Lightning never strikes twice?

Maybe not, but apparently it can be photographed twice. Three times even.

At least three local photographers grabbed the same eye-catching shot of a dramatic, squiggly-lined lightning strike over the Portland skyline Wednesday night.

“It’s pretty crazy,” said Benjamin Williamson of Brunswick, one of the three. “There are a lot of people with cameras out there, I guess.”

A large bolt of lightning lights up the sky between Monument Square and Munjoy Hill in Portland.

A large bolt of lightning lights up the sky between Monument Square and Munjoy Hill in Portland. Benjamin Williamson Photo Benjamin M. Williamson Photo

Two of the photographers, Michael Leonard of Yarmouth and Colin Chase of Gray, had set up their cameras at the parking lot of the American Legion hall on Broadway in South Portland, where the Portland Camera Club meets. Williamson is a professional photographer who was standing about a two-minute drive away, near the U.S. Coast Guard station on High Street in South Portland.

“I’ve taken hundreds of pictures of lightning bolts, and I’ve never seen one quite like this,” said Leonard, 51, vice president of the camera club.

A view of Portland shot from South Portland.

A view of Portland shot from South Portland. Michael Leonard Photo Michael Leonard Photo

Though they all grabbed the same split-second view of lightning in the same area, they used different tools.

Leonard and Chase used a lightning sensor on their cameras. The device senses the lightning before it’s visible and automatically takes the picture. Williamson set his camera for a 30-second exposure, meaning any lightning that struck within that time would be photographed.

The lightning bolt struck at about 8:30 p.m., in a steady rain. Leonard and Chase picked their location because they figured they could run into the hall for cover, if need be. Williamson chose his spot mostly for aesthetic reasons.

A view of Portland shot from across the harbor.

A view of Portland shot from across the harbor. Colin A. Chase Photo Colin A. Chase Photo

“I knew that spot had a good wide view of downtown Portland, and you need a wide view for weather,” said Williamson, 31. “I’m always looking for good images of Portland to sell.”

He’s already had one order for his dramatic lightning shot.

Williamson, Chase and Leonard might never have known they all got the same shot, but Leonard emailed his shot to the Weather Channel. Meteorologist Keith Carson, who used to work at Portland’s WCSH-TV, Channel 6, posted the picture on his Facebook page.

On Thursday, Williamson saw Leonard’s shot and then posted his own, to Carson’s Facebook page.

“I was a little jealous that he got the scoop on me,” Williamson said of Leonard’s picture being posted first. “I felt like I was just tagging along.”