The (Other) Bay Bridge Lightning Strike.

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    I sort of have a (stupid) rule where I won't upload consecutive images of the same subject but this photo will likely have less appeal as time passes.

    On the night of the storm (April 12th), I set my camera up to take an unlimited number of 20 second exposures from my home office. I turned off all computers, monitors, and blinking lights I could find and shut the door to eliminate possible reflections on the window. I stopped the camera after 136 exposures and was lucky enough to find lightning on 3 frames. The first photo somehow went viral.

    It appeared in print, the local NBC and CBS news as well as the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, The Today Show, the Weather Channel, as well as others. It's been a strange experience and I'm happy to report that my 15 minutes of fame are up and I'm once again flying under the radar.

    There has been some demand for the print and if interested, it can be found here:

    Oh, and just to clear up some internet controversy - these are single, 20 second exposures (not stacked). I never suggested that all the bolts hit at the exact same time, the newspaper did and others copied it. I'm not yet 49 but I hope to be someday. And, there ARE cars on the bridge but because this is a long exposure they appear as streaks. Westbound headlights on the top deck and Eastbound taillights are on the lower deck.

    Thank for looking and thanks for the comments. I am still reading them all!

    Oh, and one more thing. Please don't swipe this photo, remove the rain drops, and then email me to tell me what a nice person you are. That's not cool!

    tobyharriman, Towfiq Ahmed, j2p51, and 68 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 4 more comments

    1. Ellen Soohoo 36 months ago | reply

      Simply amazing and spectacular work. Love your additional comments to add "clarity" to the shot, and the one about the guy who swiped our photo cracked me up! Congratulations again!

    2. phil_mcgrew 36 months ago | reply

      Thank you. Four people have removed the drops so far and then told me about it.

    3. jeannie'spix 36 months ago | reply

      Hi Phil...I don't know if you saw my comment on the first lighting post. It was probably lost in the many thousands of post you received. ..but each night shot you post gets more and more amazing. I think this one is equally as fantastic as the first. What a wonderful experience this must have been. Congratulations again. Jeannie

    4. Josh Denault 36 months ago | reply

      Call me crazy but I kinda like this one better. The lightning seems stronger on the 2 closer towers.

      I'm gonna go ahead and clean up those rain-drops for you and send it to CNN.


    5. katejbrown photography 36 months ago | reply

      Amazing sight, fantastic capture!

    6. Marsha Kirschbaum 36 months ago | reply

      Beautiful. I am a fan of the rain drops and am glad that you kept them. What a wonderful documentation of a rare electrical event to hit the Bay area.

    7. CWFitz5507 36 months ago | reply

      I saw it on ktvu too, I'm stoked I kinda know the guy who captured this!

    8. susafri 36 months ago | reply

      thanks for the illuminating notes on how you did this. This one seems cooler in color and crisper, but equally stunning as the "viral" one. What I admire about your approach is your meticulous planning and execution. Something that I am forever struggling with. The technical perfection and planning ahead here is what made that shot possible. What a crazy response to the first posting! Everyone was talking about it! I proudly pointed out that I had actually just met you the week before. Sharing the fallout of the spotlight :)

    9. NEW ENGLAND CENTRAL RAILROAD CSX AMTRAK [deleted] 36 months ago | reply


    10. Willie Huang Photo 35 months ago | reply

      That was one crazy storm! I pondered heading up to the city for some lightning shots but my buddy convinced me I would see nothing but just illuminated clouds. Surely I was wrong. A stunning and once-in-lifetime capture!

    11. phil_mcgrew 35 months ago | reply

      Funny you say that. I only saw illuminated clouds as well. I was shocked to see the camera had caught some actual bolts.

    12. Karen Andrea Photography 35 months ago | reply

      Congrats on getting such awesome shots of the storm!!

    13. nikkiluvssf 35 months ago | reply

      Congratulations! I actually saw this via a friend's facebook page who lives in Oregon!

    14. S Ty Photography 34 months ago | reply

      I hope these media outlets paid something for showcasing something jaw-dropping like this - well I know money isn't everything (and you're self-provident as evidence by ownership of a 5D Mark III - lol!) again , congratulations, Phil!

    15. victorvonsalza 33 months ago | reply

      Both are superb images and captures, informative explanation/background info too. Thanks for sharing!

    16. "Jersey" Jenn 13 months ago | reply

      This is an AMAZING shot! Stunning! Good work! you most likley already know ( or maby not) that a local eatery has this image as their website?! I really hope you got paid bux for that! It's how I saw this image but wanted to see a better resolution shot so I searched and volia!

      Thanx again for the great eye candy, I woould love to get a copy if your selling them!

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