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Toronto photographer captures double-exposure lightning shot

Double-exposed lightning photo captured by Richard Gottardo on July 25, 2012
Double-exposed lightning photo captured by Richard Gottardo on July 25, 2012

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

October 9, 2012 — You could call it a one in a million capture. A Toronto-based wedding photographer captured a double-exposure lightning shot while out storm chasing this past summer.

Another lightning photo captured by Gottardo
Another lightning photo captured by Gottardo

It's a photo that, at first, Richard Gottardo was disappointed in. 

The photographer thought his lightning photo was over-exposed and almost deleted it off his camera. It wasn't until later that he realized what he had. 

"While I was hoping to get a lightning shot, I had never imagined that I would be getting a perfectly centered photo of lightning hitting a tree, creating a neat double exposure," Gottardo told The Weather Network. "I was pretty excited to say the least!"

Known primarily as a wedding photographer based out of Toronto, it was within the last year that Gottardo became interested in seriously chasing storms. It was on the night of July 25, 2012 - when severe weather was rolling across southern Ontario, that he managed to capture the fascinating photo (shown above.)

Gottardo snapped the photo at 2:30 a.m. while driving about 30 minutes north of Woodstock, Ontario. He says the shot wasn't so much accidental as it was unexpected. 

"I had been sitting in a field with my camera on a lone tree, hoping to get a shot of it being struck by lightning. A couple of strikes came close, but it never hit," he says. "So I decided to get back in front of the storm."

Gottardo hopped into his car and began driving through heavy rain and hail. He says lightning was striking very close and a few times a minute. 

"I decided I didn't want to waste the opportunity and set the tripod up across my lap with the camera out the driver side window. I then started taking :30 exposures of the lightning." 

It wasn't until Gottardo corrected the exposure on the photo that he realized just how cool it looked.  

"The reaction from everyone has been overwhelmingly positive," he says. "Of course, there are the people who yell 'photoshop!' but what can you do!?" 

You can find more of Richard Gottardo's photos by visiting his website. You can also follow him on Twitter @richardgottardo. Gottardo says he’s currently selling photos to raise funds for a photo expedition to Tornado Alley. 

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