December 18, 2008

Photo of the Week: Dec. 16, 2008

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: The little curl at the top of the tree – and how perfectly it rolls over to the right and how impeccably it echoes the roundness of the sun – is the reason I took this photograph. Beautiful sunsets are frequent in the Judean mountains near my home and I've taken enough satisfying shots to be able to enjoy them without my camera. This photo was the culmination of a short hike around the community of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. I don't think I would have even noticed the trees had I not paused to look up at the sky, just to see if perhaps something interesting were about to unfold. As soon as I did, I spotted the sun dipping into the gap between the two silhouetted trees. I adjusted my angle of view slightly and waited until the sun dropped to the midpoint of the space. Because the sky is almost entirely without clouds, the dark trees need to occupy some of the empty space at the top of the photo to provide balances to the composition. All photographs, especially those shot in nature, preserve fleeting moments in time. A few months later I returned to this spot and both the tree, and its cute little curl, were gone.

Photo of the Week: Dec. 9, 2008

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: The last time I posted a photo of food, a shot of mouth-watering red grapes ready for harvest, a number of people wrote to me that they wanted to grab one and take a bite! I hadn't even sampled them myself while out in the field, but I can attest to my supreme enjoyment of two of the challot featured in this week's picture. This is a photo I had tried on several occasions to capture, but I never managed to find the right bakery displaying its loaves in a manner that allows so many to be photographed in one frame. It helped that they were outside on a sidewalk, situated under an overhang which blocked any direct light, thus creating very soft, diffused and near-perfect lighting for this shot. In order to take the picture, I had to contend with two obstacles. Most difficult were the many shoppers passing through the market and between the subject and my camera on a busy Friday morning. Most dangerous were the cars moving along the street where I stood in order to get back far enough to include the entire bread rack in the frame. And I had to wait for an opportunity when neither cars nor shoppers interfered. I cropped the image to remove the sides of the metal cart holding the loaves, which I thought looked unappealing, and to create the impression that the challot are infinitely numerous. By filing the idea for this image in the back of my mind, it became readily accessible the moment opportunity arose. Taking them home was as easy as releasing the shutter and 20 shekels from my pocket. The only thing missing is the delightful aroma.