The First Ever Photographs of Lightning [circa 1880's]

The first ever photographs of lightning were shot by amateur photographer William N. Jennings between 1885 and 1890.

Jennings named the types of lightning he photographed according to their patterns of electric discharge.
[via George Eastman House, and Franklin Institute]

Ribbon lightning
"Ribbon" lightning: in an article printed in the Journal of The Franklin Institute, Jennings explained that wind moving across the path of lightning in space produced a ribbon-like form of lightning.

"Multiple flash": Jennings showed that lightning sometimes prepares a path for successive flashes.
Subject to debate: this photo captures the phenomenon of a brilliant main flash with dark side branches, the cause of which has been given a great deal of discussion. 
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