HOW I GOT THE SHOT: The skies have it. And when they do I look around for earthly elements to complement their patterns and complete the composition. The large tree seems to be conducting the cloud dance overhead and its wispy branches mimic the white streaks above. I have discovered two amazing locations in Israel where Blue Lupines grow abundantly. One is the well-known Tel Socho or Givat HaTurmusim in the Ela Valley near Beit Shemesh. The other is this lush hillside near the Galilee community of Gonen along Highway 918.
This shot presented the difficulty of merging a bright sky with an under lit foreground, meaning the separate halves of the photo had diverging exposure requirements. One of the safer rules to follow with digital cameras is always setting the proper exposure for the highlights – the brightest areas of the photo – and letting the shadow or dark areas fall out where they will. The reason for doing this is that it is often possible to add light to a dark area but much more problematic if you want to darken a highlight, especially if the area is completely white and there is no detail to recover. By using my widest-angle lens, I was able to get very close to the Lupines in the foreground and then point my camera upward to corral the big sky. By dividing the land and sky into unequal halves, I avoided the visual confusion that can result when equally-sized areas compete for the viewer's eye.
Lupines are at their peak this week across Israel. Go out and photograph them or maybe just sit and enjoy the view for an hour or two.
TECHNICAL DATA: Nikon D200, tripod mounted, manual exposure, evaluative metering mode, f11 at 1/400th sec., ISO 400. Raw file converted to Jpeg. Lens: Nikon 12-24 wide angle zoom at 13mm. Date: Mar. 5, 2008 4:42 p.m. Location: Near Kibbutz Gonen off Route 918, northern Galilee, Israel.