Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Photo Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Abstraction)

22 September 2014


1. Abstraction and Architecture, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Sky, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Architectural Abstraction, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Architectural Abstraction, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Architectural Abstraction, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Architectural Abstraction, iPhone 4s; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why.


Lately, nature has begun religiously to appear in my mind’s continuous slide show of abstractions. Mother Nature has become so much more than the sum of her parts.

We’re usually on the watch for the lilt of a songbird, bursts of colors from spring flowers, the beauty of winter’s bare trees, a moon’s performance, the foggy morning glaze. Or pan a garden for the flower that has bloomed, is budded or spent. Certainly, all of those slices of nature steal my attention. We tend to envision the natural world in its totality.

Since I’ve observed Mother Nature for all of my adult life, my attention is focused to scout for connections that provide alternatives to appreciate being among and with her. This journey allows me to notice combinations of variables that force discovery–discovery of tiny or larger epiphanies that attach themselves to a more discerning eye.

Because of this predilection, I’m spying more and more abstractions that lead to a different kind of love for the natural world. Usually, humans are resistant to the non-objective, non-representational. We like what we know, can explain, can understand. It’s not surprising that it took a VERY long time for Abstract Expressionism (at its height 1950s-1970s) to be accepted for its brilliant statement about art, creativity, life, and self-expression.

These notions were swirling through the synapses as I thought about the architectural abstractions that I uploaded in the Lens section. Recently, on a visit to Longwood Gardens I had both my iPhone 4s and Nikon DSLR. On photo shoots I am armed with both “cameras.” The two images below were too far away to capture with my iPhone.

I was struck by the designs and whimsy of the stone wall as it interacted with the nearby foliage. But it was the confluence of greens, grey blacks and tans reflected by the morning light that lured my eye.

1 Leaves and Stone, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Leaves and Stone, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Leaves and Stone, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Leaves and Stone, Nikon DSLR; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

While architectural human-made shapes (often sharp angled and edged lines of geometric forms) and nature-made ones (less structured, more amebic and amorphous) are usually quite different in aesthetic and practical designs. Historically, humans mimic nature all the time, but it’s never a task that is ever truly accomplished. I began to consider the commonality of our mutual ability to create the non-representational, the abstract.

In the course of everyday human nature and Mother nature are on a journey to interweave their sensibilities. Sometimes it is not simpatico. Sometimes it’s plain ludicrous. Knowing our role in the planet’s ills, I dream that we can live side-by-side in interdependence.

I am deeply concerned about the increase in tension that continues to build between human destruction of the natural environment and its effects upon our visual space and therefore our souls. In my lofty ideals these abstractions are symbolic to me; they show that the intersection of nature and human nature can find a path of least resistance.

Tip of the Day: The headline in Sunday’s New York Times read “At Climate Change March in New York, A Clarion Call for Action” (by Lisa W. Foderaro). See full article here. Oh, how I wanted to join the march, which is vital as a tool to answer and raise questions as well as provide the story as we know it. This People’s Climate March is probably the most important demonstrations on behalf of Mother Earth that has occurred in recent years.

The article explains, “The U.N. summit meeting this week is expected to create a framework for a potential global agreement on emissions late next year in Paris. The timing of the march was also significant in another regard. Last week, meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that this summer — the months of June, July and August — was the hottest on record for the globe, and that 2014 was on track to break the record for the hottest year, set in 2010. ‘Climate change is no longer an environmental issue; it’s an everybody issue,’ Sam Barratt, a campaign director for the online advocacy group Avaaz, which helped plan the march, said on Friday. ‘The number of natural disasters has increased and the science is so much more clear,’ he added. ‘This march has many messages, but the one that we’re seeing and hearing is the call for a renewable revolution.'”

This week’s attention to the global crisis is a critical step in the right direction, especially giving the community at large a voice. Hope that you will read the article.

View other entries to this week’s Challenger’s Choice:


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.

This entry was posted in Abstraction, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Photography, Traveling and Travels, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Photo Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Abstraction)

  1. #3 The abstraction in the black and white works best for my eyes. Nice.

  2. I love them all!! but especially leaves and stone!!

  3. Aquileana says:

    Great gallery for an eloquent prompt!. Very nice ❤
    Best wishes to you, Aquileana 😛

  4. elisa ruland says:

    It’s always a challenge to pick a favorite from the selection you provide each week, but I do like the last abstract very much. I’m happy you showcased the importance of nature in our world, and of course the spotlight on global warming. Take care and have a nice weekend.

  5. Maria F. says:

    Oh beautiful, another must-see as a triptych!

  6. It’s always so interesting to visit your blog and see how you create different images by the way you process them. Which is very apparent in these examples. My favourite one would have to be the most abstract, that is the last one.

  7. I have to agree with DG…the second is very intriguing…took the words right off my tongue☺

  8. DG MARYOGA says:

    Superb geometrical lines, great upward perspective ! I find the second one more intriguing and I love the impact of the light on the wonderful greens and the amazing patterns created ! Great work as always Sally ! Have a brilliant day 🙂

  9. Suzanne says:

    I love the first of the green photos – it looks like a Chinese brush painting

  10. Great choices today, Sally. I really like #2 and #3 and the progression toward the pure architectural forms once details are removed from the frame. I was sorry to miss the March in our area too but my Dad and Niece were able to attend the big gathering at the US/Canada border in Peace Arch Park on Saturday afternoon.

  11. I really like the first one titled Sky but I love the first Leaves and Stone. Something so shimmery and mysterious about it — or else I just love the colors! 😉

  12. Stunning and breathing inspiration! Nature is a living art. Abstract creations not just stirs our passions but challenge the mind. Happy Monday!

  13. They are all interesting photos in their own rights. 😀

  14. cindy knoke says:

    The last one. Quite mysterious~

  15. Amy says:

    These are all great capture, I like the first one a little more. Thank you for the Climate Change reminder, Sally!

    • Amy, just reading more about the monarch migration, which actually goes through New York.I do HOPE that the monarch’s population in other states was better than mine were this summer. See you soon. Thanks.

  16. suej says:

    I love that last abstract….it really says ‘abstract’ to me….and it is elegant in it’s simplicity 🙂

  17. Nico Calavita says:

    Amazing photos. Very creative in your compositional decisions

  18. Interesting you wrote about global warming this morning we got turned down for a solar panel program because our electrical bill was too low because it was so warm last winter. Ironic?
    I find abstract shapes relaxing and peaceful. The first one with the blue edge captures my attention the most.
    Happy first day of Fall!

  19. Oh this is a hard one. All terrific but I’m having a hard time deciding between the first and third as my favourite. I love the Colors in the first but I love the abstract and minimalist quality of the third.

  20. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I like the 3rd abstract of your series. It has a simple, yet elegant, look to it. I also like the 1st leaves & stone photo—the neon/fluorescent green plays well against the green of the foliage.

    Here is my entry for the week:

  21. LavendarLadi says:

    While I like the colours in the first one. I find that I really enjoy the second one. I like the textures.

  22. I hope you get the pingback ok this week, Sally? I also used architectural abstraction in my street photography this week. I think your first and third photos work best for this theme. Especially the third exemplifies abstraction I think better, because abstraction is about stripping things down to basics and it does that very well. However, having said that, the photos of nature, are so beautiful, they are far and away more pleasing to the eye. Nature never seems to get it wrong and I guess, I am attracted to those tones much more. See you next week.
    Here I am:

  23. How divine these are Sally! The lure of abstraction is calling me thanks your inspiration.

  24. I like the first one best. I like the colors. The blue on the right and white lines on the left really make the art for me.

  25. A happy Phoneography Monday to you, Sally. I love the first abstract. Something about the combination of colors and shapes appeals to me. But I also love the last two that you caught with your Nikon. Sometimes the phone camera just isn’t enough. Those two are stellar.

    Enjoy a week filled with photos.


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