Photographer Michael Shainblum has made the news by capturing this spectacular shot of lighting striking the tip of the highest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa.

Shainblum explains how he got the shot on his 500px page:

“I stood out in the rain for 4 hours trying to get some kind of lightning strike around Downtown Dubai, I had no idea I would actually catch a lightning bolt hitting the Burj Khalifa. I was running a timelapse on two cameras during the strike. One camera was out by the water and one camera under some shelter.

“I noticed the rain started to get heavy and ran towards the camera by the water. By the time I got to the camera everything was soaked and the entire dirt lot had become flooded with mud and water. I noticed a giant strike and ran the camera back to the shelter to see if the 2nd camera had caught anything. This was the image I saw when I looked at the screen.

“This is one single photograph taken with my Canon 6D. For post processing all I did was add some contrast and cropped the image slightly. This is not a composite, what you see is completely real and captured in camera. This photograph is 100% real!”

CameraCanon EOS 6D
Focal Length24mm
Shutter Speed8 secs

About the photographer:

Michael Shainblum: Filmmaker and Photographer based in California, specializing in Landscape, Adventure, Aerial, Night Sky and Time-lapse Photography.
Links:;; Twitter @shainblum

Burj Khalifa or the Khalifa Tower, was known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is the tallest man-made structure in the world, at 2,722 ft.

The Burj Khalifa was designed to be the centrepiece of a development that would include 30,000 homes, 9 hotels, it covers 7.4 acres of parkland, 19 residential towers, the Dubai Mall, and the 30-acre Burj Khalifa Lake. The decision to build the Khalifa Tower was reportedly based on Dubai’s decision to expand its oil-based economy to one that includes tourism. According to officials, it is necessary for projects like Burj Khalifa to be built in the city to gain more international recognition and investment.

At the time the building was announced, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said “I wanted to put Dubai on the map with something really sensational.”

The design is modelled on Islamic architecture. According to Bill Baker, the structural engineer, the building’s design includes cultural and historical elements such as the spiral minaret. The spiral minaret spirals and grows slim as it rises.

As the tower rises from the flat desert base, there are 27 setbacks in a spiralling pattern, diminishing the cross section of the tower as it reaches toward the sky and creating convenient outdoor terraces. At the top, the core emerges and is sculpted to form a finishing spire. At its tallest point, the tower sways a total of 1.5 m.

The spire of Burj Khalifa is composed of more than 4,000 tonnes of structural steel. The central pinnacle pipe weighing 350 tonnes was constructed from inside the building and jacked to its full height of over 200 meters using a strand jack system. The spire also houses communications equipment.