Photographer Captures Striking Photo of Golden Gate Bridge Surrounded by Lightning

Golden Gate Bridge Timelapse

With an interest in landscape, timelapse, and aerial photography, it's only natural that Michael Shainblum would be attracted to lightning. While he has photographed the phenomenon on several occasions, his shot of an electrical storm illuminating San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge is among his most personally rewarding pieces.

Why is this photo so important to Shainblum? On top of the fact that it freezes a striking moment in time, this photograph took several years to finally realize. “For the last 5 years I have attempted to get a shot like this,” he explains. “Each time failing and ending up with no images, going home cold, wet and discouraged. This was a night shooting that I will never forget.”

To capture this photo, Shainblum camped out in the Marin Headlands, a hilly peninsula across the Bay, on a particularly stormy evening. Once the lightning started to strike, he stayed for three hours, using a dust blower to wipe the rain from his lens in order to get shot after shot. Finally, when he was satisfied with his selection, he went home and consolidated his photographs into one awe-inspiring timelapse photograph.

In addition to this series of images, Shainblum also captured close-up shots of the bridge's towers and a stunning seascape—all of which would not exist had Shainblum decided to abandon ship. “Sitting out in the rain for hours can be a little bit discouraging and there were multiple moments where I wanted to give up and leave,” he reveals. “I am glad I stuck it out to capture these incredible moments.”

For five years, photographer Michael Shainblum had hoped to get a photograph of the Golden Gate Bridge surrounded by lightning. Finally, in 2017, he got the shot—though, earlier in the evening, he had almost gone home when fog began to blanket the landmark.

Lightning Photos

However, a series of lightning bolts soon appeared around the monument, culminating in a collection of jaw-dropping photographs.

Golden Gate Bridge Lightning Photography

Lightning Photos

Golden Gate Bridge Timelapse

See the stop-motion sequence Shainblum used to craft his celebrated timelapse.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Michael Shainblum (@shainblumphotography) on

Michael Shainblum: Website | YouTube | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Vimeo

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Michael Shainblum.

Related Articles:

Photographer Chases SF Fog for 2 Years to Create Gorgeous Timelapse

Incredible Cityscapes of Dubai and Singapore in the Midst of Lightning Storms

Photographer Captures the Vast Beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge

Day and Night Merge in Spectacular Timelapse of New York City

Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.

Sponsored Content