This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for the ‘photography’ Category

Project365 after One Month: More Outside Photos

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 2, 2018

14/365: Streetlamp in rain

Streetlamp during a heavy rainstorm. I had to force myself to go out to take this photo.

28/365: View towards Jerusalem

Entrance to Maale Adumim in foreground, Jerusalem in background, taken with LG G3 phonecam while on one of my rather infrequent runs.

8/365: Tram stop

City hall tram stop, Jerusalem.

11/365: Conservatory

Maaleh Adumim conservatory.

24/365: Jerusalem Technology Park tower

Jerusalem Technology Park office tower, Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem.

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Project365 after One Month: Outside

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 1, 2018

16/265: Shrine of the Book at Night

Shrine of the Book, Israel Museum, Jerusalem. I used a long exposure to smooth the water. I didn’t have a tripod, so I set the camera on a ledge and used the timer.

For the purposes of this blog, I define “outside” photos as anything I took outside the house. Only 14 qualified, which probably means I need to get a life. ­čÖé

22/365: Spice Stall

Spice stall, Mahaneh Yehuda shuk, Jerusalem, after meeting a friend for dinner. This is only half the shop, by the way. I didn’t have a wide enough lens to include the other side.

9/365: Cinema City

Cinema City, Jerusalem, while waiting for my son, so that we could see Star Wars VIII.

15/365: Work at 6 a.m.

Work at 6 a.m. I live 100 km from the office, so I carpool with a coworker/neighbour a couple times a week. We leave at 5 a.m., arrive at 6. I’m usually the first to turn on the lights and deactivate the alarm.

17/365: Toastmasters

Jerusalem Toastmasters, in Har Hotzvim. I’ve been a member since 2015 and I’m currently its president, which means I don’t have too much to do if everyone else does their job. If you’re in the area, come by for a visit!

10/365: Food shack

Kiosk in Sanhedriya, Jerusalem, on the way to Toastmasters. They seem to sell everything — hot food, newspapers, umbrellas, flowers. The decor is dominated by Sephardi rabbis.

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Smashed Potatoes: Comfort Food

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 9, 2018

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Last weekend we had heavy rain and strong winds. Naturally, I was preparing comfort foods in the kitchen for Shabbat. “Smashed potatoes” are so easy and so delicious.

Boil a pot of potatoes until tender. Drain and place on a foil-covered baking sheet. Smash gently with a potato masher. Sprinkle with chopped garlic, salt, freshly ground pepper, paprika, or whatever takes your fancy (cheese, fried onion). Drizzle with olive oil and bake in a medium oven until the tops are golden and the edges start to look crispy.

Make lots, because you’ll want to eat some the next day. ­čÖé

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Project 365 for 2018: Week 1

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 8, 2018

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I’ve very quietly started a Project 365, with the specific goal of mastering my new Sony Alpha 6300 mirrorless camera. When I took it out during Hanukkah, I was really frustrated over the fact that I didn’t know the settings well enough to be able to set it in the dark and that I wasn’t positive I was locking the focus in low light. At least the Sony is much lighter to haul around than the Canon T2i with 18-135mm lens. Photo above is the funky weave of our screen door leading to the back balcony.

Sometimes there are things to shoot. This sunset was past its peak, but I was on a bus and had to wait until I got off the bus to photograph the sky. By the way, this was not post-processed.

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Dust storm moving in, before the rain storm.

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Other times, there isn’t a lot to shoot. I find that after Shabbat goes out is a tough time. After doing dishes, tidying up, I’m usually too tired to think of a photo and don’t want to walk into town on the chance that there might be something interesting at the mall, so I usually shoot something inside my house, like my embroidery. Tip if you’re doing a project 365: make a list of easy shots for those times when you don’t feel like taking photos.

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Rainbow seen from my office window, which is why there are reflections off the glass, the white balance is a little too cool, etc.

Rainbow over Raanana

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Eighth Night of Hanukkah, 2017

Posted by Avital Pinnick on December 21, 2017

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I wandered for a couple hours through the Nachlaot neighbourhood of Jerusalem on the eighth night of Hanukkah (Dec. 19, 2017). Nachlaot is a warren of alleys and courtyards, gentrified houses beside crumbling apartment buildings. Most of the buildings date from the 19th century. It was surprisingly crowded that night. There were two Hebrew-speaking tour groups and a lot of hanukkah parties.

In one of the alleys, a family set up a large table with nine glass boxes and oil-burning┬áhanukkah lamps. They brought out an electric keyboard, a guitar, and a row of chairs. Then each family member lit in order of age. I photographed the youngest boys lighting their lamps (above). I was about 2 meters away and took this with a 16-50mm lens on a Sony Alpha 6300 mirrorless camera. While the lens doesn’t have a long reach, it is fairly small. The fact that the camera is silent is a big advantage when doing any kind of street photography where the noise of a shutter would be intrusive.

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Right across the alley from the hanukkah party was this small hanukkiah tied to the bars of a window.

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Another hanukkah party, with guitarist and harmonica player, was winding down by the time I got close enough to photograph the large hanukkiah. When it was in full swing the alley was filled with people singing and it was impossible for me to see over people’s heads.

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A much smaller party, in an alley that was only about 2 meters wide.

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This was one of the more bizarre hanukkiot I saw. A wheeled cart decorated with plastic fruit, streamers, and flashing green and red lights was parked in an alley outside a house. I strongly suspect that the cart is actually used to bring a groom to the chuppah. I’ve seen similar contraptions at kibbutz weddings, pulled by the groom’s friends, instead of the traditional tractor.

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Lady with Unicorn Update: Third Row Finished

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 10, 2017

Lady with Unicorn

Just wanted to brag about finishing another row in the endless embroidery. Did I mention that it contains over 180,000 stitches?

If you’re working on this piece, don’t give up! The tablecloth is a killer and takes about twice as long as the other pages, but the lion and unicorn bodies are easier than the fruit salad that surrounds them.

Here’s the whole photoset.

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Lesson Learned: It’s a Good Idea to Train

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 10, 2017

Note to self: if you’re running a long race, it’s a good idea to train. I traveled a lot this summer, so my running fell by the wayside. Besides, I figured, the Arad to Masada half-marathon is mostly downhill, right? Er, almost. The beginning and end are downhill but in the middle, there are some tough hills. Also, 21 kilometers is a significant distance, not to be taken lightly unless you can run 15 kilometers without much effort. I was barely running 7 kilometers when I realised that the race date was only a week away. I got through it without hurting myself, only through experience and good form. The fact that they’d re-surfaced the old Arad road to the Roman ramp of Masada also helped.

Around the 10th kilometer I noticed that I was literally running in a guy’s shadow for several kilometers, so I got the courage to make a comment (in Hebrew) about the hills. Oleg, a big Russian guy, told me that he also hadn’t trained and was afraid he’d bitten off more than he could chew. We ran (sometimes walked) together for 12 kilometers, encouraging each other along the way. He told me that he’d run 8 full marathons. When I told him how much I wanted to do a marathon but didn’t think I ever would, he said, “Oh, it’s just like doing a half-marathon twice.” (It isn’t really, of course, but anything can make you laugh at 3:30 in the morning when you’re wondering when the hills are ever going to end.)

Here’s a shot of me and Oleg coming up to the last water station around the 18th kilometer. We look a bit wilted but are trying to put on a good show.

Me and Oleg at the last water station

We crossed the finish line together. Yes, that’s our time above the track (final time 2:36). Not brilliant but, hey, we finished! Oleg was high-fiving me and waving at me before the finish line, later at the finish party, inside the bus back to Arad, and even back at the Arad parking lot. I think I helped him as much as he helped me, because it was getting hard to keep my spirits up when I was so tired. The camaraderie of runners is one of the great things about running. Sometimes total strangers will team together and the sum is greater than the total of its parts.

Me and Oleg at the finish line

Exactly one week later, I ran as part of a 6-person (mixed) team in Tanach Tashach. We covered 200+ kilometers in 26 hours and I ran a total of 34.5 kilometers. Although I rested between the two events, I was not nearly up to speed and had to walk most of the hills.

Here I am coming in to Mesilat Zion. The first day was brutal. It was bloody hot (all around me, people were walking the hills; I wasn’t the only wimp) during the first leg, 8 kilometers. I was paired with someone who was a much stronger (and younger) runner, so she ran ahead of me on the legs where we ran together.

Me near Mesilat Zion

The second leg, a few hours later, was 13 kilometers in mid-afternoon. It got pushed later and later and we got caught running after dark without headlamps. I was alone, running along loose stones downhill, and eventually I turned on my phone flashlight app to light the path when it became too dangerous to continue in the dark. I can tell you that it’s not easy to run off-road with your phone for light. Your hand and arm start getting cramped from holding the light onto the path. During that first day, I ran the equivalent of a half marathon and was exhausted. I got a few hours of sleep (thank heavens we rented a zimmer with real beds and a shower!). I ran with Noa at 2 a.m. for the third leg. Fortunately, that was only 6.5 kilometers and Noa (of #forceofnoa fame) wasn’t a whole lot faster than me because she’d done chemo the previous Sunday.

We ran two teams, ForceOfNoa1 and 2. Noa, a former ultra-runner who is currently undergoing chemo for breast cancer, is the team’s mascot. She was the coach and leader of their team a couple years ago (the unusually wet and muddy Tanach Tashach of 2015, which was probably my most uncomfortable and dangerous run ever). We were a mix of old and young, strong and weak, injured and uninjured runners. We did a switch-around of runners on the third leg of my runs so that an injured runner could rest, so Noa ran with me. I know it sounds cliched but she really is an inspiration. Running with her in the dark, losing the trail (#16 wasn’t well marked in the middle, something that the organizers should have foreseen because everyone runs that leg in the dark), finding it again, jogging with the bracelets back to the zimmer because the next pair of runners hadn’t show up on time–nothing fazed her. (Well, OK, the last thing did faze her. At 2 a.m., all you want to do is shower and collapse, not hang around waiting for your team-mates to show up. We were pretty pissed off.)

The next day there was a brief rain that, instead of cooling us down, turned the forest into a tropical jungle. At least it wasn’t enough rain to cause serious mud, but the humidity was uncomfortable. We were worried that we would be disqualified because our times had slipped so much that we were in danger of the stations closing before our runners arrived. The station volunteers were very helpful. When it started raining again, they packed everything else first, leaving the sensor set up as late as possible. Our #3 runners managed to get to Kfar Uriah in time and the rest of the stations had generous closing times, so we finished without being disqualified. Actually, we weren’t the last in the 6-person teams, of which there were very few. I hadn’t realised that the vast majority of Tanach Tashach teams have 8 runners each. So yay for us!

#ForceOfNoa1 and 2

Me and Noa. I’m having a bad hair day from the awful humidity, but that’s small potatoes, as they say.

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Brno Architecture

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 28, 2017

Central nave of St. James’s Church, a late Gothic (13th century) structure. One advantage of a mirrorless camera is that it’s small and can be operated soundlessly. Because there were no other tourists around, I wouldn’t have felt comfortable photographing this interior with a big DSLR.

St. James's Church, Brno

Exterior of St. James’s Church.

St. James's Church, Brno

Detail of House of the Lords of Lipá, an extremely ornate 16th-century Renaissance building (the sgraffito facade is actually 19th century), now a shopping center.

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Cool building decorations in central Brno.

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Brno

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Brno, Czech Republic

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 27, 2017

I went to Brno in the Czech Republic last week on a business trip, to meet my boss (yes, she lives in Brno — welcome to the modern world of remote working) and her team. Brno is the Czech Republic’s second largest town (about 600,000 people), the capital of Moravia, and the center for a lot of high-tech R&D. Its eleven universities, five of them specializing in IT, provide an abundance of student labour!

This is the Vegetable Market in the old part of the city, very close to where my apartment hotel was located. I was lucky with the weather. It was mostly sunny, some clouds, no rain. I took these photos with my new mirrorless camera, a Sony A6300 with 16-50mm kit lens.

Vegetable Market Square, Brno

┼ápilberk Castle, literally down the road from where I was staying. It’s surrounded by a network of paths that are popular with joggers. Actually, the joggers stick to the gravel paths rather than the cobblestones.

Špilberk Castle, Brno

At the end of my first day at Red Hat, Brno, I went out with a couple guys I had met at NHO in Munich for beer. Afterwards we walked around the castle at night. They told me that Brno is a very safe city and I noticed lots of people wandering around after dark or congregating in groups and drinking beer. Technically, it’s not legal to drink in public places but if you’re not creating a disturbance, the police tend to ignore it.

Špilberk Castle, Brno

Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul, literally next to the apartment hotel where I was staying.

Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paul, Brno

Brno’s most famous son is Gregor Mendel, the geneticist. He was abbot of St. Thomas’s Abbey and conducted his plant-breeding experiments in the abbey’s garden.

St Thomas's Abbey, Brno

Art nouveau building on Verevi street, #14. I passed by this building every day on the #12 tram to Technology Park, so on my last day I walked along the tram route for several kilometers and photographed buildings.

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Typical painted apartment buildings that you see all over the Czech Republic. They’re very cheerful and when the sun is shining, the streets look like boxes of pastel macaroons.

Painted Brno apartment buildings

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Munich Architecture

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 27, 2017

Munich architecture is a very interesting mix of styles. This colourful glass wall (“B├╝hnenfenster,” an installation by Olafur Eliasson, of Narima glass, by Schott) is the back of the Bavarian State Opera’s rehearsal hall.

Rehearsal Hall of Bavarian State Opera

The Max Planck Society, a research center, has a very cool interlocking stone sculpture flanking its main entrance.

ax-Planck-Gesellschaft, Generalverwaltung, Munich

Across the the street from the Max Planck Society is the Bavarian State Chancery, which was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt in steel and glass. It’s so wide that I would have needed an extreme wide angle lens to photograph the entire building, so you’ll have to settle for the middle section.

Bayerische Staatskanzlei (Bavarian State Chancery), Munich

The New City Hall (Neues Rathaus) from the outside, below the tower. Our guide told us that the glockenspiel performance isn’t worth organizing your schedule around, but if you happen to be passing through Marienplatz just before 5 p.m., you might as well hang around for a few minutes to watch the mechanical jousting knights.

Neues Rathaus, Munich

Courtyard of the new city hall, in typical neo-Gothic style.

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Highly decorated oriel windows in the courtyard of the new city hall.

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Accordionist playing in what we would have assumed was a beer garden. Our guide told us that to be considered a beer garden (a place where you are welcome to bring your own food as long as you purchase the drinks), it has to be a permanent set-up. Since the tables and umbrellas are only out in good weather, apparently it’s not a true beer garden. The accordionist let out a yelp after each song so that people would notice and applaud.

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