LIVE BLOG from the Holy Land!

Be sure to check out this ongoing post, full of photos and short video clips from my travels throughout Israel!

Click on the images below to see them larger! Then click the new larger image, (mouse cursor icon may show as a plus symbol as you roll over the enlarged image), to see their optimal size, depending on your screen resolution. These are all shot with my Leica and –other than splicing some of the panoramic images together– are basically right out of my camera.

-Please note the fact that I am wanting to share my EXPERIENCE with you, and hope you will respect the Copyrights Laws, and leave my images where they are, THANK YOU.

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Flying over the ocean, just before we landed in Tel Aviv

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This is a sunset scene from my rooftop apartment.

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I saw this “toy store” my first day, as I wandered random streets, trying to cut through the city.

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South West corner of the Temple Mount, including excavated courtyard, ritual baths, “First Century Street”, and of course more of the Western Wall. In the far background a portion of the Mount of Olives can be seen, now covered with gravestones of the large Jewish cemetery. To the far right, below the moon, is the City of David.

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City of David

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Cloudburst over the Old City, from the Mount of Olives. This is one of the stills from the day I lost video footage.

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Western Wall

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These Muslim boys started throwing rocks at me as I was shooting up inside an ancient tomb in the Kidron Valley, near the City of David. I asked them if they could help me with something, to get them to stop, and by the time I left, we were buddies. “Bye U.S. American” they shouted.

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I had to hurry and snap this one off as I came around the corner. The boys running out in front had started a commotion and were looking back as the guards patrolling the gate ran to see what had happened. I don’t know if I would have been “brave” enough when I was that age, to tease large men with M-16′s around their necks.

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Thought I would share my breakfast with you. This is a fresh baked pita with hand seasoned hummus, a side of chilled cottage cheese, rich creamy milk (best milk I have ever tasted), and a butter-flaked, chocolate-rolled croissant to finish the meal.

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My first morning in the Old City, they allowed me out onto the Temple Mount, and I was able to get this shot of the Dome of the Rock.

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This was down near the excavations by the Western Wall. It is an ancient ritual bath that was used to cleanse before entering the temple. It had two sides to the stairs divided by a stone railing, so you could enter “unclean” down one side, and exit “clean” up the other.

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I was telling my wife that the weather here is pretty much the same as it is in Southern California’s in-land areas. I was pleasantly surprised.

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This pillar like many others has survived thousands of years near the southern gates of the Temple Mount.

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I had been shooting on the Mount of Olives most of the day, and still had not been inside this old basilica near by. I finally went inside and as usual in a place like this it was VERY dark, so out came the tripod. This kid next to me kept shooting over my shoulder in multi-burst mode, with his 5D Mark 2, like he was a press photographer. I kept thinking to myself, “well, he must know what he is doing”, and minded my own business. Soon I began catching glimpses as he zoomed into his darkened images on his huge LCD, and figured he needed a little help. I was set up on my tripod with my camera in “bulb” mode, using a shutter release cable, and had my shutter open for almost 10 seconds, so I wasn’t too sure how much help he needed.

In basic English I asked him if he wanted to use my tripod, and if he needed help. He looked at me, and smiled. He placed his huge camera on my newly downsized tripod, and began to angle his camera towards the ceiling. At this point I was waiting to see him adjust his shutter speed at least, but after a few quick snaps in burst mode again, he looked at his LCD, and zoomed in. He smiled as he showed me the dark image but now with sharp interior lights, and some of the design near the ceiling. I smiled back, (I hope), as he unscrewed the camera, and nodded his head with a simple “Thank You” with a heavy accent. Well, I thought, at least he has a great camera;)

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King David Museum after a storm.

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When I was a kid my brothers and I would watch The Adventures of Robin Hood, staring Errol Flynn, with my Dad all the time. Afterwards, (I will only speak for, and embarrass myself), I would find some really tight green pajama bottoms, and a brown Sunday vest to wear, and pretend like I was sword fighting up and down the stairs, as if it was a castle. I’m sure I imagined Maid Marian was watching too, as I pretended to shoot arrows down at the enemy with perfect aim. Needless to say, the day I walked around inside the King David Museum near Jaffa Gate, in Jerusalem, you can imagine I was pretty excited. Sure enough, just like in Robin Hood I walked along the walls and climbed inside this small outcropping where marksmen would throw/shoot things down at the enemy, and took this shot at the buildings across the way.

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This image was too hard to pass up. These four women were pretty sturdy gals, and they just bobbed around for hours, laughing and chattering away, until the sun went down. Regardless of your situation, it was great to take a load off at the Dead Sea for sure.

So yesterday, I made it down to Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea. It was so HOT, and I am so WHITE, but floating in the water was unreal… you simply can’t sink. Not only that but you can’t even swim… at least not normal swimming. The only real way to relax is to float on your back, and go limp. Any other way, and your body wants to twist and turn until its stable. Oh, and you better keep your head out of the water. If the water gets in your eyes nose or mouth you’ll wish you had never heard about the Dead Sea. So ladies, don’t even think about getting a bikini wax before you go… ANYTHING healing, raw, open, or sensitive will BURN. That goes for the guys too, with a fresh shave, yes my neck was on fire. I saw two little kids crying their eyes out because they got water in their eyes, and just kept rubbing, it was hard to watch. On a more serious note someone died last week after they swallowed too much… CRAZY! So as long as your smart, (and don’t put your little kids in) it is soooo fun!

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I shot this just as I got down to the beach, and no other tourists were in yet. After about 20 minutes, it was like Zuma Beach California, only with much more “realistic” bodies, and unbelievably even less clothing;)

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Beach tents over looking the Dead Sea.

So other than my chin burn, some parents that didn’t know any better, the occasional streak of, “I cant believe I just saw that”, and a common misunderstanding with adults shopping in the “juniors” section for bathing suits, (if they went shopping at all), it was incredible. I guess you’re bound to have some head turning occur when hundreds of people from all over the world, with varying ideas of “sunbathing”, go swimming on the same beach.

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View from King David Museum. This was just before a storm, so the clouds kept sweeping across the city, and lighting up sections of it.

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Church of the Holy Sepulchre

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Prayer