Phoneography Challenge, the Phone as Your Lens: Macro Monday

12 August 2013


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

1. Bud and Flower, Gladiola, iPhone 4s, August 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

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

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


Gracie (, Polly ( and I sponsor the Phoneography Challenge. If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. Please use the current badge (which reflects our original challenge using only iPhones) until a new one is created, which will be sometime this month.  

Macro photography can upend our perspective on any given subject. What we usually see becomes totally rearranged. It’s one of photography’s precious gifts.

This challenge prompted me to stroll through my gardens. I was spying on the sweet sights that are in various stages of summertime display.

As a longtime gardener I’m usually conscientious about bulbs and corms that need to be stored over the winter season. Somehow I have been incredible lazy with my gladiolas, whose corms are delicate. Fortunately, our winter months have become temperate, and the small patch has survived several years, and even expanding its boundaries.

Last week a bevy of green shoots of gladiolas dominated the corner of a rectangular garden that includes rows of massive grasses. The blades of the glads have been showy for years, but produced no flowers. So I’ve been watching and waiting. This week they appeared. Suddenly two stunning spikes of numerous white blossoms stood waiting for visitors.

I plucked a few to shoot. While they’re captivating on the tall sword-like stem, the individual flower is more striking. I popped it in water, and thought about how I wanted to capture it.

As I froze the flower’s grace, I was struck by the macro’s ability to give it another dimension all together. That flavor is exactly what magnification does. It embellishes. It fixates. It enlarges. It pinpoints. A new character was created where the old one existed.

I was so taken by the elegance. The difference was dramatic. When the long spike holds the flurry of flowers, the beauty was evident. But the macro entirely changed my perception of the gladiola. In seeing the whole I had forgotten the sum of its parts. I had forgotten its enchantment as a solo performer.

Gladiola, Google Images

Gladiola, Google Images

The scale of each gladiola lured me. Each seemed to start a conversation about purity, revealing the clarity of the white that has teeny tiny blushing marks of rose on the inner core. Mostly, macro forced me to see the species’ sculptural shapes, its ethereal design.

Tip of the Week: One of this week’s lessons: macro does not have to be sharp, sharp, sharp. The soft effect of the bud and flower were my favorites of the ones that I shot. Sometimes the surreal tells a stronger tale. Also, some might say that the reductive quality of macro takes away from the subject.  But the up close-and-personal scale can easily transcend the entirety. It’s simply a different profile, and one that is just as eye-catching.

See other entries:

Note: Here’s a reminder of the weekly schedule and themes for upcoming Phoneography Monday 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.

44 Responses to Phoneography Challenge, the Phone as Your Lens: Macro Monday

  1. says:

    I am really behind Sally- love this challenge !

  2. marialla says:

    Like a swan!! Thank you for the great view!

  3. Gracie says:

    Very nice shots, Sally. I like the muted colors of the photos, and how you made them appear really soft.

  4. munchow says:

    Really gorgeous images, so soft, delicate and with great tonality. I love the tight and clean composition, and the directed light brings out the forms of those gladiolus. Simply beauty in its purest form.

  5. Tina Schell says:

    Very Georgia O’Keeffe Sally – creamy, soft, lovely.

  6. Sally, your photos are beautiful, dramatic and flowing. They made me think of ballet, too. I enjoy reading your thoughts and processes and hope that one of these days, I’ll have more time to devote to working on the craft of photography. I’m late to the challenge this week, but here’s my more humble entry:


  7. Gallivanta says:

    I think these photos are gorgeous. They make me feel that I have undervalued the gladiola. When they appear here I must remember to really look at them.

  8. Su Leslie says:

    Gorgeous shots Sally; just so delicate. They make me think of ballet somehow! Anyway, here’s my contribution;

  9. KOH  says:

    Wonderful tone!
    like it~

  10. basiga says:

    Beautiful capture Sally!

  11. Sally, these are the best Gladiola photos I have ever seen. Absolutely wonderful.
    I stretched the definition of Macro a little today and hope my entry fits close enough to your theme…

  12. Sally — You really achieved a nice, soft touch to the gladiola. I’d like to see those teeny, tiny touches of rose on the inside of the while flower. That said, your two frames turned out quite elegant in B&W. Nicely done. Okay, here’s my stab at this week’s challenge, what I’m calling “It’s another Macro Monday”:

  13. Macro captures the texture very well compared to a wider shot 🙂 These are lovely 🙂

  14. Angeline M says:

    I guess I’m breaking rank, I like the second photo with the hint of the other flower in the shadow on the larger flower; also, the more open petal is inviting. Beautiful, and every time I think I won’t like flowers in B&W, I’m surprised at the beauty.
    Here is my entry for the week
    Happy Macro Monday.

  15. Pingback: Phoneography Challenge: Macro | AngelineM's Blog

  16. You created such drama with the flower…beautiful!

  17. suelca says:

    Also #1 with same reaction to the picture as another commenter. There is an intimacy between the two flowers that you beautifully captured.

  18. Jayde-Ashe says:

    Gorgeous shots. Love it.

  19. Pingback: 1/100 | Completely Disappear

  20. "Occam Blade" says:

    #1. Bud & flower look like kindred spirit in repose. Curiously, are the images take in color or did you convert them to grey scale? The mood of these flowers remind me of a series done by Robert Mapplethorpe, also on flowers.

    • I’m humbled by your comment. Yes, I take them in color and convert them. It is the best way, because there are many, many more hues than tones of black and white. And I can take advantage of a range of contrasts and tones. Thanks.

  21. Pingback: Phoneography Weekly: A macro look at coins | weliveinaflat

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