May 18, 2009

Photo of the Week: May 19, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: The Dead Sea is without a doubt one of the strangest places on Earth. Vast and lifeless, its mineral-rich waters offer, paradoxically, life-giving therapy to a variety of human ailments. From a distance, one might imagine he is looking at the Arctic Sea, as iceberg-like salt domes dot the shoreline. And much like ice, they crunch underfoot and change form with time and the action of the water.

Walking along the shore one early morning last week, I let my camera hang from my shoulder as I admired the aquamarine colors of the water and an occasional bizarre, salt-encrusted chair or other man-made object, and luxuriated in the cleansing silence. This particular morning, a slight breeze wafted across the water, disturbing the absolute stillness which often creates beautiful symmetry between the odd salt formations and their perfect reflections. As a result, I chose a shot which plays on the relationship between the sky and land. The two sections of cloud are roughly mirrored by the pool and the salt accumulation that make up the photo's foreground.

A seascape is entirely flat, so it's difficult to gain an interesting perspective without elevation. I did manage to position my tripod on a salt dome, raising the camera over my head, first calculating the exposure and then composing and focusing without looking through the viewfinder. A few minor corrections and I had the shot I wanted. I hadn't been to the Dead Sea in quite some time and this visit restored my appreciation for this desert jewel and inspired me to return again to the lowest place on earth to record some of the highest natural beauty Israel has to offer.