18 May 2015
Both photographs taken at Yosemite National Park with my iPhone 4s, April 2014.
1. Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally.
2. Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, April 2014; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally
Let me know which you prefer and why. I suggest that you click on each image to enlarge.
Instantly, I recall that moment of true love. It is one of the most emotional experiences from my mental archive where I meander through memories about nature in places wild or tame, private or public. To enter Yosemite National Park is to put one’s mind in total spiritual and visual awareness. My senses were tantalized and thrilled, resulting in tears that surfaced with tender and paramount forces. I felt my kinship to John Muir.
On that April 2014 morning to my right was a sign that announced John Muir’s meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt. It reminded me about Muir’s influence to secure Yosemite as a national treasure. Then as my eyes slowly absorbed the surroundings, I spied the first waterfall (Bridalveil Falls ). It was a true privilege. While the snow was at record lows last year (and 2015 too), I was fortunate to be visiting in spring, when the falls were rushing rather beautifully. My heart was in expansive mode, and then to my left we spied Yosemite Falls.
President Roosevelt and John Muir Meet in 1903
Without question one can never duplicate that first impression, that moment of heighten sensibilities. My best defense against the loss of that initial reaction is the use of my own inner lens to evoke that push and pull of what nature provides. But I also use photography as a way to record time and place.
My equipment to shore and store visual memories are my iPhone and DSLR Nikon. On that trip I used my iPhone 4s (I now have a 6.) more than I did my traditional camera. I created a personal challenge to predominantly use the phone as my lens, because I wanted to test it against grandiose Northern California vistas.
The iPhone 4s more than passed the challenge. I became even more enamored with its technology—a technology along with other Smartphones and digital devices that has riveted the art world as well as personal lives.
Since the dawn of photography in the nineteenth century, this artistic medium has been continuously redefined by a technological metamorphosis. By that spring holiday in California, I had sponsored a photography challenge for over a year.
When my photography challenge was launched, the title, iPhoneography Monday: The Challenge-Using the iPhone as Your Lens, seemed to fit the cultural horizon. Responses to whirlwind digital mobile inventions have affected all aspects of our daily lives. As innovations continued, my reaction was to change the title two more times (Phoneography Challenge: the Phone as Your Lens and Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge).
Over the last few months I felt a tug to assess the title for its applicability to today’s evergreen standards. Was the challenge adapting to photographers’ and photography’s movement toward a more universal acceptance of these mobile devices as the norm?
Now the use of Smartphones, iPads and iPods are no longer considered the new new. They are thought of as everyday objects that happen to still our world (among other significant duties). They do not compete with traditional cameras anymore, they are considered a lens of choice by many novice and seasoned photographers.
Over the last few weeks I have enlisted the advice and opinion of the challenge’s participants and readers who visit my blog. After much deliberation and keeping in mind the more persistent advice (make it short), I settled on this title: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge. I wanted to use the Sally D, because it has history and meaning in my life, and it gives the title a little zippity do dah. I also feel strongly about “photography” being in the title.
The challenge is meant to encourage creativity and experimentation. Over the last two years I have offered it to attract a community of individuals who are interested in the dynamic world of photography. People challenged by the challenge. But it’s also meant to give a platform for us to learn from each other.
Participants have a range of experience and knowledge. I hope that you will celebrate with me this next step forward in the challenge’s evolution. I also want to fete the dynamic ingenuity of human creativity and the future of photography.
The human story is a narrative about change. The challenge is a vehicle to respond to our inner and outer worlds that is powered by what we see and how we interpret what we see in that world where little stays status quo, little remains the same.
Photography gives us a way to record history as it occurs. We are witnesses. We also are creators of a visual archive between the intersection of nature and human nature and the human condition’s responses.
Each of us has a personal vision that we either keep private or release it into the universe for perusal. I’ve let part of mine merrily run through the Internet via my blog, Lens and Pens by Sally. I hope that you’ll join our journey, and the visual universe of those that participate and share the world as they see it.
P.S.: I did not make a badge for the new title. I’m not really sure it’s significance. I suppose that it alerts others on their blogs about the challenge’s existence. But I’m not sure how effective they are. If you’d like to comment about this subject, please free. I welcome all thoughts pro or con. In all honesty I’m leaning toward completely nixing the badge. Thanks.
Tip of the Week:
One of my nightly rituals is to browse Flipboard’s online magazine to view current mobile photographers. Last week I came across an interview (28 April 2015) with Austin Mann who has an artistic philosophy of photography that mirrors my own. Mann is known as one of the top photographers in the “mobile photography revolution.” In the article he discusses the reasons that his Smartphone has become the lens of choice. He says, “As a teacher I’ve always taught students not to focus on their gear. I’ve told them to focus on their vision. To focus on their voice.” He also believes that the “best tool is the tool that doesn’t inhibit your work flow, that doesn’t keep you from doing what you want to do, that allows you to capture what you see… and the tool that does the best for me is the iPhone. It conforms to me versus me conforming to it.” To view his work, click here.
Panorama, Iceland, 2014, Austin Mann
View other entries from this week’s challenge:
As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog.
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.