View stunning ‘Tel Aviv From Above’ in aerial photo series shot during lockdown
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Photo essayTrapped in White City, British photographer captures history

View stunning ‘Tel Aviv From Above’ in aerial photo series shot during lockdown

As denizens of the Big Orange slowly return to the outdoor activities, tennis courts, beaches, and volleyball courts offer a photogenic opportunity

  • Boats moored at Tel Aviv Marina, Tel Aviv, April 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
    Boats moored at Tel Aviv Marina, Tel Aviv, April 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
  • 'Dog Beach,' Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
    'Dog Beach,' Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
  • Basketball courts at the Sportek, Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
    Basketball courts at the Sportek, Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
  • A lone surfer at Hilton Beach, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
    A lone surfer at Hilton Beach, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
  • TLV Balloon, the hot air balloon in Ganei Yehoshua, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
    TLV Balloon, the hot air balloon in Ganei Yehoshua, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
  • Boat rental at Ganei Yehoshua park, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
    Boat rental at Ganei Yehoshua park, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
  • A basketball court in Ha’Yarkon Park, Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
    A basketball court in Ha’Yarkon Park, Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
  • Volleyball before sunset on Gordon beach, Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
    Volleyball before sunset on Gordon beach, Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
  • Tennis courts at Ganei Yehoshua, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)
    Tennis courts at Ganei Yehoshua, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)

My two-week vacation in Tel Aviv was going as planned when the pandemic swept in, seemingly out of nowhere. It brought with it an order for new arrivals to retroactively quarantine that sent me into confinement for a week. Widespread border closings followed shortly after, making it apparent that I wouldn’t be flying back to Spain — where I live as an expat Brit — anytime soon.

While the coronavirus tore through Israel for a time, causing people to fear for their health and livelihoods, Israelis are nothing if not resilient. Before long, the denizens of Tel Aviv were back on the streets.

Determined to document the positive side of things, I set out with my drone in my backpack, looking to capture what I’d previously taken for granted: The freedom to enjoy the diverse array of activities that this city has to offer. The photos I shot are part of an ongoing project I’d started earlier called “Tel Aviv From Above.”

Vibrancy, energy and vitality are my rubber-stamped impressions of Tel Aviv. When I close my eyes and think of the White City, I smell the sea breeze, feel the Mediterranean heat, and sense continual motion. This always gives me the burning desire to be outdoors for as long as possible.

A lone surfer at Hilton Beach, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)

Though I’d recently decided to take a hiatus from photographing sports, the Tel Aviv municipality’s recent push to offer even more free sporting opportunities made it tempting to revisit the topic. In fact, all of my drone shots in Tel Aviv happen to be sports related.

‘Dog Beach,’ Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)

My first port of call was the coastline, traditionally known for its weekend
crowds of sunbathers unwinding on deckchairs, munching on garinim (sunflower seeds), playing matkot (paddle ball), and occasionally dipping into the sea to cool off.

Volleyball before sunset on Gordon beach, Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)

Nowadays Tel Aviv’s beaches have been transformed into a cross between Copacabana and Venice Beach with the introduction of volleyball courts and outdoor gyms, as well as an increase in the popularity of surfing and paddle boarding.

A basketball court in Ha’Yarkon Park, Tel Aviv, May 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)

Next I took to the city’s basketball courts. The sport has been popular in Israel ever since I can remember, and the opening of new courts has encouraged more people to participate than ever before.

Tennis courts at Ganei Yehoshua, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)

Tennis has also long enjoyed its own modest popularity, thanks in part to Israeli stars such as Amos Mansdorf and Shahar Pe’er. There are plentiful hard courts, each with its own unique color coding.

An early morning lone swimmer on Gordon beach, Tel Aviv, November 2019. (Photo by Lord K2)

My mission during the coronavirus crisis was to capture stills of spots that bring joy to the city, and I challenged myself to get images that were more visually pleasing than in real life. This often meant getting up before sunrise and cycling to my destination of choice before the golden hour to prepare for my shot. Before I release the shutter, light, perspective, geometrical shapes, color and texture need to fall in sync. Fortunately, this happened on a number of occasions.

Boat rental at Ganei Yehoshua park, Tel Aviv, March 2020. (Photo by Lord K2)

David Sharabani, a.k.a. Lord K2, was born in London, is a citizen of Israel, and should be residing in Spain. He is obsessed with drone and sports photography, was the official photographer of the World Muay Thai Council, and curates the online Museum of Urban Art.

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