Israel the beautiful: Metulla fall 2

Who says there is no fall color in Israel?

Fall in Israel 311 (photo credit: Yehoshua Halevi)
Fall in Israel 311
(photo credit: Yehoshua Halevi)
HOW I GOT THE SHOT: One of the joys of teaching photography is giving a group of students the same assignment and then discussing their vastly different interpretations of the same subject. Invariably, it’s a learning experience for everyone present, including the teacher.
I played that game with myself while racing against the setting sun to find a viewpoint that captured the radiance of fall in northern Israel. This week’s photo depicts the same valley shown in last week’s photo, situated just south of Metulla along Israel’s northern border.
Taken a few minutes earlier and looking to the south as opposed to the west and into the sun, it offers an entirely different perspective on this idyllic setting.
This is a more complex photo that defies a brief description. I had to crop this image very carefully to remove some farm machinery and retain only the natural features of the land within the frame. Precise cropping can elevate an average photo to something exceptional, so I often experiment with different crops until settling on a final composition.
In cropping this photo, I began by slicing off a small section of the olive trees from the bottom edge, which improved the photo in three ways. First, it allowed the orange plum leaves to flow more prominently into the frame by entering through the lower left corner and continuing up to the center, following the action of the photo. Secondly, a darker clump of olive trees fell into the righthand corner. Having a slightly darker area along the photo’s edge keeps the viewer’s eyes within the photo. Finally, trimming the clump of olive trees makes them about the same size as the photo’s two other prominent features.
The lack of a clear center of interest pits these equally sized sections against each other in a tense competition to hold the viewer’s eye. Likewise, the photo’s odd assortment of colors fight with each other for prominence rather than blending harmoniously.
Most of the time I build the composition around the main point of interest, but in this case the clash of color and content adds tension and imbalance while serving to enliven the overall picture.
Who says there is no fall color in Israel?
Yehoshua Halevi is an award-winning photojournalist and event photographer. For queries on simha photography in Israel and Europe, send an e-mail to View the entire Israel the Beautiful series at