Category Archives: Nature

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 is different, challenging in its own way, with varying topography, vegetation and accompanying history. I invite you to consider this amazing hike on your next visit to Israel.

For a more complete description (with photos) of the hike, see my post from last year at https://israel-tourguide.info/2015/12/21/yam-lyam-hiking-sea-to-sea-3-days/.

Here are the introductory lines of Naomi Shemer’s poem Night at Achziv beach.

The wind and the darkness and the water
Remember from yesterday night your steps
The froth that erased your footprints
Knows that you were here alone

I was up just after 4am and took these photos of the sea and sky before morning light at Achziv.

First shot

Early morn

When light broke I shot some photos of the beach.

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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.

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En Avdat

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Large Makhtesh

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Down from Aqrabim Ascent

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Dead Sea

These photos were taken yesterday, a very sunny day in June with my Nikon D5300 DSLR camera, this last one at ISO 800, 26mm, F13 and 1/1000 sec.

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Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in purchasing one of my photos or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

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.

Red Canyon

The technical details – the photo was taken with a Nikon D90 digital SLR camera in March 2010 (ISO 220, 18mm, F5.6 at 1/250 sec).

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Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in buying or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

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.

Poppies 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 will display it larger.

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Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in buying or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

Photo of the Week – Sinkholes at Dead Sea

I was guiding yesterday at Masada and Ein Gedi and talked about the changes in the levels of the Dead Sea and the occurrence of sinkholes along the shoreline. We stopped to take a look at some sinkholes closeup and I took these two photographs of a blue sinkhole and a photo of salt patterns at the edge of the sea. The Dead Sea is a unique location and it is fascinating to photograph there. You can also see another post of sinkhole photos here.

Blue sinkholeSalt patternsSinkhole

The technical details – the photos were taken with a Nikon 5300 digital SLR camera yesterday early afternoon (first photo at  ISO 360, 18mm, F11 at 1/500 sec). Clicking on the image will display it larger.

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Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in buying or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

Photo of the Week – Judean Desert

Among deserts, the Judean desert is considered relatively small, spanning only 1,500 square kilometers, but it includes many fascinating nature reserves, historic sites and monasteries that make it an interesting and unique place to visit. An area bordered by cliffs on both sides it is a desert with running water and in one place geothermal springs. If you are into photography its primeval panoramas make it a special place to photograph. As your guide I’ll take you there to explore.

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The technical details – this photo was taken in the afternoon with my Nikon D90 digital SLR camera in February 2013 (ISO 200, 52mm, F11 at 1/400 sec). Clicking on the image will display it larger.

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Photographs on this website are © Shmuel Browns (unless marked otherwise) – if you are interested in buying or using one of my photos for your own project please contact me.

Jerusalem Park: Lifta

This week we went to Lifta, a ghost town that was an Arab village on the side of a steep hill at the western entrance to Jerusalem. The site has been populated since ancient times because of a natural spring located there. In the Bible, the village is mentioned as Nephtoah (נפתח), on the border between the Israelite tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Lifta

In the last official land and population survey In 1945 Lifta’s population was 2,250, all Arabs, and the total land area was 8,743 dunams. The farmers of Lifta marketed their produce in Jerusalem’s markets. The population was driven out/fled during the Arab-Jewish hostilities of 1947/48 during the efforts by the Haganah to relieve the siege of Jerusalem. Today 55 of the original (more than 400) stone houses are still standing but the village has never been repopulated.

 

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Lifta is on the edge of the newly developed Jerusalem Park, made up of 4 parks, a greenbelt that extends over some 1,500 hectares (3700 acres), surrounding Jerusalem to the north, west, and south. This is a great place for visitors and Jerusalem residents to explore, with walking trails and bicycle paths. The map shows one of the 4 parks, Emeq HaArazim park, just below Lifta.

The plan is to maintain existing woods and forests including ancient cedar, arazim for which the park is named, and olive groves and to restore and plant orchards and indigenous broad-leafed tree species.

Anemones at Lifta

Further inside the park at Einot Telem, the ancient terrace agriculture typical of the area with its irrigation system will be recreated at the site of a small Jewish settlement – Bet Talma. The land (60 acres, 23 hectares) was purchased in 1906 and a two-story building intended for a soap and oil factory was planned (but not completed). In 1922 five Jewish families settled at Einot Telem, naming their settlement Emek HaArazim (the Valley of the Cedars). The site was abandoned during the 1929 Arab Riots and further settlement attempts were unsuccessful.