Images of the First Lightning Photographed in the World


Are you curious about the world’s first photographed lightning footage? Today, we have compiled the first photos that some photographers who have been working on lightning photographs in the 1880s managed to capture.

Today, almost all of us have cameras in our pockets thanks to smart phones. We can take high-resolution photos of everything we want, but this was not so simple 20 to 30 years ago. Although there are very fast cameras today, lightning strikes, which are difficult to capture, were first taken in the mid-1800s.

A photo from Popular Science’s 1939 article is considered the world’s first “clear” lightning photo. William Jennings, who wanted to prove that lightning was not a simple zigzag appearance in the sky, started his studies to take a photo of lightning with his 4 x 5 plate camera in 1880. Facing a very difficult photo shoot due to the extremely slow cameras and lightning strikes and roads of that period, Jennings took the first successful lightning picture during the storm of September 1882.

First “clear / eligible” lightning photo:

This image, which was accepted as the first “clear / suitable” photo of the lightning by many people, was published on 5 September 1885 in Scientific American magazine with a few lightning photos accompanying it.

There is one more lightning photo taken in 1847

There are some reasons behind what we call the world’s first “clear / suitable” lightning photo. Technically speaking, the first lightning photo is not by Jennings. It is believed that the first photograph of the lightning was taken in 1847 by Thomas Martin Easterly using the Daguerreotype process. The photograph called A Streak of Lightning is not pioneering, so photographs taken by Jennigs in this area are considered to be pioneers.

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Jennings had taken several more lightning strikes between 1880 and 1890. Photos taken by Jennings and other photographers helped us understand that lightning strikes don’t have a simple zigzag look. Some lightning strikes taken between 1880 and 1890 were:


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