March 24, 2009

Photo of the Week: Mar. 24, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: I still recall the first time I set foot in a back country forest in New England and my disappointment at the chaos and debris which littered the woods in every direction. Though the petals of a rose may appear flawless, nature often falls well short of a tidy perfection. It's important to keep this in mind when attempting to photograph the grandeur of the natural world. Even as the camera is sometimes able to remove from view what the photographer finds undesirable, it still must contend with the disorder of what remains within the frame.

I spent two days in the north of Israel earlier this month, hoping to record some of the annual spring renewal. I met with some good fortune on my first morning when a heavy squall drenched the landscape, and, more importantly, cleared away dust and pollution that are a nagging impediment to good landscapes. After taking shelter in my car for about 20 minutes, I emerged to a virtual Brigadoon, a moist and magical (and very muddy) yet short-lived sunshine and crystal-clear air. With the storm still visible on the horizon, I set up my tripod in the sodden ground and composed a shot that, more than anything, was an attempt to capture the clarity and brilliance of that vanishing moment. My wide angle zoom pulled all the way back to 12mm brings together in absolute sharpness the heavy clouds, the wet sheen on the rocks, the streaking yellow mustard flowers, and the blades of grass bent by lingering raindrops. My boots stayed wet for hours but my heart danced the whole day through.