As the year 2015 ends it is instructive to review what was accomplished this year. Not an easy year as we accompanied Bonna through chemotherapy, surgery, more chemo, good times, hard times, which ended when Bonna passed away in June. The light in my life, Bonna’s light is missed by many, so I have taken up photography with more passion, to capture and share the light that is so fleeting in this world.
This marks 8 years that I have been guiding and blogging. I only added 11 blog posts this year bringing the total to 309 which includes over 1200 photographs. I posted more to my Facebook page, Israel Tours.
There were 78,735 page views by 42,885 visitors this year, close to the number last year (I feel that the number of people who are interested in my blog about tours and sites in Israel has reached a limit, about 100 people viewing about 200 pages a day). Slowly I am inching my way up to a half a million page views. The total number of people who interact with my website/blog is increasing, there are currently 325 people who have subscribed to my blog directly and another 430 people on Facebook who are notified when I post a new article. I tweet when there’s something I want to share that doesn’t warrant a full post; the most recent tweets appear on the homepage.
I guided a writer for the New York Times travel section on a 3 day Herod the Great tour of archaeological sites connected to the great builder, you can read the article at NYTimes website. I again guided a group of University of Chicago students studying for a semester in Jerusalem, this time to the mystical city of Tzfat, Meron and Tiberias. The Bridges for Peace organization contacted me and used my photos in their annual pictorial calendar, this year about the Israel Trail. In July I walked Yam l’yam, a 3 day hike from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee, twice in consecutive weeks. In the last while I have been focusing on my photography and now offer a number of Photography Tours, here’s one example.
I have partnered with Anyguide and for a limited time, you can book a tour online at http://anyguide.com/shmuelb and pay conveniently and securely by credit card with no extra fees charged.
I’ve chosen 8 photographs from those I posted this year on my website. You can view them full size by clicking on them. This is your opportunity to vote for Photo of the year!
Here are the links to this year’s posts in case you missed some:
- Naharayim – Two Rivers - Driving along the Jordan valley between Jerusalem and the Sea of Galilee you pass a kibbutz called Gesher (Hebrew for bridge) because on the site of the original kibbutz was a bridge that crossed the Jordan river joining Israel and Jordan. Actually there are the remains of 3 bridges, one a Roman bridge built of […]
- More Kalaniot, Red Anemones - Yesterday I did a tour of the western Negev to see the kalaniot, red anemones in bloom. The anemone (anemone coronaria from Greek Άνεμος ‘wind’) is a perennial in the buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family. The human eye can take in a scene much more broadly than a camera which makes photographing a wide expanse of flowers challenging. The deserts of Israel, […]
- 2016 in Review - This new year marks 9 years as a tour guide in Israel and as in past years this is an opportunity to review what has been accomplished. I managed to write 24 blog posts this year bringing the total to 331 articles in words and pictures (more than 1000 of my photos). There were 65,313 page views by 37,160 visitors this […]
- Photo of the Week – Nahal Zin - Nahal Zin is in the Negev near Sde Boker and meanders along so that you cross it a number of times along highway 40. I was with clients on the way to Eilat and Petra, Jordan, the Nabatean capital, and we stopped for the night at one of the family farms, Carmey Avdat, that has planted […]
- Photo of the Week – Makhtesh exit - The Hebrew word makhtesh is the word used for a geological formation that is unique to this area, formed when a river hollows out a mountain. This photo was shot from inside and shows the rim of the makhtesh where the river exits the mountain and the colored sandstone. The panorama shows more of the makhtesh but to really experience it […]
- Yam l’yam: Start at Achziv - Last week I walked yam l’yam again, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sea of Galilee. In 3 days you actually walk across the width of the country (that’s how small Israel is). Each day is a great hike but together the 3 days are more than the sum of their parts, enabling you to experience a cross-section of the Galilee. Each day hike […]
- Photos Touring the Negev - If you are interested in photographing the desert then contact me about exploring Israel’s Negev with a guide – you will get some great photo opportunities. Today I guided En Avdat, the Large Makhtesh and then we drove down the Aqrabim Ascent to the Dead Sea. Here are a selection of photos from our day. These […]
- Photo of the Week – Red Canyon - The Negev is a desert and semidesert region in the southern part of Israel, an inverted triangle with the Gulf of Aqaba and the resort city of Eilat at the bottom tip. The area north of Eilat is great for hiking and photography and one of my favorite places is this small, slot canyon just off highway 12. The technical details – the photo was taken with […]
- Photo of the Week – Solomon’s Pillars - In my most recent post about the exhibit at the Israel Museum I mentioned the Egyptian goddess Hathor which Canaanite worker-miners identified with their Ba’alat. Timna is a popular place north of Eilat for hiking. As your guide, I can show you a shrine to Hathor and an engraving of the Pharaoh Ramses III that was found, […]
- Pharaoh in Canaan Exhibit - The Israel Museum has put together a new exhibit (up until October 25th) about two lesser known stories: settlement of the Canaanites in the eastern part of the Egyptian Delta during the Middle Bronze Age (circa 1800–1550 BCE) and their development of the first consonantal alphabet from Egyptian hieroglyphics and consequently, Egyptian rule over Canaan for 350 […]
- Photo of the Week – Poppies in Emeq HaEla - In January it was kalaniot (red anemones) in bloom, now in April it’s poppies. I am always happy to take you exploring nature sites in Israel. This photo was taken in Emeq HaEla. The technical details – the photo was taken with a Nikon digital SLR camera in the afternoon (ISO 200, 35mm, F10 at 1/250 sec). Clicking on the image […]