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The Heavens Awaken

A close-up of "The Heavens Awaken" by Dan Piech: an ultra-high-resolution VAST photo.
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1,217 megapixels! A very high resolution, large-format VAST photo print of a lightning bolt strike from a thunderstorm in Jersey City, NJ over URL Harborside 1; created by Dan Piech

The Heavens Awaken

Jersey City, New Jersey
Most of us have become numb to the majestic power of a thunderstorm, barely batting an eye when the sky unleashes its most spectacular light show. We've forgotten how beautiful such a relatively common natural phenomenon is. The thunderstorm photography I set out to create is an attempt to remind us of how awe-inspiring and humbling our planet can be.

In the United States, most powerful weather fronts move from west to east, with the leading edge of a storm packing the biggest punch. Therefore, the best lightning photos are created while out ahead of the storm on the eastern side, in front of the advancing rain curtain that would otherwise obscure the view.

I was on high above the eastern bank of the Hudson River in New York City at midnight on this particular night when an enormous and highly-active front began to roll across New Jersey to my west. I was impressed with the incredible height and texture of the storm clouds that towered into the stratosphere. Of course, this magnificent display of cloud formations was only visible for fleeting moments when a bolt of lightning would illuminate it.

I worked furiously to prepare my gear and settings to capture a perfect exposure of this display. And, as luck would have it, shortly before the storm overtook me, a gorgeous bolt lept upwards high into the heavens above the Jersey City skyline. The breathtaking visual memory I have of that moment was thankfully captured by the camera and is now something that I can share with others.

Note: This is an "upconverted" VAST photo: it has been meticulously created to identically mimic a single-exposure photo.

Learn about the VAST upconversion process on our blog  

View the original single-exposure image of the lightning strike  
Date & TimeAugust 17, 2016:  12:31am
LocationJersey City, New Jersey
Coordinates40.719438, -74.011959
Focal Length400mm
Shutter Speed20 sec
Number of Exposures39

VAST photos are the highest resolution photos ever made.
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This is not an ordinary photograph.

Its resolution is 5,695% greater than a typical photo. Click on the boxes below to zoom in.

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Print only

Our photographic prints are created using a specialty, large-format fine art printer designed to produce archival, museum-grade prints. They are true "chromogenic" prints: light-sensitive paper exposed in a darkroom using state-of-the-art lasers to produce the sharpest possible image. Click on the icons below to learn more or click here to explore further.

Our photographic prints are available in one of two finishes: glossy and lustre. Glossy prints have a rich, silky saturation and are great for environments where the lighting and reflections have been carefully thought through. Lustre prints have a bright, sparkle-like finish that diffuses reflections and are therefore more versatile for environments where the lighting and reflections are less under your control.

Your print comes with two certificates of authenticity hand-signed by the artist and the printmaker: one that you will affix to the finished piece and one that remains standalone. Additionally, your print's provenance is tracked and verified using state-of-the-art digital technology. Learn more.

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Acrylic glass display

Our acrylic glass displays are ready-to-hang works of art that contain one of our photographic prints sealed between flame-polished acrylic glass and an aluminum backing. A hidden mounting brace on the rear causes the display to gracefully "float" off the wall for a sleek, modern frameless look that complements nearly any decor style. Click on the icons below to learn more or click here to explore further.

Certificate of authenticity  
with artist signature
affixed to the back

Mounting brace floats the display
off the wall by 1 inch
Metal back
Paper print
Acrylic glass
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Digital file

Purchase a rights-managed license to use this photo file. A license provides you with the full resolution digital image file and a permit to use it for a specific project. Use the form below to begin the licensing process or click here to learn more.

Total Pixels1,216,567,560
Horizontal Pixels33,470
Vertical Pixels36,348
Aspect Ratio0.92 : 1
File Size6,952 MB
Width @ 300ppi (perfect)9.3 feet
Height @ 300ppi10.1 feet
Width @ 150ppi (near-perfect)18.59 feet
Height @ 150ppi20.19 feet

Date & TimeAugust 17, 2016:  12:31am
LocationJersey City, New Jersey
Coordinates40.719438, -74.011959
Focal Length400mm
Shutter Speed20 sec
Number of Exposures39

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Photo id: 10146