HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Until I began to study and use natural light more seriously, I was not able to see a photo like this. I say "see," because the photo looks very different from how my eyes saw this scene while I photographed it. I've noted in the past how much better our eyes are than our cameras at seeing detail in high contrast settings, when there are both very bright and dark areas in an image. This is one of the most common and difficult problems photographers must contend with. There is simply no way to expose both ends of the brightness spectrum properly, which forces the photographer to choose one end or the other. Whichever part of the image you choose to expose properly, the other end either goes very white or very dark. In order to make the proper choice, you have to be able to visualize both possibilities before shooting.
Here, it was an easy choice, as I knew letting the trees go dark by metering the sunlit area would add drama to the image. The Yemin Moshe quarter and adjacent park is one of Jerusalem's most beautiful neighborhoods, although from this angle it could be anywhere in the world. The feeling of peace and solitude – one of the area's main characteristics – is emphasized by the empty paths and vacant benches. Like other modern cities, Jerusalem has its share of traffic, noise and pollution, so it's comforting to know there is an oasis of quiet one can escape to, whether for real or via an image hanging on the wall.