This and That

Random bits of my life

Festival of Light 2016: Live Music

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 2, 2016

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The Festival of Light almost always has a few live musical acts, which are often not noted on the maps or list of exhibits, so running into them is a matter of serendipity. The fellow above was playing an inverted steel drum, which I believe is a Hang (took me a few tries to track that one down!). If you want to know what it sounds like, scroll down to the video I’ve embedded at the end of this post. This musician wasn’t listed among the artists, so I have no idea what his name is. He appeared in the middle of the blue route.

Guitarist at the beginning of the blue route:

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Pyromania’s “Illuminated Orchestra,” going for a stroll along the Armenian Quarter road.

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Digeridoo player at the beginning of the red trail. I took this photo very quickly, so I didn’t notice the ultra-orthodox family watching the musician.

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Here’s a video with four short clips of the Hang drummer, “Crystalized” (blue trail), “Globoscope” (green trail), and an un-named installation on the red trail, with Eimear Quinn singing “The Voice”.

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Festival of Light 2016: Fountain

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 1, 2016

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If you haven’t been to this year’s Festival of Light in the Old City (and Nahalat Shiva), you still have tonight and tomorrow. The fountain outside Jaffa Gate was wonderful. It’s worth watching the performance all the way through an entire cycle–only about 7 minutes.

The installation is called, “A Moment with Water Fountains,” by Latvian artists Diana Civle, Janis Petersons, and Marcis Gulbis. If you’re viewing the fountain from the “front”, where all the people are, you will have to find a good angle where you aren’t blocked by trees, people’s heads, and the ubiquitous cellphones. But you can hear the music more easily from the side of the fountain that is closest to Jaffa Gate.

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If you don’t mind being further from the sound, the ramparts of the Tower of David (ground level, just outside the wall) are never crowded and there’s only one tree blocking the view.

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During the finale, the water forms a grey wall and pictures are projected onto the water. The projections are more vivid from the “back” of the fountain than the front:

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Here’s a video I took of the fountain. The first half is from the front and the second half from the back (on the following night). Sorry about the wind noise in the second segment–I was planning only to take still photos, so I didn’t bring a directional mike and I don’t have a “dead cat.”

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M2V 2016: More Photos

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 31, 2016

These photos were taken at Kefar Nahum, on of the Mountain-to-Valley Relay Race exchange stations. In the New Testament, Kefar Nahum is called Capernaum, and is a popular pilgrimage spot for Christian tourists. This is the walkway that leads to the docks for the boats that take tourists around the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).

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Franciscan monastery:

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Greek Orthodox monastery:

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The relay exchange station:

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Sun rising over fields near Kishon, the starting point of my last run.

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All the way to Kansas! Photos during runs were taken with my LG G3. Other photos were with the DSLR. Since I was traveling by car, I didn’t need to worry about the weight of hauling a heavy camera on top of the gear, clothes, shoes, etc.

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Mountain-to-Valley (Har Le-Emek) 2016

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 31, 2016

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Har Le-Emek is a 215-kilometer relay race that I ran on May 18-19 with the Cisco Cloud Runners, an 8-man team (yes, that’s correct; you have to have 2 women and 6 men to be considered a “mixed” team). I ran 25 kilometers total in three segments. The route began in Tel Hai and ended in Timrat. We ran around the clock, for nearly 24 hours. In the photo above, I’m smiling because I’m nearly at the end of my final segment! I tend to feel a bit fed up at the end of a relay race because it’s tough to run all day and night with almost no sleep and hardly any food. I’ve got my GPS watch (Garmin Forerunner 220) on my left wrist and the magnetic chip on my right. I was finishing close to Gevat.

Here’s the finish line at Timrat:

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My first segment, from Netura, was bloody hot! I started around 12:30 p.m., there was no shade, and the sun was bouncing off the dusty roads (below). I had a water backpack but I still suffered from the heat and had to walk a little bit.

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The scenery is beautiful up north. That’s the main reason I do these runs, to see parts of the country I’ve never seen before, running through fields and forests.

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Here are my two team-mates who work in the Netanya office–Golan on the left in the red and Eyal on the right. Although we’ve been on the same team for a year, this was the first time I met them. We were in a car of four for the run. They were great company! I always tell people that we’ve never met before because by the time I cross the finish line, they’re already home and sitting down to lunch. 🙂  Golan is a strong and fast runner. Eyal is good with long distances (he runs ~50 km a week).

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Here’s a video of last year’s race. I ran last year but I’m not in the video (hey, there were some 8,000 runners!) It gives you an idea of the scenery and terrain.

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Children’s Folk Dance Group, Yom Atzmaut 2016

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 17, 2016

This was a more traditional folk dance performance. Unfortunately, I don’t know the name of this group but they danced beautifully. The girls are so light on their feet that they move like gazelles. Very few boys seem to participate in the younger groups (I have a son–folk dance doesn’t have quite the same cachet for young boys as soccer and karate….). This group had two male dancers.

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Hassidic Theme Dance, Yom Atzmaut 2016

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 17, 2016

This performance was cute. A troupe of girls dressed as Hassidic boys dance to a medley of Hassidic tunes. Around the midpoint of the video, the “rebbe” (the only boy in the group) joins in with a Torah scroll.

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Yerushalayim shel Zahav Dance Group, Yom Atzmaut 2016

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 16, 2016

Recorded at the Israel Museum, May 12, 2016. This dance troupe of senior citizens performed several dances in different costumes (must have been hot!). In the commentary, the first segment is described as a “very old dance” and the second was performed to music from the 70s and 80s. I doubt that the first dance is a true folk dance; it is very complex with little repetition and must have taken quite a while to learn. Still, it’s fun to watch.

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Folk Dancing at the Israel Museum (Yom Atzmaut 2016)

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 15, 2016

I have a confession to make. Although I’ve lived in Israel since 1989, I’ve never seen a folk dance performance except maybe on TV. Since we had no plans on Yom Atzmaut, we decided to go to the Israel Museum to watch the folk dancing there and I shot this video of some of the dances with non-performers (I’ll post the videos of performances later). In the first segment, there’s a guy holding a plastic sword aloft. He’s from the Yerushalayim shel Zahav dance troupe, a group of senior citizens who performed several times. At 3:38 I added a notation to point out a young guy in a blue shirt and beige baseball cap who really got into the dancing. I started following him with the camera because he was fun to watch.

These videos were shot in the middle of a hot day, between 11 and 1:30. You can see from the shadows that the sun is directly overhead and there’s no shade. It didn’t seem to deter anyone. They all seem to be having a lot of fun.

I was struck by how diverse the folk dance fans are–they cover a wide range of ages and religious observance. I almost wished I had gone to the weekly folk dance classes that were held at the Hebrew U., but honestly, I had two left feet in those days. Being a musician does not translate into being able to dance. I could do it now but I have too many hobbies at the moment. 🙂

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Independence Day 2016: Fireworks

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 15, 2016

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I was experimenting with the focus-pull technique when I photographed the annual Independence Day fireworks in Maale Adumim. Unfortunately, I’d left my big tripod at work, so I tried to balance a table tripod on a round railing. That’s why some of the results are a bit wonky. Oh, well, I did find a really good place to shoot, so next year I’ll make a note to bring my tripod home and to go to the same spot with a wide-angle lens (these were taken with 18-135 mm lens). Full set of photos is on Flickr. These photos were taken at f/4 with a neutral density filter (x8). Shutter mode was bulb, so the shutter speed tended to be between 1 and 2 seconds.

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Greek Orthodox Wedding

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 10, 2016

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My officemate Nicola (the groom) was married a couple days ago at Mar Elias monastery just outside Jerusalem. I attended as a guest and took a few photos. The entire photoset is on Flickr.

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My husband is close to the camera (white kippah with black stripes). My boss is in the row in front of him (blue kippah). There were a couple other guys from work at the church service.

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Nicola and Reem entering the church.

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Impatient flower girl. The service was only about 40 minutes but that’s a long time to stand at the front with a basket of flower petals!

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Bishop, framed by the arm of a chair.

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The priests and bridal party join hands and walk around the table near the end of the service.

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Leaving the church.

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Kosher wedding hall. Although Nicola and Reem are Palestinian Christians, Nicola chose a kosher venue so that his Jewish friends would be able to eat. Very thoughtful! 🙂

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