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Zap! Amazing Lightning Photo Captured

Incredible lighting storm over an island in Greece.
Incredible lighting storm over an island in Greece. (Image credit: Chris Kotsiopoulos / www.greeksky.gr)

A lucky photographer captured an amazing photo of an intense lightning storm over Ikaria Island, Greece.

Photographer Chris Kotsiopoulos had set out to document the total lunar eclipse on June 15, 2011, but he got more than he bargained for.

"This was an extraordinary storm that took place the night of the total lunar eclipse," Kotsiopoulos told OurAmazingPlanet. "The night started ideally as I managed to capture the lunar eclipse and some lightning at the same shot. After the end of the eclipse I noticed that the storm was insisting."

So Kotsiopoulos took a 70-shot sequence, with each shot a 20-second exposure. He stitched these shots together into the photo. The photo shows some 100 lightning strikes over Ikaria, which is near the southwestern coast of Turkey. The majority of the lightning was cloud-to-ground strikes.

The storm had several quirks that allowed Kotsiopoulos to capture the incredible photo. The storm was about 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) away from the camera and it wasn’t moving, so it was relatively safe to photograph. It wasn't raining, so he could set the camera on a tripod and shoot. The ferocious storm lasted about an hour.

"It was very intense," Kotsiopoulos said. "One lightning every 10-20 seconds."

You can follow OurAmazingPlanet staff writer Brett Israel on Twitter: @btisrael. Follow OurAmazingPlanet for the latest in Earth science and exploration news on Twitter @OAPlanet and on Facebook.

Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science with a focus on environmental issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Georgia, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, and has studied doctorate-level biochemistry at Emory University.