Photo of the Week: Mar. 6, 2014

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HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Nature has many nuances. An hour can stretch a shadow, a week can open a blossom, a month can transform a dull and bristly patch of parched earth into a canvas of color to be devoured with the eyes for hours. Likewise, from year to year, the vagaries of wind and weather or a diesel-powered plow can alter the character of a specific site. Last year, an abundance of rain nourished the upper Judean Desert and these almost-always brown hills just east and below Jerusalem were greener than they had been in recent memory. And purpler, too, if you knew where to look.

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I was nearly startled as I drove up from the Dead Sea and noticed these lilac blankets of Diplotaxis acris, or wall rockets, that flourish in rocky Mediterranean desert terrain. I returned early one morning a few days later and climbed up on foot to capture this view. I am fond of using lines to energize a scene and move the viewer through the photo and I like the way the strong diagonals in this composition lead into the landscape and give depth to the photo. Because I was on a hill directly adjacent to the highway, I had to work hard to find a perspective that excluded the highway, the houses of Mitzpe Jericho, and a nearby Bedouin encampment. Proof positive that in Israel, the desert really is a-bloom.

TECHNICAL DATA – Camera: Nikon D700, tripod mounted, manual exposure, center-weighted metering mode, f/16 at 1/125th sec., ISO 200. Raw file converted to Jpeg. Lens: Nikon 28-105mm zoom at 28mm. Date: Feb. 21, 2013, 7:43 a.m. Location: Judean Desert near Mitzpe Yericho.

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