Feature/Photographic Essay


The Sydney Morning Herald

Nick Moir


Nick Moir’s series “Firestorm” is a standout photographic essay on the devastation that swept through south-east Australia over the summer of 2019-2020, with every shot a hero image.

Nick Moir said: “I have been studying the meteorology of fire weather and its behaviour for 20 years and this knowledge allowed me to target the day, time, fire and community that would be threatened. On the fire days, I watched the Bureau of Meteorology radar for the intense smoke plumes a strong fire would make to confirm my positioning.

“Throughout the season, I was able to capture images of events and moments that nobody else had. In particular, the events of the ‘area ignition’ in Orangeville on December 5, 2019, where I captured a fire tornado and millions of embers, something that has rarely been photographed before.”

Nick Moir, chief photographer at The Sydney Morning Herald, has specialised in environmental and meteorological events such as storms and bushfires for 20 years, covering major events such as the 2001 Black Christmas, the 2003 Canberra fires, the 2004 Asian Tsunami and the 2009 Black Saturday, as well as each storm season and several USA tornado seasons. Day to day he covers news in Sydney for the SMH, where he has worked since 1993.


Judges’ comments

“This was a masterly series, displaying the full range of Nick Moir’s impressive technical skill and 20 years’ experience. Every image is breath-taking, capturing the Armageddon-like atmosphere of the firegrounds.”


Nick Moir

Instagram: @nampix

Nikon is a proud supporter of the Walkley Award for Photographic Essay and congratulates this year’s winner.

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