“I couldn’t believe it,” says San Francisco freelancer Charles Hall. “I was like, Is this real?”

It’s rare to see lightning in the Bay Area, home to some of the chillest weather in the nation.

So when Charles Hall was shaken from his sleep Monday morning by a booming downpour, he was quick to run to his balcony and set up an umbrella-covered camera overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

“Lightning and thunder—I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen that in San Francisco over the last ten years,” says the 38-year-old freelance photographer, whose home overlooks the city’s Marina District.

Hall’s instinct to shoot every second paid off big time: He snagged a fantastic shot of pinkish bolts cracking the dome of America’s most revered lipstick-colored bridge. (Here’s hoping no painters were working up top.) “I couldn’t believe it,” he says. “I was like, Is this real?”

Aside from making spectacular weather, the system that electrified the Golden Gate also brought much-needed precipitation to parched California. The Sierra Nevadas received up to nine inches of snow—with a few high-up places even getting 16 inches—which should help partly relieve the mountains’ bad case of male-pattern baldness.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A Juggalo standing in front of Buffalo City Hall.
    Equity

    The Juggalo March Is Not a Joke

    Facepainted fans of the Insane Clown Posse are gathering on the National Mall this weekend. And they have something important to say.

  2. A man walks out of the door frame of a building that collapsed after an earthquake, in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City, Tuesday, September 19, 2017.
    Environment

    Mexico City's Earthquake, Through Residents' Eyes

    Here’s how locals responded when shocks struck the city.

  3. POV

    How to Save a Dying Suburb

    For older, inner-ring suburbs in the Northeast and Midwest, the best hope often lies in merging with the city.

  4. Transportation

    Portland Prepares for the Freeway Fight of the Century

    A grass-capped highway expansion in a gentrifying neighborhood? Sounds familiar.

  5. A prospective buyer looks at a rendering of a new apartment complex in Seoul in 2005.
    Design

    Why Koreans Shun the Suburbs

    In cities around the world, harried urbanites look to the suburbs for more space or a nicer house for their money. But in South Korea, the city apartment is still the dream.