iPhoneography Challenge: More Portraits of Mother Earth

29 April 2013


1. Tulip, iPhone 4s, April 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1. Tulip, iPhone 4s, April 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Tulip, iPhone 4s, April 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Tulip, iPhone 4s, April 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

3. Pansy, iPhone 4s, April 2013; Tulip, iPhone 4s, April 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

3. Pansy, iPhone 4s, April 2013; Tulip, iPhone 4s, April 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

Let me know which you prefer and why.


Gracie (http://graciebinoya.com), Polly (http://watchingthephotoreels.com) and I began an iPhoneography Monday Challenge in February. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. Since it’s the fifth Monday of the month, the theme is challenger’s choice, which gives me another chance to salute Mother Earth through portraits of nature.

For those of you who are regular readers, you know that I’m not a stand-on-the-soap-box-megaphone-in-the-hand kind of gal. I prefer a subtle and quiet way to free my passions and philosophy.

The most obvious advocacy is through my adoration for the natural wonders of the universe. This praise is not new. My devotion began many moons ago on an inaugural visit to the Southwest, where every turn was touched by nature’s majesty.  Then I discovered Henry David Thoreau. My world was dramatically rearranged.

“In wilderness is the preservation of the world”–Thoreau

Walden is Thoreau’s masterpiece–a masterpiece that continues to influence our understanding of the connections between nature and human nature. Observations in this classic are the compilation of his experiments in solitude with nature that cemented his love and passion for Mother Earth’s bounty, mysteries and secrets. They also turned him into a well-respected nature writer.

Last week I read that Boston University Professor Richard Primack and colleagues at Harvard University are studying Thoreau’s writings. Between 1852 to 1861 he meticulously recorded  day-to-day changes at Walden Pond: stages of local plant life. His detailed journals are being compared to present day botanics. Results supply credibility for climate change.

The academic team is finding some species have disappeared, and many others are blooming much earlier than in Thoreau’s time. The notable work from his journals is being used to predict how environmental change and urbanization has and is affecting flora around Concord, Massachusetts.

Currently, Primack’s work is available to the public. If you live near Concord Museum, I encourage you to visit the exhibition titled, “Early Spring: Henry David Thoreau and Climate Change.” To me, this confluence of ideas and connections are yet another gift from my über hero, Thoreau.

Concord Museum, Google Images

Concord Museum, Google Images

To learn details about the exhibition, click here. If you live in the area or New England or want a fascinating place to take a summer holiday, do consider Walden Pond and the exhibition that runs through September 15.

Maybe it’s the non-winter that we had—the short dips in temps, the lack of snow, the increase in rain, the grayer than usual days. Maybe it’s Al Gore’s new book.

The Future (2013) by Al Gore, Google images

The Future (2013) by Al Gore, Google images

Maybe it’s miscalculations by meteorologists. Maybe Primack’s work has made everything in my thoughts about the health of the planet even more pronounced.

With Spring here, I feel compelled to say the obvious: our world is fragile at best, our future is dangling on a precipice.

Tiny shoots and budding trees are optimistic signs of rejuvenation—renewal is bursting forth. Gardening season is bouncing into shape. I’m spending every day caring for some part of my gardens.

Last Monday was Earth Day, and as I said on my post (click here), we need to honor Mother Earth each day. There are so many small and grander ways to contribute, and I keep adding to make my lifestyle “greener.”

Then I see the work that others are doing, and my hope surges. Inspiration is never in short supply. It’s everywhere.

One of my contributions to the shifting tides of weather and its effects on gardening and wildlife is to plant natives. Not only are they able to react to seesaw climate variations, they also provide food and shelter to animals, and, most especially, my menagerie of birds.

One of the easiest ways to help birds survive this rearrangement of the earth’s weather patterns is to become a casual or more fanatic birdwatcher. Really, it can become one of the most satisfying of adventures and avocations. I’ve gotten numerous people baited and hooked on this wondrous activity. Many also become enthusiastic bird feeders.

While there are millions of birders in the United States, the allure is multifaceted, including being awed by their behaviors and habits. Now this group of nature lovers are proving to be significant in the study of climate change. They’re recording migration patterns that are being altered, which is like dominoes are being tossed into their food supply and timing for mating.

Regional and state-by-state Spring bird counts have become more than a ritual. They are significant contributions to our understanding of how wildlife’s habitats are being altered. Just as extinct plants are predictors of a new world order, so are more and more birds migrating further and further northward.

Novel actions speak loudly, but small acts can have an accumulative power. Small acts can be accomplished and piled next to others, giving each of us a sense of fulfillment. We are working toward the greater good, which affects the whole of nature and human nature.

In the Lens section are my tributes to Springtime and its marvelous daily un-foldings.   Nature herself gives us all the reasons we need to work on her behalf. The flowering of the landscape being one divine example. Happy iPhoneography Monday.

Tip of the Week: The Photographer’s Ephemeris is an apt that “helps you plan outdoor photography shoots in natural light, particularly landscape and urban scenes. It’s a map centric sun and moon calculator.” Check it out on iTunes here. I have not used it, but it sounds useful and intriguing. It’s not free, but probably worth the $8.99 investment. I’m tempted.

Check out these other entries:













Note: As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. The following is a reminder of the weekly schedule and themes for upcoming challenges. 

1st Monday: Nature

2nd Monday: Macro

3rd Monday: Black-and-White

4th and 5th Mondays: Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).

This entry was posted in Gardens and Gardening, Human Nature, Macro Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to iPhoneography Challenge: More Portraits of Mother Earth

  1. Pingback: rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity

  2. Gracie says:

    Excellent collection, Sally! Love the colors of the pansy. Such brilliant hues.

  3. Pingback: Capturing Nature {iPhoneography Challenge} | Frames & Focus

  4. Amy says:

    Great photos from iPhone 4s. The environmental change is worrisome!

  5. Pingback: iPhonography Monday (on Tuesday): Nature | Savvy Design

  6. Stunning and vibrant. Just like what it feels when we are around nature.

  7. scillagrace says:

    Phenology is crucial to understanding climate change. I also would encourage everyone to be a citizen scientist and get outside and pay attention to what’s happening to our Mother!

  8. Gallivanta says:

    Thoreau ideas/resources are brilliant; Project BudBurst and Go Botany etc. Have you visited Walden Pond?

  9. ideflex says:

    Tulips are blooming everywhere – except my garden, so far only stems and leaves! Lovely pix. Please have a look at what I did find at

  10. Pingback: iPhoneography Monday: Nature | Across the Bored

  11. Sally, your tulips are beautiful but I think I like the Pansy even more! Great choices.
    Here’s my link: http://nwframeofmind.com/2013/04/29/iphoneography-monday-more-portraits-of-mother-earth/

  12. Pingback: iPhoneography Monday: More portraits of Mother Earth | Northwest Frame of Mind

  13. vastlycurious.com says:

    The tulip is just fabulous!

  14. Pingback: iPhonography Monday: More portraits of Mother Earth | A year in the Life

  15. Pingback: iPhoneography Challenge: More Portraits of Mother Earth | no step too loose

  16. definitely your first tulip photo! Love the color contrast! Will join the challenge with a pic of one of my favorite flowers, the Gum Rose. Here´s my link: http://wp.me/p3galV-CQ

  17. veraersilia says:

    I like the two red ones because nature can still be seen in them, and they are suggestive of other themes, and I like the third one because it is overcolored thru your vision, your brain, and your hand. Great images all!

  18. Beautiful photos!!! I love the connection and reference to Thoreau! I am a bird watcher and keep tallies on the birds in my backyard. I hope to explore this hobby more in the future so I can note other birds. Wonderful post! 🙂

  19. Angeline M says:

    Great post! Thanks, as always, for the wonderful photography and wonderful information. Mother Nature is quite the woman! http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/iphoneography-monday-more-portraits-of-mother-earth/

  20. Pingback: iPhoneography Monday: More Portraits of Mother Earth | AngelineM's Blog

  21. "Occam Blade" says:

    #3. The image hints of an eye perpendicular to the viewer. Great colors and energy. Nice!

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