April 29, 2009

Photo of the Week: April 28, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Today is Yom Hazikaron in Israel, Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism. Each year, the list grows longer and now stands at 22,570 names. Across Israel, in every city, town, and kibbutz, at historic sites and countless schools and public buildings, memorials are a solemn reminder of the courage and sacrifice upon which Israel was built.

I took this shot at night at Latrun, a tank museum and memorial situated on the road linking Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, following an emotional ceremony in which 500 new Israel Defense Forces recruits marked the completion of their basic training. A lone wreath lay at the base of a wall inscribed with hundreds of names. The unusual color is the result of the camera's rendering of the artificial halogen spotlights illuminating the wall. I could have adjusted the color to something more familiar to the eye, but the warm tone enhances the somber feeling of the picture. I could also easily have moved closer to the wall to capture one or more of the names in sharp focus, but I prefer this interpretation, in which the vast number of names is evident, but no single name is identifiable. Those who gave their lives in defense of Israel are remembered painfully and proudly by those who knew them personally, not just today, but every day. All of us, whether we knew them or not, owe them a debt of gratitude for our national existence. May we go from strength to strength!

Photo of the Week: April 21, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Standing at the base of a thundering double waterfall, spray misting in my hair and eyes, it's hard to imagine Israel has a water shortage. But return to this spot at the start of summer and you'll be lucky to see even a trickle of water dribbling over the 15-meter cliff. The Ayun Stream flows through Metulla, at the northernmost point of the Galilee panhandle. The park's canyon and highlands offer a family-friendly, two-hour hike that bypasses four waterfalls, of which Hatachana Falls, pictured here, is the most spectacular. For the photographer, this waterfall is also easily – and safely – accessible from a variety of angles. I photographed at the base of the waterfall, where I had to continually cover my camera with a handy bandana as I composed to prevent the lens from gathering moisture. I like this shot, taken right on the trail from above, because it best conveys the overall grandeur of the site. Moving water lends itself to two possible interpretations. A very fast shutter speed will capture the flying molecules in total sharpness. Alternatively, in this photo, I slowed the shutter speed to 1/6 of a second to smooth out the cascading water for a more romantic rendering. Either way, the camera captures a view of nature that remains hidden to the human eye.