February 10, 2009

Photo of the Week: Feb. 10, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Nothing like a little geological upheaval to play the artist's muse. Unlike some of my other posts, this shot is fresh out of the can, having managed to start my week with a half-day journey to the heart of the Negev Desert. Overall, I was disappointed with what I found. Israel is suffering terribly from a lack of rain and the desert, normally a-blossom with spring wildflowers this time of year, was brown, dusty and dull. Still, I can always say about the desert that no trip is wasted as there is no comparison to the solitude and quiet found there.

I had never been to the Machtesh Katan, or Small Crater, and driving down in the pre-dawn darkness, had no idea where to stop. Following my instincts, I headed for high ground and a spot facing west, so that my subject would be opposite the rising sun and in position to catch the first rays of morning light. I composed this shot while standing on the edge of the crater, a few feet back from the edge of a precipice overlooking a 300-foot drop. Although translated as "crater," a machtesh is formed primarily by erosion and not by volcanic activity or impact with a celestial object. I chose to isolate this particular mountain, situated within the crater about a half mile from where I stood, because I liked the form of its jagged spine recessed with shadow. I also included a foreground section of darker rocks lying near the crater bottom, which give a sense of the dramatic range of colors in this region.