Golden Gate Photo
Golden Gate Lightning Strike
The answer to your first question is yes, the lightning is real, not superimposed. As far as how it was taken, here is the full story:
Firstly, I looove to chase storms (which makes mostly for melancholy around the mellow Bay Area). And for years, I have had my eye on capturing lightning hitting the bridge. On February 7, 1998, El Niņo currents were driving rare thunderstorms through the Bay Area. Upon hearing the forecast, I went over the Golden Gate Bridge and up the Marin Headlands Road until I could park with camper shell facing back east, towards the bridge. From inside the shell, with back end open, I set up my camera on a tripod in a low position so I could sit and straddle it (and prayed I didn't get struck while in this rather vulnerable position). Using slow speed film (50 ASA), wide-angle lens, F-stop at 32 and a polarizer, all to maximize the exposure time, I metered the scene to be 15 to 30 seconds per exposure. Then with shutter cable in hand, I began to click away. After only about 15 minutes and one roll of film later, at 5:33 PM, it happened. Unfortunately, the intensity of the flash caused the immediately surrounding sky to be significantly overexposed. Conventional printing of the film revealed a very faint trace of the lightning bolts. Therefore, I chose to have the 6x6 cm transparency scanned at high resolution. I then slightly darkened the sky and surgically burned in the lightning using Adobe Photoshop to enhance the contrast between the two. That is what you see here. This digital image has been converted to a negative for final printing on high quality polyester medium. On close inspection, and clearly seen on the 20"x20" print, the bolt on the right definitely struck the seaside point of the South Tower.
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