Spanish photographer Marc Sellés Llimós often climbs to the hills to beat the noise pollution of the city and take photos of the night sky. On one evening, in particular, Sellés Llimós was in for a real treat as a storm raged over the Pyrenees. By compositing together nearly 400 images, he was able to create a photo that encapsulates what he saw and even features some beautiful star trails.
Sellés Llimós managed to capture his village—Manlleu—in the foreground. Rising high above the village is the Serra de Bellmunt, which is part of the Pyrenees. Behind the mountain, the sky lights up thanks to a massive storm that was actually occurring in France. That's right, Sellés Llimós' photograph shows two countries at the same time. Incredibly, the lightning that Sellés Llimós caught on film occurred over the course of just six minutes.
To get the stunning photograph, the Spaniard took one-second exposures in order to get a good exposure of the lightning and to cut through the light pollution in Manlleu. Above the entire scene, we see star trails that bring a sense of movement to the scene. The photo, which was selected by NASA as the Astronomy Picture of the Day, is a triumph.
His success in bringing the image to life is particularly meaningful. According to the photographer, the skies near Manlleu, located close to Barcelona, are often covered with clouds and mist. “There are very few nights where you can go out to take some photos in the high mountains,” he tells My Modern Met.
While he takes any opportunity that he can get to photograph the Milky Way and star trails in the area, capturing the lightning storm was an experience that he'll never forget.