June 14, 2010

Photo of the Week: June 14, 2010

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Driving through vast, empty stretches of Israel's deserts, I am always amazed to suddenly spy on the horizon a thriving grove of date palms amid the endless rock and sand. A brief stroll in the cooling shade of a palm forest is a welcome stop on any desert journey, and, of course, an opportunity to photograph.

With the sun high in the sky, I left the Arava Highway in southern Israel near Kibbutz Ketura and parked alongside the grove. I wandered among the towering trees for a few minutes, studying the light and looking for a good place to capture the feeling of standing among giants. I chose my ultra wide, 12-24 mm zoom lens to include as many of the frond fans as possible, in order to make the subject clearly recognizable and emphasize the feeling of standing in a forest. I pointed my camera up to the sky and adjusted my position so the sun moved behind one of the thick tree trunks, thus enabling me to shoot directly toward a very bright light source.

Date palms have been a source of food and shelter for millennia in this region of the world. The Hebrew word for date palm is Tamar, also a popular girl's name which has come to symbolize grace and elegance, and, one might add, a bit of chutzpah to grow so well in such a harsh environment.

TECHNICAL DATA: Nikon D300, 12-24 zoom at 12mm, f16 @1/160 sec.