HOW I GOT THE SHOT: The heavens finally opened up over Israel during the past week, bringing an end to a long spell of weather so mild that fruit trees began showing blossoms on the first of January. Because I live in the mountains, some 900 meters above sea level, winter storms don't pass over us, they pass through us. The tail end of one storm left the region shrouded in thick fog, and I had a vision of creating a sort of minimalist photograph with snow white blossoms set against a sea of white smoke. By the time I found an opportunity to shoot, the fog had lifted, but left behind remnants of the fallen moisture clinging to the blossoms.
As the calendar turns to the month of Shevat, so must the almond trees bloom in Israel. Choosing one randomly not far from my home, I set up my tripod and camera mounted with a macro lens for close-range shooting. Finding an appropriate subject takes a few moments of scanning the tree until my eye catches a candidate, which must also survive further scrutiny for blemishes, torn petals, or, most importantly, distracting backgrounds. It's a delicate process maneuvering the camera close to the subject and several times I gently knocked an adjacent branch, emitting shock waves that scattered the beads of rain and ruined my subject.
In the end, I did succeed with several images, including this one, which I chose because I like the way the background mimics the mottled look of the flowers holding drops of rain. With a macro lens, the subject is often mere inches from the front of the lens and the result is very shallow depth of field, perfect for throwing everything out of focus, except for the main subject. As the full moon rises in the sky this weekend, we mark Tu B'shevat (Jan. 29-30), the new year for trees in Israel. May we continue to merit the blessing of rain and seasonal renewal.