Photographer Captures the Moment Rio’s Christ the Redeemer Is Struck by Lightning


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Una publicación compartida por Fernando Braga (@fsbragaphotos)

The Christ the Redeemer statue has been regarded as a landmark of Brazil ever since it was completed in 1931. Located atop the Corcovado mountain, the sculpture is 98 feet high and presents itself as if Jesus Christ is overlooking Rio de Janeiro. Its monumentality, symbolism, as well as the unbeatable views one can get from its lookout, draw about 2 million visitors each year. Now, this Brazilian icon is getting attention due to a very different reason. Recently, the Christ the Redeemer statue was struck by lightning, and a photographer named Fernando Braga was in the vicinity to capture the electrifying moment.

The massive structure's shape and location makes it a common target for violent thunderstorms that sometimes fall upon Rio (it does feature lightning rods). In 2008 and 2014, lightning even damaged the statue, causing harm to the fingers, head, and eyebrows. The fact that Christ the Redeemer is struck by lightning every once in a while inspired Braga to try to document it. After several failed attempts, he was finally successful. Though this may not be the first time the sculpture has been hit by lightning, it does not take away from the sublime sight of Mother Nature making contact with it.

“After about 3 hours with the machine taking a sequence of more than 500 photos in long exposure, this long-awaited photo finally appeared”, he wrote on Instagram. “In many other (countless) days and moments I did the same and nothing. But that's it. It's part of it and we always have to keep trying. It's like that in everything. Never give up.”

Braga has been diligently photographing the Christ the Redeemer statue for at least three years, showing it surrounded by fog, joined by a crescent moon, and even bidding farewell to the planes departing from the Rio de Janeiro airport. His dedication to this landmark is reminiscent of that of Monet and his Water Lilies—he always finds something new and exciting to depict thanks to his contemplation of a subject for an extended period of time.

For his viral photo of Christ the Redeemer being struck by lightning—which he titled Divine Lightning—Braga used a NIKON D800 with 70–200mm f/2.8E to 70mm f/8 13″ ISO 100, and “nothing more.” However, the camera has a bit of its own story. “This camera, or rather this war machine, belongs to my father,” he explains. “I borrowed it a year ago and never returned it…. It has become an inseparable friend of my beloved D750. They are like ‘Brothers In Arms!!!'”

Not only has his image earned over 150,000 likes on Instagram, but it has also been reposted by the Christ the Redeemer official account with vital information about thunderstorms in the area. Ultimately, this image represents that attention to detail and dedicated work eventually pay off. “Lots and lots of frustrated attempts to catch the lightning falling on Christ,” Braga admits. “A lot of rain and days passed. I got close a few times, but I had never managed to get to Christ. And right there that I love to photograph! I already have a very special photo for me which was the Blessed Moon. Now it's Divine Lightning!”

Photographer Fernando Braga took a powerful picture of the Christ the Redeemer statue being struck by lightning.


Ver esta publicación en Instagram


Una publicación compartida por Fernando Braga (@fsbragaphotos)

Braga has also shared a time-lapse of the moment.


Ver esta publicación en Instagram


Una publicación compartida por Fernando Braga (@fsbragaphotos)

Fernando Braga: Website | Instagram 
h/t: [PetaPixel]

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Regina Sienra

Regina Sienra is a Staff Writer at My Modern Met. Based in Mexico City, Mexico, she holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications with specialization in Journalism from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. She has 10+ years’ experience in Digital Media, writing for outlets in both English and Spanish. Her love for the creative arts—especially music and film—drives her forward every day.
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