July 21, 2009

Photo of the Week: July 21, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Some years ago, health food proponents tried to promote carob as an alternative to chocolate. From a nutritional standpoint, carob may in fact out-duel chocolate, but I never fell for this gastronomical ruse and stood by my favorite sweet. It wasn't until years later that I encountered my first carob tree, which is native to Israel and grows widely in the warm, Mediterranean climate. This particular tree sits upon the rocky plateau of Mount Arbel in the Galilee, growing alone among the rocks and a few grassy weeds. It is known simply as "The Carob Tree," with a short trail by the same name leading to it from the parking lot.

Summer is a difficult season to photograph in any locale, but especially in two-season climates where months without rain leave the landscape dusty and parched. I arrived late in the afternoon looking for a broad shot of the Kinneret from atop Mt. Arbel's lofty cliffs, but found this shot the moment I walked past the tree and looked back toward the setting sun. I positioned myself so the bottom set of rocks, aglow with afternoon light, formed a triangle at the base of the photo. The lines forming the two sides of this triangle combine with its peak to lead the viewer straight to the subject and also form two additional triangles whose peaks all meet at the base of the tree.

Even though I was shooting directly into the sun, I managed to avoid what would have been a formless silhouette of the tree's crown, which is lit by the light reflecting off the rocks. I may not appreciate the carob fruit, but I do admire this tree's ability to take root and thrive in such an austere location.