Long exposure photo of a lightning bolt hitting a tree. Photo by Darren Pearson.
[I]t is a long exposure shot, but not of lightning. It’s a photo created by “light painter” Darren Pearson (aka Darius Twin). Wikipedia defines light painting as “a photographic technique in which exposures are made by moving a hand-held light source or by moving the camera.”
Pearson light painted the blue flames at the base of the tree. He then cut-and-pasted the lightning bolt itself into the photo from a NOAA image of a lightning strike (below).
Pearson posted the image on his Facebook page on Oct. 17, 2013, with the caption “The old Benjamin Franklin trick wink”
So in its original context this was clearly presented as an art photo.