2015 Year in Review

BDHiMAs 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’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:

  1. Photo of the Week – Kokhav HaShahar - As a guide and photographer I’m always looking for new places to visit that would also be interesting to photograph. Last week I woke early and while it was still dark drove the Allon Road again, an 87km long and winding road in the Jordan valley. Just before sunrise I pulled off the highway, drove […]
  2. Masada and Herodium - One of the exciting things about visiting historical, archaeological sites with a knowledgeable guide is that there is always something new. Two of the sites that I like to take visitors to are Masada and Herodium both which show King Herod’s genius as a builder and life 2000 years ago under Roman rule. When visiting […]
  3. Super Moon over Dead Sea, Israel - Yesterday I drove from Jerusalem down to Masada so as to be at the Dead Sea in the evening to see the supermoon rise over the Biblical mountains of Edom in Jordan. As a tour guide and photographer I can take you to places like this.   The technical details – the photo above was […]
  4. One shot, two ways - When you’re taking photographs and looking for the best shot you have a choice of whether to shoot the scene in landscape (horizontally) or portrait (vertically). When looking at landscape photographs you usually expect the scene to be horizontal. Sometimes a vertical shot gives a very different view. I was driving down to the Dead Sea […]
  5. Photo of the Week – Samaria - This week rather than driving up the Jordan valley on highway 90 I drove the Allon Road, an 87km long and winding road on my way to Bet Shean. This is the name given by Israel to routes 458, 508, and 578 in the West Bank, running roughly south-north along the eastern watershed of the Samarian […]
  6. Photo of the Week – Reflection on Sinkholes -   These photographs are of reflections of the landscape by the shore of the Dead Sea that I saw by looking into a sinkhole that was filled with water. I am attracted to exploring the photographic possibilities of this strange and alien landscape. Because the water in a sinkhole is colored by the salts and minerals […]
  7. Philip Evangelist at Ein Henya Spring - Today I bicycled about 6 km each way, from the German Colony (where I live) along the old train tracks to Ein Henya, a spring in the valley of Nahal Refaim, south of Jerusalem. Ein Henya is being developed as part of the new Jerusalem Park, 4 parks that form a greenbelt that extends over some […]
  8. 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 […]
  9. 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, […]
  10. 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 […]
  11. 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 […]


One thought on “2015 Year in Review

  1. gary@garyfriedmann.com

    Great photos and blog summary Shmuel! I like your search for the light through photographs. As the light returns from the dark days of the winter solstice, we are wishing you a bright and joyful trip around the sun. Love, Gary & Glenon


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