June 20, 2018, 07:20:11 PM

Author Topic: Israel  (Read 2772 times)

ethanz

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Israel
« on: March 13, 2018, 11:54:15 PM »
Hello everyone,

I'll be going to Israel for a week next month with a tour group. I plan to take my 16-35 and a friends 70-200 f4 (to lighten my load vs my 2.8). This would be the first time I don't take my 24-70. Do you think I'll be missing that range or missing a 2.8? My last trip like this (even though it was Europe) I had all three lenses. A majority of my shots were at 16 or 35. I guess I answered my own question. But I'd still like input, especially from anyone who has traveled to Israel before. Thanks
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Israel
« on: March 13, 2018, 11:54:15 PM »

eli452

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Re: Israel
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2018, 01:38:14 PM »
Optics is the same everywhere. If you plan on shooting outside, a lot of light till about 18pm. You will probably need ND not 2.8....
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Geek

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Re: Israel
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2018, 02:01:18 PM »
I was in Israel last year with a tour as well.  I took my 7D II, 16-35 F/4 L and 24-105 F/4 L original version.  I used both lenses.  Mostly the 24-105 because of it's larger range, but some shots demanded the 16-35.  At times I wished that I had a FF for an even wider view with the 16-35.  I also carried the 50 F/1.8 but didn't really use it.  It was really too long on my APS C body for most of the indoor shots where the F/1.8 would have helped.

Basically all of that to say I didn't miss having any longer glass than the 105mm with the APS C body.  Most of my photo opportunities needed the wider field of view.  Personally I would take the 24-70 and skip the longer 70-200.

I did wish I had lenses with larger apertures as the typical indoor sites are relatively dark, but was able to manage with ISO 3200.  The pictures are not print quality, but are great for social sites.
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ethanz

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Re: Israel
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2018, 12:03:46 AM »
Thanks guys.

As it is a tour, we will be doing all the big sites during the day. But the nights after dinner are mostly ours. Any recommendations for places to walk to at night in Tiberius or Jerusalem? Good places to photograph or experience culture. Maybe some classical concerts?
1DX II, 16-35L f/4 IS, 24-70L f/2.8 II, 70-200L f/2.8 IS II, 200-400L f/4 IS w/1.4 EXT
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Geek

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Re: Israel
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2018, 10:35:38 AM »
Not sure about the evenings in Tiberius or Jerusalem.  But if you have the opportunity to go into Jordan and see Petra and Jerash, don't miss it.  We went last year and I am so glad that we did.  They are both amazing sites.  I have some really cool pictures and a couple of what I consider really great ones of the sun setting across the Dead Sea.

Just be careful when you cross back into Israel from Jordan.  The border guards are not necessarily the most ethical.  They saw my camera when they x-rayed my backpack and wanted to keep it.  Fortunately our guide was there and is a really good man.  He made sure that all of my gear made it back across the border with me.
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michi

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Re: Israel
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2018, 12:00:33 PM »
I also vote for taking the 16-35 and 24-70.  That would be enough for me in Israel.  If you had a 24-105 instead of the 24-70, that could come in handy too.

sanj

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Re: Israel
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 01:46:51 PM »
I just landed in Tel Aviv. Will be driving to Akko tomorrow for 3 nights. Jerusalem 6 nights. Dead Sea 1 night. Back to Tel Aviv for 3.
Am working on a documentary so have a bit of gear.

Let me know if you want me to check anything specific for you.

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Re: Israel
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2018, 01:46:51 PM »

jaell

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Re: Israel
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2018, 03:58:58 PM »
Thanks guys.

As it is a tour, we will be doing all the big sites during the day. But the nights after dinner are mostly ours. Any recommendations for places to walk to at night in Tiberius or Jerusalem? Good places to photograph or experience culture. Maybe some classical concerts?

Go to the Mount of Olives (east of the Temple Mount). Climb the hill, take a taxi, whatever. You'll be above a big cemetery. That's the classic (and best) place to set up your shots of the Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa mosque, etc.

Don't bother with that vantage after 10 am or so--the light gets flat and then you have the sun in your eyes until after sunset. From the same vantage, you can also get good skylines of the new city beyond (west of) the Old City.

Take the walking tour of the wall around Jerusalem. Again, go early so you're not backing up the queue of other tourists as you take shots.

If you can, when you're in/near the Dead Sea, go to Ein Gedi. Again, as early as possible. The hyrax will be more active, too, when it's not blazing hot.

When in Tel Aviv, head south to the old city of Jaffa. Take your fastest lens, and see how the old cobbled streets of Jaffa look at dusk and later.

Let's see... in Jerusalem for all the holy sites, you want as wide and fast a lens as possible, but I would say IS is better than wide aperture--you can stand and hand-hold a longer exposure, and the people in the frame will blur as they move, letting the architecture stand out. Don't forget to look up, when you're in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

But seriously, Mount of Olives. You might get some kids trying to sell you trinkets; they're Palestinian kids, and largely friendly, especially if they're working on their English.

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ethanz

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Re: Israel
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2018, 04:14:42 PM »
Thanks guys.

As it is a tour, we will be doing all the big sites during the day. But the nights after dinner are mostly ours. Any recommendations for places to walk to at night in Tiberius or Jerusalem? Good places to photograph or experience culture. Maybe some classical concerts?

Go to the Mount of Olives (east of the Temple Mount). Climb the hill, take a taxi, whatever. You'll be above a big cemetery. That's the classic (and best) place to set up your shots of the Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa mosque, etc.

Don't bother with that vantage after 10 am or so--the light gets flat and then you have the sun in your eyes until after sunset. From the same vantage, you can also get good skylines of the new city beyond (west of) the Old City.

Take the walking tour of the wall around Jerusalem. Again, go early so you're not backing up the queue of other tourists as you take shots.

If you can, when you're in/near the Dead Sea, go to Ein Gedi. Again, as early as possible. The hyrax will be more active, too, when it's not blazing hot.

When in Tel Aviv, head south to the old city of Jaffa. Take your fastest lens, and see how the old cobbled streets of Jaffa look at dusk and later.

Let's see... in Jerusalem for all the holy sites, you want as wide and fast a lens as possible, but I would say IS is better than wide aperture--you can stand and hand-hold a longer exposure, and the people in the frame will blur as they move, letting the architecture stand out. Don't forget to look up, when you're in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

But seriously, Mount of Olives. You might get some kids trying to sell you trinkets; they're Palestinian kids, and largely friendly, especially if they're working on their English.

Thanks. Most of those sites we will be seeing during the day with the tour group already. I have no control over the timing. The only freedom I'll have is where to go at night. Would you recommend the Mount of Olives at sunset? Is it safe to walk that far out of the city by myself at night, a white American with a big camera?

Also, what is the typical attitude towards tripods in Israel? Do the places usually frown upon you having a tripod or not?
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Graphic.Artifacts

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Re: Israel
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 04:47:07 PM »
I've never been to Israel but a 16-35 f4 and a 70-200 f4 has been my standard travel kit for the last few years and there have been very few instances where I've felt like I needed much else photographically. I do carry a pancake 40mm or 50 1.4 as a small "bodycap" for situations where a large camera/lens combo seems inappropriate but I don't end up using those much. You can easily crop a full frame from 35mm to almost anything in the 35-50mm range without taking too great an IQ hit IMO.

Lately I've been considered swapping the new 85 F1.4 L IS for the 70-200 F4 but haven't yet. 35mm to 85mm is a more significant gap but I'd be fine trading the 85-200mm for better portrait bokeh. I tried 16-35 and a 135 f2 for a while but found that to be a challenge.

I'm fine with the ISO range required for f4 in most cases.

YuengLinger

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Re: Israel
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2018, 04:57:39 PM »
If out so much at night, a nifty fifty in your pocket might come in handy.

jaell

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Re: Israel
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2018, 09:28:28 PM »

Thanks. Most of those sites we will be seeing during the day with the tour group already. I have no control over the timing. The only freedom I'll have is where to go at night. Would you recommend the Mount of Olives at sunset? Is it safe to walk that far out of the city by myself at night, a white American with a big camera?

Also, what is the typical attitude towards tripods in Israel? Do the places usually frown upon you having a tripod or not?

Sunset will be in front of you, putting the Temple Mount in silhouette, from a Mount of Olives vantage point. And it won't be a good silhouette, to be frank. After sunset, absolutely do the Mount of Olives. I was always surprised how I was the only photog there; it's the best place to photograph from, it's safe, quiet, etc. But I guess Western tourists (and tour operators?) are scared of anything east of Old City.

I've studied, traveled, and lived in the Middle East, and so my perspective is going to be different, but I've never felt the slightest bit unsafe in any Palestinian areas (and the only locals that can't tell I'm American think I'm German). The road that winds up the hillside to the top of the Mount of Olives runs past a couple monasteries/nunneries, the Russian Orthodox church (you can get great shots of it from the Garden of Gethsemane, which is on the way up to the Mount of Olives), and the Jewish cemetery I mentioned, and after dark all that stuff is locked up tight and you won't see a soul on the street--but people drive kinda crazy on that road, so be careful (no sidewalk!). If you want a cab, at the base of the hill there is a taxi stand with plenty of Palestinian cabbies. There, or anywhere else you grab a cab, tell them you want to go to the Mount of Olives Hotel (in Arabic, Funduk Jebel Zeytoun). That's about a 1/4-1/2 mile walk (past some Israeli apartment buildings, one with a GIGANTIC Israeli flag on a tall flagpole) to the vantage point I've described. The vantage point itself is on the sidewalk leading to... I believe it was called Hotel Seven Arches.

Unless there's something that has stirred the pot, you're not going to have any trouble as an American from Palestinians in Jerusalem. If you want some added insurance, when you're touring around the Old City, buy a kuffiyeh (the black & white checkered head cloth) from a vendor. Wrap that around your shoulders after dark when you're venturing east of the Old City, and you'll be telling any Palestinians that you aren't hostile. Unfortunately, you'll then be seen as suspicious by any Israelis, but Jerusalem isn't where you'll find any settlers with Uzis.

Again, after dark, the neighborhood is really quiet--as in, not a lot of foot traffic. So you'll have no trouble setting up your tripod. Anywhere before dark, though, especially in the city, you'll probably draw more frowns and insults with your tripod than you would in any American city.  ESPECIALLY in the Old City. IS is your friend. Hand-hold, brace against a friend or a wall or a fence. But don't set up a tripod in a busy area. Long story short, the Old City is filled with tourists, and the narrow/winding streets are nowhere to set up a tripod. West of Old City, in the metropolitan new city, there's more room, fewer tourists, and you can maybe get away with it, especially in late afternoon after people have gotten their daily business done and aren't in a hurry. As in any city, though, you'll get some glares regardless.

I teach college, and so I excuse myself the rudeness, but I also will walk through the souq (for example, the David Street souq just inside the Jaffa Gate--west side of Old City) with my camera hanging from my neck, set for a fast shutter speed and high ISO, and surreptitiously snap pictures of the crowd as I'm walking. Maybe 1 in 20 turns out, but the shots that do turn out are great for showing my students what "the real" Jerusalem (and its people) look like. Like I said, it's rude to take pictures like that, so you have to be prepared if you get caught, but in the Old City the worst that's going to happen is that you'll get yelled at in a language you don't understand.

And if you're ever taking pictures and people get a little ruffled, I've found one of the easiest ways to defuse the situation is (if they're men) ask their name, then ask to take their picture. Guys in the Middle East love being photographed. Ask for their email, and then send them a copy of the picture when you get a chance. You'll have made a friend for life.
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Re: Israel
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2018, 09:28:28 PM »