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.

Ruchama Forest (photo credit: YEHOSHUA HALEVI)
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
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.
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