Earlier Today in the Backyard

After the shower overnight and before the rain this afternoon, there was a glorious, sunny window of opportunity to head out and enjoy the wildflowers that are blooming all over the country.

Following last week’s tumultuous climb out of Nahal Tavor, where the lupines were starting to bloom (my knees haven’t yet recovered from the 300 meter, 45-60° grade incline), hubby and I decided to take it a bit easier this week and head just north of us to the Iris Reserve on Netanya’s sandy dunes near the sea. The reserve is an oasis smack in the middle of what is fast-becoming another high-rise, residential neighborhood and while not currently in danger of being taken over, it was in the past. The Reserve is home to one of Israel’s most beautiful and rare wildflowers, the Black Iris or Iris Ha’argaman in Hebrew, as well as many other annuals. The perfume in the air was delicious!

The camera was misbehaving a bit because in many photos the focus was on the background rather than what I was pointing at and it was difficult to see the LCD screen in the sunlight to check (not to mention being down on my knees at ground-level for a number of shots). If there is anything I do miss about my old Oly, it’s the viewfinder!

Season’s Greetings!

Feels a bit odd being out of the holiday loop with Hanukkah (Channukah, whatever) having been so early this year and the civil New Year not really observed by the majority of people here. Meaning, it’s been difficult to get into the “holiday spirit”. Our visit to the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem over the weekend helped a bit. No blaring Xmas music (thank goodness) but lots of decorations. We saw many groups of overseas pilgrims visiting, which is a nice change from a couple of years ago when our friends from the States were visiting at Christmastime and the streets in the Old City were nearly empty. I hope the shopkeepers are at least benefiting from the renewed traffic.

Yes, that is snow on the ground in Jerusalem, which 10 days ago got socked with around 40-50cm of the white stuff and came to a standstill for nearly 5 days. We saw many, many trees and branches that had snapped because of the cold and weight of the snow. No power in some homes for 3-4 days. Heads rolled at the electric company. Will we be prepared for the next time this happens (which is once in a decade or so)? Probably not. It even snowed in Cairo for the first time in a century!

Warm wishes for joyous festivities and a happy, healthy New Year!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

The end of the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, Austria (or the start, depending on which end you entered the road), at the Kaiser Franz Josef Haus.

Part of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge

More from our August 2013 road trip, including being chased up to the the FJ Haus by a Formula One! :)

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon


A panoramic overview of Ramon Crater, or Makhtesh Ramon heading into sunset.

Part of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge

Updated with more photos from both above and inside the makhtesh

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Fresh Air!

Ever since reading on a number of websites that I frequent that Responsive Width/Flexible Width themes are the new black, the idea has been pinging around inside my head that it was time (long overdue, really) to update the theme here on Random Acts.

Back in the day this site wore The Journalist v1.3 (retired), Inuit Types, Triton Lite and, now, Oxygen. Oxygen was not an easy choice to make because, of all the themes I looked at and spread-sheeted for various features, Oxygen came up short on width of the posting column. Frankly it is much narrower than I originally wanted for a photography site, but there are many other features that make up for it.

So, for at least the near future, here’s to a breath of fresh air! I hope you like the change and your opinion is always welcome.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated


Toy Cycle is an inspirational exhibit now open though the end of the year at the Old Jaffa Museum featuring toys and artworks created from recycled materials. Among the works by students of the Shenkar School of Industrial Design and other artists, there are toys and sculptures from bicycle chains, tin cans, wood blocks and other bric-a-brac. The most interesting to me was a series of artwork/toys made by Ocean Sole, an African NGO, using the tons, yes, tons, of flip-flop soles that wash up on the beach each year. What they create from this refuse is amazing. More about Ocean Sole below.

Part of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge