“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. Environment

    Housing Discrimination Made Summers Even Hotter

    The practice of redlining in the 1930s helps explain why poorer U.S. neighborhoods experience more extreme heat.

  2. photo: subway in NYC
    Transportation

    Inside Bloomberg's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

    Drawing on his time as New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg proposes handing power and money to urban leaders as part of his Democratic presidential bid.

  3. Transportation

    In Paris, a Very Progressive Agenda Is Going Mainstream

    Boosted by big sustainability wins, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pitching bold plans to make the city center “100 percent bicycle” and turn office space into housing.

  4. photo: a couple tries out a mattress in a store.
    Equity

    What’s the Future of the ‘Sleep Economy’?

    As bed-in-a-box startup Casper files for an IPO, the buzzy mattress seller is betting that the next big thing in sleep is brick-and-mortar retail outlets.

  5. a sign advertising public parking next to a large building
    Equity

    U.S. Mayors Say Infrastructure Is a Priority. But What Kind?

    The Menino Survey of Mayors identifies priorities like infrastructure, traffic safety, and climate change. But many mayors aren’t eager to challenge the status quo.

×