August 19, 2010

Photo of the Week: Aug. 19, 2010

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: At the height of summer, I continue to seek out color and form in nature, even though Israel's two-season landscape is often listless and parched in July and August. One reliable subject is the sabra plant, known in English as the prickly pear cactus or Indian fig, which thrives in a wide range of climates, including some of the hottest, driest regions of the Middle East. I've captured these plants in more photogenic form when they blossom with an array of colored flowers in spring and early summer.
The flowers give way to the oval-shaped, thorn-covered fruit which resembles a pear.

This detail of one plant caught my attention because it is somewhat unusual to see so many fruits growing so orderly from a single pad, as the flat, fleshy part of the sabra is called. I was also drawn to the bright reds and greens, one of my favorite complementary color groupings in nature. The two smaller pads growing from the same "trunk" give a nice balance to the composition by dividing it into thirds.

Sabra fruit is grown commercially and the plants have been used as natural borders to keep out intruders, not unlike the modern usage of barbed wire. I mounted a zoom lens on my camera and went to work, shooting and admiring the plant from a respectful distance.

TECHNICAL DATA: Nikon D-300, 18-200 zoom at 31mm, f16 at 1/200 sec., ISO 400.