Israel the beautiful.
(photo credit: Yehoshua Levy)
There is so much more to photography than simply learning how to use a camera
and pointing it at something pretty. When asked what camera I recommend buying,
I invariably answer that for most people, it makes no difference. My most
important tools are my boots (when attached to my feet!), my eyes, patience and
motivation. This pair of spring field portraits will help explain why.
shot these two photographs within 20 hours and within 20 feet of each
other. Standing in an almost identical location, I was able to capture
two vastly different interpretations of this floral field of dreams near the
Sha’ar Hagai intersection on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. I stumbled upon
this site by accident after making a wrong turn en route to an
After finishing with my client, I returned and spent an hour
wandering and inhaling the heavenly sights and smells.
My boots: From my
parking spot, I had to walk about 100 meters to the edge of the field, an easy
trek but for having to ford a section of mud that eventually soaked my boots
through to my socks. It was mid-morning, and I fought with the bright, contrasty
light, trying to get a shot of the entire expanse of purple and red.
eyes: Failing, I trod into the thick of the growth, poking around in hip-high
flowers and grass, trying my hardest not to trample even a single
Although I didn’t get any winning shots at first, my initial
observations led me to narrow my focus, which enabled me to spot a patch of
wheat growing amid the flowers.
Patience: Inspired by occasional gusts of
wind, I got a bit whimsical with this shot. I lowered the shutter speed as much
as I could to 1/25 of a second so as to allow the wheat stalks to blur as they
danced in the breeze. I waited until the wind kicked up again and took the
Motivation: Unhappy with the lighting conditions on my first visit,
I returned the following morning at sunrise, with a head full of ideas for
exploiting this location. It’s never easy to get out of bed in the dark, but
this second photo is a reward for shooting while the rising sun is at a very low
angle, casting a golden glow on the delicate red petals. I also chose to
position the camera, which was mounted on a tripod, at a height just above the
tallest flowers so as to maintain a view of the flowers in the distance. I
pushed my wide-angle lens up to the nearest flowers and pointed the camera down
ever so slightly, which had the effect of adding emphasis to the immediate
Exposing in these situations is critical, so I always bracket
a few shots to make sure the brightest areas are not over exposed. Many great
photographs lie in wait. To find them, you have to move in, look around, and
stand by until the right moment to shoot arrives. If that doesn’t work, hang it
up and see what tomorrow brings.
Yehoshua Halevi is an award-winning
photojournalist and event photographer.
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