Prayer in Primary Colors

They say timing is everything. I am not sure who “they” are, but I tend to agree…especially in the case of this image.

After spending an hour photographing sunset at Wat Chedi Luang, my wife and I started making our way out of the complex, past this beautiful temple and toward the center of Chiang Mai. 

We noticed the sidewalk and streets were much busier than when we entered the complex hours ago. Worshipers had filled the temple and the city had come alive with street vendors, locals and tourists. Several Tuk-tuk drivers were yelling nearby, trying to solicit fares, while the already-employed Tuk-tuks whizzed by loudly on the street. Reaching the sidewalk, I turned around for one last look at the temple and immediately asked my wife to “wait a sec”...she knows that “wait a sec” really means “Jim spotted something he needs to photograph”…

I quickly moved to a position in-between the crowds and the temple. Seemingly oblivious to the mild chaos behind her, this solitary figure kneeled in prayer. It was her beautiful red clothing that first caught my attention, then her pose and concentration. In front of her the golden Buddha was illuminated by the nearby lights and, fortunately timed, the blue hour had begun. What a beautiful scene!

From observation to capture, this image took no more than twenty seconds. A scramble into position, a quick change of camera settings and a silent prayer of my own as I released the shutter. 

Fortunate timing indeed.