Jacob’s Ladder


“Crepuscular rays are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from a single point in the sky, specifically, where the sun is. These rays, which stream through gaps in clouds (particularly stratocumulus) or between other objects, are columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud-shadowed regions. The name comes from their frequent occurrences during crepuscular hours (those around dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious. Crepuscular comes from the Latin word “crepusculum”, meaning twilight.”  – Wikipedia


Not surprisingly, perhaps, this spectacular meteorological phenomenon has often been connected with spiritual beliefs.  It is known colloquially as ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, referring to Jacob’s dream of seeing a ladder to heaven in Genesis.  The ‘ladder’ also has significance in Islam which revers Jacob as a prophet. It has inspired spiritual leaders of all faiths.

“God is the Sun and when His rays fall upon your heart, not impeded by the clouds of egoism, the lotus blooms and the petals unfold.” – Sri Sathya Sai Baba


The movie Jacob’s Ladder (1990) starring Tim Robbins tells the story of a vietnam veteran haunted by visions.  The story deals with questions about life and death, heaven and hell, and the film’s promotional poster shows a staircase spiralling out from Robbins’s face, like rays of sunlight.

Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder is also a song written by Bruce and John Hornsby first recorded by Huey Lewis and the News.  In the song, a fan dancer rejects evangelism in favour of a step by step, one day at a time, progression through life:

 All I want from tomorrow is to get it better than today
Step by step, one by one, higher and higher
Step by step, one by one, climbing Jacob’s ladder 

Sunset, St. Ouen's Beach

26 thoughts on “Jacob’s Ladder

    • Hi Sue, I can’t remember exactly how I edited that one as I did it a few months ago but I think it was probably one exposure as we were rushing for the airport and I wouldn’t have had time to set up the tripod. I might have made two versions in ACR and then blended them in CS4. The closest I ever get to HDR anyway is blending 3 bracketed exposures in CS4 using layer masks. I often find HDR done by others in Photomatix and other such programs too much for my own personal tastes.

  1. Seems liek everone has these photos except me? Nonetheless you captured this perfectly! The one with the lighthouse is especially good! I like the way you think!

    Striking Photos!

  2. The lighthouse in particular is jaw-dropping! I agree with your comment about HDR… there is a point where it starts to scream “HDR” and to me it becomes more gimmick than art.

  3. Pingback: ‘God rays’ in a Godly place | Focused Moments

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