September 27, 2011

Photo of the Week: Sept. 27, 2011

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: It takes a tiny bit of chutzpah to walk into a small Judaica shop and start photographing items for sale. Nevertheless, I follow the rule that flattery will get you everywhere. By taking a sincere interest in my subject, in this case a table strewn with shofars of various sizes, colors and shapes, I opened the door to photo opportunity. This tactic works especially well when seeking permission to shoot a human subject whom you don't know. By first taking an interest in their activity and observing without photographing, you communicate that your intent is genuine and not merely exploitative.

I like this shot because it veers from the traditional image we see at this time of year. In fact, there isn’t a single shofar in this photograph which is clearly visible in its entirety. At the same time, there are plenty of visual clues which clarify the subject. I chose to focus on the midsection of the large shofar which cuts across the middle of the frame to accentuate its textured surface. This shot was taken indoors with minimal available light, forcing me to use a wide aperture and squashing the depth of field. Yet the soft focus in and around the photo's central horn does not hinder the viewer's ability to wander the frame and ponder the inner composition – Kind of like what we do on Rosh Hashanah upon hearing the blasts of the shofar.

Shana Tova Umetuka. Wishing all of Am Yisrael a year of peace, blessings and the ability to appreciate the bounty in our lives.

Technical Data: Nikon D300, 18-200 zoom at 95mm, f6.3 @ 1/100th sec., ISO 400.

Photo of the Week: Sept. 15, 2011

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Had I been wandering the desert with Moses and the Jewish people, I'd likely have stayed in the back of the pack, enjoying the new scenery in quiet contemplation. To me, the best route between two places is the one unexplored. And so I often find myself taking random turns onto dirt roads that lead in the general direction of my destination, frequently getting lost but often rewarded with new vistas to satisfy my creative thirst.

The road that climbs from Ein Boqeq and the Dead Sea to Arad is curvy and steep and one afternoon, stuck behind the ubiquitous, slow-moving Israeli truck, I spotted an intriguing sign pointing toward Masada and directed my car off road. I bumped along a rocky plateau for about 10 minutes when I came upon this majestic mountain stretched out before me with a perfect canopy of cumulous clouds. I found the high ground and grabbed my widest angle lens in order to capture the vastness of the setting. I would have preferred the whole rock formation to be sunlit, but the position of the sun that day caused a shadow to be formed by a nearby mountain. Sometimes, getting lost is the best path to a new discovery.

Technical Data: Nikon D70, 12-24 zoom at 12mm, f13 @ 1/80th sec., ISO 200.