Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Sunset at the Temple of Leah

with 56 comments

As daylight dwindled on December 14th we found ourselves driving up into the hills on the north side of Cebu City to visit the Temple of Leah. We arrived just in time for me to catch a last bit of sunset color at the top of high cumulus clouds.

By looking in a different direction a minute later I managed to record some pastel blue and pink in the sky.

One minute after that, with sunset colors almost gone, I photographed an outdoor lamp sculpture.

I’m reminded now of another globe lamp I photographed near sundown five months earlier.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 15, 2020 at 4:00 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , ,

56 Responses

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  1. The lamp lady made me smile – very art deco!


    January 15, 2020 at 5:15 AM

  2. A gorgeous lamp lady!


    January 15, 2020 at 5:36 AM

    • I wonder if anyone else ever photographed it with sunset clouds like those.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2020 at 8:00 AM

      • It’s definitely a good background. And the light on the lady is just fab.


        January 15, 2020 at 9:50 AM

        • I might’ve been tempted to use flash but there wasn’t enough time to try a picture with flash and then adjust my camera settings according to the results of the trial. The picture probably came out better without flash.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 15, 2020 at 10:07 AM

  3. An unexpected spot to run across a Roman temple, I like that lamp lady, too

    Robert Parker

    January 15, 2020 at 5:42 AM

  4. Great shots, Steve! For a moment I thought the sun was placed through your photographic wizardry on top of the statue. Sometimes I am seeing too much. Haha!

    Peter Klopp

    January 15, 2020 at 8:16 AM

    • That would’ve been “a lamp too far.” On the other hand, the theme of sunset usually calls for a sun, so you were primed to see one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2020 at 8:20 AM

  5. I got the same impression that Peter did. A nice surprise, and not a single wildflower — not that I have anything against wildflowers, mind you.

    Michael Scandling

    January 15, 2020 at 8:30 AM

  6. Your title made me curious, since ‘Leah’ seemed to me a very modern name, and I couldn’t figure out how a temple fit with it all. Well, now I know.

    I did notice something about the article and photo captions in the page you linked. Beneath the first photo, it said, “a lady takes a selfie.” The next photo described the women who were part of the fountain as ‘maidens,’ and the article itself mentioned that Leah V. Albino-Adarna was chosen ‘Matron Queen’ of her Alma Mater. All of that left an impression of the culture as more gracious than ours. That could be entirely wrong, of course. it might only reflect the personality or views of the writers, but it was interesting. It also brought back a memory of the days when a bride’s primary attendant was either a ‘maid of honor’ or ‘matron of honor,’ depending on her marital status.

    Whether the lady with the lamp was a maiden or matron, she’s lovely. I saw the shining orb as the moon, since I often see full-moon rises with that sort of clouds.


    January 15, 2020 at 9:12 AM

    • Others saw the orb as a sun, you as a full moon. I’ll take it both ways, and even as the thing of glass that it was.

      As for the female words in the article, I attribute that to the writer having learned English in the Philippines. If you read or hear enough Philippine English, you’ll see that it occasionally differs from American English in vocabulary, style, and grammatical constructions. For example, Filipinos often say “I’ll be the one to do it” when an American would say “I’ll do it.” Another example: English-language Philippine newspapers often refer to lawmakers as solons. It’s also possible that Filipino English preserves a little more of the formality that American English had in the first half of the 1900s, when the United States controlled the Philippines.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2020 at 10:01 AM

    • I checked into the origin of the name Leah and found it’s from Hebrew, where it meant ‘languid.’ In the Bible, Jacob served Laban for seven years to win his daughter Rachel but was tricked into marrying elder daughter Leah first and having to work another seven years for Rachel.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 17, 2020 at 3:20 PM

      • I’d forgotten that story of Rachel and Leah. Obviously, the name’s older than I realized. I know a couple of Leahs now, but I don’t remember ever hearing the name when I was growing up. For that matter, I rarely come across ‘languid,’ either. It’s as pretty a word as Leah is a name.


        January 17, 2020 at 7:50 PM

        • For me, the word languid recalls the aria “E Lucevan le stelle” from Puccini’s opera Tosca:

          E lucevan le stelle …
          ed olezzava la terra
          stridea l’uscio dell’orto …
          e un passo sfiorava la rena …
          Entrava ella fragrante,
          mi cadea fra le braccia.

          O! dolci baci, o languide carezze,
          mentr’io fremente le belle forme disciogliea dai veli!
          Svanì per sempre il sogno mio d’amore.
          L’ora è fuggita, e muoio disperato!
          E muoio disperato!
          E non ho amato mai tanto la vita,
          tanto la vita!

          Italian opera lyrics are often florid or even stilted. There’s an English translation at

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 18, 2020 at 8:01 AM

          • The aria’s lovely, although the plot of the opera certainly is convoluted enough. I suppose florid lyrics might suit a singer with the name ‘Floria’!


            January 18, 2020 at 3:06 PM

        • By the way, traditional first names whose English-language versions end in -ah are likely to be of Hebrew origin. A few more are Sarah, Isaiah, Elijah, and Jonah. Sometimes the h got left off in transliteration, as in Rebecca.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 18, 2020 at 8:23 AM

  7. The clouds and sky were lovely. It must have been gorgeous in person. That lamp is really neat!


    January 15, 2020 at 9:30 AM

    • It was gorgeous, but so brief because of our late arrival that I scampered about trying to get some good pictures before the colorful light vanished, which it soon did. In the third picture, the balance of natural light and lamp light worked in my favor.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2020 at 10:05 AM

      • It did indeed!


        January 15, 2020 at 10:06 AM

        • I just mentioned to another commenter that I might’ve been tempted to use flash but there wasn’t enough time to try a picture with flash and then adjust my camera settings according to the results of the trial. The picture probably came out better without flash.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 15, 2020 at 10:09 AM

          • At least you had the time to try it both ways! Sometimes there isn’t enough time with the light changing so fast.


            January 15, 2020 at 10:14 AM

            • Actually I didn’t have time to try out my flash, so I was relieved when I got a decent picture anyhow.

              Steve Schwartzman

              January 15, 2020 at 2:47 PM

              • Oh, I misunderstood. I would have been bracketing and happy too!


                January 15, 2020 at 6:01 PM

                • Yes, bracketing is a way around not having a flash. Fortunately I managed to get a pretty good exposure, and Photoshop contributed a bit, too.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  January 15, 2020 at 8:06 PM

                • 😄 My favorite editing tool…photoshop.


                  January 15, 2020 at 8:25 PM

                • The statue was too dark relative to the globe, so I brought the shadows up and reduced the amount of noise. As for Photoshop itself, I just wish we didn’t have to subscribe for life.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  January 16, 2020 at 4:21 AM

  8. The first image is magnificent.


    January 15, 2020 at 9:47 AM

    • I don’t recall ever getting a picture of a cloud with sunset colors only at its tip. By the time I got into place and took the picture the colorful light no longer extended as far down as it had when I first glimpsed the cloud; that’s how quickly the light was changing.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2020 at 10:11 AM

      • That is often the way, isn’t it? The results were perhaps better this way.


        January 19, 2020 at 7:53 AM

        • Perhaps, although I wish I’d caught the colorful light the way I first saw it, when it extended a little further down.

          Steve Schwartzman

          January 19, 2020 at 9:43 AM

  9. Beautiful image Steve! I see it as the moon!

    Reed Andariese

    January 15, 2020 at 11:16 AM

  10. These images are so much fun, Steve, as a trio. They illustrate the experience of traveling, I think – While we travel we’re looking all over the place! 😉


    January 15, 2020 at 11:50 AM

    • Years ago I heard someone say that a policeman’s eyes are always looking all over the place. Now we can add photographers and travelers.

      The trio worked well. I was tempted to add a fourth picture to the set but held off, probably for the better.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2020 at 2:50 PM

  11. Great cloud sky combination and at first glance I thought that you had lined up the moon so it would look like she was holding it atop the basket of grapes. Nice balance of light between the lady, lamp, and sky.

    Steve Gingold

    January 15, 2020 at 1:03 PM

    • You’re not the only commenter who thought that. Because I knew what it was, the idea of the moon never occurred to me. As you said, the balance of light turned out just right.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2020 at 8:00 PM

  12. Great pinks and purples! That last image is a stand-out!


    January 17, 2020 at 1:05 PM

    • The last picture, which is only partially of nature, has proved the standout in this post, at least based on viewers’ comments.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 17, 2020 at 3:21 PM

  13. Hello,
    Someone noticed the face in the clouds, in the first photo? What does it make you think?


    January 17, 2020 at 3:14 PM

    • It’s been a common occurrence here that commenters have mentioned seeing faces or other things in certain photographs. The phenomenon is known as pareidolia. With regard to the top picture in this post, you’re the first person to mention seeing a face in the clouds. I still don’t see it but you may have a more fertile imagination.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 17, 2020 at 3:44 PM

  14. …more thumbs way up…


    January 17, 2020 at 10:38 PM

  15. Love the forced perspective photo!! And the colors are fantastic!


    January 18, 2020 at 10:25 AM

    • The colors were fantastic. If only I’d arrived a little earlier I’d have been able to do more with them. Still, I’m content with what I got.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 18, 2020 at 10:28 AM

  16. Super images Steve …the last one is my fav 🙂


    January 21, 2020 at 3:32 AM

    • That last one seems to have won this round, probably because of its mix of human and natural elements.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2020 at 6:23 AM

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