December 01, 2009

Photo of the Week: Dec. 1, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Another foray into the desert this week with a peek at Mt. Avishai, which, at 235 meters above sea level, soars above the Arugot Canyon in the Ein Gedi Reserve. Standing on the canyon floor, at an elevation of 400 meters below sea level, one does have the feeling of looking up at a substantial peak, whose shape, curiously, resembles that of Mt. Everest!

No snow or ice here, but plenty of water flowing from the canyon's chief attraction, Hidden Falls, where I had an opportunity to lead a workshop last month. This shot was taken as we left the falls and began our return ascent to the main trail. In the waning afternoon hours, the canyon is well shaded while the highlands take a direct hit from the sun, complicating efforts to get a good photo, but also providing an excellent opportunity for instruction.

A photographer facing this kind of high contrast lighting really has no choice but to expose the shot for the mountain peak and attempt to build additional form into the composition using the surrounding shadows. The nearly-solid, black canyon walls provide a useful frame while the feathery tree in the lower half of the image is delicate enough so that the eye easily moves past it to find the main subject. Because the sky is cloudless, I included a piece of overhanging branch to complete the frame. I've also stood on top of Mt. Avishai, and while the view is spectacular, you can't see a mountain while you're standing on it.