Monthly Archives: April 2018

ancient passageway

 

the trip back from southern israel completed, we took a bit of a breather for a couple of days. we would then head north on a day trip to visit the ancient port city of acre (akko in hebrew). the best summation i have found about this historical place is as follows: “acre … benefits from one of the very rare natural harbours on the coast of the land of israel. [it’s] location helped it become one of the oldest cities in the world, continuously inhabited since the middle bronze age, some 4,000 years ago.” – wikipedia

it’s a shame that some of the old city’s ancient buildings/monuments have become in such states of disrepair. at the time of our visit a few sites were completely blocked off to visitors. it looked like repairs were either just underway or about to begin.

we met up with my aunt and cousin and they took us around the old city. sites like the one photographed above were common. the history, when you stop to think about it is staggering somehow…

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: doors, windows & arches

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dead sea acacia

with masada climbed, the sunrise captured and the descent completed by the late morning, we continued northbound to reach home base in north tel aviv. we opted to take the 90 northbound, so that effectively we had made a circuitous route from home base and back within the span of about a week or so.

the dead sea is not as i had remembered it from a visit some 23 years prior. the shoreline was virtually inaccessible this time around. i had hoped to get close to the water as we had on that previous trip, alas it was not meant to be… i believe the statistics say that the dead sea has lost approximately 1/6 of its surface area in the past 20 or so years.

nevertheless, there were a few stops for photo ops made on our return trip from southern israel: this is a photo of an acacia tree along the ‘shores’ of the dead sea somewhere between ein gedi and mitzpe shalem along the 90.

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: flowers, plants & trees

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byzantine church wall

 

apparently, the last people to inhabit masada was a group of early christians during the 5th to 7th centuries well after the jewish revolt of 73 ad.

amongst the many ruins found on masada is a byzantine church that apparently dates back to the 5th century. here is a photograph of a church wall with an arched window under beautiful morning light.

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: doors, windows & arches

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judaean desert view

overlooking a section of judaean desert cliffs from the western ridge of masada shortly after sunrise.

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: landscapes

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due north from the citadel

overlooking the judaean desert and part of the dead sea from atop the northern end of masada.

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: landscapes

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sunrise from the citadel

after arriving at masada while it was still dark, we made the climb up the ‘snake path’ to the top of the plateau.  it is by no means an easy or short hike, but it is doable with a couple of bottles of water at hand. you will sweat –  a lot! i could not imagine doing the climb later in the day; the weather is just too hot…

it is tradition to climb masada to observe the sunrise. admittedly, i was not sure if there would be a sunrise to photograph as the dust that seemed to hang in the air during our entire stay in the south of israel was present again on this day. i had wanted to photograph the jordanian mountains while in eilat and could not. you can just barely make them out here, as viewed from the summit. the water you see in the middle of the frame is the dead sea.

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: skyscapes 2

 

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predawn surprise

having returned from the ride on route 3199 from arad to masada and back at a relatively decent hour, we got to bed earlier than normal. we were getting up at 4am to drive to the front entrance of masada off the 90. the plan was, of course, to get there early enough (while it was still dark) to get in line and start the tough climb up to the top before sunrise: it is ‘tradition’ to observe the sunrise from masada…

all went according to plan, though we were there earlier than we needed to be.

it did give me time to fiddle a bit before the climb. i set up the gear in front of the car and did my best to focus in the dark of the early morning; the only light source was quite a ways back at the other end of the parking lot. this shot was taken at 1600 iso with a 30-second exposure at f4. it looked interesting enough in the tiny lcd display at the back of the camera; i was pleasantly surprised at how clean the raw files were once i started editing.

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: landscapes

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both ways through

still on route 3199 with trailing lights from vehicles passing at dusk. the lights below the mountain plateau are from the desert resort of kfar hanokdim, where one can experience a taste of the bedouin lifestyle.

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: roadscapes

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the ancient citadel

having spent an amazing few days in eilat with my cousin and her family, visiting the city, timna park and the red canyon, it was time to keep moving… we had initially planned on making our way to masada to camp there so that we may rise early and make the climb by foot to witness the sunrise (who needs a cable car?)

unfortunately, when we looked into booking the camping accommodations, everything was full! no big deal really – we ended up taking a room in the city of arad, on the border of the judaean and negev deserts – it offered simple accommodations at reasonable prices.

we left eilat in the morning and made our way northbound along the 90, stopping for lunch and a swim (float!) at the public beach in ein bokek, a resort district on a stretch of the israeli shore of the dead sea. we then retraced our steps for a little while to catch the 31 to our accommodations in arad.

unbeknownst to me at the time, the camping excursion ultimately would have taken us to the same place, as the campground is only accessible by taking the road through arad. that road is the 3199 that leads to the west entrance of masada. it is quite simply incredible – there are not enough superlatives! driving on a freshly paved road through the judaean desert and passing the desert resort of kfar hanokdim in the late afternoon was sublime. but really, ‘les pièces de résistance’ are the views that are afforded along this winding road in the desert: in this case the citadel of masada from a peak i climbed onto from the side of the road.

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: landscapes

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desert acacia of the mountains

for those of you familiar with my earlier work, you will notice that the photographs that i captured in israel have been presented in colour. it became rather evident that israel is an incredibly special place. i was taken by the wonderful scenery afforded almost everywhere we went! though it was my intent to continue with black and white photographs, the editing process dictated otherwise… israel, for some reason, presented more favourably in colour the deeper i got into the project.

i will indeed take a stab at presenting some of the work in b&w, but that is for another time… for now, take in this beautiful scene from the eilat mountains: a desert acacia tree surrounded by colourful sandstone cliffs and mountains as we were making our way to the exit of the red canyon.

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: flowers, plants & trees

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