HOW I GOT THE SHOT: It only takes an instant to create a photograph, but nature took her time to form these odd-looking, sculpted rocks atop a plateau in the Negev Desert. For countless ages, rain, floods and wind have been carving these chalk and limestone formations in an ongoing process of erosion. This spot is about midway along a seven-hour hike I did on the Avdat Plateau with Chezi, my intrepid hiking partner. In this particular section, the trail skirts the top of a canyon along a rocky ridge. We arrived at mid-morning and, as can be deduced by the shadows, the sun is high and to the right of the frame. I had to crouch to reduce some of the glare, which aided the composition by bringing the top of the second rock into view and shifting the nearer rock so it could serve as a frame. Although the image is shot in high-contrast, midday light, the light is fairly even, which allows for an exposure that preserves the detail in both the clouds and the distant plateau. I can imagine this spot at lit up at sunset, though I'll probably never see it at that time of day as it's a two-hour walk to the nearest road. In my mind, more than any other landscape image, the desert defines Israel. Fully 60 percent of the country is desert. The desert in Israel blooms, and no more so than in places untouched by the hand of man.