Israel Photo of the Week: The scarlet south

Professional photojournalist Yehoshua Halevi took this shot with a Nikon D700 in the Ruchama Forest. Here are some tips on getting the perfect photo.

January 29, 2014 15:33
2 minute read.
Ruchama Forest

Ruchama Forest. (photo credit: YEHOSHUA HALEVI)

"The unconscious obsession that we photographers have is that wherever we go we want to find the theme that we carry inside ourselves."

– Graciela Iturbide

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There is an old trick pro photographers employ to find great shots in places they’ve never visited before. They head to the nearest newsstand and scan the postcard rack. I could have used some help the first time I sped off to the Western Negev in search of the Scarlet South, the Jewish National Fund’s annual wildflower festival.

With a photographer friend in tow, I drove around for several hours and stopped numerous locals to ask, “Where are the flowers?” Nobody knew. We returned home empty handed.

The following year, I did my homework and charted a course for the Ruchama Forest, which lies opposite the community of Ruchama off road 334. Traveling down the road, even at moderate speed, there is nary a clue of the magnificent treasure concealed but a short bump and a shake down a dirt road. Carpets of red anemones, which cover the forest floor and which give the festival its name, lie hidden beyond a series of low hillocks.

This shot features but one aspect of this annual spectacle, a thinly planted grove a young Eucalyptus trees with their colorful spring companions. The floral display is fleeting, peaking in mid-to-late-February and dying out in early March.

If you go, I guarantee you won’t just be seeing green.


Camera: Nikon D700, tripod-mounted, manual exposure, center-weighted metering mode, f/16 at 1/200th sec., ISO 400. Raw file converted to Jpeg.

Lens: Nikon 70-200 zoom at 125 mm. Date: Feb 21, 2012, 9:54 a.m.

Ruchama Forest, Western Negev.

Yehoshua Halevi will be leading a half-day photography workshop in the Ruchama Forest on Sunday, Feb. 16 and Thursday, Feb. 27. He will also be leading the following Walk-and-Learn Photography tours: Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 10 a.m.: Machane Yehuda; Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 9:30 a.m.: The Jewish Quarter and the Kotel. For registration and information, please call 054-637-2170.

Visit Yehoshua Halevi's website at

Visit his Facebook page at

Visit his blog at

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