Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in an Age of Uncertainty – No. 4 (Dahlia Photomontage)

24 July 2017

Lens:

Dahlia Photomontage, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Dahlia Photomontage, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.

Pens:

Note: Dahlia Photomontage taken  in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed, iColorama, Pixlr and Stackables.

“In wildness is the preservation of the world.” Henry David Thoreau

As a naturalist, philosopher and writer Henry David Thoreau is legendary. This month scores of devotees celebrated his 200-year-old birthday on 12 July in Concord, the place of his birth. His legacy remains at Walden Pond, and many of us including environmentalists and conservationists continue his work of education and preservation. His influence shaped America’s national parks program and other protective measures of America’s natural wonders.

But also I am enamored by his dedication to the human condition, and the combination of his passions has made him one of my heroes. He devoted his life as much to the discovery of our inner wild landscapes as the outer ones.

If I were to divide my fascinations, passions and obsessions into portions, gardening and nature would take a sizable chuck of the space in my thoughts. And they have increased exponentially with the stance of my country’s leaders on everything from the climate pact to land preservation to drilling off the Atlantic Coast to discretion of national parks to reversal of laws protecting waterways, and other endless assaults on the planet.

These actions pump anxiety into my veins. So I’m happy to focus on Thoreau as a stellar advocate for America’s sacred lands and those who inhabit their wildness. The untamed has an essential role in my gardens, and much of my planning and care center around the creation of wildlife habitats and reducing the human imprint.

Here is a famous passage that I hope will bring Thoreau into your daily thoughts and reading life.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

In the Lens section is my ode to Thoreau: a summer dahlia made into a photomontage that exemplifies the layer upon layer of nature’s longevity as well as the treasure trove of Mother Nature’s intensely technicolored jewels.

In honor of Thoreau’s legacy celebrate the wild.

 

 

Posted in Digital Art, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photomontage, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in an Age of Uncertainty – No. 3 (Reflections)

17 July 2017

Lens:

Taken in Camera+ and Polamatic. Edited in Snapseed and Pixlr.

Reflections Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Reflections Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.

Pens:

The germination of an idea is an expression of life itself. The dazzle of the mind’s work astounds. Human nature continues to discover its own potential.

The birth of a bud and its subsequent flowering is an act of nature’s brilliance. One has to pause and ponder the multitudes of genius and innovation in a single blossom or leaf: one phase of the intricate and complicated life cycle.

That pause never realizes the miracle of the science, the evolution of life and our existence. To arise each day is to embrace the miracle, whether conscious or not.

And so that bud of an idea wields such power that its inspiration should become inherently contagious. It reflects back and forth and opens insights into the human condition.

Nature’s reflections often are front and center, yet they can easily go unnoticed, even that splendorous floret. They breeze through our conscious unconsciously.

Nature provides this entertainment and to miss its performance can mask some of the most intriguing of natural wonders. Since photomontage re-imagines, reflections are apt as a subject, casting their sweeping interpretations that can mimic reality or entirely skirt it.

You can spy a reflection in a dewdrop, in a puddle or on any surface that can reflect light—flat or curved or folded or encapsulated. This mirroring effect can be gentle or strong reminders of the unnoticed. Usually we are on the watch for a river, lake, creek or pool of water to make this element apparent. But an unexpected sighting surprises and catches our gaze to amuse and bemuse.

Reflections taunt our mind’s idea of reality: colors can change, subjects can distort, meaning can be altered. They fascinate and play with our emotions and senses. They seem to record the past in the present. Or is it the present in the present? They tease our sense of what we know or think we know.

While on a walk this past week, I stopped at my usual checkpoint: a sliver of the White Clay Creek that runs through my neighborhood and is part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. This daily encounter teaches me about observation and perseverance and the evergreen nature of nature. The still of the creek’s voice maybe be silent, nonetheless it reverberates through me each sighting. While I am on a bridge and could feel tall, I feel the small of humanity and the mastery of Mother Nature. That never varies.

Suddenly as I gaze down at the creek, concentric circles rippled outward from a fish that sprints upward. That effect was exactly the idea of the mind’s work with its multiple meanings and multiple reactions. The confluence of nature’s ripple effect exemplifies the human condition that has the same effect upon the universe.

Note: As summer lives up to its humid and hot days in my area of the world, I like recommending the most delicious of books about gardening and nature. An Island Garden (1894) by Celia Theater with Pictures and Illuminations by Chide Hassam is a classic. Mine is in a slip case and when I remove it, the gold embossed cover has an Art Nouveau aesthetic. But it’s the charm of the text and drawings that secure its permanence as a must-read for lovers of nature. Click here for a treat: a free download. Hope that you enjoy it as much as I do. It’s enlightening and insightful.

Posted in Black-and-White Photography, Digital Art, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Photomontage, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in an Age of Uncertainty: No.2 (Summer Photomontage)

10 July 2017

Lens:

Summer Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Summer Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.

Pens:

Each life is a series of stages that are layered and layered to create an inner core and an outer patina. The surface view is but a sliver of that life’s composition.

When I view a flower, the immediate reaction is bound instantaneously to that initial response. Then a mountain of other influences CAN flood through the synapses to reenforce or deny the reaction.

In my current state of mind the photomontage is a way to experiment and represent these forces of nature that we cannot see but are ever-present, yet hidden in our first sightings. Revelations are continuous.

Nature is without reservation my muse and inspiration, and each of her progeny, whether a stone or a mountain or a sunset or a flowering cactus, provides astonishing qualities that are evident and visually revealed. These are obvious characteristics, but macro elements, inner mysteries, and the history of life magnifies the capture in space and time.

Mostly, the connection between nature and human nature are one. How do we separate our journeys? Do we need to differentiate them? A life is a life. The value of each is subjective and objective. Still, we bring a way of seeing with the human experience that pushes us to apply the same analysis to nature.

In the Lens section is a summer photomontage of two layers; each offers the brilliance of a floral arrival during the first weeks of the season. This palette is so captivating that it forces a coloration–coloration that conjures the inner and outer response of nature’s infinite jewels.

Quotes:

“How does the Meadow flower its bloom unfold? Because the lovely little flower is free down to its root, and in that freedom bold.” ~~ William Wordsworth

“I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.” ~~ Georgia O’Keeffe

“The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.” ~~ Auguste Rodin

 

Posted in Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Photomontage, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in an Age of Uncertainty – No. 1 (Lily Photomontage)

03 July 2017

Lens:

I. Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr

2. Summer Lily Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Summer Lily Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

II. Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr

1. Summer Lily Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Summer Lily Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click onto each image to enlarge. Let me know which you prefer. Prints are available upon request.

Pens:

As an image maker I spend most of my currency in time as an observer. Mostly, it’s an intuitive approach where I am unconsciously attentive and at the same time intent, but it’s involuntary behavior. Of course, there are times that I set out to do a photo shoot at a specific place and time. These two ways to record nature occasionally intersect across inner and outer boundaries.

My identity is very much linked to my visual connection to the universe that I inhabit and what encircles me. In the here-and-now the planet seems as fragile as my heart. While I know that is not true, it seems real. The assault on precious wildlife, lands and resources by my government is an outright relentless and violent attack upon nature and human nature and cannot be accepted.

A powerful strategy to survive must be to enlighten the spirit and soul through personal action. There are many approaches. One is image making—image making that does not slip by politics or beauty or truth of the planet’s future. When I consider my kind of photographic representation, I always choose the side of Mother Nature that lifts me, pulls me out of reality of the unknown ahead.

Whether a small slice of a stem or center of a flower or cluster of florets or rhythm of a creek, my vision is tied to the environment and the climate as a whole. My vision grabs how nature illuminates our existence and shores our everyday.

Image making can be brave, nondescript, inquisitive, subtle, collaborative, inspirational, dangerous, bewildering, nonsense, provocative, brilliant, authentic, individualistic, questionable. It can burst a notion of what nature is or be undeclared in its message. I aim to explore the line between what is real and what is imagined. Each can incite or be tame. Each can speak volumes or stay silent in repose.

In my quest to record the real and imagined I’ve been experimenting and exploring with photomontage, which is a process allowing two or more layers to recreate the original subject into a likeness or a completely unrecognizable image. In the Lens section are two interpretations of a summer lily. The photograph was composed of the base of the flower, where it proudly holds its glorious, delicate maroon petals. The first (made of two layers) has a dark mood that reflects Americans’ anxiety levels; the second (the same image made with multiple layers) contains hope that the veil will be lifted through individual voices and involvement.

Quotes about the interconnection between nature and human nature:

“The environment is everything that isn’t me.” ~~ Albert Einstein

“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man. ~~ Stewart Udall”

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” ~~ John Muir

“They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away from her, and deface her with their buildings and their refuse.” ~~ Sitting Bull

Posted in Digital Art, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photomontage, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Photomontage)

26 June 2017

Lens:

I. Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr

1. Canna and Orchid Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Canna and Orchid Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

II. Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr

2. Canna and Orchid Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Canna and Orchid Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click onto each image to enlarge. Let me know which you prefer. Prints are available upon request.

Pens:

Most good projects have a beginning and a transformation. Certainly that has been the case with the mobile photography challenge (whose name changed a few times to accommodate the evergreen world of inventions) over the last few years. Technology has given us an array of choices for our tool box, and that in itself has encouraged innovation and risk taking.

Today I pay tribute to all those who have participated in the challenge through their work or by comments. I’ve been especially honored to have a number of loyal participants in the photo community. My heart thanks you, my soul thanks you, most sincerely.

For me it’s been a journey of self-discovery and self-expression and self-experimentation. The journey took me through many permutations of my photography and writing. Mostly, my inner vision has focused more and more on nature, the quintessential master of the universe.

Mother Nature challenges and inspires, awes and tranquilizes, symbolizes life itself, literally and figuratively.

Over the last year there has been a waning of participation in the challenge, which I believe is a normal trajectory. That slowing of entries has encouraged me to take a short and long view of the challenge, and my work as it relates to it. And so the years of my sponsorship of the challenge will be archived in blog heaven. This posting is the finale of the mobile photography challenge.

On Monday, 03 July, I now will use this blog to direct my creative energies, for example, to photomontages—photomontages that will span the spectrum of nature’s abundance. My lens and pens will be a voice for all that nature represents to me, her majestic narrative that keeps the world as we know it spinning round and round.

This space will be a place for my interpretation of nature’s role in and of itself and its interdependence upon human nature and humanity’s everyday life. It will be a platform for advocacy and reverence.

My ongoing challenge through this blog will focus on continual inner experimentation: that place where I push what I see and what I know and what I intend and what I feel and what I intuit.

During this journey my mission is also to create my idea of what I can be and encourage crossing boundaries into unchartered inner and outer worlds. Because seeing is not always believing and believing is not always seeing. I am on a path to breathe new life into my life’s creative efforts.

I will continue to post each Monday, and you are welcome to join my emphasis on the natural world. As I join you on your journey, I hope that you will continue to join me on mine. And we can grow on our individual paths.

In the Lens section is a multi-layered image that is how I imagine this new adventure: brightly abstract and yet longing for definition of my visual and written storytelling through the multitudes of nature’s abundance and inspiration.

Tip of the Week:

Words to ponder about Mother Nature:

“The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” — Galileo Galilei

“Keep your faith in all beautiful things. In the sun when it is hidden. In the spring when it is gone.” — Roy Rolfe Gilson

“There are an awful lot of scientists today who believe that before very long we shall have unraveled all the secrets of the universe. There will be no puzzles anymore. To me, it’d be really, really tragic because I think one of the most exciting things is this feeling of mystery, feeling of awe, the feeling of looking at a little live thing and being amazed by it and how it has emerged through these hundreds of years of evolution and there it is and it is perfect and why.” — Jane Goodall

“Nothing endures but change.” — Heraclitus

“Let the rain kiss you.” — Langston Hughes

View other entries for this week’s challenge:

https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/almost-in-the-street-eats/

https://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/zucchini-fandango-for-sally-ds-photo-challenge/

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/mobile-photo-challenge-your-choice-2/

https://ohmsweetohm.me/2017/06/26/

https://angelinem.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/sally-ds-mobile-photography-challenge-metamorphosis/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/the-old-and-the-new-and-the-not-quite-what-it-seems/

https://wordandimagecollages.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/on-the-edge-of-emptiness/

Posted in Abstraction, Design, Digital Art, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photomontage, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 36 Comments

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (Photomontage)

19 June 2017

Lens:

1. Sundew Photomontage, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Sundew Photomontage, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Sundew Photmontage, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Sundew Photomontage, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click onto each image to enlarge. Let me know which you prefer. Prints are available upon request.

Pens:

Some view the world through a black-and-white lens, as though the small crevices of life do not exist. The complexities of the human condition beg for deeper thought than surface analysis. They ask us to delve and retrieve our innermost forces–forces that give greater meaning to everyday experience. Simplicity does exist, but it also coexists with weightier moments that enter our treasure trove of memories.

The focus on black and white has a mighty longevity of duality of reality vs. imagination. Its best legacy is its use in photography where elements often are fully actualized, layer upon layer in a new version of the subject, visually re-imagined.

In the Lens section are two images that have been converted to monochrome. Last week I posted the original photomontage, and these images are based on it. What the two images show are the power of a shift in perspective or position. With just a small movement within the moisture on the window, the result is a lift in mood.

This change is transferable to our reaction to the outside world. Pierce our day with a bit of sunlight and life can be better. Hang a dark cloud and the day becomes heavy and laden.

Each image exemplifies the gray areas of art and life. The blown-out sundew flowers giving their quiet and yet loud sides, bursting with hopeful light.

Tip of the Week:

From The New York Times the article, “Edith Shiffert, a Poet Inspired by Nature and Her Life in Japan, Dies at 101” (by Margalit Fox and published 11 June 2017): “Edith Shiffert, an American poet whose work was profoundly influenced by the half-century she spent in Japan, died on March 1 (2017) in Kyoto, where she had long made her home…In “The Summer Tree,” the first four stanzas Shiffert uses half- and whole rhymes in alternation. Also rhymed lines shift from one stanza to the next, which gives a sense of rippling movement and leaves tossed by the wind:

“The Summer Tree” (1968)

Since winter ended for this tree, new leaves
filled all the branches, grew, could not restrain
themselves from coming. They will wilt and drop,
be nothing, but for summer they show green.

Light shines all around them. They do not
feel its warmth or shape. They wear the glow
belonging to the season while they grow.
They wear the light, and that is what they are.

The rustle and the texture of the leaves,
the way they look, their smell and taste, do not
concern them on their stems and twigs. Each moves
as air moves, and when winter comes it falls.

Grow is not a word to lightly say.
The tree is there. It uses what it is.
Underground the roots expand. In air
branches rise and spread. The tree is there.”

As a poet and translator (of Japanese) Ms. Shiffert had two-dozen volumes of poetry published. Her poems were known to be direct, short, and simple. For over fifty years she lived in Japan and was influenced by the art of haiku. See an article in the “Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry” (Spring 2009, Vol.7, no. 1). Her poems are a sample of the natural world’s ability to inspire human creativity.

View other entries from this week’s challenge:

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/mobile-photo-challenge-black-and-white/

https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/france-black-and-white/

https://ohmsweetohm.me/2017/06/19/

https://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/solstice-imagined-sally-ds-black-and-white-challenge/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/misty-morning/

https://chasingtheblooms.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/sally-ds-mobile-photography-challenge-black-and-white-061917/

https://angelinem.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/sally-ds-mobile-photography-challenge-black-and-white-in-flight/

https://christinejrandall.com/2017/06/20/sally-ds-mobile-photography-chalenge-bw-foggy-morn/

https://nowathome.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/sally-ds-mobile-photography-challenge-black-and-white-flowers/

Note: As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6. If you would like to buy a print or have any questions, please view the Contact Information found on the masthead. Thank you.

How to join this Mobile Photography Challenge: please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming challenges:                                                          1st Monday: Nature

2nd Monday: Macro                                                                                                                    

3rd Monday: Black and White

4th Monday: Challenger’s Choice – Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Panorama, Portraiture, Photomontage, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel.

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

Posted in Black-and-White Photography, Digital Art, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photomontage, Poetry, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (Photomontage)

12 June 2017

Lens:

Sundew and Orchid Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Sundew and Orchid Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.

Pens:

My devotion to nature is unwavering. Her ability to mesmerize is unwavering. And sometimes the partnership between nature and human nature can be so stunningly awe- inspiring that it forces a pause in one’s senses and sensibilities. Such a reaction and mind- healing experience occurs each and every visit to Longwood Gardens, a premier horticultural center in Pennsylvania, USA. It’s jewel after jewel of treasures for everyone who can partake in its pleasurable and sumptuous visual gifts.

During my most recent visit last week with my grandson, we lingered at the carnivorous plants that continue to intrigue him. While we’ve savored the times that flowers appeared on these tropical plants, this time brought new sightings.

While this photomontage in the Lens section may not seem a macro, it is indeed a combination of two images that are up close and personal. The sundew, a Pitcher plant, flowers in June through July. Fortune gave us these teeny tiny white flowers to savor, which are little more than a quarter of an inch in diameter, as a gem of a surprise.

These diminutive florets reminded me of a delicate wind flower, small enough to lure and punch the imagination and stunning enough to inspire. The purple-red orchid (from a visit last month) lent itself to the montage. The white dainty flowers on the sundew reached into the light that swept itself through the frosted windows. They kept my attention and that first discovery of joy remains to soothe my thoughts.

Tip of the Week:

Here are a few examples from “24 of the Most Beautiful Quotes About Nature” from an article posted on Buzzfeed by Jarry Lee (Buzzed Staff) on 22 April 2015. Here is a selection:

“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” —John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. … There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” —Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

“The earth has its music for those who will listen.” – George Santayana

Others quoted include Mary Oliver, Robert Frost, Jane Austen, Rachel Carson, and Lord Byron. To view the entire selection, click here.

Other entries for this week’s challenge:

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/mobile-photo-challenge-macro/

https://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/a-garden-report-for-sally-ds-macro-photo-challenge/

https://angelinem.wordpress.com/2017/06/12/sally-ds-mobile-photography-challenge-macro-in-a-mexican-market/

https://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2017/06/13/neither-land-nor-sea/

https://christinejrandall.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/scenery-posterised/

Note: As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6. If you would like to buy a print or have any questions, please view the Contact Information found on the masthead. Thank you.                                                                                                             How to join this Mobile Photography Challenge: please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming challenges:                                                           1st Monday: Nature

2nd Monday: Macro                                                                                                                    

3rd Monday: Black and White

4th Monday: Challenger’s Choice – Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Panorama, Portraiture, Photomontage, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel.

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

Posted in Digital Art, Macro Photography, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photomontage, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 34 Comments