December 09, 2010

Photo of the Week: Dec. 9, 2010

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: This Chanukah has been a difficult one for Israel. Although we did receive a small amount of the rain we so desperately need, the holiday began with an unprecedented natural disaster which took 42 lives and burned half of the country's largest forest. The fire lights of Chanukah have burned brightly but bitterly this season.

After years of trying, I finally managed a visit to the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City to tour the spectacle of Chanukah's eighth night. Throughout the Rova, chanukiot burned brightly into the evening, some glass housings holding as many as 40 oil lamps.

Firelight is soft and enchanting, either as a subject itself or the way it casts a golden glow on anything nearby. The flames themselves are very bright yet their light falls off quickly, making exposures somewhat complex. If there are no other light sources, everything a short distance from the subject turns black. Too much ambient light and the photo will lose its character.

I like this shot because I solved the problem of photographing only the chanukiah by adding an additional, subtle light source that fits perfectly the mood of the photo. The door moldings and window panes complement the shape of the glass case holding the oil lights. The result is a photo that is clean, simple, and quaint, much like the neighborhood where I discovered it. Though the lights have now gone dark for this holiday, may the light we cast in the world continue to grow throughout the year.

TECHNICAL DATA: Nikon D-700, 50 mm, f2.5 at 1/80 sec., ISO 2500.