Long Exposure Photo of a Tree Struck by Lightning

The internet seems to believe this is a "long exposure photo of a lightning bolt hitting a tree."

It's not.

Well, it is a long exposure shot, but not of lightning. It's a photo created by "light painter" Darren Pearson (aka Darius Twin). Wikipedia defines light painting as "a photographic technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source or by moving the camera."

Pearson light painted the blue flames at the base of the tree. He then cut-and-pasted the lightning bolt itself into the photo from a NOAA image of a lightning strike (below).

Pearson posted the image on his Facebook page on Oct. 17, 2013, with the caption "The old Benjamin Franklin trick 😉"

So in its original context this was clearly presented as an art photo. It was only when the Internet recaptioned it, that it became a fake (or misleading) photo.

And for the sake of comparison, here's an actual photo of lightning striking a tree.

viral images The Gallery of Fake Viral Images

Posted on Thu Jan 09, 2014


Found this ste while checking if a photo was real...
Posted by Sandra Lindsay  on  Sun Jan 19, 2014  at  03:01 AM
Your info about how the 'long exposure lightning strike tree' (the pic showed up on FB this morning) was created, was fascinating. Looking forward to seeing more of your research. Thanks!
Posted by Elaine V.  on  Wed Jan 22, 2014  at  06:46 AM
Believing half of what I see and none of what I hear without independent evidence I found this site while checking a photo...
Posted by Angela Maher  on  Sun Feb 09, 2014  at  04:08 PM
still love it even tho its fake very pretty 😊
Posted by kristal  on  Thu Jul 17, 2014  at  12:10 PM
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