Mystery or Art? Ramat Bet Shemesh

Sometimes things present themselves to you in your everyday life, and you have to capture the moment. I was walking in the park in Ramat Bet Shemesh – it’s actually a large green inner-city park in the mostly anglo-franco neighborhood of Bet Shemesh. Pointing my camera at one of the insides of a pergola this interesting (and familiar) shape came to me. By the way, Ramat Bet Shemesh is almost entirely an (ultra) orthodox Jewish community.

Pergola in Ramat Bet Shemesh Sometimes pergolas are just pergolas..

Ramat Bet Shemesh has been in the news as of late. Most of the news is not so great. There are some extremists disguising themselves as ultra-orthodox. These folks seem to have nothing better to do than throw stones at passer-bys on the Sabbath. They are quite busy sometimes during the week as well. Here’s a NY Times article on Ramat Bet Shemesh

RBS view to Valley A nice view from Ramat Bet Shemesh to the valley on the East Side (Facing the foothills to Jerusalem)

Ramat Bet Shemesh Ramat Bet Shemesh Bet. Ramat Bet Shemesh

Ramat Bet Shemesh Aleph Ramat Bet Shemesh Aleph

Hebron ????? Then & Now

Hebron Then & Now

They say that nothing lasts forever. In Hebrew there is a saying, however, that Hebron is eternal.

Hebron - Site of Ambush Hebron – Site of Ambush November 15 2002

On the Sabbath eve of Nov 15, 2002, Arab gunmen drew fire on an Israeli patrol in the no-mans land between Arab Hebron and the nearby Jewish Settlement Kiryat Arba. The Israeli patrol and a first-responder security force (civilians) from Kiryat Arba came to fortify the Israel position. Within minutes the Arab terrorists led the patrol into a dark alley with no way out. As they turned around, they were hit by a wail of gunfire from an Arab ambush. The results were truly devastating. Twelve Israelis were killed, including the Hebron Brigade commander Col. Dror Weinberg.

Here’s a detailed report from the Jerusalem Post

This photo was taken in the aftermath, approx one month later. The Israeli army had flattened the area, which was then soaked with the recent rains. Settlers from Kiryat Arba had attempted to set up tents there and establish an outpost as a moral victory against terror. However, the Israeli govt. caved in to pressure, and they were evicted. In this photo, you see two Arab children throwing stones on the swamp that was created from the recent rains. The Israeli graffiti in the background calls for Arabs to be removed.

Hevron Then & Now!

Annapolis & The Israeli Mentality

With a small country and a large history of wars, Israeli is filled with monuments to our fallen soldiers. Nearly every place you go there’s another “andarta” (monument in Hebrew). I was listening to Prime Minister Olmert’s speech at the Annapolis Conference yesterday, and it got me to thinking about the Israel psyche.

Andarta with room Engineering Corps Monument near Tzomet Hulda.

Notice that this monument has walls with plaques and names of fallen soldiers from the Engineering Corps. As part of the inevitability of the Israeli existence, this monument was built with room to grow. There is another empty wall silently waiting for more names and plaques.

When Mr. Olmert suggests that Israel is ready for a new existence. That we are ready to accept tough consequences, is he taking into account all the suffering and sacrifices that have been made to prevent some of these very consequences?

Tel Aviv Terrorism Monuments

Israel is spread not sparingly with monuments on the scene of terrorist attacks and for fallen soldiers.

This monument sits just meters from the busy coastal road in Tel Aviv next to the Dolphinarium disco nightclub where on June 1, 2001, twenty one Israelis (mostly teenagers) were killed in a suicide bombing, and over 120 were wounded.

Tel Aviv Dolphinarium

Discoteque Tel Aviv Discotheque

Old City Jerusalem Antennas

This shot was actually taken from the promenade next to the Western Wall – facing North of the Wall and adjacent to the Temple Mount (Al Aqsa Mosque). These TV antennas testify to the importance of news and entertainment to the residents of the old city.

old city jerusalem antennas

Technical Data: Ilford Pan-F, Nikon FE, 28mm cropped. Developed in Agfa-Rodinal and scanned with Minolta Dual Scan.

Hurva Synagogue – Old City Jerusalem

Here’s the ruins of the famous Hurva Synagogue. The commemorative arch was built in 1978 to memorialize the former size and splendor of this once grand synagogue until it was destroyed in 1948 by the Arab Legion (Jordanian Army) in the Israeli War of Independence.

Here are two views of the Arch.

Hurva Synagogue - Old City Jerusalem

Hurva Syngagogue Arch - Jerusalem

Technical Details: Nikon FE, Fuji Velvia, both shot with a Sigma 24mm.

Flora of Israel

These were shot on a hiking trail about 5km south of Bet Shemesh. I went out for a hike just before daybreak.

The ground was wet, it had rained slightly overnight. I wanted to capture the luminescence of these plants. I tried a bunch of shots with a tripod with low shutter speeds – then just for a change, i pulled out my SB-28 and gave them a fill flash. Here’s the results. They seem to pop out of the image – like three dimensional.

Flora of Israel with flash

Flora of Israel 2 w/ flash

Technical Info: Both were shot with Nikon F100, 28mm-105m with Macro, 1/125.
Both had fill flash from a SB-28.

Beit Jimel (??? ?’????) – Pruned Olive Trees

Beit Jimel is a Franciscan order monastery on the foothills to the Judean Hills – near Bet Shemesh.

Beit Jimel Olive Trees (2002)

The church is said to own the land adjacent to the monastery which includes breathtaking views of the Judean Hills to the East, the city of Bet Shemesh to the North, and prime hiking trails to the South and West. The monastery also has grapevines, a winery, and olive tree orchards.

This photo was shot in the afternoon. I especially like the angle, the lighting, and the grace of the trees. They have a somewhat majestic swagger. The warmth of the Velvia film really works nicely here.

Technical Info: Nikon F100, Fuji Velvia, 24mm, 1/250, E-6 Home Processed, Minolta Dual-Scan.

Dormition Abbey

Dormition Abbey

Dormition Abbey is on Mount Zion about 50 meters just outside the Zion Gate and walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a massive and impressive structure that resembles a mighty fortress.

Technical Details: Shot with a Nikon FE, 24mm f.2.8, 1/250.  I nudged up pretty close to the northeast corner of the building and shot with a very wide angle lens that somewhat distorted the edges.

Israeli Solider Praying for Peace

2003 – Israeli Solider praying at the Western Wall (Kotel).
Israeli Soldier Praying for Peace

It was the night of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem.

I shot this image in 2003 the night of a terrorist attack in Jerusalem. A suicide bomber had exploded himself in the center of town. The entire city was a police fortress. The border patrol units were hunting for possible collaborators. I went down to the Kotel (Old City – Western Wall) and saw there were soldiers there, many of them were new recruits, who were praying at the wall for peace.

Technical details – Nikon F100, Fuji Astra, 1/60, ISO 100. Leaned on a table and shot with self-timer. The unique yellow lighting to this image comes from the halogen floodlights that light up wall at nighttime.

Where to Begin?

Living in Israel is a good thing. Especially if you like to take interesting photos.

And with that…we begin.

I will be uploading photos that I have shot over the past few years in various parts of Israel. The subject matter will vary, as will the locations, lighting, etc… Over time, I will also share my views on issues that are impacted in the photos that are displayed here. I’ll throw in some history and perspective too.

We are pleased to offer you the images on this website as shown for full usage on your websites and weblogs and for all personal usage that you may desire.  The only limitation, however, that I ask as the copyright owner of these images, is that you do not display them on commercial websites without first receiving my express written permission.

If you wish to license any of the images here for commercial usage, or would like to order prints from our collection, and for obtaining high resolution versions of the images on this website, please email us at “contact at holyexposures dot com” for more information.

Welcome to Holy Exposures!

Holy Man :~