Moment Rio’s Christ the Redeemer Is Struck by Lightning | My Modern Met

By Regina Sienra on February 15, 2023

The photographer calls this electrifying photo “Divine Lightning.”

The Christ the Redeemer statue has been regarded as a landmark of Brazil ever since it was completed in 1931. Located atop the Corcovado mountain, the sculpture is 98 feet high and presents itself as if Jesus Christ is overlooking Rio de Janeiro. Its monumentality, symbolism, as well as the unbeatable views one can get from its lookout, draw about 2 million visitors each year. Now, this Brazilian icon is getting attention due to a very different reason. Recently, the Christ the Redeemer statue was struck by lightning, and a photographer named Fernando Braga was in the vicinity to capture the electrifying moment.

The massive structure’s shape and location makes it a common target for violent thunderstorms that sometimes fall upon Rio (it does feature lightning rods). In 2008 and 2014, lightning even damaged the statue, causing harm to the fingers, head, and eyebrows. The fact that Christ the Redeemer is struck by lightning every once in a while inspired Braga to try to document it. After several failed attempts, he was finally successful. Though this may not be the first time the sculpture has been hit by lightning, it does not take away from the sublime sight of Mother Nature making contact with it.

“After about 3 hours with the machine taking a sequence of more than 500 photos in long exposure, this long-awaited photo finally appeared”, he wrote on Instagram. “In many other (countless) days and moments I did the same and nothing. But that’s it. It’s part of it and we always have to keep trying. It’s like that in everything. Never give up.”

Braga has been diligently photographing the Christ the Redeemer statue for at least three years, showing it surrounded by fog, joined by a crescent moon, and even bidding farewell to the planes departing from the Rio de Janeiro airport. His dedication to this landmark is reminiscent of that of Monet and his Water Lilies—he always finds something new and exciting to depict thanks to his contemplation of a subject for an extended period of time.

For his viral photo of Christ the Redeemer being struck by lightning—which he titled Divine Lightning—Braga used a NIKON D800 with 70–200mm f/2.8E to 70mm f/8 13″ ISO 100, and “nothing more.” However, the camera has a bit of its own story. “This camera, or rather this war machine, belongs to my father,” he explains. “I borrowed it a year ago and never returned it…. It has become an inseparable friend of my beloved D750. They are like ‘Brothers In Arms!!!’”

Not only has his image earned over 150,000 likes on Instagram, but it has also been reposted by the Christ the Redeemer official account with vital information about thunderstorms in the area. Ultimately, this image represents that attention to detail and dedicated work eventually pay off.[…]

Source: Moment Rio’s Christ the Redeemer Is Struck by Lightning

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