Winter thrills with Vivaldi

I really enjoy Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and I’ve been listening to variations of a few of the movements/pieces/parts (I’m not sure what the terminology is) from Four Seasons in the last day or so.

Two of my favourites are these:

I’ve also really enjoyed watching different performances on YouTube, such as these:

We’re expecting rain in the coming week. It will be a perfect opportunity to play one of these pieces for dramatic effect when a storm arrives. Just for fun.

unsplash-logoBaher Khairy
Travel and places

Winter is coming to Israel … eventually

In between news reports abouts recent rocket attacks on Israel, and our ongoing leadership stalemate, Israeli media is reporting that Winter is coming.

We might even have rain.

That said, our weather forecasts have gone from somewhere around 80% chance of to around 30% chance of . I’m still optimistic it will rain, eventually.

Events and Life Science and nature

Definitely a wintry day here in Israel

Today was very much a wintry day here in Israel. It was freezing cold, and rained for most of the day. Thankfully I work from home!

I still prefer this weather to the Israeli Summer!

Events and Life Photography

Winter colours at sunset

Winter is settling in here in Israel. I noticed a particularly pretty sunset today.

A pretty early Winter sunset
Mindsets Science and nature Travel and places

The Great Israeli Umbrella Fraud

Each Winter, Israelis are taken in by the Great Israeli Umbrella Fraud, and someone has to speak out. Today, that someone is me.

As you may (or may not) know, Winter is our rainy season (it’s literally the only time of the year when we have rain). It’s cold, wet, and I like it (mostly). Each year, Israelis are tempted by a wide variety of rain resistance devices, commonly known as “umbrellas”.

They seem like a good idea, when it’s not raining.

And each year, Israelis buy these devices in the hope that they will protect them from volumes of water falling from the sky (ie, “rain”). Unfortunately, this belief is sorely misplaced.

You see, after what feels like 9 months of summer, we Israelis forget that, when it rains, we also often have wind, the strength and determination of which rivals saftas at a gefilta fish sale, the day before Pesach. In other words, the wind can be really strong and it hits you from the side, as if out of nowhere!

Not such a good idea, in the clear light of a cloudless day … after the fact.

At that point, all your well-intentioned plans to not get wet are dashed, like leaves and small creatures swept away by the torrents of rain water down the road beside you. Inevitably, your Rain Saviour is exposed for the sham it really is, and you are forced to abandon it.

Here’s the painful truth: umbrellas are a con that we fall for every year. The only good defence against the dark, rain-bearing clouds is a decent water-resistant jacket of some description.

Photo by Rhendi Rukmana on Unsplash

Yes, you feel more exposed being out there with nothing to hold above your head. But let’s face it, that thin membrane supported by a fragile metal frame is a false sense of cover, at best.

At worst, it’s another fraud perpetrated by seasonal umbrella sales people, taking advantage of those of us with very short memories, and a little anxiety about this strange change in the weather from unbelievably hot and dry to cold, very wet, and jetstream windy!

There is hope. It’s not too late.

Even though Winter already seems to be thinking about heading south, we may still have some wet weather ahead.

Discard your deceptive rain protection device and embrace the rain jacket. Stand tall, stoop only to keep your face pointing away from the deluge, and duck to avoid low hanging, dripping branches.

Ride out the rain for as long as we have it. It will soon be the other season and we can forget these challenges, at least until next year when all the umbrellas go on sale again.

Featured image by Todd Diemer on Unsplash

Sanity check: “Surely you jest?”, you may ask? Yes, I do. Mostly.

Travel and places

A wintery Jerusalem day trip

We went on a wintery Jerusalem day trip yesterday with family. I made a point of capturing more scenes with my camera, bearing in mind Eric Kim’s photography advice for 2017 (particularly point 2). I really like many of the photos I made. I think I’m also slowly getting the hang of more of Lightroom’s functionality to tweak lighting in parts of photos to improve them. Here are some of my favourites from the album:

This moment of this man reaching up to leave a note in the Kotel was a wonderful capture.

Of course the shuk where you can buy (and bargain for) all sorts of paraphernalia.

I didn’t notice the couple on the left when I took the photo. I saw them when I edited the photo. Terrific moment!

This woman stepped into my frame so I just incorporated her into the shot.

This woman was playing higher up on Jaffa Street outside a well-known pizzeria. I had to photograph her playing.

I’ve shared my Jerusalem day trip album on Flickr so head over there for the full experience. Just click on this image below:

Events and Life Photography Science and nature

Musings about that Autumn feeling

We had a long, hot summer this year (much like last year). After teasing us for a couple weeks, that Autumn feeling is setting in. The days are cooler and after a sort of “warm wave”, it looks like the temperatures are starting to drop as Winter approaches.

My favourite seasons are Spring and Autumn. I’m not a big fan of the extremes although I don’t mind Winter that much, certainly not compared to Summer. I went for a walk in my neighbourhood last weekend with my camera to try and capture some of that Autumn feeling.

The change to Autumn

I love the fallen leaves and the cool air that usually accompany them. There is something about these leaves and the blossoms that herald Spring’s arrival that invigorate me.

At the playground

I also love the longer shadows this time of year. I’m not sure if they are actually longer than other times of the year but it seems that way. It’s probably more because the days are so much shorter so by the time I head out with my camera, the sun is already pretty low.

Long shadows

Of course, this is also the time of the year we haul out all out winter gear ahead of the cold weather that is slowly making its way to Israel. The one downside is travelling a little heavier for a few months but I don’t mind that too much.

Bringing out the cold weather gear


Winter heat wave

We have a winter heat wave this week, here in Israel. It feels like Spring: warm t-shirt weather. I think it will even heat up some more towards the end of the week before temperatures drop back down over the weekend.