It was a hot, summer night in New Jersey. I needed a creative challenge, so I made my own photographic challenge. I heard the accu-weather forecast which said the weather was suppose to get very stormy in New York with a high chance of lighting and thunder. With this information, I traveled to my favorite state park in Jersey City, New Jersey. Liberty State Park has a fantastic view of lower Manhattan and the incredible new World Trade Center, also know as the Freedom Tower, now the tallest building in the United States. I set up my tripod and camera in the perfect spot on the water front promenade, a few hundred yards across the Hudson River. I patiently waited for the sky to grow darker and the weather to slowly change from mild and calm to stormy. After about an hour, the thunder started, as predicted, and small lightning strikes started to hit the New York skyline. I starting shooting and opened up my lens to the ideal exposure to capture the skyline at night. I had my camera set up in the picture-perfect mode. I kept shooting and kept experimenting with the right time exposure to capture a lightning strike. I kept firing away, but I was disappointed with my early results. I knew I did not have an awesome shot; the lightning was simply just too small and too dim. Finally after about 44 shots, BAM! A tremendous clap of thunder and an enormous bolt of lightning struck the freedom tower with a bright electric glow of light and my shutter closed a split second later.
Hooray! I checked my monitor preview window and I captured it! A direct lightning strike on the World Trade Center tower against a dramatic Ten Commandments pink and dark red sky! Of course, I had no idea it was going to hit the most famous new building in the country, but every artist or photographer has to credit “the good luck of being in the right place at the right time” once in a while, and I had great luck that one summer night! Afterwards in the studio, I had to choose the ideal longer exposure for the New York skyline which was about a 2 second exposure and photo compose it with the fast approximate .5 second exposure of the actual lighting strike. The final composed image is quite striking and won a photography award for Best Photography. The photo is published in “American Graphic Design and Advertising 28. The photo looks so good, I have to tell many people it was not created in Photoshop. The suspense, excitement and challenge of capturing random lighting was one of my most exhilarating shoots in recent years and the reward of creating an award winner on a slow week was very special.
This photo is available for private resale use.