Canberra photographer has taken home a Lucie Award at the International Photography Awards.
The Lucie Awards are annual prizes that cover 13 categories, with professional photographers receiving a US$1000 cash prize for magnificent images. Winners of the Lucie Awards are usually invited to attend a gala in New York. Due to COVID-19 this could not go ahead.
Mr Rex was announced Nature Photographer of The Year for the photograph titled Black Mountain which depicts an extraordinary thunderstorm in the sky surrounding Black Mountain.
From winning the nature photography category Mr Rex is in the running for the International Photographer of the Year award which includes a cash prize of US$10,000 and the Lucie trophy.
"It means a lot to be recognised internationally," Mr Rex said.
"It always feels good and it's important for my photography career"
The photographer describes himself as "a bit of a storm chaser", and shot the image from Casey using a telephoto lens.
"It's not a typical lens you would use for this kind of shot ... it compresses the scenery," he said.
"It shows me the majesty of the big lightning coming from the sky."
Prior to being recognised with the Lucie Award, there were early signs Black Mountain was an extraordinary photograph, with the photo being shared widely on social media.
"This picture went a little bit viral on social media ... from what I could trace there were about 200 million views on Instagram and Facebook," he said.
Mr Rex said he has taken photos since he was a child. After moving to Canberra in 2011, he went on to study an Advanced Diploma of Photography.
Mr Rex now runs workshops on photographing the Milky Way. He encourages budding photographers to embrace Canberra's varied weather conditions.
"We are very lucky to have a lot of interesting situations in nature, we quite lucky to have a beautiful landscape."