Phoneography Challenge, the Phone as Your Lens: Black and White (and a Pre-Winter Blast)

16 December 2013


1. First Snowstorm, iPhone 4s, December 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

1. First Snowstorm, iPhone 4s, December 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Dried Flowers in Snow, iPhone 4s, December 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

2. Dried Flowers Over Snow, iPhone 4s, December 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

3. Aftermath of Snowstorm, iPhone 4s, December 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

3. Aftermath of Snowstorm, White Clay Creek, iPhone 4s, December 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

4. Sunset at the White Clay Creek, iPhone 4s, December 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

4. Sunset, White Clay Creek, iPhone 4s, December 2013; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2013

Let me know which you prefer and why.


If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Phoneography Challenge, please contact me.

In my opinion one of the purist and powerful blessings of Mother Nature is her overarching effect upon us. My first gaze at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon solidified my belief in her omnipotence and majesty. That reaction was combined with outrageous magnificence at every turn in Arizona and Utah.  

That long-ago trip, which introduced me to the Southwest of the U.S.A., was life changing. Still an overwhelming sense of joy and wonder can happen as I watch the yellow-bellied sapsucker drive its beak into my Bradford Pear tree. While it searches for a tidbit, I loose sense of time and place, I become nature.   

These moments with Mother Nature awaken my spirituality in known and unknown ways. Each is a gift that continues to add to my story. Recently, my grandson called me a Transcendentalist, and my heart beat rapidly with his insight and my delight.

Last week’s first snowstorm of the season, which covered the region, embodied fragility and strength. Beauty was captured in the small and larger views through the snowfall. Each unique snowflake cascaded in and out of sight, but also became a blur–diving into the whole. Those memories awaken a reverence and a query about the passage of such moments.

One of the Transcendentalist was Ralph Waldo Emerson, who believed that each of us can find “an original relation to the universe.” That partnership is a thread  that keeps my cup running over with humility and inspiration. Nature humbles and seduces me, serving as a steppingstone to understand myself and my ongoing search for answers.

It’s bitter cold, and quickly my survival instincts surface. I’m a warm-weather kind of gal, but seasonal shifts make up for extremes in weather. Still when it hit 19 degrees a few days ago, my physical being longed for warm nights of spring or hot mornings of summer.

As winter nears I layer and layer to be able to meander through local parks and woodlands where I find quiet, solitude and serenity. It’s a combination that includes  comfort and solace. I’m energized by city life, but fully charged by nature’s effects upon me.

In the Lens section are a few peeks at our early December snowstorm and its aftermath. Ice and snow lingers, because temperatures continue to sway back and forth. A few days later more snow arrived, and brought freezing rain.

My enthusiasm for nature is always buoyed when forecasters misstep, which is exactly what happened this past weekend. Their inability to get it right is another instance that shows Mother Nature’s capacity to reign. She is the quintessential master and teacher, effecting all of us even when we do not realize it.

Tip of the Week:

“Every photograph is a battle of form versus content.” Garry Winogrand

“How do you take a photograph that is more interesting than what actually happened?…How do you beat it?” Garry Winogrand, 1977

Photograph by Garry Winogrand,1950, Google Images

Photograph by Garry Winogrand, 1950, Google Images

Let me introduce you to one of the street photographers that has stolen my time. American photographer Garry Winogrand (1928-1984) was one of the most celebrated  photojournalists whose body of work spanned from post-World War II to the 1970s. His earlier work documented twentieth-century New York, and later he chronicled the U.S.A. from East to West. His black-and-white oeuvre is a study in the art of seeing; his dramatic interpretations show the fleeting moments of street life. Winogrand’s life’s work will be feted by major museums through 2015. The exhibition began in California (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, March 9–May 31, 2013) and resumes next year. Here is the schedule:  National Gallery of Art, Washington, March 2–June 8, 2014; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May–August 2014; Jeu de Paume, Paris, October 2014–January 2015; Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid, March–June 2015. The National Gallery of Art’s website describes the show: “In the first retrospective of his work in 25 years, some 160 photographs in the exhibition and more than 350 in the accompanying catalogue will reveal for the first time the full breadth of Winogrand’s art through never-before-seen prints and proof sheets.” It’s an opportunity to see his works live. The New York Times “Lens: Photography, Video and Visual Journalism” Blog published an article about Winogrand and his contemporaries. Marvin Heiferman’s piece from 13 May 2013, can be read here. Winogrand was a master of the monochrome, and one of American art history’s finest visual storytellers. I hope you’re able to visit one of the museums that will honor his legacy.

Here are other entries for this week’s challenge:


Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Phoneography 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, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to Phoneography Challenge, the Phone as Your Lens: Black and White (and a Pre-Winter Blast)

  1. Mesmerizing pictures capturing the magic of this season.

  2. You’ve definitely caught the feel of the winters I remember from growing up in New York in the 1950s. Your first picture feels like one from a family photo album, times that were and are no more.

  3. I like them all, but my favourite is the dried flower one because it also reminds me of our internal molecular system. Pretty weird hey but that’s true.

  4. Tina Schell says:

    There is nothing quite as beautiful as the first snowfall of the season, especially in the woods. Somehow the quiet is deeper under nature’s blanket. A lovely post Sally – we are enjoying an unusually warm December here in South Carolina but are headed to NY for the holiday so I shall have my fill of cold before long! Happy Holidays to you.

  5. Pooja says:

    Gorgeous clicks…loved the second one of dried flowers the most. I am not at a place with snow so clicked dried rose plant at my home….

  6. marialla says:

    Wow what beauties. So full of a story foir each picture. Thank you and have a great Christmas with family and friends.. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAnd have a happy, healthy, love-filled new year!! Mari

  7. Excellent shots! I’ve enjoyed the photos 🙂

  8. Gallivanta says:

    How perceptive your grandson is! And how perceptive you are with these wonderfully evocative images of the first snowstorm.

  9. Michael56j says:

    No. 1 First Snowstorm is really dreamy. But for me, No. 4 Sunset steals the show. It has a beautiful perspective and looks great in black and white.

  10. micey says:

    I love the first photo. It looks really pixelated. Very cool.

  11. Su Leslie says:

    These are beautiful Sally. I particularly like the way the first two shots are so impressionistic. They really capture the feeling of snow (something I miss horribly sweltering in a Kiwi Christmas).

  12. Trifocal says:

    Of these I like 2 best. It is a very strong and direct image, but with a lot of complex detail in the pattern of black on white. Probably not the easiest of shots to notice either, until you were right above it!

  13. cindy knoke says:

    Love it, like lithographs and captures the stark beauty of winter~

  14. UreshaM says:

    Reblogged this on Fonts and Frosting and commented:
    A fun photo challenge for my fellow iPhoneographers 🙂

  15. Sally, I really like the final shot best – its so crisp and clear, and you can see a hint of the sun peeking through the silhouetted trees. I always think trees look really good in black and white. Here is my entry for the week.

  16. Sweet as a Picture says:

    Lovely, all, in black and white. 🙂

  17. Amar Naik says:

    Great captures. I love the White Clay Creek shot.

  18. My favorite is the first picture….the first snow. I love the misty house in the background and the snow standing out against the black tree.

  19. FireBonnet says:

    I really like the 2nd and 4th ones. I am fascinated by pattens created by positive and negative space and the black and white treatment of these two make very interesting patterns! I love the way the trees seem to lean into the center as if speaking to the sun. Thanks for this challenge!

  20. Lignum Draco says:

    Lovely shots. I’d love to see the Winogrand exhibit.

  21. Great shots Sally. You did an awesome job on the processing.

  22. Beautiful shots Sally. The first one makes me want to stay inside by a fire with hot chocolate, but the last one invites me to bundle up and go out for a walk. I hope you are staying warm today!

  23. Nico says:

    I love one and four

  24. livvy30 says:

    SO much snow! Love the second shot.

  25. Angeline M says:

    I totally love that first photo of the snow storm. I rarely see anything like that, only when we go to Lake Tahoe in winter sometimes. Black and white fits it well.
    Happy phoneography Monday, and holidays …..

  26. Steve says:

    Brilliant shots of the snow – hope there is more to come…snow that is 🙂

    Here’s my entry:

  27. The processing on the first one with the tree…almost looks like a pen drawing…dreamy how the snow has almost blocked out the home.

  28. I love the first photo! It’s my favorite in this set. Perhaps because Georgia rarely sees snow! Happy Phoneography Monday!!

  29. I need to join again…these are beautiful shots!

  30. Superb work Sally as always-I particularly like the top image-the processing is wonderful-it conveys a lot about winter.

  31. Nancy Power says:

    Love love love the first two! The first one looks to me like it was taken around 1900 and I expect to see a woman with an Edwardian bustle in the the background. The second one, well, the beauty of nature silhouetted against the snow. Lovely shapes. Thank you!

  32. Aloha LensandPensbySally – I was taken with the first shot (#1), which captures for me the feeling of a snow storm. A way fun shot to take and see with the soft gray shapes in the background and the stark strong tree and tree trunk foreground suggesting depth yet keeping it all in a flattened 2-layer plane (which I like a lot). The last shot too (#4) also has great appeal for me because of the light. I almost did not recognize it as a sunset because i was so caught up in the structure of the trees. It is quite simply a beautiful shot of light in winter. Very cool. Aloha.

  33. All are great shots. The first one is interesting to me in that it appears the tree is its own shelter from the storm. Everything else is being blotted out. I love winter scenes and snow pictures but I can’t take the cold anymore that goes with it!

  34. Amy says:

    These are really stunning B/W images, Sally! I may find b/w to post later today.

  35. scillagrace says:

    #2 is a haunting abstract: microscope slide, x-ray, starburst, Rorschach test…

  36. wisejourney says:

    The first one, though I like them all…such atmosphere but the first is dreamy too.

  37. "Occam Blade" says:

    Love the shot of White Clay Creek!

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