Monday, October 30, 2006


Yesterday, on my way to a client's birthday party in Philadelphia, I decided to make a stop at Laurel Hill Cemetery, which was one of the first rural cemeteries in the United States. Of course, now it lies in a blighted area of the city. Once it must have been a beautiful carriage ride up the Schuykill River from Old Philadelphia.

Despite being yards from crumbling homes and empty warehouses, inside is another world. To say that it's stunning is an understatement. I'll be sharing the visit with you, but today, I wanted to tell you about one of those rare photography moments which takes your breath away.

After spending close to two hours exploring, it was time for me to get going to the party. The setting sun burned through the trees and windy clouds twisted in the sky. I was driving up a narrow lane past a long row of mausoleums when a spritz of rain sparkled in the sky.

On my right, I noticed an obelisk with the crouching figure of a child high at the top. I thought to myself, wow, I'd love a picture of that, but I didn't stop. Time was tight, and I had a nagging fear that someone might lock the only gate.

That's when I saw it. Despite a very broken sky which really didn't look like rain, a double rainbow was hovering right beside the figure of the boy in the sky. I jammed on the brakes, left the car running, and got the camera out of the trunk. I snapped and snapped. The rainbow lasted no more than two minutes.

Sometimes countless maybes, circumstances, and coincidences fall into place. Right down to the golden rays of light reaching down from the sky. Sometimes you have to jam on the brakes, or you'll miss the breath of magic forever.

So here is that moment to share with you. For once, I'm not going to say any words to go with it. I'll leave that to you.

(From K.L. Gilbert, this beautiful verse.)

A child alone
atop a pillar of stone
for eternity says a prayer.

God let me sleep
in peace so deep
under an angel's loving care.

And an angel was sent
as a rainbow bent
to protect the child so fair.


Susan Abraham said...

Hi jason,
sent you a detailed comment but blogger said error and it wasn't published.
So i'll write you later.
But for this faboulous picture and accompanying post, I'll say, thoroughly beautiful and inspirational.
actually, pure magic!
thanks for sharing your life's beauties with us.

Anonymous said...

meeting schmmeating! I can see why you had to have this picture. Beeeeeautiful!


Bernita said...

Yes. Pure magic. Moments like these lead us on like hidden pots of gold.

Saaleha said...

That is one stunning pic. Love the autumn leaves in the background.

Anonymous said...

Being in the right place at the right time seldom happens. You are a very luck man.

Jim said...

You certainly have a gift for capturing the amazing. Just saved a copy of the file to look at for inspiration. I can just see the faintest image of a story hiding in there. Now I just have to coax it a little, see if I can woo it out from hiding.

Ester said...

wow, that is so breathtaking! I can only imagine what it must have felt like to be there. What a beautiful image.

Sam said...

Fantastic picture! A child's last wish.

Deborah said...

You're a fantastic photographer, Jason. The image of the child statue looks so sad, and yet so hopeful.

Bev said...

Don't you think that a lot of what we take as "being in the right place" is actually being AWAKE in the right place. We can spend so much of our lives on "autopilot" that we miss these moments of magic.

Thanks Jason for sharing another of those "OH WOW!" moments with us, and also for encouraging all of us to be more aware of them in our own lives.

Jaye Wells said...

The picture is breathtaking. Thanks for shariing it.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

Say what you want about f-stops, field-of-view, or lens size, the best pictures are about skill and timing. The best photographers have both. Nicely done. Great shot.

anne frasier said...


beautiful, jason!

i'm so glad you slammed on the brakes!

i really like the first photo too.

beadinggalinMS said...

Jason that picture is awesome!!

Melissa Marsh said...

I don't think it was a coincidence that you stumbled upon that picture. :-)

Wilf said...

Gosh, this is lovely, Jason.
The cemetary looks incredible and reminds me of Highgate cemetary in London.

Jeff said...

Absolutely beautiful, Jason! I'm looking forward to the rest of the tour. :)

mermaid said...

The symbolism is stunning here. That boy, that man, praying and thankful in one pose.

Eileen said...

Amazing. What a shot. I think that is life in a nutshell- take the time, look around, get the shot.

Anonymous said...

Susan, sorry blogger destroyed your comment! That's the worst. So frustrating. But thank you for your kind words nonetheless. It was my pleasure to share this moment with you.

BD, thanks! You're right, heck with the party. ;)

Bernita, so true. I did treasure the moment.

Saaleha, I like the orange leaves also. It's important to remember how tall the obelisk is. Those are the tops of tall trees.

Steve, I've been chasing pictures regularly for over a year now, and this is the first "right place, right time" moment. Yes, I do consider myself lucky.

Jim, I hope it brings you inspiration when you need it.

Anonymous said...

Ester, I was awestruck. I was laughing and misting up at the same time.

Sam, a child's last wish. I like that. :)

Deborah, thank you! Yes, the statue strikes me the same way. Sad, yet hopeful.

Bev, what a great point. It would be tragic to walk past a wow moment.

Jaye, thanks, my friend. :)

Stephen, a high compliment. It's very much appreciated. =)

Anne, good thing there were only Philadelphia's departed spirits behind me. That could've been an ugly rear-ender. ;)

Beady, thanks, my friend. =)

Melissa, part of me wants to believe I was meant to be there. Perhaps I was.

Addy, I can only imagine the amazing cemeteries which exist in Great Britain and Europe. We're just toddlers over here compared to your history.

Jeff, and I'm looking forward to showing you more of the many things I captured. :)

Mermaid, it was perfect combination.

Eileen, yes, I do think life is filled with astounding moments. It's up to us to see and hold onto them.

kate said...

"Sometimes you have to jam on the brakes, or you'll miss the breath of magic forever."

Absolutely lovely sentiment and I could not agree more. Thank you for sharing the picture. It's beautiful.

normiekins said...

right place, right time, those are the moments that feed the hunger of artistry.....absolutely breathtaking......! Thanks so much for sharing....

LiVEwiRe said...

Spectacular timing! Doesn't it just tickle you when you happen to be in the right place at the right time?

Sandra Ruttan said...

Beautiful Jason.

Ester said...

Have a happy Halloween!!

klgilbert said...

A child alone
atop a pillar of stone
for eternity says a prayer.

God let me sleep
in peace so deep
under an angel's loving care.

And an angel was sent
as a rainbow bent
to protect the child so fair.

Jason, this image is awe-inspiring.
Of all the photos you have posted, and I have admired and appreciated them all, I love this one the most. Incredible.


Anonymous said...

Kate, thanks so much for the visit and the kind words!

Normiekins, so true. Each time you capture something special in any medium, it is fuel to keep you going when you struggle.

Livewire, I've never taken a picture of a rainbow before. Never had a camera right there. Even if I did, they usually would be washed out or lost in the open sky. Very strange to have one so set for a picture.

Sandra, thanks! :)

Ester, you too! Happy Halloween. :)

KLG, I'm very honored by the sentiment and your poem. It's perfect. It captures something the picture evokes for me too. If you don't mind, I'm going to add it to the post. Thanks so much. :)

klgilbert said...

Well thank you, Jason. That was very sweet of you to post the poem.

It is just a simple little verse trying hard to do justice to a very powerful image.

:) ~K~

jenn said...

Wow. That's an amazing photograph, and an amazing image (they're different things, you know).

Here's to realizing when it's time to slam on the brakes.