January 14, 2012

Photos of the Week: Jan. 12, 2012

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: For those of us who live in a winter climate, the first blossoms of spring are always a welcome sight. In Israel, the almond tree is the traditional harbinger of spring, as pink and white-tipped new buds and even full flowers often appear weeks ahead of other trees. To me, it's as if they are saying, "We know it's cold here in January, but we're going to bloom anyway." They flash their strength and beauty during the darkest days of the year, despite the cool air and limited sunlight.

Almond trees grow wild in Israel and are abundant in the Judean Mountains south of Jerusalem, where I make my home. I shot these buds and blossom 10 minutes apart on the same day after venturing out into a thick fog during a winter squall. It was midday, and these images convey the mood of those moments: dark and damp, yet powerfully fragrant and bursting with hope as the new growing season emerges. I used a tripod and chose a wide aperture to keep the depth of field to a minimum, which creates a soft, clean background and trains the viewer's eye on the drops of dew clinging to the delicate petals.

Upper photo: Nikon D-300, 28-105 mm macro at 105 mm, f5 @1/320th sec., ISO 400.
Lower photo: Nikon D-300, 28-105 mm macro at 98 mm, f5 @1/800th sec., ISO 400.

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