morning light

located roughly midway between tel aviv and haifa, caesarea maritima (the original city) was built by king herod between 25 – 13 bce. the roman aqueduct was built to supply water to the city when the wells they were using as sources of water were not sufficient.

we awoke this morning to some clouds – finally! the whole day would be unsettled, but i had hope that the shots might have more drama in them… thankfully they would.

we started out by reaching the roman aqueduct by today’s modern town of caesarea in the morning. as we arrived the sun was breaking out from the morning’s cloudy weather.

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

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remains of the harbour

so, after rejoining my aunt, cousin and wife for dinner, the light just would not give up! i excused myself once again to get a shot of the ancient harbour wall, sometimes referred to as the pisan harbour.

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

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light in the port

having stopped for a bite to eat, courtesy of my aunt, at abu christo: one of the many restaurants in the old city, i noticed that the light was turning downright gorgeous… i excused myself and let the ladies order the food while i went to find something to photograph, as it were.

i had wanted to get a cityscape of acre, so that was the direction i went. i was not disappointed. i somehow made my way onto a terrace after climbing short walls and landed on a terrace adjacent to the akko light, the still-in-use lighthouse belonging to the old city. beyond it was the skyline with that glorious light i mentioned…

this photograph can be found in the following gallery: cityscapes

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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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