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A postcard from Yafo

This is one of the most recent entries on my list of favorite shots. I stood on this spot and took this shot only about 5 months ago.
This is the port of Yafo (I prefer the Hebrew transliteration to the more commonly used name of Jaffa), a millennia-old settlement that is nowadays a joined part of the Tel Aviv municipality. My base in Tel Aviv was less than a ten-minute walk from here, and I set foot in the historic Yafo on more than one occasion. This was actually the very last such occasion, on the afternoon of the day before my departure home.

It is also the very first picture in my entire photographic output that I consider a favorite that came out of a smartphone.

It has been more than a few years now that the smartphone cameras became good enough for walkabout photography, but I still prefer to have my professional-grade full-frame camera with me when I stroll around foreign locales. The benefit of that is no more than marginal in my case, but yet occasionally I am able to enjoy the wide range of control and in the end the flexibility of manipulating a RAW file in post. I am also not a frequent phone-upgrader – my current phone is nearly 4 years old and does not have a great camera by today’s lofty standards. I may take an Instagram-targeted picture on it once in a while, or a memory-jogging marker, but hardly ever do I keep those for posterity, to say nothing of marking them among my favorites.

But on this last afternoon of my two-weeks-long stay in Israel, I decided to leave the camera at the apartment. I was mostly walking the routes that I had walked before and did not expect to photograph anything anymore. And then I walked out a bit on the Yafo pier, took another look at the view of the waterfront, and decided to see what my phone camera could do with the ideal lighting conditions. The result turned out the best of all the pictures taken from this spot.

“Ideal lighting conditions”, of course, was the key. Nonetheless, I just may start using a bit more of my phone camera on future trips. Or not. But in any case, I will now have this postcard to reminisce about my time in Tel Aviv-Yafo.