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Lightning lights up lady liberty

Photography requires a great amount of patience. Nobody knows that better than Jay Fine. After more than 40 years as a photographer, he recently captured the images above.

On the evening of Sept. 22, Fine headed down to lower Manhattan's Battery Park, which has a nice view of the Statue of Liberty.

With his Nikon D300 and 60mm f2.8 lens in hand, the 58-year-old snapped more than 80 photos over two hours. He struck gold with the above photo around 8:45 p.m.

“I had been watching weather reports so I knew a storm was coming and it just seemed like a great opportunity," he told the U.K.'s Daily Mail. "It was pure luck really, a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

The photo alone was not lucky; New York has endured violent storms this fall. Just a few days earlier, a storm that spawned two tornadoes killed a woman in Queens, around eight miles from where this image was taken. Just last night a severe thunderstorm dropped hail on Brooklyn and delayed the New York Jets game against the Minnesota Vikings.

According to the National Parks Service, the copper-clad statue gets struck many times each year. Just how many is not known. Standing 305 feet, one inch tall, the conductive construction makes it a structure of choice for lightning strikes.

We've collected an impressive gallery of lightning photos for your viewing pleasure, which we hope you'll take a look at HERE.

UPDATE 10/13/2010 11:15am EST: Many of our readers have speculated over whether lightning is actually striking the statue, or possibly the water behind. When the post was written yesterday, there wasn't a clear answer. So in an attempt to put an end to the debate, we spoke directly with Mr. Fine himself, and he's just as curious as you are.

"I can't tell," he said. "I'll leave it up to the meteorologists and National Parks Service to make that call."