The Western Negev’s Ruchama Forest has become one of my “go to” spots for magical Israel wildflower photographs over the past several years. The prolific, red “kalanit” (anemone) is predictably spectacular and the star of the Jewish National Fund’s aptly named Scarlet South festival held each February.
An outing to view Israel wildflowers has for decades been a sacred ritual among Israelis, who burst with joy and pride at witnessing the annual spring spectacle. Popularity continues to grow and there are two important considerations if you plan to visit this region during the prime viewing period, roughly mid-January to late February.
Firstly, try to avoid going on Fridays as the crowds can be upsetting to the ambiance of nature. Secondly, while arriving early will give you a few moments of morning serenity, the sun-tracking wildflowers remain closed until roused by their solar alarm clock, usually about an hour after sunrise.
Israel wildflowers look best when their blossoms are open wide to the sky.
For those intent on putting lens to the landscape, late afternoons may be a better option. The rolling hills and open Eucalyptus forest provide plenty of compositional variety during the golden hours prior to sunset.
I also recommend casual dress as there is ample opportunity for my favorite camera angle for capturing Israel wildflowers, used in this week’s photo: lying prone on the ground, eye level to the resplendent beauties.
If you are hungry to see more Israel wildflowers from the Western Negev region, I have put together a gallery of my favorite anemone photographs on my website.
This image exemplifies the development of my photographic vision, from a beginner who tried to move everything inessential out of the path of my lens, to a more artistic approach in which stray objects and soft focus have become key components of the composition.
The effect is further accentuated by using a telephoto lens zoomed out to 140mm and a wide aperture to squash the depth of field. To achieve this effect, begin by identifying a suitable subject and the best angle to the light. After that, everything else falls into place.
The Ruchama Forest is not the only worthy destination for gazing and gawking. I have also enjoyed exploring the anemones and other Israel wildflowers, in particular the cream and yellow Iris Palaestina, which can be viewed in the Shokeda Forest as well.
Wherever you go, this is one time when seeing red will put a bounce in your step and a bunch of delightful images in your photo library.