Friday, July 15, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem, Day 2, part 2

Ben Yehudah Street is a pedestrian mall through the heart of the commercial district stretching from Jaffa Road up to King George Street. Some touristy shops and lots of food stalls, and a great collection of Israelis.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem, Day 2, part 1

I wish I had more time to roam while I was in Jerusalem. There's a whole world to explore just on the buses and light rail - all kinds of people: sephardic, hared ashkenazi, secular, arabs, tourists. On my second day in Jerusalem I wanted to go to an intersection called Kiki HaShabbat. It's a place where four very different neighborhoods come together. From my hotel I took a bus to the intersection and got a really interesting taste of the cross-section of the Jerusalem population.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Street Walk

I had a chance yesterday to head into NYC, the first trip in since returning from Israel. For months before the trip to Israel, every time I went into the city, I was so preoccupied with the trip that I didn't really get into my street thing. Going in as often as I do, I was starting to get into a rut - same old places, same old people, etc. That's just a mental state for me.

I have my tried and true camera settings, and even though I'm working with the new Fuji X-Pro2, I find the old settings work so well for me that I fall back on them all the time. But I just got my hands on a new book, 'Fujifilm's X-Pro2' by Tony Phillips. It' s a really comprehensive guide to the camera. More than just an unorganized collection of tips. I'm finding the book to be very helpful, and it prods me to try new stuff. I played with the predictive autofocus and zone focusing settings when Fuji made them available through a firmware update, but after reading just the intro to this functionality I decided to try it out. Once I got the feel of how it selects focus points, I started to really like it. Takes a little time and patience (which I'm usually very short of).

These shots were taken in burst mode at 8fps of people walking through crowds. Out of a burst of four or five shots I found that all except maybe one were spot on.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem day 1, part 3

For the four days I was in Jerusalem I found it difficult to do a lot of walking about. I had plans to visit a number of neighborhoods for a day (or part of a day) of shooting,  but the heat was too intense.  And the plaza at the Kotel offered little respite from the blazing sun.

At the Mamilla Mall near the Jaffa Gate:

In the arab shouk:

 Putting on tefillin at the Chabad table near the Kotel:

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Israel 2016 - Jerusalem Day 1, part 2

Israel, as the ancient homeland for Jews, has holy sites throughout the land. Jerusalem was established as the capital of the Jewish nation by King David, and his son, Solomon, built the first Temple on Mount Moriah to house the Tabernacle built by the Israelites in the Sinai Desert after the Exodus from Egypt. Centuries later the Temple site was expanded and a retaining wall was built on the western side of the complex. That wall, the Western Wall - or Kotel, is now the holiest site in the holiest city (the Capital) of Jerusalem in Israel, the ancient and modern homeland of the Jews.

Visiting the Old City, and the Kotel in particular, my first day in Jerusalem was first on my list of things to do. The Torah is read regularly three times a week - on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. My first day in Jerusalem was a Monday, so when I arrived at the Kotel there were a number of bar mitzvah ceremonies happening. Thursday is the really big day for bar mitzvah ceremonies, so I planned to go back for that. But being there on Monday gave me the chance to do a practice run. 

The area of the Jewish Quarter surrounding the Hurva Synagogue is filled with beggars seeking alms:

The Lubavitch Chabad stand is a regular visiting place for soldiers and others to put on tefillin and a tallit.

Jews from all backgrounds come to the Kotel to perform their bar mitzvah ritual:

There's a bit of controversy these days about women being allowed into the main prayer plaza in front of the Kotel. Traditionally there is a mechitzah (separating wall) that provides a separate prayer space for women. They line up to watch their sons perform the ritual.