Monday, October 23

Dave Bender: Compelling Photography - Client Testimonials

Family Lifecycle Events:

"Dave Bender introduced us to the beautiful city of Tzfat. For three days we visited the sites for a number of photo shoots, with many of the beautiful locations off the beaten path. Dave's photos are breathtaking. We are extremely impressed by his talent. We recommend him highly." –  Shmuel and Daniella

"Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, siblings, dear friends ... all brought together for one day of joy and perfectly captured by Dave. These Bat Mitzvah photos will be treasured for many lifetimes. Thank you.” – Shayna Rehberg-Paquin

"What struck me most about Dave's photography was not only his ability to 'capture the moment,' but his ability and timing to capture what that moment meant to all the people involved. ... I highly recommend Dave, and look forward to using his services at our next happy occasion." – Batia and Yonatan

Portrait Portfolio: 

"These are definitely the best photos of me that I have seen. Working with Dave was fun and creative. He had great ideas for location and worked well with the natural light, settings, color, and mood. He has top of the line equipment and is clearly a pro: knowledgeable with an elegant approach. I was a little nervous beforehand but Dave's calm, friendly and professional manner put me at ease. Highly recommended!" – Tziona Achishena 

Institutional Marketing & Branding:

"Over the last year, I have worked closely with Dave Bender on a number of projects. He has brought his talents in photography, video, and editing to help us produce much needed promotional material. He helped bring our projects and assets to life! His ability to work in both Hebrew and English was a very big plus." - Meir Paltiel, Director of Programs and Alumni Relations,

"Dave's professional promotional videos and extraordinarily beautiful photography, together with his deep understanding of the social media and virtual marketing world laid a strong basis for the new marketing and PR venues our organization is adopting."  Bracha E., Livnot Donor Relations

"Dave's spectacular photography and creative videos, along with our close collaboration, aided us greatly in advancing our organization's marketing campaign and in improving our exposure and awareness among our target audiences”התמונות המרהיבות וסרטונים היצירתיים של דוד בנדר, והשתײפ המקצועי וההדוק בינינו סיעו לנו רבות בכדי לקדם מסע הפרסום של הארגון, ולהעלות החשיפה והתודעת בקרב קהל היעד שלנו"  - סמדר שפצר, מנהלת שיווק, לבנות. Smadar Spitzer, past Livnot marketing director

Tuesday, August 29

VIDEO: Dave Bender: Compelling Photography

Follow me on Facebook and my other media channels for unique Israel-based DSLR, smartphone photography, mobile photography and iphoneography tips and tricks:

Wednesday, August 16

Hey, thanks for stopping by! After you've checked this batch, shot at a recent international hot air ballooning festival, make sure to check out and like my FB feed, where I'm most active: - it'll lead you to other photographic delights...

Make sure to check out my FB feed, where I'm most active:

Hey, thanks for stopping by! Make sure to check out and like my FB feed, where I'm most active: - it'll lead you to other photographic delights...

Tuesday, January 24

Israel Smartphone Photography: 'All Along the Watchtower, Princes Kept The View...'

(Device: Nexus 5)

Cue Jimi Hendrix... this moody #blackandwhite photo of the ancient Nimrod's Fortress Mamluk (13th Cent.) stronghold in northern #Israel is the first of a series I'll be posting in coming days on making the most of your #smartphonephotography and #mobilephotography. While my main #Smartphone is an #LGV20, these images were shot on a #nexus5x and #Nikon #D750 and edited in #SnapSpeed and #Lightroom, and Lightroom Mobile.

Make sure to follow my channels to get the inside info on how to rock your #androidography #LG #Samsung #Nexus, #iPhone #iphoneography and other #smartphone models: www.davidbrianbender.com

(Camera: Nikon D750/Tokina 11-16)
 (Camera: Nikon D750/Tokina 11-16)
           (Camera: Nikon D750/Tokina 11-16)
 (Camera: Nikon D750/Tokina 11-16)
(Device: I'm shooting with my LGV20, but the photo itself was shot with a Nexus 5)
 (Camera: Nikon D750/Tokina 11-16)
 (Device: Nexus 5)

Monday, January 9

Smartphone Photography: 'Mediterranean Sunset'

Smartphone Photography: 'Mediterranean Sunset' en route from Israel to Cyprus and Rhodes. #LGV20#SonyQX1#Nikkor 70-200, manual, rough edit in #SnapSpeed, and #Lightroom Mobile for NR.
Pls follow my new Smartphone Photography blog: 
FB: and Instagram:

Sunday, January 8

Welcome to my Revamped, Refocused & Rejigged Smartphone-DSLR Photography Blog and Websites!

Me, along the Syrian border in Israel's Golan Heights, with Mt. Hermon in the background (Photo: Russel Harris)
Welcome, new visitors and old friends!

After more than a decade, I'm morphing my dusty, musty news and politics blog into a showcase and calling card for my SmartPhone and DLSR photography, both here in Israel, and elsewhere worldwide.

The changes here come in parallel with a two new websites (now under construction):

Thr first, a professional photographic sales and marketing site hosted at will be hosting my photographic portfolio, and feature a built-in, easy-to-buy and print/frame or download my Israeli landscape, nature, event, and street photography,

The second,, will focus exclusively on Smartphone Photography and host my latest exclusive photos, shooting tips, full-on lessons, photo essays, live shots, and much interaction with you, the viewer.

Lots more to say and display, but, for the moment, pardon our dust and stay tuned as we clean out the cobwebs, tune up the pages, and show you my best!

Tracing Torah: a ‘Seeing Israel’ Smartphone Photo Essay

Torah scroll completion .jpg-204603
As night gathers over the birthplace of Kabbalah, a devout Jewish scribe readies his tools alongside a nearly-completed Torah scroll (Click on the photos to view a full-sized image in a new browser window. All photos:, All Rights Reserved. “Behind-the-scenes” photographic notes follow).
Torah scroll completion .jpg-203430
Torah scroll completion .jpg-203354
Torah scroll completion .jpg-191346
As he prepares, cool, pine-scented air wafts through the painted arches of Safed’s striking 16th Cent. Abuhav Synagogue.
Torah scroll completion .jpg-203908
Mulling the task ahead, Meir Biton carefully scans the Biblical text.
Torah scroll completion .jpg-201813
Torah scroll completion .jpg-203454
Alongside the unrolled scroll awaits a compact, ornately decorated Sephardic-style wooden enclosure.
Torah scroll completion .jpg-201717
Torah scroll completion .jpg-202354
Biton’s ink-stained fingers deftly carve, and then attach a nib to a split bamboo stylus, and he takes a seat at a cloth-covered table along the bima.
Torah scroll completion .jpg-203207
Biton and others present intently study the quality of the hand-lettering, previously prepared by another scribe.
In the sacred silence, Biton whispers an ancient blessing to help focus on his crucial deed; one misspelled letter would invalidate the entire scroll.
Torah scroll completion .jpg-202231

“I have placed God before me, always”
 (Ps. 16:8), emblazoned above the opening to the Aron Kodesh, where the scrolls are kept
This is the second such Torah donated by the Elishkovs of Rishon L’tzion, both occasions marking the Bar Mitzva of sons of the Georgian immigrant family.
Torah scroll completion .jpg-204450

One after another, Biton gently rests the hand of the son, then, father and then guests upon his own, as he repeats the sacred act, painstakingly inking letter after letter.
Each Jew is enjoined to write their own Sefer Torah; this ritual allows them to partner in the holy moment, and become living links in the chain they themselves forge.
Torah scroll completion .jpg-204629
Torah scroll completion .jpg-204523
Pen inks parchment, as the faintly traced Hebrew letters become the last word of the five Books of Moses: Israel.
Torah scroll completion .jpg-210223
After the ceremony, the scroll takes its place among the other scrolls brought over the centuries from locations across the Middle East, back to their ancestral home.
Torah scroll completion .jpg-202012

A synagogue member kisses a Torah scroll, reposing within the Aron Kodesh.
Photographic notes:
My main camera setup is a Nikon D300 and assorted macro to telephoto lenses, however, impromptu opportunities like this prove the dictum that “the best camera is the one you have with you.”
Initially, I’d just ducked into Abuhav earlier for evening services, and hadn’t known of the planned event.
I shot these images with a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, via the Better Camera app. I carefully set the ISO (the sensor’s sensitivity to light), exposure, white balance for the fluorescent lights, and, finally, set macro or standard focus settings, depending on the shot.
But no matter what level camera/smart/phone you may be using, here are two important suggestions:
*Always shoot at the highest resolution possible, so you’ll have more to crop from later.
*Don’t preset in any effects (HDR, “Instagram,” etc.), since they make it near impossible to correct later, and can easily be added in via a stand-alone editing app instead.
Flitting around the action (well, as discreetly as possible…), I tried to get as many angles as possible, at different aperture and focus settings. I tried to avoid the all-too-common Smartphone and DSLR “eye-level-now-everybody-smile-for-the-camera!” shots.
Editing in Lightroom 5, I tightly cropped and vignetted several of the shots, both to draw attention to the specific subject, and to suggest the drama of the moment.
I saved the images in lower-resolution .jpg format, as seen here, as well as far higher .tiff. Both .tiff and in-camera .raw save all the information in the image, thus allowing far great flexibility in editing the image afterward.
I welcome your thoughts and feedback on this first in what I hope to develop into a photo essay series, featuring various sites and events in Israel.
I’ll do my best to share both the story in the photos themselves, and take you behind the scenes of how I got the shots.
In order to foster a two-way dialogue with you, the reader, and beginner and intermediate photographer, feel free to include your photos of the same locales in your comments so we can “contrast and compare” results.
(Click on the photos to view a full-sized image in a new browser window. All photos:, All Rights Reserved). Original essay at

Sunday, July 12

Int'l Multimedia Students 'Get To News' in Unique Israeli University-Based Program (Photos, Audio)

Had an excellent 2nd-annual all-day broadcast/online radio reporting and production seminar/workshop at Bar-Ilan University, mentoring and chatting with media students from around the world, on the "Get to News" Training Program.Hosted by the סוכנות הידיעות תצפית Tazpit News Agency, a dozen fascinating, talented and dedicated pupils are here for several weeks gaining hardcore multimedia experience in radio, tv, print, photography, and social media.

Check out some of the audio:

"The Program offers a fascinating, educational and unique experience, as it supplies its participants with valuable tools, knowledge, and 'on the job' experience in one of the biggest media hubs in the world. While guided by the best in their field, and producing exclusive materials, participants will get a chance to supercharge their careers:

Besides time on-mike, they'll meet and mentor with experts, learning and reporting about the real Israel, beyond the foreign coverage headlines (all photos: courtesy the amazing Andrew McIntire).

                                                   On-mike with Katerina. (Photo: courtesy Andrew McIntire)

On-mike with Rahul. (Photo: courtesy Andrew McIntire)

Working the board with the radio facility manager, Asaph Nissan.
(Photo: courtesy Andrew McIntire)

Checking out my battered Zoom H4n field recorder with Petra and Steffi.
(Photo: courtesy Andrew McIntire)

Hoping I remembered to save that audio cut...
(Photo: courtesy Andrew McIntire)


Web Israel At Level Ground