iPhoneography Challenge: Nature

06 May 2013


1, Poppy Bud, iPhone 4s, May 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1, Poppy Bud, iPhone 4s, May 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Poppy Bud, iPhone 4s, may 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Poppy Bud, iPhone 4s, may 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

3. Unfolding Poppy, iPhone 4s, May 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

3. Unfolding Poppy, iPhone 4s, May 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

4. Unfolding Poppy, iPhone 4s, May 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

4. Unfolding Poppy, iPhone 4s, May 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

5. Unfolding Poppy, iPhone 4s, May 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

5. Unfolding Poppy, iPhone 4s, May 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

Let me know which you prefer and why.


Okay, if you are wondering why this week’s challenge is another theme about nature (the third one in a row to be devoted to the quintessential mother of them all), here’s the scoop. At the bottom of this post is a reminder of themes for each Monday’s challenge. April had a fourth and fifth Monday (22 and 29), and they always are designated  challenger’s choice. I opted to honor Mother Nature on Earth Day (22nd), and I could not resist more praise on the 29th. Many of you followed my lead.

The first Monday of each month is slated “nature” day. And, of course, I’m bubbling with enthusiasm to continue placing her in “my” limelight.

Gracie (http://graciebinoya.com), Polly (http://watchingthephotoreels.com) and I began this iPhoneography Monday Challenge in February. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details.

Bill Atkinson is renowned as a nature photographer, but his fame was established in another field: computer technology, where as a member of the Apple team he helped to develop the Macintosh and some of its most groundbreaking software.

Atkinson brought that problem-solving and technical sensibility to the world of photography. But he also brought an awareness and perception that gives his work a poetic lyricism. He uses a lens as his words.

Bill Atkinson, Google Images

Bill Atkinson, Google Images

Recently, I was compelled to order Atkinson’s latest book, Within the Stone. I read about his intuitive depictions of polished rocks, and lingered over a few of his photographs on the Internet. (To see his webpage, click here.)

Within the Stone (2013), by Bill Atkinson

Within the Stone (2013), by Bill Atkinson

During a photo shoot in Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park, Atkinson was inspired by these natural wonders. He spent much effort studying specimens, building new lighting equipment, and traveling to gem and mineral shows.

The results are a compendium of his “stonescapes,” which are brilliant glazed jewels. His photographs are euphoric photographic paintings that shock in their seeming fragility.

After gazing at his images, I knew that I must render his book mine. When it arrived this week, I sat in blissful amazement. His vision of time’s weathering is part meditation, part art, part science, part naturescapes, and part spirituality.

He has put his aesthetic stamp onto these rocks, and turned them into abstractions with a patina of mastery. Atkinson’s “stonescapes” act like magnets, which draw me into nature’s astonishing journey (as if I needed more incentive).

The book has additional perks that complement the powerful qualities of his seventy-two photographs. Seven writers have added their poems or essays to each image, giving another layer to a viewer’s experience.

In the Appendix each rock specimen is described and includes the origin of its location. While one does not need these details to be awed by the images, I found it fascinating that many of his selections came from United States. Still it’s a worldwide representation with others from Madagascar, Australia, Africa, Mexico, Russia, China, South America, Canada, and Italy.

In the Lens section is my ode to nature photography: an orange poppy. Sometime flowers become embedded in fossilized rock, and represent that ticking of time found in Atkinson’s work. My photographs show two stages of the poppy’s Spring debut: budding and unfolding–the glacial move of nature that can appear to be quicker than it really  is.

The first and second images have an outer protective sleeve that is beginning to reveal the petals. In the last three images that hairy fleshy part has fallen away, and tissue-like petals are beginning to unfold. They will become delicate-winged petals, almost as though they’re ready for the wind’s magic.

Tip of the Week: With Bill Atkinson’s talents come his innovation in digital technology. Serendipitously, I discovered that he created an app that I’ve been hoping to find: a postcard app that really works. To review Bill Atkinson PhotoCard, click here to get to the iTunes store. It’s made for the iPhone and iPad. Just downloaded this FREE app, and start the fun. Now I can turn my iPhone images into e-mail or snail mail: what a concept. It includes 200 nature photos, 200 stamps, and 400 stickers. You can use his photos or your own. I’m pumped.

Check these 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 Black-and-White Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to iPhoneography Challenge: Nature

  1. bluebrightly says:

    I like these so much. Spontaneous and yet sophisticated.

  2. Seeing the bud unfold is just amazing. Thanks for inspiring us week after week.

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  4. vastlycurious.com says:

    Long but wonderful!!!

  5. Marianne Green says:

    I like number 4 the best- a new way to see a poppy— wrinkled, vibrant, juicy.

  6. munchow says:

    I am amazed by what you are able to get out of that little iPhone. The photos are intense, sensual and touching. I love them all, but my favourite is the third from the top.

  7. Su Leslie says:

    Like all your photos this week, but particularly the first one because the colours are somehow surprising and make me think of watermelons. A bit Freudian perhaps as it finally feels like winter here and definitely not watermelon season. Some autumn morning details from my walks this week. http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/iphoneography-monday-nature/

  8. marialla says:

    Very interesting. Thank you for the view!

  9. Angeline M says:

    I don’t think there is every enough of nature that can be photographed. The vibrant color in all of the shots you show above is incredible, I love them all. Here is my entry, thanks. http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/iphoneography-challenge-nature/

  10. Gallivanta says:

    I adore the last two photos. They take my breath away.

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

  12. What a great series of images, I really like how you captured the change between stages. They are each unique but my favorite has to be the first one. My photo today is from our local farmer’s market. http://nwframeofmind.com/2013/05/06/iphoneography-monday-nature/

  13. Pingback: iPhoneography Monday: Nature | Northwest Frame of Mind

  14. my theme this week goes to my all favorite of flowers: roses 🙂 http://wp.me/p3galV-H9

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  16. veraersilia says:

    The first one for the color impact and design detail. The last two for texture, mono-color, and if you allow me, for “mystery revealed” . . . V.

  17. These are spectacular! Seriously! What a gorgeous and fascinating spectacle you’ve captured. I love seeing a flower about to pop out of its little bud. My favorite photo is the first one because I’m drawn to the angle, colors and abstraction. These are truly remarkable. Fabulous post. Cheers to you on nature Monday!

  18. livvy30 says:

    I love the poppy bud Sally. Perfect one for me this week. Here’s mine! http://ayearinmyshoes.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/iphoneography-monday-nature/

  19. Pingback: iPhoneography Monday: Nature | A year in the Life

  20. Beautiful photos. You keep getting better. Absolutely love them Malc

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

  21. Sally-these are all very striking, but I like the fourth image the best-there is something about the color, texture and light that really shows off the poppy (which is also one of my favorite flowers). Thank you too for the tip on Bill Atkinson-I am going to check that out later-happy iphoneography Monday!

  22. Melanee says:

    I particularly like the unique perspective of the first one. Great photos.

  23. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I like the first image, a lot. The close-up, abstract view with the green and yellow colors leading into the textured hairs on the bottom of the bud are just fabulous to me.

    Here is my entry for this week’s challenge: http://wp.me/p24idL-1sc

    Thanks for the challenge,

  24. I forgot to say thanks so much for this free app link…awesome!

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  26. rtd14 says:

    Beautiful as always I love the vibrant red color!

  27. Gracie says:

    Very cool shots, Sally! Happy iPhoneography Monday!

  28. Pingback: iPhoneography Monday: Nature | Frames & Focus

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