Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Abstraction (and Nature)

28 July 2014

Lens:

I. Monochrome

1. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

 

4. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

5. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

5. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

II. Color

5. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

6. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

6. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

7. Bark of a Sycamore Tree; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why.

Pens:

The sycamore is more than a native tree that comforts, shades and helps sustain life beneath it. It has bold statements to voice about beauty, strength and vulnerability. Its overarching magnetism is found in its attention-catching hardiness in the face of its exfoliation. Without hesitation the thin outer layer of bark sheds in dramatic subtlety and even outbursts.

Strangely, there is little scientific consensus as to why that peeling occurs. Possibly the process protects these long-living trees from disease. Or the older bark sheds to give rise to a newer outer skin. Or it’s a genetic advantage. Or…

Each summer and autumn my mammoth sycamore scatters mottled strips. Shapes are endlessly unique. It’s not the variety or constancy of this ritual that attracts me. It’s the light and dark of varied-colored surfaces that seem to catch me by surprise.

It’s as though flashes of colors aka Jackson Pollack style fall into bushes and spread on the ground where it stands. Throughout the year the tree’s greyish outer layer gains new character with a palette that keeps redefining itself.

This deciduous hardwood has perseverance and tenacity. As it keeps up appearances, it also defies the notion of nature’s usual fare.

Ode to the Sycamore:                                                                                                                    Pieces of my heart nestle with the soft wind.                                                                          Verve breaks through the maze,                                                                                              Creating a vision to study.                                                                                                     Candor appears on edges of light and dark,                                                                              Then rises to challenge daybreak’s interpretation.                                                           Subtlety witnesses the quiet and boisterous drama,                                                           which corrals tears with steamy dreams.                                                                            Silhouettes are deceptive,                                                                                                       Hiding and then revealing the real and true.                                                                                And Mother Nature blends veracity with tensile strength to give mysterious performances.

Tip of the Week: Recently, I visited my alma mater’s library, which is not more than a mile and a half from my sanctuary. I was on a personal mission to acquire a copy of Robert Frank’s The Americans. There are some visual stories that must be revisited. His book is one. Issued in 1958, it was an event that gradually altered the public’s view about photography. In its initial publication the reaction was quite harsh. Subsequently, Frank’s work inspired generations of photographers, because he used ordinary people to document the everyday world of the 1950s. Click here and view an article on NPR’s Website called “Americans: The Book That Changed Photography.”

View other entries for this week’s challenge (Challenger’s Choice):

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-challengers-choice-french-transport/

http://streetsofsfphotos.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/tree-house/

http://uniqueartchic.com/2014/07/28/cheeky-wooden-elephant/

http://rfljenksy.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/birds-of-a-feather-flock-on-lazimpat/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/100-umbrellas/

http://ohmsweetohm.me/2014/07/28/night-flight/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2014/07/28/iphoneography-monday-7-28-14/

http://nocrybabies.net/2014/07/28/nature-is-not-always-cute/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/phoneography-challenge-silky-fine-lines/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/phoneography-challenge-dragonfly-reverie/

http://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-challengers-choice-travel/

http://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-like-water-for-chocolate/

http://artifactsandfictions.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/golden-light/

Note:

If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

 

 

 

Posted in Photography, Writing, Inspiration, Black-and-White Photography, iPhoneography, Abstract, Nature Photography, Art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Black and White (Destination: Brooklyn Bridge)

21 July 2014

Lens:

1. Brooklyn Bridge, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Brooklyn Bridge, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally

2. Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally

3. Brooklyn Bridge, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Brooklyn Bridge, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Brooklyn Bridge, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Brooklyn Bridge, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

5. Brooklyn Bridge, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

5. Brooklyn Bridge, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why.

Pens:

Bridges have always intrigued me. They demonstrate humanity’s ability to work with (and against) Mother Nature. I cannot overstate my respect for those that design and build these behemoths. To discover them on the horizon is to place human feats of intellectual and physical prowess front and center. Their stamp upon the landscape gives me pause, but seen in an urban setting is simultaneously fitting and strange.

New York City is like American jazz: innovative, original, fluid, historic, unpredictable, discordant, sophisticated, and treasured. This comparison was apparent to me during my recent visit. That trip combined the usual flare with two other jewels: my eighty-nine-year-old uncle, who is a retired professional photographer, and a particular destination. We took car, light rail, and subway to approach our day’s event: to walk the Brooklyn Bridge.

The day-long adventure was almost seamless. Sure a sunnier day would have been appreciated, but even grey cloudscapes seemed to honor us. Mostly, cooler temps made our street travel and crossing the footbridge immeasurable pleasurable.

The Brooklyn Bridge is one of those must-see landmarks for those who are keen on spying major cities from higher and more distant vantage points. At its official opening in 1883 it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. It’s a marvel of human construction that is steeped in ingenuity, tragedy and wonder. Many lost their lives in the service of bringing the bridge to life.

The just-over-a-mile-long span is an easy jaunt from Manhattan to Brooklyn or vice versus. It’s popularity has never wavered as a commuting fairway by bike, car or foot.

Since I’ve lived most of my life on the East Coast, New York has seen my presence so many times that I am puzzled that the Brooklyn Bridge had escaped my company. But the same fact applied to my uncle. So we vowed to join forces and just do it.

There is a sense of euphoria that washes over me when I traverse such a monumental structure. Waves of emotion hold me tight, and the grandeur of the views move inward  where they rest to return at some later time.

These experiences also have a level of unreality in their reality. To imagine piles of raw materials turning into such beauty and utility is such a huge idea that even after scores of such structures, it still seems impossible.

Over the years I’ve been able to walk covered bridges and many smaller ones that cross  creeks and rivers. But large pedestrian bridges easily rise above those, and are a more visually fulfilling accomplishment.

It’s not just the sweeping vistas and scenery. It’s the process of moving, for example, over the East River as though I am walking on water to the shores of Brooklyn.

As I was suspended over the water, I had the chance to contemplate the space that is apparent between the water, skyline and me in between them. It was splendrously joyful, and I take none of it for granted.

Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn, New York, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Brooklyn Bridge and Brooklyn, New York, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

The list of bridges that I have walked may be short, but each left vivid tactile descriptors that remind me of their differences and similarities: Brooklyn Bridge (New York) , Deux-Rives (the Garden of Two Banks that joints Kehl, Germany, and Strasbourg, France), Golden Gate Bridge (California), Pointe Vecchio (Florence, Italy), and Pont des Arts (Paris, France). So many, many more to conquer.

Probably the most memorable of the above was the day that my grandchildren and I walked the Golden Gate Bridge. Their sense of excitement added to my own. The crystalline blue sky, the slight wind and a light crowd gave us permission to simply enjoy the experience. The symbolic orangey color of the beams acted as soldiers that led us back and forth on a shared journey of personal fulfillment. Click here to view my photographs from that crossing.

In the process of one of these adventure, I immerse myself: body, eye, mind, and spirit. After such small triumphs, I wonder: Was I really there? Did I take full advantage of the experience? What would a second walk achieve? Then I usually pivot to thoughts about philosophical remains of the day.

I’m still in total amazement that “we” can produce such architectural beauties. Their longevity is one accomplishment, the utility another. Really, it’s the variation on the theme that astounds.

The Brooklyn Bridge reminds me of a waltz: melodic and sensual. Without a great output of physical endurance it allows you to stroll at your own cadence from one urban center to another. Whether coming or going, each side gives an energetic view of the human capacity to create. The East River moves below, the heavens stand above, and there we are in the middle.

Cables of the Brooklyn Bridge,  New York, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Cables of the Brooklyn Bridge, New York, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Tip of the Week: If you’ve never read The Photographer’s Eye (1966) by John Szarkowski, I strongly suggest that you run to your nearest bookstore, computer or library, and get a copy. It’s content never grows old. Black-and-white images and the author’s text are used to comment and describe the art of photography. Artists are well-known and not-so-well known, and each work gives a powerful visual statement about the possibilities within the frame.

“To quote out of context is the essence of the photographer’s craft…: what shall he include, what shall he respect? The line of decision between in and out is the picture’s edge. While the draughtsman starts with the middle of the sheet, the photographer starts with the frame. The photographer’s edge defines context. It isolates unexpected juxtaposition. By surrounding two facts, it creates a relationship… The photographer edits the meanings and patterns of the world through an imagery frame. This frame is the beginning of his picture’s geometry.” — The Photographer’s Eye (1966) by John Szarkowski

View other entries for this week’s challenge:

http://streetsofsfphotos.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/rainbow-house-in-bw-color/

http://amaltaas.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white-2/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/merit/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/phoneography-japanese-tea-garden-tells-a-story-of-harmony-in-black-and-white/

http://helpalongthepath.com/2014/07/21/workspace-phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2014/07/21/iphoneography-monday-7-21-14/

http://uniqueartchic.com/2014/07/22/monochrome-summer-florals/

http://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white/

http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-balck-and-white/

http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/when-the-weather-offers-just-shades-of-grey/

 http://ohmsweetohm.me/2014/07/24/sallys-black-and-white-challenge/

Note:

If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

Posted in Architecture, Art and Creativity, Black-and-White Photography, Design, Inspiration, iPhoneography, Mobile Photography, Photography, Traveling and Travels, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Macro (What Do a Factory and a Flower Have in Common?)

14 July 2014

Lens:

Part I-Debris at Abandoned Factory

1. Abandoned Factory, Delaware, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Abandoned Factory, Delaware, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Abandoned Factory, Delaware, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Abandoned Factory, Delaware, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

II. Part Two-Japanese Iris

3. Japanese Iris in Pond, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Japanese Iris in Pond, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why.

Pens:

While my grandson and I meandered around the countryside waiting for an apt spot to do a photo shoot, a previously mentioned site suddenly was within a mile’s drive. That sealed our afternoon with cameras in hand and a destination that satiated our quest.

As we stood and scanned the abandoned industrial site, we knew that our time there would be dictated by the chain-link fence that surrounded the acres of factory buildings. We positioned ourselves on the edge of the site where we only had access to what was directly in front of us: about a few hundred yards that bordered the road. No doubt we will return to scout the overgrown property and search for other vantage points.

It’s not worth discussing the history of the well-known company held hostage by progressive decay, because many of the images that I framed are abstractions–close-ups through spaces in the fence. Fortunately, some of the materials and buildings were inches from the wire barriers.

The most intriguing part of the afternoon’s shoot was how the abandoned grounds gave birth to a variety of possibilities. Since this week is macro week, the site proved a place to record features that are seemingly not what they appear to be–at least in my visual universe.

What was before me was fragments of what was: the recognizable rearranged by time’s weathering hand. Materials. which were once made utilitarian, are now dislodged and useless. I was beckoned by numerous subplots.

In the Lens section are two images from that photo shoot. Each shows a small slice of the deconstruction found at the site-a site with its integrity compromised. Slowly human-made materials are being covered by nature; vines and underbrush march forward with a vengeance.

For some deeply-held reasons the state of the factory’s demise reminded of another image that I took last month. The Japanese iris (image #3) that is included in this post is a companion of sorts to the other two photographs.

The Japanese iris is one of a dozen that bloomed in my pond this spring. They grow in a large container that has been there for over a decade. They reside the entire year.

During their blooming stage, I am enthralled with their stunning designs and deep purple hues. That single petal that hangs in its finality reminded me of the cycle of life that occurs in a sundry of disparate entities in nature and human nature.

The similarity between the deserted factory in the final stages of existence and the flower being depleted of its potency are surprisingly similar, yet not. Once each had a vibrancy that sought attention. Then each did their swan song in opposite ways: one rather quickly, the other in glacial pace.

The factory’s materials were plant-based and used to make commercial products, providing generations of jobs and keeping a community economically lively. The Japanese iris’s splendor is so delicate and strong that it defies its short fleeting beauty. The flower’s presence in American gardens provides a tribute to our global economy and the import of other countries’ horticultural products.

In their demise they share the end of an intersection between nature and human nature. They both become memories in the annals of everyday life. But each has brought a more examined (macro) view of what we see, and how we interpret our individual visual landscapes.

Tip of the Week: Recently, I spent some time viewing the works of finalists from Eighth Annual iPhone Photography Awards. This competition has much to offer those who use iPhones or any Smartphone as their lens or anyone interested in photography. I hope that you will peruse their Website, where winners’ works are featured from as far back as 2008. To see this year’s winners, click here. To view previous years’ winners, click here. Julio Lucas from Bradenton, Florida, United States, is the 2014 IPPA Photographer of the Year. Click here to view his Instagram site. While he is the overall winner, there are several categories of awards in this competition.

View other entries for this week’s challenge:

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-macro-unexpected-visitors/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/one-day-ill-fly-away/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/phoneography-up-close-with-a-flamboyant-beauty/

http://uniqueartchic.com/2014/07/14/hipstamatic-app-review/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/phoneography-macro-challenge-a-sultry-red/

http://steve-says.net/2014/07/14/tell-someone-the-time-not-on-my-watch/

http://austindetails.me/2014/07/14/surprise-inside/

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-macro-2/

http://livingwithmyancestors.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-macro-3/

http://helpalongthepath.com/2014/07/14/tertiary-phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge/

http://nocrybabies.net/2014/07/16/macro-monday/

http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-macro-3/

Note:

Congratulations to me: It’s my 300th post.  

If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

Posted in Abstract, Art, Black-and-White Photography, Inspiration, iPhoneography, Macro Photography, Photography, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Nature (and the Marin Headlands)

07 July 2014

Lens:

1. Marin Headlands, California; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved:Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Marin Headlands, California, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Tunnel to Bonita Lighthouse, Marin Headlands, California; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/ Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Tunnel to Point Bonita Lighthouse, Marin Headlands, California, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/ Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Bonita Lighthouse, Marin Headlands, California; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/ Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Point Bonita Lighthouse, Marin Headlands, California, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/ Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Crashing Waves, Marin Headlands, California; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/ Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Crashing Waves, Marin Headlands, California, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/ Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why.

Pens: Mother Nature has been my muse for longer than I have given her deeply-committed thought. As years add to my experiences, a rising level of emotion accompanies never-seen-by-me natural wonders as well as local wildlife. Nature is never taken for granted.

These encounters can be as small as a baby praying mantis or as mammoth as California’s Marin Headlands. Size really doesn’t matter.

A place, which exhibits grandeur, quickly catches people’s attention: Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Mt. Everest, Great Barrier Reef… And so it was that my dear friend and I spent half a day exploring the expansive Marin Headlands at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in Northern California.

As though Mother nature was challenging our commitment, we arrived on a gray, overcast late morning. Surprisingly, the subtle colors seemed bolder than they should have been. The nearly monochrome panorama made the spectacle even more pronounced, demonstrating how visual acuity plays with our mind’s interpretations. Then the sun appeared.

Two years ago I stood at another vantage point on the Headlands to gaze at the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay, which was spectacular. This new location at Point Bonita is broader, wider and more inclusive, because it is situated at the tip of the jutting cliffs. It’s bordered by massive rock formations, large swaths of green space and vistas of the bay. Various views from the Point kept us occupied for hours.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is the largest U.S. urban park, maintains the Point Bonita Lighthouse. We walked the half-mile trail and through a tunnel to reach the foot bridge that guards the lighthouse. That description may seem strange, but that’s how it felt.

5. Tunnel Leading to the Point Bonita Lighthouse, Marin Headlands, California, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

5. Tunnel Leading to the Point Bonita Lighthouse, Marin Headlands, California, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

This familiar yet unassuming structure has been guiding ships for over 150 years. We were not surprised to share the trail with ample visitors. Even with rolling clouds the scenery was so enthralling that we lingered and lingered. We had been there so long that we neglected our picnic lunch.

Waves performed, pelicans graced the skyline, patterns appeared on rocks, wildflowers glowed in mid light, cliffs stood eloquently, visitors gazed in awe, park rangers answered queries, and winds moved across the surface of the water to force waves into action.

As satiated as I was on the walk back, the next sighting raised my emotional responses enormously. Below in the bay 120 harbor seals were sleeping on sandy banks and sunning on water-drenched rocks, which encouraged my cup to overflow its rim.

6. Cliff Surface, Point Bonita Lighthouse, California, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

6. Cliff Surface, Point Bonita Lighthouse, California, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

From this spot the Golden Gate Bridge was entirely visible. Its signature orange seemed content with the day’s slightly turquoise cast on the bay.

The panorama is so classic that I felt we were posing for a postcard to be sent to family and friends. I could sense the excitement that forced San Francisco’s population to rise from 900 to 20,000 (National Park Service brochure) during the Gold Rush. Most of the 49ers came through the Golden Gate.

When you are devoted to Mother Nature as I am, it’s relatively easy to have your heartstrings pluck melodic music during such excursions. Instantly, I became completely immersed in the visual, the history, the moment, the place. Everywhere the wild seemed to be appreciated.

The day was pure harmony and secured multiple vistas in my treasure trove of memories.  To be sure nature’s natural history continues to write a remarkably stellar story.

Tip of the Week: I’m always on the alert for articles about the environment. On Earth Day (22 April) of this year The New York Times announced the PBS viewing of the documentary, “American Masters: A Fierce Green Fire.” The film covers five topics: conservation, pollution, alternatives, going global, and climate change. It’s based on the 1993 book published by The Times’ environmental reporter Philip Shabecoff. This film covers 50 years of the environmental movement and social justice. Robert Redford and Meryl Streep are included as advocates for the movement. To view a trailer (time-2:30) about the documentary, click here.

“A sweeping history of the environmental movement, ‘A Fierce Green Fire’ is both a cautionary tale and a triumphant one.” –The Washington Post, 2014

From a 2014 review in Publisher’s Weekly: “Shabecoff concludes that an ecologically sound society can also be economically sound.”

View other entries for today’s challenge:

http://talesfromthebackroad.com/phoneography-photo-challenge-nature/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-nature-a-real-tree-t/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/four/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/phoneography-challenge-the-art-and-zen-of-nature/

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-nature-2/

http://streetsofsfphotos.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/nature-sees/

http://nocrybabies.net/2014/07/07/monday-nature/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/phoneography-a-wild-and-wonderous-garden/

http://helpalongthepath.com/2014/07/07/bee-on-a-thistle-phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge/

http://decocraftsdigicrafts.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/3504/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2014/07/07/iphoneography-monday-7-7-14/

http://amaltaas.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-nature/

http://uniqueartchic.com/2014/07/08/rose-art/

http://neomanu.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/phoneography-monday-the-sea-urchin/

http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/when-still-images-dont-quite-paint-the-picture/

http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-nature-3/

http://livingwithmyancestors.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-nature-and-look-up-look-down-challenge-week-47/

Note:

If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

Posted in Art, Art and Creativity, Black-and-White Photography, Inspiration, iPhoneography, Nature Photography, Photography, Traveling and Travels, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 66 Comments

Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Editing and Processing with Apps (PhotoStudio)

30 June 2014

Lens:

I. Using FX Photo Studio and Glaze

1. Waiting for the R Train to Brooklyn, New York City, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Waiting for the R Train to Brooklyn, New York City, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Waiting for the R Train to Brooklyn, New York City, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Waiting for the R Train to Brooklyn, New York City, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Waiting for the R Train to Brooklyn, New York City, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Waiting for the R Train to Brooklyn, New York City, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Waiting for the R Train to Brooklyn, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Waiting for the R Train to Brooklyn, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

II. Original Image

5. Waiting for the R Train to Brooklyn, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

5. Waiting for the R Train to Brooklyn, New York; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

 

Pens:

On Wednesday I took a day trip to the East Coast city that stirs the hearts and spirits of everyone that visits its eclectic and electric streets: New York. Since I grew up in the Middle Atlantic states, Manhattan was an easy jaunt.

I cannot even begin to guess the number of times that I’ve grazed there. This particular trip had a purpose: to walk the Brooklyn Bridge with my eighty-nine-year-old uncle. There will be more next month about that adventure.

Since this week’s challenge involves post-processing using the sundry of apps that are available, I felt compelled to share one image. It seems appropriate for multiple interpretations.

I adore mass transit: it’s efficiency of travel coupled with fewer cars on the road draw me to it. Please read a recent post where I talk more about this affinity. Click here.

In order to reach our destination in Lower Manhattan, we used two modes of public transportation: light rail and subway. Oh, and our feet did lots of work. Once in the city’s Penn Station we searched for the subway that would help us get closer to the bridge’s entrance.

As we stood waiting for the next R train to arrive, I did what comes natural to me: observe and watch. I’ve even discovered ways to be non-intrusive–ways to become part of the ambience and not impinge on someone’s space.

Suddenly a young woman hurriedly crossed in front of me. With a casual flare she leaned against one of the vertical support beams near the track.

As she stared in anticipation of the train’s arrival, my thoughts leaped to the universality of the moment. My iPhone ready (my DSLR on my back), I knew it was time for quick action.

In the Lens section are five images. The first four are renderings using the apps Glaze (#4) and FX Photo Studio (#1-3). The fifth is the original.

When I knew that I wanted to freeze that moment in time, instincts surfaced but so did very specific reasons for the scene’s enticements. Probably the most influential was the simplicity of the scene: the very nature of her physical confidence. She seemed a woman of bold choices. Mostly, it was the pose of the “wait.”

Since I’m always concerned about the privacy of others, the impetus for many photographs is a person’s anonymity. In this case the young woman stood fairly close with her back to me. That made it easy to take the shot.

Other influences that simultaneously compelled me: angles and lines of the track, the yellow warning, interaction of the colors, and the voyeur’s feet on the right. All-in-all the scene’s composition was packed with fascination and mystery.

I could watch passengers arriving and departing all day. It stirs my sense of wonder, imagining their stories: adventurous or mundane, repetitive or varied, stressed or tranquil.

Tip of the Week: During my decades of darkroom development I rarely did substantial editing. While that credo still applies, I do enjoy playing with the digital darkroom and its continuum of photo apps. While I remain true to the original, I am not hog-tied to it. Hence I do find the “play,” which comes with these chemical-free toys, charged with a new kind of visual language. I seem to stick with a few tried-and-true (i.e., FX Photo Studio and Glaze). But there are others sitting in the queue. I get ideas from Flipboard, which is a free “personalized” online magazine, and my nightly read before the lights are quieted. Flipboard displays images in a special iPhoneography section, and I am enticed to view each day’s gallery. Sometimes I’m intrigued to try this or that. Some disappoint, but it may be my cursory effort. I know that they have more to offer. I simply don’t go deep enough into their layers. Also I’ve noticed that many diehard app devotees use more than one photo app per image. I’ve never plunged into multiple usage. Experimentation is  on my agenda. I do recommend that you try the two that I used for this post. FX Photo Studio is especially versatile with its various choices of styles. If you have an iPhone, you can get them in the iTunes App Store. Here’s the link for the Photo and Video page. Do not be overwhelmed, it shows you the variety and a long list of choices. If you try the two that I recommended, let me know if you like one more than the other or both.

View others from this week’s challenge:

http://pictograf.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-editing-and-processing/

http://irenewaters19.com/2014/06/30/phoneography-challenge-identical/

http://amaltaas.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-editing-and-processing-with-apps/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/know-it-all/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-editing-and-processing-with-various-apps-using-themes-from-the-fourth-week-still-life/

http://decocraftsdigicrafts.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/phoneography-challenge-editing-with-apps/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2014/06/30/iphoneography-monday-6-30-14/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/phoneorgaphy-the-challenging-chalk-art-photography/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/phoneography-challenge-editing-dragon-fruit/

http://helpalongthepath.com/2014/06/30/bridge-phoneography-and-non-slr-devices-photo-challenge/

http://austindetails.me/2014/06/30/iphoneography-contrast/

http://walktheselftalk.com/2014/07/01/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices/

http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/to-old-to-be-playing-with-my-food-yeah-right/

http://neomanu.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/phoneography-monday-processing/

http://talesfromthebackroad.com/phoneography-photo-challenge/

http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-photo-editing/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/weekly-photo-challenge-contrasts-a-frog-bridesmaids-and-a-bride/

Note:

If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

Posted in Art, Human Nature, Inspiration, iPhoneography, Mobile Photography, Photography, Street Photography, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 78 Comments

Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Travel to San Francisco

23 June 2014

Lens:

1. Urban Waterfall, San Francisco, California, iPhone 4s, Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Urban Waterfall, San Francisco, California, iPhone 4s, Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Mission District, Valencia Street, San Francisco, California, Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Mission District, Valencia Street, San Francisco, California, Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. San Francisco, California, iPhone 4s, Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. San Francisco, California, iPhone 4s, Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Skyscraper, San Francisco, iPhone 4s, Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Skyscraper, San Francisco, iPhone 4s, Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved Lens and Pens by Sally

5. Street Life, San Francisco, California, iPhone 4s, Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved Lens and Pens by Sally

5. Street Life, San Francisco, California, iPhone 4s, Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why.

Pens:

“As a child, yearning to leave home and go far away, the image in my mind was of flight – my little self hurrying off alone. The word “travel” did not occur to me nor did the word
“transformation,” which was my unspoken but enduring wish. I wanted to find a new self in a distant place, and new things 
to care about. The importance of elsewhere was something I took on faith. Elsewhere was the place I wanted to be”
~ Paul Theroux in “The Tao of Travel”

San Francisco startles one’s reality. It’s an urban center with a stellar reputation, which never ever disappoints. Many of the most sought-to-see cities have such depth to their inner and outer shells that it takes a lifetime to appreciate and experience their offerings.

This golden city pulses with such enthusiasm for its daily residents and visitors that energy whisks through the streets. Its urban culture has saturated the bones of  corners and turns. She seems to play with the life cycle, sharing examples of the depth and breath of humanity’s accomplishments, struggles and triumphs.

When I first walked the streets of San Francisco, I fell crushingly in love. She seeped into my veins and flowed into my heart. As I would later learn, she was already in my DNA.

After my dear uncle died, my mother began to take target practice at the family tree. Question upon question surfaced. I quickly grabbed the opportunity to ease her confusion, and learn more about our genealogy.

I knew a major portion of my maternal family tree was from Southern Germany, but I was unprepared for rich tales about their assimilation that began in the mid-1800s and continued into the twentieth century. While their acculturation is similar to many others’ experiences, during years of research I excavated details that spun complex story lines.

Their contributions to the economic and religious history of Baltimore, Maryland, began during America’s second wave of European immigration  (1820-1880). But they also played a role in the history of the West Coast’s  Gold Rush in California.

One of my great, great uncles was a member of the California Society of Pioneers (one of fifty Baltimoreans). His journey from Germany to the East Coast and two years later to San Francisco is one of courage, fortitude and perseverance.

As a forty-niner he went from mining camp to mining camp trying to economically and emotionally survive. He staked a claim in Columbia (California), became an entrepreneur in several mining camps, and used those experiences in a family clothing business upon his return to our newly-created homestead in Baltimore. As the era of the Gold Rush moved toward a halt, two other ancestors also came to San Francisco to try their luck panning gold throughout Northern California.

Even in the twenty-first century San Francisco is very much a symbol of the New Frontier: new ideas, new opportunities. For me this city is a testament to identity and memory. But it is also a place where the past accompanies the present and creates a new past in the present.

In the 1840s my ancestors became embedded in transnational migration. They left Europe for political, religious and social reasons. Many began the trek in their late teens, with their wanderlust helping to fortify them against the arduous journeys and tasks ahead of them.

While Battery Park in New York City was their entry point, eventually at least three relatives were lured by Gold Rush fever. At separate times each was greeted by the Golden Gate. San Francisco was a promise land that gave them less financially and more in personal metamorphosis.

Every visit to this golden city adds a special luster to my Northern California journals–journals that are colored with patinas of my own travel fever and just might be part of my family’s genealogical character. Or so I believe. Regardless the impetus, travel I must.

Tip of the Day: I enjoy reading about place and time through travel, and turn to some of the most noted authors for their travelogues. Paul Theroux’s publications cover over fifty years of travel writings. In The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road (2011) Theroux created a compendium that combines his own writings with philosophical quotes by other travelers. In The New York Times review (03 June 2011) Henry Shukman wrote: “More or less a commonplace book whose merit lies in its capacity to offer random delight rather than coherent argument, “The Tao of Travel” is as likely to land you with Pico Iyer as Emily Dickinson, Samuel Johnson as Bronislaw Malinowski. There are chapters on exotic meals (seal flipper, bear paw, adolescent human blood), travel ordeals, the English abroad, railways and imaginary travels.” Whether you enjoy travel by foot or any other mode of transportation, it’s worth the read.

View other entries for this week’s challenge:

http://pictograf.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-objects/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-challengers-choice-architecture/

http://neomanu.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/phoneography-monday-my-choice-food/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/phoneography-challenge-san-francisco-street-demonstrations/#respond

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/path/

http://streetsofsfphotos.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/stairs-3-photos/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/phoneography-black-and-white-animals-and-plants/

http://uniquesochic.com/2014/06/23/jazzy-portrait-painting/

http://decocraftsdigicrafts.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/phoneography-and-sunday-stills-urban-landscape/

http://walktheselftalk.com/2014/06/23/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-objects-2/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2014/06/23/iphoneography-monday-6-23-14/

http://helpalongthepath.com/2014/06/23/iridescent-bush-phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge/

http://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-travel/

http://19planets.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/selfie-night-014-june-2014-haiga-and-haibun-for-phoneography-monday-portraiture-choice/

http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-travel-2/

http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/dreaming-away-the-midwinter-blues/

Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog. Click here and here to view recent posts also about my travels to Northern California.

If you’d like to join the Photo Challenge, please click here for details. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature.

2nd Monday: Macro.

3rd Monday: Black and White.

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.

Posted in Architecture, Art, Black-and-White Photography, Genealogy, Inspiration, iPhoneography, Mobile Photography, Photography, Street Photography, Traveling and Travels, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 58 Comments

Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Black and White (Train to Berkeley, California)

16 June 2014

Lens:

1. Sacramento Train Station,  California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Sacramento Train Station, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Sacramento Train Station, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Sacramento Train Station, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Departure from  Sacramento, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Departure from Sacramento, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Moving Train Heading to Berkeley, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Moving Train Heading to Berkeley, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why.

Pens:

My small town of Newark, Delaware, USA, has daily Amtrak and freight trains, which are woven into the fabric of the community. A train’s rhythm and syncopation is hard-wired into our experiences. There is hardly a corner within the city limits where you cannot hear rumblings on the tracks. Oh, and I smile at the sound of their whistles as they journey through town.

When my son was a toddler, we frequently walked a few blocks to our local train station, where he was mesmerized by passing or stilled behemoths. I surmise that his enthusiasm secured itself in my psyche.

As an adult my own adoration for this mode of travel has never wavered. Any chance to use the rails adds a surge to my everyday or holiday plans. I’d rather lounge in a train’s furnishings than use any other form of travel.

To be transported by this public system is to conjure America’s economic and social history, the culture of the new frontier, the country’s expanse, the pure joy of watching scenery evolve, the cadence of the wheels, an archetype of ingenuity, and the symbol of wanderlust. Sometimes even euphoria accompanies the destination sought. The rails encourage a sense of wonder–no deviation, tracks behind and ahead.

Sure, romanticism plays a part in the narrative, but I’m not having a love affair. When it’s possible, I transport myself onto the platform with ticket in hand, and board as a passenger to the known and unknown. While all travel has elements of the same, trains add an indescribable luster. Even tired and worn-out ones have their charming perks. Maybe I’m simply infatuated.

Such ambience offers a better chance for eavesdropping, listening and watching other passengers. Often if not reading or enjoying the landscape or schmoozing with a companion, I am a sensible voyeur studying the view inside and out.

Train stations remind me of my fascination with street life. Riding the rails seems an extension of city and rural life. It connects the two; it carries residents and visitors; it marries the road with the land. It is a stupendous human invention that continues a long tradition of reasonably priced transportation that accommodates the mind’s eye and  spirit.

I have a dear friend whose entire family took overnight rail from the East Coast to the Northwest. The itinerary took them to major and minor cities, and then they arrived at the end point: a national park. They interspersed a conversational and relaxing time on a sleeper car with camping out in the pristine wilderness: no bears invited. They had an onboard adventure that led to an outdoor one, but it also spurred their bookings of subsequent rail trips. Each having its flavor of the new and the old.

In the Lens section are four images that I took on a recent trip from Sacramento to Berkeley, California, via commuter rail. It was a heavenly two-decker that took us from cityscape to wetlands to cityscape. While it was grey and rainy, the interior was filled with chatty people on the go. But it was the occasional bucolic scenery and tiny towns that cradled my attention. I was like a marshmallow upon arrival at Berkeley Station, and truly ready to visit cherished friends.

Trains have a way of softening my mind; they uncover layers of stress and allow them to dissipate. I don’t mind the slow commuter trains that take us from my hometown to Philadelphia. Once I’ve set foot on ground again, I’m ready for lengthy walks in the city.

The balance is the grey between the black and white. The balance is the combination that inspires a certain kind of seeing: attentiveness to the moving and the stilled.

Tip of the Day: I’ve been doing a bit of spring cleaning, and came across an article about the French photojournalist, Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004). A year before his death he was interviewed by director Heinz Bütler, and the result is the film “The Impassioned Eye” (2003). It records their conversations as well as comments by well-known artists who knew Cartier-Bresson, or were the subject of his masterful photographs. His black and white images are a lesson in twentieth-century art history and art appreciation. He was an icon in the annals of photography. I encourage you to see the entire (72 minutes) or click here for the YouTube introduction (1:14 minutes).

Vélodrome D’Hiver, Paris, 1957, Henri Cartier-Bresson

Vélodrome D’Hiver, Paris, 1957, Henri Cartier-Bresson

“I find emotion in black and white: it transposes, it is an abstraction, it is not the norm. Reality is like a chaotic deluge and, within this reality, one must make choices that bring form and content together in a balanced way; just imagine having to think about colour on top of all this!” Henri Cartier-Bresson, interview with Le Monde, September 1974.

View other entries for this week’s challenge:

http://pictograf.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white-2/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-white-texture/

http://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/34039/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/loneliness-within/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/phoneography-challenge-black-and-white-on-the-ferry/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/phoneography-black-and-white-monday-with-wires-and-a-cat/

http://decocraftsdigicrafts.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/phoneography-challenge-black-and-white/

http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/helping-others-its-never-black-and-white/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2014/06/16/iphoneography-monday-6-16-14/

http://helpalongthepath.com/2014/06/16/stormy-monday-phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge/

http://19planets.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/the-long-light-sky-011-june-2014-haiga-and-haibun-for-phoneography-monday-black-and-white/

http://uniquesochic.com/2014/06/17/asiatic-lily-phoneography/#more-8831/

http://neomanu.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/phoneography-monday-black-and-white/

http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-black-and-white-2/

Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Photo Challenge, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges: 1st Monday: Nature 2nd Monday: Macro 3rd Monday: Black and White 4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel). 5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week

Posted in Architecture, Art and Creativity, Black-and-White Photography, Human Nature, Inspiration, iPhoneography, Mobile Photography, Phoneography, Photography, Traveling and Travels, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Virtual Blog Tour with Lens and Pens by Sally

09 June 2014

Lens:

My Photographic Palette

I. Abstract

1. Red Tulip, Nevada City, California, Nikon DSLR, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello

1. Red Tulip, Nevada City, California, Nikon DSLR, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello

II. Architecture/Design/ Street Life

1. Architecture, Design, Street Life, San Francisco, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2. San Francisco, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

III. Everyday Objects

3. Escape Route, San Francisco, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

3. Escape Route, San Francisco, California, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

IV. Dark and Light

4. Tunnel near Marin Headlands, San Francisco, California, Nikon DSLR, June 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Tunnel near Marin Headlands, San Francisco, California, Nikon DSLR, June 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

V. Nature

5. Granite Boulders Trail leading to Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

5. Granite Boulders Trail leading to Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

Let me know which you prefer and why.

Pens:

This post is my second for the day: a most unusual occurrence. Click here to see today’s other lens and pens. Last week Gracie (Graciebinoya.com) extended an invitation to me to join a Virtual Blog Tour. This project is new, and asks each participant to compose a one-time post to be published on a specific Monday. Its purpose is to introduce bloggers through a brief series of questions.

Responses to the same questions are vehicles to introduce a blogger to another blogger’s audience as well as the wider blogging community. Please visit Gracie’s blog and peruse her photography and answers.

Since I agreed to participate, I must respond to these questions as well as invite one or more bloggers to join the tour. I invited two bloggers. Their introduction follows this Q & A:

1. What am I working on?

My blog began as a vehicle to share narratives that are told through my lens and pens. This online life has moved me deeper and deeper into photography by encouraging exploration of new inner and outer vistas. All of my images represent layers of my aesthetic philosophy.

Over the last year I found myself doing more and more nature photography. I also am drawn to street life, and want to delve deeper into its narratives. Mostly, I have found a need to push my own boundaries in black-and-white photography. Additionally, the last year and a half has been another kind of journey. I organized a photo challenge that reflects the influence of technology upon photography. It provides a specific platform for consistent experimentation, and is building a community of participants. Click here for details, and here for an example of the challenge.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I combine two elements in my work, but so do many others. Photography and writing help me interpret my inner and outer universe. Each post describes through self-exploration an idea that can be inspired by one or a multitude of daily instigators. I remain open. Personal passions (e.g., reading, gardening, nature, research, technology, walking) help me connect ideas that turn into visual and written storytelling. But intuition and serendipity play huge roles.

As seen in the Lens section my photographic palette includes abstraction, architecture, design, nature (my muse), everyday objects, play between dark and light, and street life. I’m drawn to the oeuvre of the early masters of photography that created black-and-white prints with aesthetic and technical precision. This fascination with monochrome influences my world view.

3. Why do I write/create what I do?

The visual language of photography and dimensionality of prose have become my platforms. Each provides an opportunity to reappoint and redefine who I am. In particular photography offers a vantage point to seize the small, unnoticed and unseen: How to exhibit the unusual in the ordinary; How to show another side of beauty; and, How to discover my individual voice.

Photography and writing are two sources of internal fulfillment that is never truly fulfilled. Each completion has no future bearing on satisfaction. It simply spurs the next moment’s desire to capture the omnipresence of the magnificent and struggling universe that we inhabit.

4. How does your writing/creating process work?

Inspiration for photo shoots often comes from the juxtaposition of angles, contrast, lines, reflections, shadows, shapes, and texture. As a lifelong learner, travel inspires my inner spectator to observe and record, but I can as easily be awed by the appeal of an aged leaf or paring knife.

I read, research, watch, listen and respond. I’m an educator, photographer and independent scholar. These parts of me influence how I see my world, and how I share what I observe through my lens and pen.

Two Invitations to Join the Virtual Tour:

As part of my contribution to the Virtual Tour, I agreed to recommend one or more bloggers. Both Lisa Kennedy (http://nwframeofmind.com) and Amanda Lakey (http://uniquesochic.com/blog) will participate in the tour on Monday, 16 June. I am happy to introduce these women to you. They are relatively new to the blogging life. We each live in completely different regions of the world, and yet have been brought together by the wonders of cyberspace. It’s a joy to know them.

Lisa has a marvelous sense of grounded wanderlust. Her photographs are tales about her life in Washington, USA. Lisa and her family explore the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest and so much more. Amanda has a passion for the creative process, which is evident in her photography and other medium that she explores. Her versatility extends to her use of technology, which opens new avenues of her talents. She lives in Derbyshire, England. I hope that you will visit their sites.

Note: As always I welcome any comments about this post or any part of my blog.

Posted in Abstract, Architecture, Art and Creativity, Black-and-White Photography, Design, Inspiration, iPhoneography, Photography, Street Photography, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Macro (and Peonies)

09 June 2014

Lens:

I. The Peony Blossom

1. White Peony, iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

1. White Peony, iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2.  White Peony, iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2. White Peony, iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

3.  White Peony, iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

3. White Peony, iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Peony,  iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Peony, iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

II. The Peony Bud

5.  White Peony Bud, iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

5. White Peony Bud, iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

6. White Peony Bud, , iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

6. White Peony Bud, , iPhone 4s, June 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

Please let me know which you prefer and why.

Pens:

Today I will publish two posts; that’s an unusual feat for me. First, this post is my usual Monday fare: my entry in the photo challenge with a marvelous community of participants. The second post will  be in response to an invitation to join a Virtual Blog Tour. I hope that you will enjoy both efforts, especially because I have invited two other bloggers to join the tour on Monday, 16 June.

By a measure of aesthetics the visual appeal of a peony (Paeonia) is at the apex of my affection for  Spring’s jewels. By a measure of beauty this native perennial stands above many, but also alongside others that are equal to the task.

More than any other of this season’s progeny the peony has elements that are hard to match. I am hooked on its fragile yet stately appearance, continuum of delicate and deeply saturated colors, feathery petals, bold gestures, heavy boughs, and elongated foliage.

Once I meticulously cut a cluster, I am entranced with the flower’s design. Layer upon layer of serrated-edged and some smooth-edged petals join together to stun those who notice. Each petal is like a dance of seduction; each petal has a silky surface that begs to be touched and inspected.

While they are magical as cut flowers and performers in the garden, their other life is easily noticed. As they begin their decline, several petals drop with a methodical and often whimsical slow action, then more and more follow. The result is a gracious time-lapse performance of loveliness: piles of luscious petals.

Since macro photography presents an image that often surprises, the peony became my subject for the challenge. This floral model was not just a theme to shoot, but my obsession to deliver some of its unique characteristics. Mostly, the macro is an opportunity to show the flower as an (almost) abstraction.

Usually macro photography shows a subject in a frozen moment that defies what the naked eye can see. It seemingly enlarges (but really is a 1:1 ratio), and often distorts our notion of what we see. Since the background is often out of focus, I wanted to zoom into the peony’s best vantage points–not an easy task with a Smartphone (even an  iPhone).

Because I did several photo shoots, you’ll notice that the lighting varies in each photograph–artificial, natural, inside, outside. Also the final blossom (photograph #4) was processed with PhotoStudio, which gave the flowerhead a softly-hued dimension.

Tip of the Day: During this week’s photo shoots (three separate sessions) I tried to come close to the results that I sought, yet frustration mounted. Then I realized that I needed an accessory: the tripod. One of the major issues with a Smartphone is trying to reduce its shake and movement. Even as I steadied or leaned the cellphone, my images were not focused enough. Prior to a Northern California trip two years ago my grandchildren urged me to purchase the iPhone as another tool in my photographic kit. With my new iPhone 4s in hand I consulted the manager of my local camera store. My concern was buying a tripod for it. At that time there were some choices, but none seemed to be adequate to do the job. After he grabbed a few catalogues, I ordered a rather cleverly designed one. It served me well on the trip, but I have not used it much. This week I grabbed it, and it helped me produce a better image. Today there are many more choices on the market. I do suggest that you buy a tripod; it will make a difference in macro shots and other photographic opportunities.

 

View other entries for today’s macro challenge:

http://pictograf.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-macro-2/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-macro-spring-in-the-park/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/mobile/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/phoneopgraphy-brakedown-of-a-brown-sunrise/

http://uniquesochic.com/2014/06/09/peach-florals-iphoneography-challenge/

http://decocraftsdigicrafts.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/phoneography-macro/

http://steve-says.net/2014/06/09/if-i-had-a-hammer-well-i-really-probably-shouldnt/

http://wisnuwidiarta.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-foodography-my-lunch-box/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/phoneography-challenge-macro-cab/

http://helpalongthepath.com/2014/06/09/hanging-out-phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2014/06/09/iphoneography-monday-6-9-14/

http://19planets.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/turmeric-babble-007-june-2014-haiga-and-haibun-for-phoneography-monday-macro/

http://blogagaini.com/2014/06/10/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-macro/

http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-macro-2/

http://foundroundandabout.com/2014/06/12/chrome-and-flowers-in-macro/

http://ayorkshirelassinireland.com/2014/06/13/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-macro-2/

http://neomanu.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge/

Note:

As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Photo Challenge, please contact me.

Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature

2nd Monday: Macro

3rd Monday: Black and White

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week

Posted in Abstract, Art and Creativity, Black-and-White Photography, Inspiration, iPhoneography, Macro Photography, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 69 Comments

Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Nature (Transformation in Springtime)

02 June 2014

Lens:

1. Dandelion, Spent, iPhone 4s, April 2014;  © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

1. Dandelion, Spent, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2. Dandeliion, Spent, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2. Dandelion, Spent, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2, Tree with New Foliage, UD Campus, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

3. Tree with New Foliage, UD Campus, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Tree with New Foliage, iPhone 4s, April 2014;  © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Tree with New Foliage, UD Campus. iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

Pens:

Spring unfolds our senses and presents us with renewal,

Putting us on alert,

Divining our impressions and responses.

Dormancy is cast aside.

Beneath the visual efforts of nature,

Atoms teem and pulse with pride’s infusion.

Rebirth comes in silent outbursts,

Blazing with profusion.

Transformation fulfills its quest.

Hope is rekindled across time,

And pours into observers.

A cavalcade of hues mingle,

Forcing throngs of viewers to catch

kaleidoscopic surprises.

As Spring enlivens our souls,

Its aura quickens, and the horizon beams.

© Sally W. Donatello, 29 May 2014  

In the Lens section are four images taken in May, just as spring on the East Coast, USA, was breaking through winter’s tail. They convey the beginning and the finality that transpire through parts of spring’s season.

New life slowly appears in the photographs of a tree’s new foliage. Leaves with their feather-like delicacy staring at the day’s nourishment.

The spent stage of the dandelion dabbled and lined with seeds that long for their next cycle. This phase shows the round base of the flower that has spread most of its seeds. Recently, I learned that it’s called the Bishop’s Crown, which requires some imagination to connect the two.

Transformation and more transformation is what each season reveals. Surely, springtime provides courage that uplifts our spirits, and washes away winter’s monochrome.

 Tip of the Day: eNature: Bringing nature to life is a terrific source, especially if you have a passion or inkling toward the natural world. Even though they focus on the United States, there is much to savor for people all over the globe. The following is a description from their Website:

“eNature.com is the web’s premier destination for information about the wild animals and plants of the United States. Over past years, eNature has consistently been one of the Internet’s most-visited sites for nature and wildlife information and has won numerous awards and accolades. The site’s core content of wildlife information about almost 6,000 individual species is the same data set used to create the printed Audubon Field Guides. All the data has been carefully reviewed and vetted by leading biologists, zoologists and other natural history specialists.”

Click here to go to their site.

View other entries for this week’s challenge:

http://pictograf.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-nature/

forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-photo-challenge-nature/

http://blogagaini.com/2014/06/02/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-nature/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-nature-new-life/

http://streetsofsfphotos.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/wild-artichokes-in-the-city/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/that-small-moon/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/phoneography-celebrating-a-spontaneous-sunflower/

http://firebonnet.com/2014/06/02/phoneography-aloe-aliens/

http://walktheselftalk.com/2014/06/02/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-nature/

http://crazedpotatoes.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-nature/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/phoneography-chalenge-nature-in-blackbird-minor/

http://decocraftsdigicrafts.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/phoneography-challenge-nature-2/

http://artifactsandfictions.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/autumns-bounty/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2014/06/02/iphoneography-monday-6-2-14/

http://helpalongthepath.com/2014/06/02/trunks-phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge/

http://19planets.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/color-babble-002-june-2014-haiga-and-haibun-for-phoneography-monday-nature/

steve-says.net/2014/06/03/sorry-my-wallets-in-my-other-set-of-feathers/

http://livingwithmyancestors.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-nature-2/

http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-nature-2/

http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/06/07/a-moment-of-solitude-in-a-favourite-place/

http://wisnuwidiarta.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-photo-challenge-nature-in-the-mountain/

Note:

As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Photo Challenge, please contact me.

Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature

2nd Monday: Macro

3rd Monday: Black and White

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week

Posted in Art and Creativity, Human Nature, Inspiration, iPhoneography, Mobile Photography, Nature, Nature Photography, Phoneography, Photography, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 64 Comments