Music while we waited for our train

One of the things I like about Israeli train stations is that most of them have pianos that commuters can play while waiting for their trains. We had a short wait for our train home after our visit to the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History today, and we were treated to a mini-performance.

By the time this creative commuter finished playing, he’d attracted a small audience of fellow travelers who sat around him to listen to him play.

95 Rokah Blvd, תל אביב יפו, Israel

A preview of the The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History

We visited the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History with our kids today. It’s a remarkable museum, well worth visiting, with or without kids.

We took a train into Tel Aviv to visit the museum during its trial phase. Here’s an explanation about this from the museum’s website:

The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Tel Aviv, located adjacent to Tel Aviv University, will open fully this upcoming September.

As of July 2, the museum has been open for a trial run to test crowd flow and to get feedback on the exhibits, according to Professor Tamar Dayan, the Museum’s chair.
“For the trial run, we open for about four hours a day and we limit the number of visitors because we first want to finish the exhibitions properly and then we want to work out any kinks there may be,” Professor Dayan said.

The museum houses over five and a half million specimen.

My wife, Gina, booked tickets a few weeks ago. We arrived around 11:30 for the afternoon round of visitors.

The museum’s exhibits are spread over three levels (there’s a fourth planned, I believe), and it’s a terrific explanation of Israel’s ecology, and natural history. Each section is themed, with explanations in Hebrew, English, and Arabic.

One of the more interesting exhibits is on the third floor. It’s inspired by how birds construct their nests. At least, that’s what I understood from this one. It didn’t seem to have English explanations of several aspects of the exhibit.

We took our own lunch. There’s a deck with both outdoor and indoor seating where you can sit, and eat as you make your way through the exhibits.

The museum is really well thought out. The exhibits are fascinating, and I like how they’re put together. Our kids really enjoyed exploring different facets of Israel’s natural history, and its varied ecosystems.

One aspect of the museum that I really like is how we have insight into the work behind the scenes. The biodiversity section (a fascinating exhibit in its own right) includes windows into the team’s storage area, and even a section where a team member was working on a new extension of an exhibit.

This sort of approach is a great way to involve visitors in what the team’s doing, and a terrific way to show us that this is an evolving project. This was a fun visit, I look forward to visiting again some day.

Klausner St 12, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Life’s a beach …

I’m not really a beach person but this is pretty.

Tel Aviv-Yafo, Tel Aviv District, Israel

The windy, cloudy trail

I noticed this fascinating cloud formation on my way to my train station this afternoon. I imagine it was formed by some sort of high altitude wind. I haven’t seen anything like this as far I can recall.

A winding, cloudy trail over Tel Aviv
A winding, cloudy trail over Tel Aviv

 

A peek inside imonomy’s new Tel Aviv offices

We recently moved to new offices in Tel Aviv and I thought I’d share what it looks like inside imonomy’s new offices. It is the 2nd time imonomy has moved in the year or so that I’ve been with the company (we’ve grown that much). I start work pretty early these days so I spent a little time taking photos of details that stood out for me one morning. Here is a quick look inside imonomy:

I like the (fake) plants all around the office, usually in windows. They add a natural feel to what is otherwise a pretty industrial look.

These jars are also scattered throughout the office and add a nice touch of colour to a predominantly white work space.

These items add an “old” feel to the space too. They little nuggets that add something different to meeting spaces, primarily. Just enough to break what could be design monotony.

This Space Invaders-style artwork is mostly where the tech teams sit and I love it. It adds some geeky fun to an environment which tends to emphasise the business side.

The reception area has a very clean look that manages to balance the relatively industrial feel of the structure as a whole with fairly simple comforts. I really like the horse sculpture.

Here is a little peek of the marketing department with me, Sinead and Tom.
Here is a little peek of the marketing department with me, Sinead and Tom.

You can find my complete album here. I like the space and it’s great to have so much space to grow. I can see imonomy being there for at least a year.

 

What do you think of this: Tel-Aviv beach trip

We were on vacation recently. It was more of a stay-cation – we are new to Israel so it was a perfect time for some local tourism. Instead of renting a car and heading to some holiday resort, we slept at home and took day trips. We spent the afternoon of our third day at a terrific beach in Tel-Aviv at the Tel-Aviv Port. It was my first time in the ocean here and I couldn’t believe how warm the water was. I’m not usually a beach person but I think that could change.

We left the beach shortly before it closed and moved up to the boardwalk where we had something to eat and took some photos. I like how some of these came out and I’d love to get some feedback if you have any.

Busy Tel Aviv beach

I had my 18-55mm kit lens and my f1.8 50mm lens with me and I shot this with the kit lens. I’d like to buy a f1.8 35mm lens for the wider angle stuff but the kit lens works pretty well in good light. I like this shot mostly because of the way the beach line almost takes your eyes out to see. This next one does a better job of that and the curvature from the zoom adds something to the shot that I like:

This next one was an experiment with a slower shutter speed. I usually shoot in Aperture priority mode and switched to Shutter Speed priority. I like the effect on the waves but I think there is probably too much motion in the photo to save it. I don’t usually shoot much with a slower shutter speed but I get the feeling a shot needs more prominent, static reference points to prevent the motion from just looking like a blurred shot:

The sun was setting so I spent a bit of time taking photos of the sunset. I like the railing in this photo which I took with my iPhone 5 and debated whether to switch to my DSLR and my 50mm lens with its shallower depth of focus to highlight the railing. That said, this photo didn’t work out too badly:

It sometimes amazes me that my iPhone can take such great photos. I use the VSCOCam app which is a great photo capture and editing app. Here is another photo that I took with my iPhone which came out nicely:

When I looked at this next sunset shot to add to this post I thought it was from my DSLR but its actually another iPhone photo. This kind of quality is why camera quality will always guide my phone choices:

My full set is on Flickr if you’d like to see more. In the meantime, I’d appreciate feedback on the photos, technical or otherwise.

Inspired by Basti Hansen

I noticed Basti Hansen‘s Tel-Aviv Gay Pride 2015 Parade Video on Facebook a few days after the parade and just watched it. It is a fun video and it prompted me to look up more of Hansen’s work:

He shoots a combination of video and still photography and his work is pretty dynamic and leaves me just a little envious that he gets to do this work for a living! I am just a little more inspired by Basti Hansen. Here is another video titled “Dust Dance” which was shot near the Dead Sea, Tel-Aviv and the Negev:

As if that wasn’t enough, here is a little camera porn in his video about a Dead Sea road trip:

Worth checking him out on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

The remarkable Tel-Aviv cityscape

I took advantage of some time at a recent event at Yahoo!’s offices in Tel-Aviv to take a few photos of Tel-Aviv from relatively high up. It is a remarkable view of the city!

It was also a really hot day, the temperatures hit the low 40s (centigrade) and I think these photos convey a little of that heat we felt.

Looking towards the HaShalom train station

View the whole album.