On September 25 2019 a Reddit user shared a thread titled “Storm Cloud Benevento, Italy” to the r/pics subreddit:
On Reddit, the image quickly moved to the top of r/all. Its poster stated in a comment that they did not take the image themselves:
I didn’t take the photo, and I’m not sure if he has ever entered any contests. He’s an amature photographer with quite a few impressive shots. You can see them @michele__mastrosimone on Instagram. There’s a lot of “slightly above average” shots, but there’s also a fair amount of really good photography sprinkled in.
In the comment, the user referenced an Instagram user as the source for the image. A September 15 2019 tweet with the same photograph also credited that Instagram photographer, as did a subsequent Instagram user:
— WEATHER/ METEO WORLD (@StormchaserUKEU) September 15, 2019
On Instagram, user @michele__mastrosimone (Michele Mastrosimone) uploaded the photograph on September 10 2019:
Mastrosimone uploaded images of what was likely the same weather system on September 8 and 9 2019, but the date of the weather in the photograph was not immediately apparent. Benevento is a province of Calabria, and Italy’s Dipartimento Protezione Civile issued two storm alerts around that time on its Twitter account for areas south of the region:
🔔 #allertaGIALLA domani, mercoledì #11settembre, in Calabria e su gran parte della Sicilia.
Consulta il bollettino per conoscere il livello e le zone di allerta meteo-idro sul tuo territorio ➡️ https://t.co/DzLTsOe1mg#protezionecivile pic.twitter.com/Ks9I42rBqE
— Dipartimento Protezione Civile (@DPCgov) September 10, 2019
🔔 #allertaGIALLA domani, martedì #10settembre, in Sicilia e in quasi tutta la Calabria.
Consulta il bollettino per conoscere il livello e le zone di allerta meteo-idro sul tuo territorio ➡️ https://t.co/OD8ZhsKVFL#protezionecivile pic.twitter.com/9AQCx91aDh
— Dipartimento Protezione Civile (@DPCgov) September 9, 2019
On Reddit, the image was titled “Storm Cloud Benevento, Italy,” but its original poster was not its original photographer and did not include context originally accompanying the Instagram photograph. Mastrosimone added numerous hashtags to her images, in Italian and English:
#temporale #tempesta #fulmini #stelle #storm #thunderstorm #lightning #italia #italy #paduli #benevento #sannio #campania #lightningstorm #sky #cielo #meteo #weather #cloudporn #stormchaser #nature #canon #canonitalia #canonphotography #longexposure #lungaesposizione #notte #night #light
The Benevento, Italy storm cloud image appeared to show an electrical storm in the area in September 2019. However, when the image was shared to Reddit, it was only labeled by event (storm cloud) and location (Benevento). Its source was not linked in the original post nor the top comments, leaving out that the image was the product of a long exposure capture taken over an unspecified period of time. The first image in a set Mastrosimone titled “Twilight of the Thunder God” showed two lightning bolts, and all three images were long exposures.