HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Many years ago I was privileged to join marine biologists on an excursion to photograph tail markings on Humpback whales off the coast of San Francisco. After travelling to a site in the open sea, we waited, drifting in the still water. All of a sudden, a giant whale flew out of the depths, twisted onto its side and crashed back into the sea. It's called a breach and it was the most exhilarating encounter I've ever had with wildlife, and that includes a few bear skirmishes in the Sierra Nevada and Tetons in the Western United States. I understood in that moment why humans have such a passion for these immense sea creatures.
Wildlife in Israel is slightly less dramatic, but there are a few locales where the native inhabitants don't immediately flee human visitors. Nubian Ibex, the wild goats which inhabit dry, desert mountainous regions, are familiar to visitors of Ein Gedi and Ein Avdat, the Negev canyon where this image of a large male was taken. Ibex are diurnal, which means they are active during the day, which greatly increases the opportunity to view one or an entire herd as they forage for leaves and grass or perhaps sip from a spring.
This head shot is no less a portrait than if my subject had been a person. I like this angle because it shows off the unique features of the animal, particularly the large, distinctively notched horns and the scraggly, two-colored beard. Although he was carefully eyeing me from about 10 meters away, I remained calm and moved slowly, enabling me to get several good shots before parting company.
TECHNICAL DATA: Nikon D-70, 70-300mm zoom at 180mm, f9 @1/125th sec., ISO 400.