via Cityscapes by
Tempo on 6/24/10

Sometimes, a photographer goes out in search of a good photo–and, because of
unforeseen circumstances, he comes back with a great photo, one
that gets displayed all over the world.

And so it was last night as Tribune photographer Chris Sweda headed to
the John Hancock Center skydeck to snap a few shots of the official
debut of the Trump Tower spire–and a supercharged storm broke over

Chris got the assigned shots as the spire turned from red to blue
to white (below), but he got something much more powerful: A rare shot of
lightning bolts simultaneously striking the Trump Tower and the Willis
Tower (above).

The Associated Press has transmitted the shot worldwide and the
Daily Mail of London
has already picked it up. "Stunning images," says the

Kudos to Chris for getting exactly the right angle and for pressing
the button at exactly the right moment. He was
equally skillful in capturing the
aftermath of the storm
as the sky and the skyline faded to a golden

Oh, by the way, the Trump spire (a visual flop by day) looks pretty
spiffy by night.

(Tribune photos by Chris Sweda)

For more Tribune storm photos, click


POSTSCRIPT: Some readers are asking
whether the double lightning strike image was easier to capture than
it looks. In other words, did a long exposure make separate
lighting strikes appear simultaneous?

Tribune photo editors are concluding that the evidence suggests strongly that
the strikes did happen at the same time. They are basing their conclusion
on the following evidence: Another Tribune photographer, Terrence
A. James, got almost exactly the same shot from a different angle
(left)–and his exposure lasted just 1/80th of a second. Chris Sweda’s
picture was a four-second exposure, according to the editors.

Two other pieces of evidence strongly
point to a simultaneous strike: 1) Videos sent in by readers–see the
comment board–show simultaneous strikes hitting not only the Willis and Trump
towers but also the John Hancock Center. 2) 
When the shots were taken, the internal clocks of
both photographers’ cameras were set to 7:45 p.m. 
Although it is possible that Sweda and James took their
shots at different times, chances are very good that the photographers
clicked their cameras at almost precisely the same instant, capturing the same
double lightning strike from different angles.



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