Phoneography Challenge, the Phone as Your Lens: Macro (Everyday Objects)

10 March 2014


1. Stainless Steel Sponge, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

1. Stainless Steel Sponge, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2. Stainless Steel Sponge, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2. Stainless Steel Sponge, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

3. Stainless Steel Sponge, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

3. Stainless Steel Sponge, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Stainless Steel Sponge, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Stainless Steel Sponge, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

Let me know which you prefer and why.

Pens: My frustration level heightened. The more that I delved into the current evolution of photography, the more that I remain puzzled about the verbiage for the challenge’s new title.

After last week’s post the consensus swirled around the title that most of us elected: Photography Challenge, Using Nontraditional Digital Devices as Your Lens. It seems an apt choice.

As I read about terminology that current photographers and sites use, these can be found: iPhoneography is hot; Mobile photography is hot; Phoneography is hot; Photography remains and always will be hot. So I’ve come up with another suggestion: Photography Challenge, Using  Mobile Non-SLR Digital Devices as Your Lens.

Photography will continue to blend computers, the Internet and cellphones. It is  anyone’s educated guess how future technologies will morph and prevail as innovations are carved into our lives.

Now I’m tossing two choices into the arena for your response. Please select the one that you prefer, or make another suggestion. I’m certainly open to continue this conversation.

1. Photography Challenge, Using Nontraditional Digital Devices as Your Lens

2. Photography Challenge, Using Mobile Non-SLR Digital Devices as Your Lens

So I’m feeling better, because these two seem to reflect more of the current and future wave of technology that is not SLR based. As always I welcome your comments and suggestions. It’s never over until the collective “we” are satisfied with the challenge’s new title.

Now today’s challenge: Everyday objects fill considerable mental space as I consider aesthetics and design in my life. I am a visual thinker and tinkerer, and what surrounds me is paramount to my well-being.

As I was contemplating the subject of my next photo shoot, the perfect plaything popped into sight as I meandered through display shelves at a local paper and kitchen store. A spherical 3 1/2″ stainless steel sponge simply made its way into my hand. I floated with enthusiasm, wanting to see the way the light cast upon an object found at the kitchen sink.

Stainless Steel Sponge, 3 1/2"; Google Images

Stainless Steel Sponge, 3 1/2;” Google Images

I was drawn to the interwoven web of stainless steel where hard and soft converged into ribbon-like coils that sat in concentric circles. How would the light intrude upon this utilitarian scrubby? How would it filter through the dense tensile strength?

Objects seen through a macro lens often flip in perception. That reversal is like turning a page in a book, because that action often reveals a plot twist and unveils characteristics of the familiar and unfamiliar.

When this switch occurs, new words enter the psyche. They proceed to relate a different story, for example, about an everyday object’s hidden elements. That’s a key reason that macro is such an arresting genre of photography. Surprise and wonder always become part of the process of its effectiveness.

During the photo shoot I had the idea to pull and tug at the sponge, elongating the coils and adding more opportunity for light to accentuate its design. Macro also offers the chance to appreciate the engineering of an object. The mid-day sunlight was beaming its way through my set-up, and I moved the sponge into position to take advantage of the natural light’s brilliance.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s particularly important in Smartphone macro photography to turn off the flash. Natural light is the optimum choice.

The elasticity of the coils made it easy and difficult to stretch its body into other shapes, because it kept returning to a slight likeness of its former self. Still, light traveled its journey, and patterns appeared.

In the Lens section is the result of my efforts. The four images represent the design elements rendered by the intertwining ribbon-like coils. Image two and three are the same image. Image two was taken in Camera +, and the third was processed in Photo Studio.

This experiment proves that the everyday is really so much more. The everyday is a wonderland of discovery that inspires noticing the unnoticed.

Tip of the Week: I’d like to introduce you to!–a site devoted to building “engaged audiences through publishing by curation.” Yes, I got scooped by curator Arcangel. He selected my Photograph #4 from my 03 March post, and it can be found in’s iPhoneography section (04 March). Click here to view. Mostly, I was charmed by the site, and its wealth of information, sources and especially tutorials. I encourage you to browse through its treasure trove of offerings.!!

View other entries to today’s challenge:

Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog.

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.

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 Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel). (Animals and Objects are themes.)

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week (31 March 2014 will be the first challenge for this new theme).

This entry was posted in Abstraction, Black-and-White Photography, Design, Macro Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Phoneography Challenge, the Phone as Your Lens: Macro (Everyday Objects)

  1. I like the first one, it looks like a creature.

  2. Hi Sally, all your images are great. It’s great fun transforming ordinary objects. For the title you have in mind, I prefer the 1st one.

  3. Su Leslie says:

    I really like your images; the transition from the realistic to abstract silhouettes is interesting and beautiful. I’m sitting out the tail end of a tropical cyclone here; going stir-crazy at home.

  4. aloha Sally. sometimes my weekends are in the middle of the week. sometimes my monday is every day other than Monday. sheesh. my response blasted through me this morning (altho i had been trying to find it since last friday). . . . from photo and writing to end post. as usual. i’m often most excited about the last thing i am working on. this is it:

    i like your 2nd photograph. i think it is because the composition makes great use of the positive and negative space in a balanced way so that one can see either as pushing forward or retreating and either can be positive or negative. i think that is because of the way you cropped. i prefer it here over the negative image of the same composition possibly because the outer area is dark against the surrounding white of the post. where as the negative image has the same white as the post white. which to me throws the balance off. i suspect that would be different framed.

    i prefer the challenge title (of those here) as:

    1. Photography Challenge, Using Nontraditional Digital Devices as Your Lens

    this is because “Mobile” in the 2nd title would seem to exclude scanner photography.

    as you’ve pointed out, the path of photography is in great flux right now and most likely will be ever on going. in consideration of that, i suspect at some point picking a title and going with it, may be more important than finding the absolute right title for all or ongoing time. it could well be than in a few months after picking a title. or a year. we have something on the horizon that will make everything we are doing now seem like traditional history. and the new will be. . . . point your finger and blink technology. or something just about as what??!! sounding. lowering your stress counts in my book.

    fun on. and happy phoneography monday all week long on you. aloha. rick

  5. jakesprinter says:

    Brilliant post 🙂

  6. Trifocal says:

    The title problem is really difficult. Maybe one way in is to have a very short title and an explanatory subtitle that is only used when needed to fill out the short one (in completion rules for instance.) in the challenge’s rules.
    As an example: ‘Mobiles Etc : Using Nontraditional Digital Devices as Your Lens’. Typographically this not great but perhaps it illustrates my general point.
    On the pictures- I pick 4. It looks almost like an energetic and determined calligrapher’s squiggle, done with a broad nibbed pen 🙂

  7. I like the first one… colorful 🙂
    For the title: Photography Challenge, Using Mobile Non-SLR Digital Devices as Your Lens. Nontraditional Digital Devices is not intuitive. Blackberry or even iPhone may become traditional someday 🙂

  8. Sally — I soaked up your sponge macros, and the judges have decided frame #2 is the wiriest of the bunch.

  9. You always have so many interesting approaches when it comes to photography and your subject. Another great selection of close-ups this time. I like them all and only select the second with some doubts. But maybe this is where steel sponge makes a most compelling pattern.

  10. Interesting, at first I thought it was the tape off an old analog cassette! 🙂

  11. Dawn says:

    I like #2 – it could be anything really – party ribbon, curly (very curly) hair?, or a fun scrubby thing.

    Photography Challenge, Using Nontraditional Digital Devices as Your Lens – is my preference – I’m having so much fun with your challenge – I’m just happy you are willing to host this collection of wonder and joy.

  12. I do like the second one now. I think the nontraditional sounds a bit clunky. So I am going with #2. Great images and inspiring that humble things can be interesting in macro.

  13. FireBonnet says:

    I really love the first one. The warmth of the copper reflections and the great composition are just my style! As for the name, I’m in favor of the first one. A little less tongue twisty, and doesn’t have a negative as part of it (non). Here’s mine for this week!

  14. UreshaM says:

    I love the first image, makes me think of reels of negatives-the life of photography before we went digital…
    As for the name of the challenge I prefer 1. Photography Challenge, Using Nontraditional Digital Devices as Your Lens

  15. I am enjoying the first photo a lot today, I think it is the warm colors in the metal that capture my attention over the next in your series. Also, I prefer the first challenge title choice.

  16. Sally I like the third one. I have a strong opinion about the title as you will see in my post today. I prefer 1. By saying non SLR opens it to digital point and shoot cameras which now days are just as sophisticated as an SLR. I like the challenge and limits that phones and tables and scanners offers.
    Happy Monday

  17. Amy says:

    I like the first one, Sally. It’s great to see the different versions and learn from the experience. I’ll have my entry for you later today.

  18. Ajaytao2010 says:

    You are a silent teacher
    who teaches by action and not by words

    Thanks for being there 🙂 🙂

  19. I like the first photo because it looks the most unique and I like the spots of the copper color.

  20. Angeline M says:

    Happy Phoneography Monday, Sally. I love your first photo and the way light plays on it giving it a brassy “feel”. Yes, it is the everyday that is so full of rich beauty, I agree. As far as titles go for this challenge, I would vote on #1; it still seems like a long title to be putting on our post for the challenge….Linda gives a good quote, though, on how you need to look at this 🙂
    Here is my entry for the week, thanks.

  21. Lignum Draco says:

    After a bit of afterthought. I favour title 1.

  22. I like all of them. You really have a way of developing themes and subjects.

  23. Gallivanta says:

    You have just shed a whole new light on the wonders in my kitchen. I am a viewer of this site not a participant but I rather like 1. Photography Challenge, Using Nontraditional Digital Devices as Your Lens Congratulations on being selected for Scoop it.

  24. I like the top image the best; the others are much less dynamic and far more mundane by comparison.

    As far as your struggle with the SLR vs non-SLR issue is concerned, why not just “non-SLR”? That’s inclusive of all the other forms of cameras and still gets you away from the SLR/DSLR crowd.

    Here are my own phoneography shots:

  25. Good morning, Sally. I always look forward to getting up on Monday and posting my entry for the week’s challenge, whatever it’s called. In that regard, I prefer choice number one for its simplicity. And I also prefer your first photo. I love the shapes, the depth and the hint of color. No dithering for me this week, it was a clear choice (finally!)

    Congratulations on having your photo picked. I hope to get over to the site you shared and take a look soon. But breakfast and so much work around the house (tax time cometh) calls and I must answer.

    Have a wonderful Monday and week,


  26. I believe my favorite of the four is the first one. I like the way the light reflects. I couldn’t help but have the following quote by Abraham Lincoln pop into my head while reading about your frustrations in trying to choose a new challenge title. I hope you don’t mind:
    “You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” 😉

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