Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Black and White (Following the Sun to the West and Then to the East)

19 May 2014

Lens:

1. Cloudscape at Dawn, Flying to West Coast, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

1. Cloudscape at Dawn, Flying to West Coast, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2. Dawn on Westward Flight, Cloudscapes, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2. Dawn on Westward Flight, Cloudscapes, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

3. Cloudscape at Dusk, Flying East iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

3. Cloudscape at Dusk, Flying East iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Cloudscape at Dusk, Flying East iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Cloudscape at Dusk, Flying East iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

5. Rain Clouds at Night Flying on East Coast, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

5. Rain Clouds at Night Flying on East Coast, iPhone 4s, April 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

Let me know which you prefer and why.

Pens:

When I travel by air, I do relish the opportunity to view the world from above. The topography always astounds and shakes my thoughts. I have difficulty absorbing the grandeur, the profound beauty, the omniscience of our earth and sky. These experiences linger, and are tucked into a treasure trove of the unusual and usual.

On my recent trip to the West Coast we had a pre-dawn flight. It was a chance to see the sunrise, and cast my gaze upon the light’s play with early morning clouds. On my return flight to the East the late night gradually took hold. Rain clouds prevailed, and twilight was filled with a skyline that kept me attentive.

There are, to say the least, many disadvantages to photograph through airplane windows. But I do make the effort to record the seen (scene) before me. Conditions could be so much better than a double-pane window, fast-moving and airborne vehicle, and focal ability and lens of the non-SLR type aka iPhone 4s. The chances of clarity are daunting, but I am driven to try.

On each flight (two to the West Coast and two to the East Coast) incredible cloudscapes swept from my vantage point all the way to the horizon and above. Even if I just captured a few images, I would have been satisfied.

I admit to an obsession with cloud formations. Just the science of them intrigues, and our dependence upon them is staggeringly vital. Beyond those obvious points, they mesmerize. They always reinvent themselves, they always perform, they always come in  sizes from tiny or grandiose or in-between. They’re simply glorious.

Mostly, a gaze in the here-and-now displays one part of their proportions. As time ticks they are redesigned, making constancy impossible. Subtle but nonetheless changes do appear. Or action-packed moments occur. Consistent alteration rivets and sparks the sky’s stage, and I fixate on them as a subject to record and watch.

Their aesthetics and drama draw me. Their fractions and arbitrary sizes keep me posed to wonder what is next.

They can calm or incite action. They can be quiet or induce boisterous sounds. They can be graceful or clumsy. They can devastate or triumph. They can be illusive or blanket the entire skyline.

So as I looked across the vast expanse of cloudscapes, I was not at all interested in their scientific names: It’s their power to seduce me that revealed my devotion. It’s enough that they embellish my life, giving it a purity even in their forceful possibilities.

In the Lens section are five examples of cloud formations that unveiled themselves during those coast-to-coast trips. They seemed well-suited to a black-and-white format, which helps to accentuate their charm and energy. Mostly, from east to west and west to east each cloudscape became its own fluid narrative.

Tip of the Week: Recently, I discovered the work of English photographer Michael Kenna. His black-and-white photographs melt my sensibilities. They push the idea of what we see and what the “seen” actually is. Here is a quote from an interview by Pro Cameraman during summer 2012: “My themes don’t change very much, the countries where I photograph do. I am interested in the relationship, juxtaposition, and interaction between the landscape and the structures that we, humans leave on the landscape. Stories, footprints, evidence, traces, atmosphere, and history… That’s what I always return to. Even if I am photographing in what could be considered wilderness, there is usually some kind of hint and touch that this landscape has been changed or altered by our intervention. In the other extreme, I could be photographing nuclear power stations in the middle of the night. There may not seem to be a great deal of nature there, but it is still the relationship somewhere between the two that draws me.” Click here to read the full interview.

Two Factory Chimneys, Sapporo, Japan, 2008, Michael Kenna

Two Factory Chimneys, Sapporo, Japan, 2008, Michael Kenna

French Canal, Study 2, Loir-et-Cher, France, 1993, Michael Kenna

French Canal, Study 2, Loir-et-Cher, France, 1993, Michael Kenna

To see other work by Kenna, click here.

View other entries for this week’s challenge:

http://pictograf.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white/

http://streetsofsfphotos.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/dog-walk-in-the-park/

http://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white-mixed-subjects/

http://completelydisappear.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/the-twinkling-roof/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/phoneography-black-and-white-challenge-goes-to-annies-annuals/

http://helpalongthepath.com/2014/05/19/reflection-time-phoneography-and-non-slr-devices-photo-challenge/

http://firebonnet.com/2014/05/19/phoneography-an-ancient-cathedral/

http://walktheselftalk.com/2014/05/19/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white/

http://crazedpotatoes.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/the-twilight-zone-phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white/

http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/phoneography-challenge-in-black-and-white/

http://nwframeofmind.com/2014/05/19/iphoneography-monday-5-19-14/

http://amaltaas.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white/

http://19planets.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/ocean-midnight-015-may-2014-haiga-for-phoneography-monday-black-and-white/

http://wisnuwidiarta.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white-the-bird/

http://artifactsandfictions.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/rocks-and-sea/

http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/phoneography-and-non-slr-challenge-black-and-white/

http://blogagaini.com/2014/05/22/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white/

http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/aotearoa-land-of-the-long-white-cloud/

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 Photo Challenge, please contact me.

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Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Photo 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.

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This entry was posted in Abstraction, Black-and-White Photography, Nature Photography, Traveling and Travels, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Black and White (Following the Sun to the West and Then to the East)

  1. Madhu says:

    Another fabulous gallery Sally! Love the softness and composition of no.3 this time 🙂

  2. Trifocal says:

    I would go for 3. The way that the balance in emphasis between light and dark shifts as you go up the picture works very well imo.
    Getting good cloud shots like these from a plane must have been very difficult; rather like trying to photograph a dissolving mountain range from a moving train 🙂

  3. Great shots Sally. I didn’t have a window seat on my flight to Israel so I didn’t get any shots from above. Hopefully on my way home.

  4. Su Leslie says:

    Hi Sally, lovely shots as always. I particularly like no. 4. The great dark chasm between the cloud formations is ominous and powerful. Here’s my take on the theme: http://zimmerbitch.wordpress.com/2014/05/22/aotearoa-land-of-the-long-white-cloud/

  5. Dawn says:

    Gracious Kenna’s images are beautiful. Thanks for the link. Their simplicity is draws you in – and yet each image is filled with points to consider. They are yummy.
    Loving your shot with the airplane wing. Like you the clouds and that special view from above is too special to waste. Who needs a movie when you can watch out the window the best show ever?

  6. It’s amazing how the time of day created a spectacular, dramatic cloud formations. Truly makes you feel like you’re flying on air. Happy Memorial Weekend!

  7. There is something magic about clouds seen from above. Maybe that’s why I like to fly around in the world… And yes, there are always lots of opportunity to capture those different structures and fluffy shapes. My favourite of these five photos is the second one. I like the details and the beautiful morning light. Also thank you for introducing Michael Kenna. I don’t know anything about him, but will check him out.

  8. Amy says:

    Stunning b&w images, Sally! Especially the last two. I haven’t been able to find a b&w I’m satisfied to post for this week.
    Btw, I will be on vacation the next weeks, so I won’t be able to participate until I’m back.

  9. Suzanne says:

    What interesting photos. I’ve often admired the clouds seen from plane windows but never thought of photographing them. Here’s my contribution to the challenge http://artifactsandfictions.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/rocks-and-sea/

  10. Aquileana says:

    Remarkable photos… They look great in black and white. Congratulations,

    Best wishes, Aquileana 😀

  11. DG MARYOGA says:

    Sally,Dear ! I am totally enchanted by your writing style which is in absolute accordance with the awesome photos,the tremendous cloudscapes ! I have developed a strong liking for cloud formations and their ever-changing shapes as they are drifted away by the wind ; they trigger my wild imagination.and sometimes I find them great cartographers …. I have not studied Nephology,but each one of your cloudscapes is so inspirational and impressive for different reasons.They are all so puffy and beautiful !!! Who bothers if they are Cumulus,or Cirrus,or Stratus or Nimbus … Loved them all,loved your exceptional work,dear Sally ! Doda 🙂 xxx

  12. thirdeyemom says:

    These are all simply stunning Sally! Do you use any apps or photo processing or filters or are they just as hey appear? Amazingly serene!

  13. Tina Schell says:

    Lovely cloudscapes Sally. Almost makes it worth getting up pre-dawn!!

  14. Gracie says:

    Beautiful series, Sally. Gazing outside the window is my favorite past time when I’m flying. Just like you, I am amazed at how beautiful the world looks from above.

  15. Gallivanta says:

    A lovely cloudscape series. Love the idea of looking at them from both east and west.

  16. aloha Sally. yes. clouds are a potent visual for most all of us i suspect. i too like to watch them from the window of an airplane and if i’m lucky enough to have a seat BY the window i usually attempt a few shots. some work. some do not. and yes again b & w make for great cloud shots. i think part of that is that without color the forms become the dominant element. i like that a lot.

    photos 2, 3 and 4 in that order appeal to me a lot. the distance and perspective enhancing the awe for me. and on #2 i think it is the devastating scope of the area seen. that kind of scope is always potent. fun. aloha.

  17. I also am fascinated by clouds from above as the light is so lovely. It’s funny I was thinking of using similar shots, I’ll wait & show them another time. 🙂

  18. Indira says:

    Your photographs have a very dramatic effect Sally. Nice shots. Fourth one looks like furious sea waves. My pics- http://amaltaas.wordpress.com/2014/05/20/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white/

  19. The promise of amazing dawn skies is the only thing that gets me on early morning flights these days! Your photos beautifully capture that “sense of wonder” feeling I get every time. 🙂

  20. Angeline M says:

    I really love 3 and 4 in your set today, Sally. The clouds remind me of ice floes. I clicked to enlarge them and they’re even more beautiful when enlarged.
    http://angelinem.wordpress.com/2014/05/19/phoneography-challenge-in-black-and-white/

  21. marialla says:

    Thank you so much – clouds have to be the most interesting objects !!!!

  22. ksfinblog says:

    the last two photos are amazing………..

  23. Jackie says:

    I like all of them but I especially like the first one. It has a classic timeless feel that really resonates with me,

  24. Steve Lakey says:

    Hi Sally, I particularly love the Cloudscape at Dawn. The dramatic black wing contrasts perfectly with the fluffy white clouds underneath. Amazing! 🙂

    Here’s my contribution:
    http://walktheselftalk.com/2014/05/19/phoneography-and-non-slr-digital-devices-photo-challenge-black-and-white/

  25. FireBonnet says:

    My favorite are the two at dusk. I like the softer light. They almost look like frozen snow fields. I also enjoy looking down at the clouds from an airplane, but have never tried photographing them. Next time I fly I’ll see if I can remedy that. Have a great week!

  26. Wonderful photos. As usual, for favorites I kept bouncing from pic to pic but I think overall I’m leaning towards the first one. Great shots! 🙂

  27. elisa ruland says:

    I’ve become a slave to the aisle seat for the past several years, the downside being that I miss the beautiful sky and scenery far below. Thanks for sharing your views from the window seat…I love them all!

  28. I love this series of images-the cloudscapes are unbelievably dramatic-I particularly like the top image; I always enjoy seeing the juxtaposition of the man-made and nature. Once again you have demonstrated the versatility of the iPhone and what it is capable of-great work Sally!

  29. Sally, I completely agree that clouds are fascinating. I, too, compulsively take pictures of them when in an airplane and have actually gotten some decent ones. It’s fun to keep trying, at any rate.

    It’s difficult to pick a favorite as each has something to recommend it and the textures are all wonderful. I’ll have to leave it at that, as each time I go back to look, I like something about each. But that’s a good thing, right? 🙂

    Have a wonder-filled week.

    janet

  30. Rusha Sams says:

    I like the first one — Cloudscape at Dawn! I can tell where you are. The others not so much.

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