HOW I GOT THE SHOT: I had wanted to send out a fall photo two weeks ago, during Israel’s thankfully brief faceoff with Hamas. The anxiety of conflict has a way of paralyzing the creative process, and I found it too difficult to think and write about the beauty of Israel while we were fighting a war. Despite the spectacle of fall unfolding before our eyes, nothing else seemed relevant except the wellbeing of country and countryman.
Being outdoors has a way of clearing the mind, even when it must grapple with complex technical problems like those posed by this week’s image. The very conditions which make it extraordinary – the backlit leaves and heavy cloud cover – require contradictory settings on the camera (both more and less exposure at the same time). There has long been a rule in digital photography to expose first for the highlights, because if you accidentally overexpose the white areas of the image, there will be no detail to recover later via computer editing. In this photo, reducing the exposure to accommodate the bright sky made the blazing vine, which has almost no light falling on it from the direction of the camera, far too dark to appreciate. Nevertheless, the image retained enough detail for me to “bring it up” by dodging it in Photoshop.
Finally, I set out this afternoon under this heavy sky which built to a powerful rain storm the following day. Although the light was not promising as I embarked on my hike, I did the work of finding a good subject and then waiting. I was rewarded with a three-minute surge of sunlight, nearly falling over backwards as I got down underneath my tripod to frame the shot. Patience, perseverance, and protexia from on high.
More fall images in my new Jerusalem Post Online column
TECHNICAL DATA: Camera: Nikon D700, tripod mounted, manual exposure, center-weighted metering mode, f16 at 1/125th sec., ISO 200. Raw file converted to Jpeg. Lens: Nikon 20mm manual focus. Date: Dec. 3, 2012, 3:24 p.m. Location: Gush Etzion, Judean Mountains.