Three Simultaneous Lighting Strikes Captured in One Awe-Inspiring Image

craig shimala

Lightning is one of the most spectacular, if not violent of events nature can unleash in the skies. To the photographer who patiently waits, some amazing images of these magnificent occurrences can be captured. Unfortunately, for the lightning photography enthusiast, Craig Shimala has raised the bar ridiculously high. Shimala’s astonishing luck brought to him a literal triple threat, in not one, nor two, but three simultaneous lightning strikes caught in-camera.

As if that freakish amount of luck were not enough, those triple strikes happened to hit three equally celebrated structures, namely: the Willis Tower, Trump Tower, and John Hancock Building in Chicago during a violent storm on the evening of June 30 this year. We are quite sure Shimala will not argue that it was luck that came his way, since lightning is one of those unpredictable forces of nature.

Shimala had the good fortune of capturing the event while filming a time-lapse video. Remarkably, this is not the first time for him to document this fantastic phenomenon. He shot same exact thing around four years back in 2010. Is Shimala a ‘lightning whisperer’?

Dan Robinson, a year-round storm chaser and photographer says lightning strikes these three iconic Chicago buildings around 50 to 100 times a year. A number of times each year, the structures will take a hit at least five times during a single storm. This kind of lightning is known as ‘upward moving’ or ‘ground-to-cloud’. Downward or ‘cloud-to-ground’ lighting is more common and has a tendency to strike shorter buildings. These resemble a downward branching tree, while upward traveling lightning will often look like branchless.

chicago lightning strike

Robinson further elaborated,

“Upward lightning strokes frequently initiate off of multiple tall objects (like towers and skyscrapers) at a time. The three major skyscrapers in Chicago are no different – two or three can be struck at one time. In fact, it is actually rarer for only one tower in a cluster to get struck – multiple simultaneous hits are more typical.”

See Shimala’s incredible image here along with his other works.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.