Photo seminar “Thousand samaritans on Grizim Mount”

Secret night prayer at the Samaritan Shavuot

All the Samaritans in the world (there are only around 900 of them, and all of them live in Israel) gathered to celebrate the holiday of Shavuot for the mount Gerizim that is sacred for them. As the calendars of Jews and Samaritans are different, Jews have forgotten already about the holiday cakes that they ate, and for Samaritans the party is still going on.

Thrice a year Samaritans ascend the Mount Gerizim (just like Jews in the time of the Temple ascended the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) to recite the special sunrise prayer and get the blessing of the High Priest. So on Sunday hundreds of men in the festive white clothing went up to the mountain top covered in fog above the flaming city of Schem in order to rise the ancient Torah scroll to the clouds and say ‘Hear Israel!’.

On the night of the 15th to the 16th of June I offer you the opportunity to touch one of the biggest mysteries of the Land of Israel, and join the unique night photo tour to the Mount Gerizim.

Our program will begin in the sixth night after the full moon at midnight. Mount Gerizim will be well lit (weather permitting), it will be a bit chilly in the early morning, wisps of fog will we will sail past us, but this night will be one of the most memorable experience in your life .

350 per person



The first thing that we will do is explore the area, take a small tour and learn some of the history of the Samaritan community. Also at this time, I’ll tell you about the stages of the Samaritan ceremony that awaits for you.

The main topics of the photo-workshop will be night shooting and shooting at dawn. We will plan the main stages of the upcoming photo-set, select the point with the best angles for different stages of the Samaritan ceremony, take test shots and talk about the specifics of such shootings, as well as the post-processing of images. By 4 o’clock in the morning we will begin active shooting. The event itself is very dynamic, so we will have to run, crawl, crouch, and even sweat a little bit.

After the completion of the prayer, we will descend to the Samaritan village of Kiryat Luza, where we will be able to take photos of its residents in more modern urban environment and get to know them better. We also will visit the excellent scenic views of Schem and Mount Eyval, Palestinian refugee camp Balata and see them from a bird’s view.

Photo tour will end around 8:00 am.

Workshop topics

  • shooting in different lighting conditions: at night, by moonlight, at dawn, in the morning mist, at the photographer’s “golden hour”
  • Psychology of shooting in the crowd (including a crowd of photographers)
  • “Wide-angle” vs “Telephoto”
  • Long exposure shots
  • Features of post-processing of images
  • Questions and Answers

Workshop schedule:
00:00 – Meeting of participants and leaving to the location
00:40 – Start photo workshop and a small tour of the area
02:30 – Break for an early breakfast, coffee and a little rest
03:00 – Continuation of the workshop, the start of active preparation for the photo-set
04:00 – Start of the Samaritan festive ceremony and photography
05:30-06:15 – The so-called “golden hour” – the most successful time for shooting at dawn, on this day, in this place.
06:30 – Descent to the Samaritan village after the prayer, shooting in an urban setting
07:00 – Discussion of what has been seen and shot, sharing impressions, coffee and end of the photo workshop

Technical details:
I as the photo-guide at any time will be ready to answer questions and help;
Training and equipment: you do not necessarily have to be a professional photographer, but it is desirable to distinguish between shutter speed and aperture and to be able to operate a camera in a manual mode. It is very important to have a tripod, cable or remote control, and patience;
Number of participants: up to 10 people;
Date and time: the night of 15 to 16 June, from 00:00 to 8:00;
Getting there: in your own cars; I can find a ride for those who need it.
All the participants will be sent payment details, photos and a map of the seminar with the point of the venue by email.

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