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Lightning strikes the Empire State Building | by Dan Nguyen @ New York City
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Lightning strikes the Empire State Building

(Featured in the Bastards Book of Photography: )


BOOM! Actually, it didn't sound that impressive. Hope everyone was OK at the ESB.

From the 68th floor of the Top of the Rock, during a summer storm. No tripod used, just holding the camera tight to my face and between the glass partitions, shooting bursts until I got lucky. I think lightning hit the Empire State Building at least one or two other times, including this one, but I wasn't quite quick enough to catch it :).


This was outside on the deck of the Top of the Rock; the very top of the observation deck is closed off, likely to reduce the chance that a tourist is the highest point of the Top of the Rock when lightning comes by. I'm half-joking about the people on the ESB; I'm sure the lightning rod pretty much eliminates risk to people on the observation deck, just as it does on the Rockefeller Center. So the bigger risk is probably heart shock; a few people ran for cover the few times lightning hit the Rock.)


The Canon 5D Mk2 shoots at 3.9fps. I waited for about a minute after each strike and then just periodically held the trigger down...The camera reading says it can store 52 (JPG) shots in its buffer, but I let off after about a dozen shots at each time to let the memory-writing catch up. From the half hour that I waited before this shot, it looks like I took about 550 shots before getting this one.


The metadata is here, but basically, 1/40th of a second at 2.8F, using the 24-70mm lens, at 1250 ISO.


Here's more photos of the storm and lightning and the NYC skyline.


See my Tumblr of New York photos.


Thanks Boing Boing for the link!


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Taken on June 9, 2011