In the distance, under an intense lighting storm, you can just barely see the Greek island of Ikaria in this image.
The image above is a composite of multiple shots that photographer, Chris Kotsiopoulo, took during a thunderstorm storm in June 2011. While they didn’t all happen at the same time, you can see how intense the storm was and how completely covered in lighting strikes this little island is.
The storm shot was a lucky coincidence Kotsiopoulo stumbled upon while photographing a total lunar eclipse.
Over the course of the storm, more than 100 lightning bolts illuminated the little island. This shot is made from 70 different photos, to show a time-lapse of the storm in one, mind-blowing image.
As you can see from the image, many of the strikes reached the ground. This type of lightning is known as cloud-t0-ground lightning, one of the rarest types of lighting, and the most deadly, since it strikes the Earth — and the humans on it.
A single lightning bolt carries approximately 5 billion Joules of energy, which means this storm generated about 500 billion Joules — the same amount of energy stored in 3800 gallons of gasoline. Here’s a time lapse video of part of the storm:
“Photographing lightning is a unique challenge for many photographers but your life is worth much more than even the best photo,” Kotsiopoulos writes in his description of his “Lightning” timelapse video available on Vimeo.
If you want to photograph lightning like Kotsiopoulos, he advises, “If the storm is near you, set the camera to take continuous shots with an intervalometer and then seek shelter inside a car or a building.”
You can check out more of Kotsiopoulos’s work on Greek Sky.
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