Gallery: Amazing Amateur Photography

Stunning Lightning Strike

Lightning striking the Bay Bridge in San Francisco.

(Image credit: Phil McGrew)

This gorgeous 20-second exposure of lightning striking the Bay Bridge in San Francisco went viral in April 2012.

Crater Lake Star Trails

Star trails over Crater Lake, Oregon.

(Image credit: Phil McGrew)

Star trails reveal the movement of the night sky over Crater Lake in Oregon.

The ISS Crosses the Moon

The International Space Station crosses the moon.

(Image credit: Phil McGrew)

Photographer Phil McGrew said this photograph of the International Space Station traversing the face of the moon was the most technically challenging photograph he's ever taken. The shot involved a lot of data triangulation to make sure McGrew would be in the right place to see the ISS cross, visible here as a series of tiny dots. "Even if you miss it by half a mile the space station wont be across the moon," McGrew told LiveScience.

Majestic Milky Way

The Milky Way over McWay Falls in California

(Image credit: Phil McGrew)

The Milky Way shines over McWay Falls south of Big Sur, Calif. Photographer Phil McGrew pulled an "all-nighter" to get this shot.

Moon Sliver

Moonrise over the Lick Observatory in San Jose.

(Image credit: Phil McGrew)

The barest sliver of a moon rises over the Lick Observatory east of San Jose, Calif.

Vapor Cone

A vapor cone forming around an F-18 approaching Mach 1.

(Image credit: Phil McGrew)

A vapor cone forms around an F-18 as the plane approaches the speed of sound during an airshow in San Francisco.

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies gathered on a branch.

(Image credit: Phil McGrew)

Monarch butterflies gather at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Fremont, Calif.

Solstice Sunset

Orange surf at Pfeiffer Arch in California.

(Image credit: Phil McGrew)

Sunlight turns the surf orange at Pfeiffer Arch in California. Around the winter solstice, light from the sunset streams through the opening in the arch.

Western Grebe Dance

Two Western Grebes do a mating dance.

(Image credit: Phil McGrew)

Two Western Grebes "dance" on the water as part of their mating ritual. Photographer Phil McGrew waited for hours to capture the dance, which was over in seconds.

Moonrise in San Francisco

A photograph of moonrise over San Francisco.

(Image credit: Phil McGrew)

The moon rises behind the Golden Gate Bridge and over the TransAmerica Tower in San Francisco.

Stephanie Pappas
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.