This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for May, 2012

Jerusalem Festival of Light, 2012, Starts Next Week

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 30, 2012

"History of Light"

Butterfly Effect
The Jerusalem Festival of Light starts next week and runs from June 6 to 14, so mark it on your calendar. The official site provides the maps, routes, and details of performances. This will be the first year that I won’t be around to see it because we’re going on a family vacation.

Last year I wrote a posting with tips and advice. If the festival is organized like it has been in the past, you may find the tips about parking and getting around useful. Almost everything is free, except for the live performance by Pyromania (well worth the expense, in my opinion). It tends to get very crowded, so I recommend that you go early, just as it’s starting to get dark (around 8) and begin with the most crowded route (usually the one through the Jewish Quarter) first. If you try to get through the Jewish Quarter around 10, you’ll be spending a lot of time stuck in crowds.

If you want to see everything you will probably need three evenings. Someone moving very fast could see almost everything in two evenings but I don’t think it’s possible in to do everything in one evening. If you want to see the Pyromania show as well, it’s a good idea to allow two visits because by the time the performance ends there isn’t a lot of time.

Photos from previous festivals

Festival of Light, 2011
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Flickr photos, 2011

Festival of Light, 2010
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Flickr photos, 2010

Festival of Light, 2009 (first year)
Flickr photos, 2009




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Lag BaOmer Came and Went

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 24, 2012


I can’t believe how much time has gone by since I uploaded photos. Lag BaOmer (33rd day of the counting of the barley offering when the Temple still stood) was two weeks ago. Work’s been insane, so I haven’t had much energy for other activities in the evening.

Lag BaOmer is accompanied by frenzied burning of bonfires. Israeli children deforest the country, gathering scrap wood, shipping pallets, old furniture — if it burns, it’s not safe to leave outside during the weeks after Passover!

The photo of the two girls meeting on the street with their collection of tree branches, old chairs, and a plastic baby seat (doesn’t seem very good to burn) is a bit blurry because I was across the street and had to take the shot very quickly when cars weren’t in the way.

Other years I’ve photographed the bonfires. This year I stayed indoors because I prefer breathing clean air.

The Bnei Akiva (youth group) in our neighbourhood takes its contribution to local air pollution very seriously! They gathered an amazing quantity of wood for burning. The boys are unloading one truck while a car is driving up with another load.


My husband and I went to the annual fun day at Superland (amusement park in Rishon leZion), which my company holds every year. Our son didn’t come because he had activities at his pre-army academy that day. I didn’t take my big DSLR this time, just a small point&shoot. This photo was taken from the ground.


One of our annual traditions is the Congo raft ride. I held the small camera by the seat as we spun around. It reminds me of old computer games, so I chose an electronic audio track. Must be the feeling of spinning around and bouncing off such obviously fake rocks.


The Jerusalem Light Exhibit begins in about ten days but for the first time I won’t be photographing it. I’ll be in Italy for 10 days with the family!

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Video: Fig Tree Photo Series, Spring 2012

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 14, 2012

I took a series of photos of a fig bud and a fig tree from February 14 to May 8, 2012, in the courtyard of the building where I work. Unfortunately, I assumed that this series would be finished (and the tree in full leaf) by Passover. I was wrong, so there is a noticeable gap where I wasn’t around for 8 days. Moral of the story: pick a tree closer to home.

I took the photos at roughly the same time each morning, but you can tell that it took me a while to figure out where to stand so that I could get a consistent results. The tree photos are all over the place, but leaving a camera and tripod set up for three months at work was not an option…. So I’ll have to be more careful about that in the future. I’ve already got next year’s tree picked out, with a couple other possible candidates and I’ve set a reminder in my calendar for next February.

Not much happens for the first half of the series, so the early pictures are more of a testimony to my sheer stubbornness. Every morning I would get my espresso in the dairy cafeteria and walk outside to the courtyard to photography “my” tree, sometimes borrowing umbrellas from co-workers. It is  interesting to see the changes in the weather and the ground cover and other trees.


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Video: Ice City in Jerusalem

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 8, 2012

I made a short video at the Ice City exhibit. Canon DSLR 550D (aka Rebel T21), 18-135mm lens, music from YouTube Audio Swap (it always cuts off the last few seconds of audio but there’s nothing I can do about it, short of downloading the sound file, adjusting it to the length of the video, and re-uploading the edited video).

Here’s a news clip from CCTV (China):

The next video is a very cool (no pun intended) promo, showing time-lapse photos of the building of the complex and shots of the artists creating the sculptures. It’s interesting to see the sculptures in their pristine state. Only by comparing my photos with this video can I see signs of wear and tear. Of course, they’ve also had one partial meltdown caused by equipment failure.

The last video is a promo for Ice World (same artists and same video company as the previous video) in Macau. The fact that it’s labeled, in Hebrew, Ice City in Jerusalem is a bit confusing but this exhibit is definitely not the same. There’s some overlap but the Macau show seems to have been larger and the sculptures more elaborate. The long slide is awesome.

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Photos: Ice City in Jerusalem

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 7, 2012


Last night we went to Israel’s first ice festival, עיר הקרח (Ice City) in Jerusalem, at the old train station. I packed leg warmers, hats, and gloves. They provide a coat at the exhibit.

Thirty-five sculptors, lighting technicians, designers, and builders came from China to recreate a local version of the Harbin Ice Festival of northern China. The sculptures are based on Jerusalem landmarks, Israeli children’s literature, and biblical stories. The complex, which was specially built for the exhibit, is kept at a temperature of -10 degrees C. For an extra charge you can go ice-skating but we only went to the ice sculpture exhibit.

The exhibit has been extended to the end of May 2012. It’s a bit pricey (75 NIS, and you might only get half an hour or so to view it), but it’s worth knowing that if you have an Isracard (Mastercard in Israel), you can get the tickets for half price. Just allow enough time to order them because you have to get a coupon from Isracard and use it to order the tickets. Dress warmly because it is an ice exhibit, after all.

The lighting was constantly changing, which made the exhibit very interesting to photograph. Depending on the colour and the direction of the light, a sculpture could have very different appearances.

The Tower of David was very impressive.

Tower of David

Mishkenot Shana’anim.


Moses Montefiore’s carriage:

Montefiore's Coach

Montefiore Windmill of Yemin Moshe, photographed through the pillars of the ice bridge in the next section:


Animals of Noah’s Ark.


Ice Elephant

Animal photographed through a wall. The ice was amazingly clear.

Animal through ice wall



The Mifletzet (“Monster”), a children’s slide in the Kiryat haYovel neighbourhood of Jerusalem:

Mifletzet (Monster)

Cinderella’s coach, after it turned into a pumpkin:

Cinderella's Pumpkin

Dorothy and the Tin Man:

Dorothy and Tin Man

Vodka bar, but no one seemed to be at the counter.


Castle Tower

Winged Camels

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