Monday, February 14, 2011

Photography workshop

Views of the Sachne National Park

Finally my hopes were fulfilled and after a long while winter has arrived. The weather is chilly even cold sometimes, the rain is coming down and the land that is usually yellow and dusty becomes lush green. This is the time of the year that lots of wild flowers come out and their bloom decorates hills, mountains and even the sides of the road to my house.  This time of the year is very short so in order to make the most of it we take advantage of the weather and go to many hikes and tours around the country from North to South.
 A couple of weeks ago my friend Sarah the famous food blogger, and I went to explore the North-Eastern part of Israel, around the Beit-She'an Valley and the Gliboa Ridge.  We started our hike in one of the prettiest places on Earth (in my opinion), Gan-Hashlosha, or in its more popular name, The Sachne. It is a national park of fountains, and pools, the stream crossing it emerges from a fountain that holds water temperature of 28 centigrade all year long which enables swimming even in the coldest days. In the weekend the place is packed with so many people that if you arrive after 10am, the parking lot is already closed. A wintry weekday though, left the park empty and all to us. We didn't go swimming but rather pacing along the park looking for great shooting angles and correct composition for our photos.  We tried to capture nature's beauty in our cameras; you'll be the judge if I succeeded.

The park is not only about nature, people acknowledged its beauty and fertility since ancient times. A small museum of archeology sits at the edge of the park and it presents the finding discovered in the area as early as 5000 years ago.  In the 1930s of the previous century a Kibbutz was founded near the park called Nir-David and the historical site where it was founded is now restored and can be visited.
Human settlement in the area

We left the park and went exploring the Gilboa ridge, driving on a scenic route that has many viewpoints looking down at the valleys of Jezreel and Beit-She'an. Clouds were gathering and the temperature dropped.  But the cold didn't hinder our efforts to take the best picture of a cyclamen or an anemone, or even a shoot of wild asparagus. Sarah tried to teach me about apertures, shutter speed and other technical terms that once were a mystery.
Asparagus growing wild on the Gilboa 
Chives blooming

 After taking about a 1000 pictures of blooming forest ground we discovered we were famished. We went to eat in a local restaurant called Havat Hatavlinim (The Spice Farm). As we slowly defrosted, we tried several angles of indoor photography. When food arrived we didn't have a bite until we took pictures of the dish from every possible angle.
It was a great day; I took some very nice pictures, had great company and a lovely meal.
Food for thought at Spice Farm restaurant.

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