“Out to Lunch”

Sorry for the dearth of posts. We are obsessing, and I do mean obsessing, over planning our upcoming trip to Norway. I cannot tell you how many websites, brochures, maps, forums and guidebooks we have poured over in the last month. Essentially it all boils down to three things:

  1. There’s a good chance that some roads we want to take will still be closed due to Winter driving conditions. Think about that for a moment.
  2. Bring money. I now understand why everyone keeps saying this is a once in a lifetime trip!
  3. There will be photos.

But for right now, I’m entirely immersed – up to my eyeballs. And, honestly, would it be too much to ask for this to happen while we’re there?

Aurora VI

Photo BY-NC-ND by kimb0lene on flickr, but who also has a WPcom blog

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: Light

The Jewish Festival of Light commemorates the rededication of the Temple following its desecration by the ancient Greeks. The story goes that there was not enough consecrated oil to relight the menorah that stood in the Temple, except for a small amount which miraculously burned for 8 days. Since then we’ve been lighting candles or oil lights to celebrate that miracle and our freedom from religious tyranny.

The special menorah we use during Hanukkah, called Hannukiyah, has places for 8 candles and for the “Shamash”, the candle used to light all the other candles. Over the years the Hannukiyah has been a folk art object and during my visit to the Ha’aretz Museum last week it was interesting to see Hannukiyahs that had been created during the first days of the State of Israel (and before) that venerated our women and men who protected and fought for the Yishuv.

20131129-light (1) 20131129-light (2) 20131129-light (3) 20131129-light (4)

Part of this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge

Tips for Taking Fireworks Photos with Your Smartphone

IMG_3347copyHappy 4th of July to all my American friends! (Someone please light a sparkler for me.) :)

Tech

Watching the July 4th fireworks has been a long-standing family tradition. But, capturing the beautiful aerial displays can be hard if you stick with the auto settings on your smartphone. So, try these simple tricks for fireworks photos you’ll want to keep.

1. Use a tripod

When you take picture of fireworks, your phone’s camera needs to hold the shutter open long enough to “see” the fireworks. The longer the shutter is open, the more susceptible your photo is to motion blur. So use a tripod to make sure there’s no movement. Joby’s GripTight Gorillapod, which can wrap around trees and poles or stand up on the ground, is a great option that fits most smartphones. Price: $29.95 on joby.com or Amazon

2. Use the “landscape” mode

Your camera automatically tries to find an object on which to focus. And when presented with a black featureless sky, the camera doesn’t…

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