HOW I GOT THE SHOT: There are advantages to getting up at 3 a.m. and pointing your car toward the Judean Desert: no traffic in Jerusalem and the temperature is still bearable. The biggest reward for the effort, however, is arriving at sunrise to watch the light show on the rocky hills. It only lasts for about an hour, with the peak colors hanging on for just a few moments. Nature, like photography with human subjects, also has its decisive moments, and being ready to shoot through a small window of time is critical to success in the wilderness.
This shot was taken at the entrance to Mishmar Canyon, on the Dead Sea highway between Ein Gedi and Masada, at 5:40:29 a.m., according to the file's metadata. Arriving in the pre-dawn darkness, I immediately searched the area for something prominent to anchor the composition and settled on this peak, the tallest in the area. The remainder of the image, the lower half, contains the view across the dry riverbed, the outlet for the canyon I was preparing to hike. Somehow, even in mid-September following several months without rain, the sparse vegetation had held on to its green color and seemed to be thriving in the harshest of settings. For the photographer, with plenty of water in my pack, there was nothing left to do once the sun had climbed high but enjoy the hike.Technical Date: Nikon D70, 28-105 zoom at 38mm, f18 at 1/15th sec., ISO 400.