Tel Aviv

A Street View of Israel

Hi all.  Today's post is brought to you by the letter "M," the letter "T," and by the number 12.  Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's look at some pictures.  It took a little over a week, but I've finally gone through all my photos from Israel, got rid of the ones I didn't want to keep and post processed all the keepers.  Just to give you an idea about what that process was like, I came home with around 1,000 photos.  Now I did a lot of culling while I was on vacation, so in total I took a lot more than that, but when I got home and downloaded the photos to the computer, there was about 1,000 of them.  So then I started going through them.  Keep... keep... toss... keep... toss... keep... well, you get the idea.  Bad composition... toss.  Too over exposed... toss.  The person in the photo was really ugly... toss.  I just didn't like it.. toss.  I got down to the ones I thought I wanted to keep and share and that number was about 550.  Now this includes a  bunch of photos that aren't going to be interesting to anybody other than my family.  You know, family photo in front of the hotel, family photo in front of a restaurant, family photo at the beach, etc.  They're not the best photos, but you've got to keep them cause my mom... uh, I mean, somebody in the family may want to print those and put them in a drawer never to be seen again.  So of the 550 keepers, there are probably about 50 or so like that.  The rest I really like and want to look their best, so those were the ones I processed.  That took me a little over a week, but I'm really happy with the results.  So now the question was what to share on the blog.  All of them?  None of them?  Some of them... but which ones?  Well, Israel is really beautiful and has some really nice landscapes and some beautiful architecture, but it's still the Middle East, so the landscapes start looking really similar after a few pictures.  I mean, you're not going from beautiful beaches to lush forests to canyons with flowing rivers... it's a desert people!  And although there is a lot of really cool architecture, let's be honest... you've seen one three thousand year old wall you've seen them all.  Okay, not really, but I didn't want to post a bunch of pictures of old walls.  The thing that really makes Israel special is the people.  They're some of the friendliest people I've encountered on a vacation (just ask the guy who walked me back to my hotel after I found myself lost and wondering the city by myself), so I thought I'd post some pics from ground level.  Up close shots of the people, foods and things that I thought really represented the places I went.  All of these shots were taken with my Canon 5D and most of these were taken with the 24-105L lens.  I really love that lens for walking around a city.  It's really versatile and takes great, sharp photos.  Maybe I'll post some landscapes, architecture or beach shots next week, but for today this is what you get!  Most of the pics are from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and areas around the Dead Sea.

I'm back!

Well, after a week in Israel and two missed blog postings, I'm back.  I'd say I missed you all, but I didn't really.  I love traveling and this was quite the traveling experience.  I went for my sister's wedding, but one of the benefits of a destination wedding is the ability to take photos... lots and lots of photos.  I took about four 16GB memory cards and I almost filled three of them with hundreds, if not thousands of photos.  I've been back for almost a week and since then I've culled them down to about 600 keepers.  I feel like some of those are really great and some will only be great to my family, but I had a great time and really loved bonding with my camera.  It was an amazing place and over the next week or so, I'll be sharing tons of the photos from my trip.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share one to wet your appetite.  Let me set the stage for you. I was in Tel Aviv for the second half of my trip and I decided, without any knowledge of where I was going, to try and get up for sunrise and head over to the Mediterranean to take some photos.  So I set my alarm and got directions for how to go down to the water.  It was about a 20 minute walk and it went off without a hitch.  However once I got there, I realized that there wasn't anything but empty beach around.  I could see the old city far beyond and the sky scrapers of the new city as I looked in the opposite direction, but where I was, there wasn't a lot.  It just goes to show you that when you're in a new place, it really benefits you to do a little research before heading off to take photos. After walking for a little bit and thinking that my morning was hopeless, I happened upon this old pier.  I was stoked and I knew with a long exposure, this had the potential of being a really cool shot.  There was a fisherman on the pier getting ready to fish for breakfast, but after I asked he graciously said he was happy to share the space with me.  The most interesting part of the experience wasn't getting to the sea, it was coming back.  I quickly realized that I had no idea where I had walked to or how to get back to my hotel.  The good news is everybody in Tel Aviv that I ran into was really nice and I felt very safe.  People were more than happy to try and point me in the right direction.  Having my camera with me actually saved me as I couldn't remember the address to my hotel.  The good news was I had taken a photo of the chocolate shop a few blocks down from where I was staying and that photo was still on my camera.  So, not speaking the language wasn't a problem... I could just point to the photo on the back of the camera and folks knew exactly where I was trying to go.  The fact that everybody I asked gave me DIFFERENT directions is besides the point... they meant well.  So that 20 minute walk I took to get me down to the water was over an hour and a half walk to get back!

Here's the photo I came home with:

This photo was taken right at sunrise.  It was a 30 second exposure which is why the water looks so silky and creamy.  Using a long exposure does the exact opposite of what using a fast shutter speed would do.  A fast shutter speed freezes all the action... that would mean the water and waves would freeze right where they were.  The long exposure blurs the area of the image with movement, so although the pier is really sharp (because it wasn't moving), the surrounding water that was flowing in and out is creamy smooth.

This is one photo with lots more to come.  Stay tuned.  I promise there will be at least one that you like and if not I'll give you your money back.