Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tel Aviv - 4

During my walks in Tel Aviv I began to notice the variations in appearance reflecting the degree of religious observance. Israel is now made up of almost two thirds Mizrachi Jews - that is, not Ashkenazi or Sephardi - and the way they integrate their observance into their lives is much more casual than the Eastern European Ashkenazi Chassidim.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tel Aviv - 3

One of the things that fascinated me on this trip was the diversity of people living across the country. Tel Aviv is probably the most cosmopolitan of all the cities in Israel, with a wide variety of architectural styles, economic classes, and religious observance. There's class and grit evident all over Tel Aviv, from the multi-million dollar condos to the red-light district near the old bus station. As I saw all these different types of people on the street, I imagined each person in their youth in an army uniform.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tel Aviv - 2

My second day in Tel Aviv, on my way to the port of Jaffa, I took a long walk through the section of town that was the core of the first development of Tel Aviv - Neve Tzedek. It's an interesting mixture of old architecture from those early days and newer buildings that are part of the redevelopment of the area. There's great charm in the old buildings, but many are starting to crumble.

And since the Carmel market was right outside my hotel door, I spent more time there:

Neve Tzedek:

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Tel Aviv - 1

Just came back from a momentous trip to Israel. Some of the photos I shot beg to be in color, so the next series of posts will be a mixture of color and B/W. The Carmel Market is a narrow pedestrian mall that buzzes with activity all day.

Nahalat Binyamin is turned into a street fair for artists and craftsmen on Fridays every week. 

A string trio entertaining the pedestrians at the street fair.

A night scene near my hotel which was at the intersection of the Carmel Market, Nahalat Binyamin, and Allenby St.

The Poli House Hotel, where I was staying.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Israel 2017

Revving up and gearing up for my next trip to my favorite place in the World. Been planning this trip for a long time. Going totally on my own is a stretch for me, but having the freedom to be alone and do whatever the moment calls for is exciting.

I'm paring down my camera bag considerably. My old kit with three zoom lenses - 10-24, 16-55, and 55-200 - plus two bodies, a flash and batteries is just too heavy for me to shlep all day. I still need to take the tele-zoom just in case. But that's a focal length I rarely shoot at. On the wide end I'll take my 14/f2.8 (I rarely shoot wider than that), my new 23/f2 (so much smaller and faster focus than the f1.4) and my new 35/f2 (ditto the 23). For the tight and narrow spaces of Jerusalem's Old City and Machane Yehudi market, the narrow lanes of Tzfat, and the Jaffa Flea Market those lenses should be ideal.

No deserts on this trip, no tourist attractions, no Dead Sea or Masada. Just my beloved people - Jews: all kinds, colors, sizes, religious convictions, political persuasions ..... a stiff-necked and contentious lot, but I love them all.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter 2017

One of the few times during the year that I post in color. The Easter Parade in New York is not really a parade. Fifth avenue between 49th and 55th streets is closed off to traffic - that's the area just in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral and St. Thomas Church - and exhibitionists come to strut their stuff. It's an ad lib bazaar for any excuse to dress up.

It was a great opportunity for me to test out the kit that I want to take on my trip to Israel this May.
I eliminated one lens from my bag, the 18mm. So now I have it down to two bodies: the X-T1 and X-Pro2; three prime lenses: 14/2.8, 23/2, and 35/2 (I actually used the 35/1.4 today, but I've already purchased the f2 lens, just waiting for delivery so I can test out the acuity against the f1.4). I'm taking one zoom lens: 55-200mm. I hardly ever use it, but just can't seem to cut the cord and leave it behind. I keep thinking that the one time I leave it, I'm going to really need it and regret not taking it.

After the trip I'll most likely put the 23/1.4, 35/1.4, and 50-140 up for sale ..... and then buy the 50/2.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Passover 2017 - Burning Chametz

Before the holiday begins, we are commanded to clean our homes of all traces of any grain that might  have undergone leavening or rising. It's then burned and we recite prayers of disownership of any remaining leavening in our possession.

Everyone loves a good fire.