Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Macro (Hibiscus and Sunflower)

11 August 2014


I. Native Hibiscus

1. Native Hibiscus; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Native Hibiscus; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Hibiscus; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Hibiscus; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Hibiscus; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Hibiscus; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

5. Native Hibiscus; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/ Lens and Pens by Sally

4. Native Hibiscus; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/ Lens and Pens by Sally

II. Native Sunflower

4. Sunflower; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

5. Sunflower; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why.


Mid-summer is high season for the showy yet gentle appearance of hibiscus. I revel in their mesmerizing beauty.

They have a delicate balance, and their charm captivates my gaze. Every flower is so sweetly stunning that I become awash in emotion.

These natives of the mallow family hijack descriptors that are synonymous with eloquence: dramatic, breathtaking, impressive, melodramatic, striking, theatrical, appealing, and expressive. Their flare for simplicity is evident in a design that reminds me of the Japanese culture with its attention to a  quiet and uncomplicated style.

Hibiscus reigns for its constancy that honors no frills, no toe-tapping performance that lasts for days. Although each flowerhead is short-lived, their effect is so strong that it matters not.

Petals are ultra thin, easily allowing the light to filter through them. They resemble tissue paper’s silky soft exterior, and etched with elongated lines from edge to edge. I’m in love.

Summer also brings sunflowers, which seem to be universally loved and planted. Swaths are found all over the world. It’s not only their bold beauty, but they provide food for animals, birds and human consumption. Oh, and they even have industrial applications.

A native of North America this annual was instantly popular, and introduced to the rest of the globe by early explorers and travelers. Today all sorts of varieties are available–colors and sizes. But I enjoy the charm of the common sunflower; it has a delicacy in its heft. And I adore that it woos bees and other insects, proving it’s an important pollinator.

In the Lens section are two examples of native hibiscus and one of the common native sunflower. Summer provides these floral triumphs, and I cannot keep from being an admirer.

Tip of the Week: Miki Asai is a Japanese artist who specializes in macro photography. Her work will astound you. It’s not just her technical skills, but the outrageous creativity that she uses to reveal the unseen world around us. Click here to view her outstanding interpretation of the miniature universe that surrounds us.

“Through a macro lens, I am trying to show the beautiful world of the small.” When asked by 500px about her advice to those newly interested in macro photography, she said: “I learned that when it comes to living things – if you want to achieve the shot that’s in your head – patience is really the only way.” — Miki Asai

Miki Asai, Japanese Photographer, Flower in Water Droplets

Miki Asai, Japanese Photographer, Flower in Water Droplets

View other entries for this week’s challenge:


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

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.




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70 Responses to Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Macro (Hibiscus and Sunflower)

  1. restlessjo says:

    I just looked at Miki’s work- it’s staggering! 🙂 Thanks for the intro. I have no idea…

  2. restlessjo says:

    Oh, you set such hard tasks! How to choose? I love the hibiscus in all it’s shades. I sidled towards your B & W version but then veered back to that lovely red throat. 🙂 No. 2 please, Sally.

  3. Sally, these are exquisitely photographed. Beautiful!!

  4. Tina Schell says:

    I too love the hibiscus Sally but your sunflower shot really drew me in. I liked its unique perspective. Lovely post!

  5. YES to all, but #s 4 and 5 really speak to me: composition, color, subject matter. They’d be fabulous as really HUGE backlit prints!

  6. Amy says:

    Beautiful! Incredible macro with iPhone. I should give a try 🙂

  7. says:

    Wow I REALLY like #4 !

  8. Maria F. says:

    Sally, I love all of these, and certainly your compositions. I’ve dreamt of photographing a White Hibiscus and oddly enough I have found none. Great “rule of thirds” as applied to all, or another way of describing the Fibonacci patterns.

  9. I’ve probably said so on other occasions, Sally, but I have a bias toward keeping a color picture in color unless the black and white conversion adds something really special that can’t be gotten from the original. Following that bias, I prefer picture 2 to picture 3.

    Although I appreciate the huge heads, with their Fibonacci patterns, of cultivated sunflowers, I’m with you in reveling in the joy of our native wild sunflowers.

  10. Aquileana says:

    Marvelous set of photos… I love them!…

    Best wishes, Aquileana 😛

  11. Dina says:

    Beautiful flowers and gorgeous images, Sally. It’s not easy to pick a favourite, but I like the order in which you have arranged it. My fav is the number one, the second, the third…
    Have a happy day, Sally! 🙂

  12. #2 … the wondrous complexity of white frames a spot of red 😀

  13. Sally, seriously it’s impossible to choose between your lovely macro flowers, I love them all! Thank you so much for the link to Miki Asai. Her work is stunningly beautiful, and is what I aspire to become with my own photography and editing.
    Here is my humble entry this week.

  14. livvy30 says:

    They’re all lovely Sally. Macro and flowers…you can’t go wrong. Here’s mine for this week.

  15. I’m sorry I just can’t choose. They are all too wonderful to decide one over another.

  16. Gallivanta says:

    The sunflower photo is my favourite today, although in terms of flowers I prefer the hibiscus to the sunflower. You describe its appeal so well. Miki’s work is astounding.

  17. Patience? Absolutely, and a steady hand. I love the macro of the sunflowers. They are amazing plants! The Sunflower garden at Singapore airport was a recent delightful discovery of mine.My contribution is here:

  18. Valentina says:

    Beautiful photos. The #4 has an antique feeling.

  19. Oh my golly – the Native Hibiscus photo is truly stunning. Thanks so much for sharing.

  20. pattisj says:

    Great shots of pretty flowers.

  21. Sally, your framing and editing choices are wonderful for each shot! I miss the sunflowers at our old house and hope we can try some new, smaller varieties here next summer.

  22. Love the sunflower image. Gorgeous.

  23. Lignum Draco says:

    They are beautiful flowers, and lovely photos.

  24. I like mystery of 2 and 3. At first glance on phone I thought it was an insect. Both color and black and white stand alone and tell different stories of the same shot!!!
    I had already planned to post my ragged ripe sunflowers before I saw yours. I like your “sunflower from behind” lovely little hair capture.
    Happy Monday

  25. Su Leslie says:

    Hi Sally, these are stunning. My absolute favourite is the second. The central burst of colour draws the eye in while the white of the petals allows focus on texture. Here’s my contribution:

  26. Oh, Sally, that first hibiscus one just sets my senses reeling. I adore those colors. The rest are also gorgeous but #1 had me from the start!

  27. ~meredith says:

    Hi, Sally; I really like one and two, together, because they make such awesome inside out thought in such a balanced way. I love that! Both are beautiful, but together seem very dynamic.

    The fourth one is my favorite because it’s such a surprise. The color of deep, brownish russet against pale blue expresses a completely different feeling than anything I’ve ever looked at (in hibiscus photos). It’s so rich, but evokes a very different thought.

    Awesome, as always. 🙂

  28. aloha Sally. i like your first (#1) shot and last shot (#5).

    #1 because it’s not the usual side you see of hibiscus and the lines show the form(s) so well. i see a lot of hibiscus. I have a yellow-golden one outside my door that is almost always in bloom—yes, year round. They are a fascinating flower.

    #5 again is not the typical photo I see of sunflower blossoms. It makes me think about the blossom. And reminds me of hula skirts. wow.

    Very cool, aloha.

  29. Nico Calavita says:

    Stunningly beautiful! All of them!

  30. taphian says:

    I like the sunflower best of all. This is a different kind of sunflower-photo.

  31. Angeline M says:

    The first two photos and the last are my favorites. Spectacular! Won’t be able to contribute today; besides organizing for a move, I’m taking care of my 13 month old grandson the next couple of days 🙂 He and his toys should provide for some good phoneography ops.

  32. Sally, I took the time to click on the link and am left without adequate words to describe how stunning Miki’s photos are! Makes me realize what a very long way I have to go as a macro photographer…and that there are some things an iPhone won’t do. 🙂

    Of your beautiful photos for this week, I can’t decide between one and two. Looking at them yet again, I think I slightly favor the opulent color of the first over the lovely detail of the second, but not by much.

    Have a week filled with beauty,


  33. Suzanne says:

    These are all very beautiful – shades of Georgia O’Keefe in the second one. Hard to pick which one I like best but the colours in the last one really appeal to me. Here’s my contribution

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