Photographer Captures Rare Moment When Lightning Strikes the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty Being Struck by Lightning by Dan Martland

New York City's iconic skyline has always inspired photographer Dan Martland. He loves it when stormy skies take over, as they often make for unique images. Martland was certainly lucky last week, when he got a rare shot of a lightning bolt striking Lady Liberty during a storm in the city.

While this isn't the first time that Martland has captured lightning striking the Statue of Liberty, he was still surprised when he came away with the shot. “I wasn’t really expecting to get anything yesterday,” he tells My Modern Met. “I usually go for city shots, but the clouds were so low you couldn’t even see the buildings, so I decided to head to Liberty State Park and aim my cameras at the Statue of Liberty. A massive gamble focusing on something so small and precise. So, to get what I got was so lucky.”

Thanks to a dual camera setup, Martland actually caught a wide shot and a tight shot as the lightning bolt touched down on the statue's torch. Incredibly, the shot is all down to timing, with Martland using a “lightning trigger” to ensure that he set off the shutter at the right time. As with all storm photography, this combination of precision, patience, and timing can make for some incredible shots.

“I usually track the weather with apps and head out if it’s looking good,” Martland explained while responding to comments on Instagram. “I’ve had a time where I’ve been out for eight hours and got nothing. Today was only an hour. The storm passed pretty quick. And the apps showed that there were no more cells coming my way.”

To purchase a print of this image, or any of Martland's work, head over to his online shop.

Photographer Dan Martland was lucky enough to capture a photo of lightning striking the Statue of Liberty.


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A post shared by Dan Martland (@dantvusa)

While some wondered if it was AI, the work is just the fruit of good photography skills, research, and patience.

Statue of Liberty Being Struck by Lightning by Dan Martland

Dan Martland: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Dan Martland.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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