Sunset at the Yarkon River Sunset at the Yarkon River Sunset at Yarkon Park, where Chen says he goes to enjoy "a bit of nature ... in the middle of the big city." (All photos: Noam Chen)

These photos will have you booking the next flight to Israel

Landscape photographer Noam Chen's HDR photos shed a colorful light on Israel's cities and landscapes.

Noam Chen's journey into photography started in his backyard, National Geographic photography guide in hand. Now, his photos have been published in National Geographic and displayed from Jerusalem to Paris, and with good reason: they're bright, captivating and beautifully composed.

Chen purchased his first professional camera to document endangered species in zoos across Europe, teaching himself the basics of wildlife photography and practicing at home. 

"Eventually two of my photos of endangered species I documented on this trip ended up being published in National Geographic magazine," Chen told From The Grapevine.

Then Chen discovered a kind of photography technique that makes colors pop, called HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging, and he was hooked. HDR photography uses a combination of frames with different settings, resulting in a photo that showcases all the brightest, darkest and most colorful components of a scene. "When you realize the benefits of using this technique, and learn how to moderately use it, it's a great advantage," Chen said. 

Chen has packed up his camera and traveled extensively from his home in Tel Aviv to countries throughout Europe (including his favorite nature scenes in Switzerland) and across the sea to New York, Los Angeles and Montreal. 

Still, the incomparable nature of Israel keeps Chen coming back. "The fusion of different cultures and influences is something that is very eminent here," Chen said. 

We picked out our favorite photos from his collection and asked Chen to describe the experience capturing each one:

Light trails in JerusalemA trail of light follows a train flying through the streets of Jerusalem.

"This was taken during a particularly cold night in Jerusalem, just before a snowstorm hit," Chen said. "I loved the lights reflecting on the road along with those of the trains passing through. It wasn't easy, but totally worth it." 

Chen said that of all the places in Israel, Jerusalem is his muse. "It's something that you feel in the air when you get to Jerusalem," he said. "Even though I've worked there numerous times, every time I discover something new."

Almond tree flowerA halo of light shines behind a single almond tree blossom.

"This was taken while working on a real estate project, when suddenly I spotted this small flower in the midst of it all, with this background that made it look glowing," Chen said. "It was a classic moment of when your eyes lead the way."

Red flowers grow on forest floor in NegevA forest is carpeted with red anemone flowers in the Negev desert.

"This was the first time I went to document the spring blooming of anemones in the forests of the Negev," Chen said. "To be surrounded by a sea of red flowers was just magical."

Rainbow across waterfallA rainbow stretches across the Saar Waterfall in northern Israel.

"This is the golden combination of both pre-planning and luck," Chen said. "A very rainy few days guaranteed a raging waterfall, but to catch a rainbow that day was only a matter of luck."

Tel Aviv skyline reflects in waterThe towers of Tel Aviv leave reflections in the river.

"I actually first spotted this sight when I didn't have my camera with me," Chen said. "The reflection and colors of these futuristic-like skyscrapers were irresistible to me and I knew I had to come back the day after to take this shot."

Sunrise at Hula LakeA golden sunrise at the Hula Nature Reserve.

"I got to Hula Lake Park just before sunrise to observe the migrating birds. which park there every year during autumn," Chen said. "The slow appearance of the sun, with the loud sound of the birds, was a pure experience of nature."

Supermoon in HaifaThe supermoon shines big and bright over refineries in Haifa.

"I heard that the supermoon was about to appear in our skies and immediately started thinking of an interesting place to capture it," Chen said. "I thought the refineries of Haifa would make for a unique location."

Moving forward, Chen has potential exhibitions coming up in the U.S. and Europe. Though his sights are set across the globe, he keeps his roots in mind. 

"[I will] continue to do my best to showcase the beautiful side of Israel to the world," he said, "and hopefully the best is yet to come."

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