Locked in the Cemetery at Closing Time

A Golden Hour photo of the City of Atlanta as backdrop to Oakland CemeteryThe City of Atlanta as the backdrop to a notable headstone at Oakland Cemetery

Photos of Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta

Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta is a beautiful place of peace amidst the din of the city. 

The cemetery is just short of a mile from my little house, so it's an easy walk. I'd take Bauer walking there more often if he wasn't so crazy around other dogs.

The cemetery is huge, beautifully landscaped, and offers a great view of the City of Atlanta when standing in certain areas.

The last time I was over there, I noticed something being built next to the cemetery. To my horror, it appears it may block the gorgeous view, depending on how tall it is. 

I fervently hope it's not tall! 

Getting the Shot 

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have heard this story on my LIVE a couple of days ago, but I thought I'd write it here on my blog as well for those who like the photo and may have wondered how I got the shot. I included it in another post but it was a couple of years ago, so here it is again!

I'd been over to the cemetery on a few occasions walking and had taken my camera once or twice. I noticed the beautiful view of the city but hadn't stayed late enough to capture that Golden-Hour glow when the lights come up in the city.

I asked my cousin Amy to come with me one day. It was late afternoon and I told her I wanted to stay until Golden Hour and get some shots. She was fine with being in the cemetery at dusk (not all my friends are), so we headed out. 

I had the tripod, camera, and a couple of lenses. 

Photography Equals Patience

I think I mention this in every blog post, but it's one of the truest things about photography. You MUST have patience if you're going to get great shots. 

I spend a lot of time waiting when I have a shot in mind.

It often takes 2-3 trips or more to the same spot to get the shot I want.

The waiting is especially hard in the summer when the sun doesn't set until after 9 p.m. and it's hot and humid, and there's sweat trickling down your back as you lug your equipment around. 

It was warm and humid that evening but not horrible. 

We wandered around for a while, checking out the many different areas of the cemetery. I knew where I wanted to be when the sun went down.

It was still a little early but we were both hot and thirsty. We found a nice little shaded spot under a gazebo and sat down on the bench. We pulled out our water bottles and sat quietly sipping. 

The cicadas and crickets chirped a chorus around us. Amy hates that noise. I love it. 

There's something about a cemetery that makes you talk a little quieter, move a little slower, especially in the heat and humidity of the south. 

As we sat quietly talking, the sun was sinking toward the horizon and the light was moving into Golden Hour. It wasn't quite there yet...

Before Golden Hour at Oakland Cemetery with the city in the background

Just before Golden Hour... 

Just like that, the light was gorgeous and the sky was full of lavender and blues, pinks and oranges spilling upward from the lights coming on in the buildings. It took my breath away.  

After all the waiting, once Golden Hour hits, you don't get a lot of time to capture the shot. I already had my tripod set up and the camera focused on the city.

I took shot after shot at different shutter speeds and apertures, hoping to get one that captured everything just right. 

Another shot of the City of Atlanta at Golden Hour taken from Oakland Cemetery

Another shot of the city taken from the cemetery

After about an hour, the beautiful colors faded into a pitch-black sky.

We walked around a little longer, and I had Amy use her camera flashlight to do a little light-painting on some of the tombs, so I could get a few more photos. 

It was late, and we finally packed it in and made our way back to the entrance gate. Good thing we had a flashlight. It was dark and there are lots of uneven paths along the way. 

Locked In!

As Scooby-Doo would say - rut-ro! Okay, we may have known this would happen...(didn't mention that in the video!), but sometimes you just gotta have a little adventure to get the shot!

The gates were closed and locked. We didn't panic, but neither of us relished spending the night in the cemetery. 

It was hot, humid, and buggy, and we were tired and ready to get back home. We walked the perimeter until we found an area of the wall that wasn't as tall as most.

I handed all of my camera equipment off to Amy and pulled myself up onto the wall. There may have been some swearing involved, and definitely some laughter.

Ghosts were notably absent. 

She handed the equipment back to me and I set it on the top of the wall and jumped down. She was then able to hand down my equipment and join me on the other side. Whew!

It's one thing getting yourself over a wall, but when you're weighed down with camera equipment, it's a different story. You can't just throw your stuff over like you would a backpack full of books or you'll break something. 

That was our little photo adventure for the night, and I was very happy with the results!

Have a great rest of your week and a wonderful weekend!

See you between the raindrops!


P.S. - I'm running a quick FLASH sale today and tomorrow until midnight. All METAL prints are 25% off with code Flashmetal25. The cover print of this blog post looks great in metal!