About a month after the Dead Sea photographs, & it’s another photo-outing weekend with the same jolly group. This time our destination was the southern Negev and the environs of Eilat (which is the southernmost city in Israel, now that we’re no longer in the Sinai). Since it’s a long trip (by Israeli standards…), we took a 3-day weekend.
I want to say up front that our Negev (in the south) is probably the landscape I love the most in Israel, & maybe in the whole world.
Thursday-Friday-Saturday saw all thirteen of us photographing like mad all the way to Eilat, in its vicinity, and on the way back. (For some reason, no time was set aside for photographing inside the city itself. I planned to take off on my own, but never got the time or inclination to do so. That’s a subject which will have to wait for my next trip to Eilat…)
And of course, we didn’t forget to eat, drink, and be merry, either.
The weather wasn’t exceptionally good. Most of the time it was overcast, dulling colors, with a strong, cold wind that was not only quite unpleasant, but a hindrance to good photography, creating a kind of smog (from dust & sand), and making close-ups virtually impossible.
But, as I always say, there is no bad without good (and usually no good without bad, either, but that’s another subject altogether, to which I might dedicate a post, some day…) For instance, we didn’t sweat and over-heat (a refreshing change!); When the sun peeped out for a few moments – how we rejoiced! And from a photographer’s viewpoint – we had to exert ourselves to find (and even invent) unusual photographic opportunities.
As I said – no bad without good. Here’s one advantage: The weather painted the terrain into a medley of graduated shades. I love these landscapes!
Mamshit – surprise #1
Our day (and the whole trip) began at Mamshit, the site of an ancient settlement, beginning in the Nabataean era, & continuing through the ages. In other words – archeology. In other words – not my cup of tea. So… a challenge. Great! Now that is my cup of tea…
I decided to walk at my leisure, looking for interesting compositions. I had no intention of photographing “tourist guide” or “archeology book” photos (both very important and serious aspects of photography, by the way, which I can totally admire), but rather “my” kind of artistic, fine art photographs, which are born of the venue, but don’t necessarily show it as it is.
Of course I found my stuff. There is always something interesting to photograph, if only one looks well and willingly.
And then, one of those unexpected things happened; one of the unplanned “Extras” that can really MAKE your trip, if you go with the flow, and enjoy it.
Probably because I was in no hurry “to see the sights” (which, as you’ve already understood, I was not particularly interested in), I noticed four men unpacking some stuff. I heard a foreign language; unidentified from a distance. I thought I recognized a priest’s stole, and asked one of them – “Clergy?” Yes. From France. They had come to this ancient church (or rather- to the remnants of it) to pray. “Would they mind if I took some pictures?” No; if I want, I’m welcome to join them for Mass.
Three of the four put on their white vestments, (I later learned that the fourth had not been fully ordained yet), arranged their things (I think: a glass of wine, holy water, holy wafers), and began. I gave myself up to the beautiful sounds (I love liturgical singing).
But not to such a degree that I’d forget to photograph…
Here’s one photo
Through the Looking Glass
While we waited for the guide that would take us bird-watching in the Sheizaf Nature Reserve near Hatzeva, I strolled around the Hatzeva lodges. The stroll yielded some lovely photos, including a chance to feel like Alice in Wonderland with a worthy addition to my “Through the Looking Glass” series.
By the way, the guided bird-watching tour was LOVELY! I highly recommend it.
Timna Park, near Eilat
The phrase “How great is your Doing, Lord” (Ma rabu ma’asecha, Elohim) kept running through my mind. Not that I’m religious; not at all. So –why? It’s a mystery. But the grandeur, the variety, the intricate shapes and the richness of color – all on the grandest scale possible – were awe inspiring. I was elated by this work of titan sculptors.
On the steps up, inside Amudei Shlomo (Solomon’s Pillars) I stopped and said plainly “OK; I’m staying here. This is where I want to live.” (So, alright, not literally…)
That is where I took this picture:
Surprise #2, and a grand finale
Towards the end of the third-and-last day, on the way to Ein Evrona, someone espied a group of motorcyclists. I don’t know how, but our friends found the “playground” where they were doing stunts and soaring-jumps among the sand-dunes, their motors roaring. We found out that one of Israel’s champion riders was there, practicing and giving tips to some promising young riders.
I decided to take some panning shots. For the uninitiated – these are long-exposure photographs, where the background is blurred while the subject is kept in focus (more or less). Since this is much like we really see when our eyes follow moving things, this technique gives the stills photo a feeling of movement.
Of course, this is only a small taste of all the places we visited and of all the photographs I took.
I’ll end this post with one of the abstract art photography I can’t help but see, wherever I go.
Till next time -
Best wishes, and -
Keep looking for the beauty and light that are everywhere!