Thursday, December 10, 2015
Medi-Vet lecture evening
The first lecture was by award-winning wildlife photographer Roie Galitz. He has devoted much of his professional life to photographing animals at risk of extinction. As he showed us some of his amazing photos and videos, he told us a bit about the background stories to some of them.
He also explained what is required to take good nature photos. Of course, good equipment helps, but he focused on the personal skills a photographer needs, with patience mentioned repeatedly as the most important quality. It seems to me that patience has become undervalued in our fast-paced, short attention span society. It used to be considered a virtue, and now if someone says "you're so patient", it is often with surprise and incredulity rather than admiration. I would really appreciate it if more people could develop their patience.
Photographers need not just patience, but the willingness to spend long hours waiting, still and silent, for the brief moment when they can take the perfect picture. Often this waiting involves extreme physical discomfort and sometimes even danger.
Another thing that can help create a good photograph is looking around to see if you are missing something. Sometimes there is a different angle or a less typical way of presenting the same scene. This is also something that can be applied to other aspects of life.
We are all amateur photographers nowadays, to it is interesting to think about what can turn our photos from mere documentation into art.
Here are some of his photographs, taken from his public Facebook page.
The second lecture was by our vet, Dr. Yadin Yeshurun, who is the owner and founder of Medi-Vet. He talked about his trip along the Israel National Trail. This is a series of nature trails extending the length of Israel, over 1,000 kilometers. It is intended for walking, but some sections are also suitable for vehicles and bicycles. Yadin chose to ride his horse along some of the sections in the south, in the Eilat mountains and the Negev desert.
I don't know how many people have travelled this trail on horseback, but Yadin told us about some places where he had to backtrack, and others where he followed camel tracks. I don't have any of his photographs to show here, but I really enjoyed seeing the landscapes of the south again. This reminded me that I haven't visited the south (apart from Beersheba) for many years. I love the subtle beauty of the desert and the sandstone formations.
Also, I have never experienced travelling alone, as Yadin did. I have probably never been more than a few hundred meters from another human being, though I enjoy what solitude I can find in my daily life. It seems to me a very different sort of experience, one I have read about often, but will probably never seek out. On the other hand, he had his horse with him, and though he didn't focus on this aspect, it must be a special feeling having the trust of an animal and spending time alone together in the wild.
Apart from the lectures, the audience also received gifts, intended for their cats or dogs. My cat bag contained two samples of Hills Science Plan dry food, a toy mouse, and a leaflet about fleas. The importer of Hills pet food sponsored the event.
There were also t-shirts available for sale, with the words "we are all equal!", and pictures of cats and dogs representing various social groups: a brown cat = people of colour; a rainbow dog = LGBT; a cat in a kaffiyah = Arabs; a dog with a kippah = religious Jews. I like the positive message that people with compassion for animals are also more likely to support equality for all humans.
I really enjoyed this event, and hope these lecture evenings become more frequent.