Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Photo Challenge: Black and White (Architecture)

20 October 2014


I. Some of my Last Photographs Taken with my iPhone 4s

1. Solitary Tree, Longwood Gardens; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Solitary Tree, Longwood Gardens; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. The Path to Somewhere, Meadow, Longwood Gardens; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. The Path to Somewhere, Meadow, Longwood Gardens; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

II. Taken with my iPhone 6

3. UD Physical Therapy Building; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. UD Physical Therapy Building; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

4. UD Physical Therapy Building; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

4. UD Physical Therapy Building; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why.


I’ve written several times about my philosophy of architecture: its prevalence in the world of nature and human nature. My visual field is stolen by its elements, which fill my day-by-night attention at every turn. This post honors the convergence of our lives with the visual rhythms of architecture.

These features are so apparent, yet are usually unnoticed as we stroll or ramble or trot through our journeys. It’s usually innovative solo structures that force us to focus on the robust and unusual.

Line, shape, color, texture, and unity are overarching architectural themes. Each provides variations on aesthetics, contrast, pattern, proportion, scale, symmetry, tension, and visual effects. These are pervasive and all-encompassing, both in nature and human nature.

In the Lens section are my tribute to this very humanistic and naturally-occurring aspect of life. On a small level my new iPhone 6 is a perfect example of architectural innovation.  We continue to construct, invent and reinvent features as functional and visual components that stun our sensibilities. We savor and crave the new, but the normal and usual are just as complex and influential, at least for me.

The first two images were taken at Longwood Gardens. As I meandered through their end-of-the-season meadow, the wing spread and girth of the stately tree reminded me of some post-modernist buildings. The second photograph shows a path that is an entranceway to a wooded area with various shaped trees, producing thought of a small community of quiet souls.

The last two photographs were taken this week with my new iPhone 6. I went to see the University of Delaware’s nationally-reknown Physical Therapy Center, which is a visual architectural feast. While the Center is long-standing, this building is relatively new. These images were taken on the second floor, where I found a panoramic view and an expansive glassed wall. It’s a photographer’s heaven on earth, because the entire faculty is lined entirely in massive panels of windows. The light is spectacular.

While some people might say that I stretch the notion of architecture, it’s easy for me to see and surmise that nature influences human-made classically simple, traditional or more audacious contemporary designs. Those relationships gives me comfort. Those relationships sway my heartstrings and my own vision of reality.

Tip of the Week: Since my post honors architecture, I wanted to tell you about a nature photographer whose passion is shown in his latest book. Ingo Arndt’s Animal Architecture (2014) displays various aspects of Mother Nature, and focuses on their “wild” architectural features. The Guardian has a short article, “The World’s Best Animal Architecture—in Pictures” (22 April 2014), which shows images from the book. Click here to learn more about his work. Here is another book by Arndt:

"Nomads of the Wind, " Ingo Arndt (2009)

“Nomads of the Wind, ” Ingo Arndt (2009)

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.

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

60 Responses to Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Photo Challenge: Black and White (Architecture)

  1. Maria F. says:

    Some beautiful trees here.

  2. Tina Schell says:

    A very interesting comparison of the tree/path in nature vs the architecture at the university. I’m all about the tree shot but enjoyed the entire post. Thanks Sally

  3. I love both the path and the solitary tree best!!! so evocative!! wondrous with the iphone!!

  4. Love the path and solitary tree. It somehow symbolizes the life we walk on everyday. The decisions we make. The journey we make. Sometimes it feels like we travel alone but other times, together with those closest to us. In both, our hope is to get there. Have a great weekend. Best of blessing to you and your family. God bless…

  5. elisa ruland says:

    I enjoyed all of your selections, Sally, but in the end, I always choose the path. I hope you’re enjoying your new phone!

    • Elisa, I’m taking a leisurely approach to my iPhone 6. My goal is to learn everyday a few new items about it. That way I can secure them in my memory and play with a few at a time. Thanks so much.

  6. Aquileana says:

    Remarkable shots, as always. Best wishes to you!, Aquileana 😀

  7. prior says:

    like the second set the most – just kinda tired of tree and nature shots this month (shhhh – did not mean to say that out loud) but the 4th is my fav of them all because of the ceiling you give us too and it looks like you are putting your iPhone6 to good use!
    – I enjoyed reading about the relationships too – ha! anyhow, what a cool place to go for therapy – or for photos. 🙂

  8. Su Leslie says:

    Got to be number 2 this time. I’m a sucker for narrative and my brain is working overtime creating stories for that character. The deep contrast and slightly soft-focus effect has got me wondering if something bad is about to happen! Here’s my much more prosiac effort

  9. Well, gardens will always win out for me in favorites! BTW…how is the iphone 6 compared to the iphone 4? is it really a HUGE difference in camera quality?

  10. Amy says:

    I like both 1 and 2. But, the iPhone 6 did an incredible job! I shall find time to set up and play with iPhone 6 next month. 🙂

  11. Sally I like the glowing light from behind the first tree. Spooky perhaps, mysterious for sure. I admire your willingness to let edges be soft, out of focus. I have a real hard time overcoming the judgement that it is a mistake instead of a choice. Thanks once more for the visual lesson.
    Happy now Tuesday 😉


  12. aloha Sally. in general i’m not a big fan of horror. i happen to be reading a book called “Night Film” which is fictitious however so well built that a reader might well check to see if any of these places and films were actually made. they would discover as i have that many of the references are actual items. for some reason it hasnt spooked me yet but it may, i’m not quite to the end. and it’s clear the big yikes is coming. . . .

    i think it is for this reason—the book (and a few descriptions and images in it) along with it being the season, that the first two photos here took a hold of my imagination and shook it. and that has me intrigued.

    the first had me thinking there was a draped, elongated arm hanging down into the tree trunk with a white hand showing. yeah, Halloween will do that to the eye sometimes.

    the 2nd one too has an eery lonely feel to it (with Halloween in mind). another moment to become spooked in. . . .

    like i said, i’m not a big fan of horror but these two photos seemed to catch the spirit of the days before Halloween for me. which was a little of what i was going after with my attentively watching black cat.

    i like a lot the idea of “animal architecture”. i’ve long liked the simple structures of animals. then i saw what the Bowerbird does. and an entirely new respect opened up. . . . fun. aloha.

  13. Love the first two. The architecture is so sharp. 😍

  14. Suzanne says:

    I really like the image of the tree taken with your old phone. The ones with iPhone 6 are interesting too – something about the light gives them a very Japanese look. Here’s my contribution to the challenge.

  15. Wow Sally, the last two taken with the 6 are super sharp! I have noticed there is a difference between the 5s and 6 plus but nothing major. Comparing your photos here, the difference between the 4s and 6 are just remarkable! I wonder where the technology will lead us.
    I will try to come up with a theme and enter this week, I’d like to have a go at shooting in black and white, rather than editing afterwards. 🙂

  16. Gallivanta says:

    I am impressed by the clarity and detail of 3 and 4. And I am impressed by nature’s architecture….wow!

  17. Sally, I really like the composition and subject matter of your first two photos but am very impressed with the clarity shown in the final two. I can’t wait to see your next round of photos with your new phone. 🙂

  18. The newer iPhone appears much cleaner, however, its photographic subject appears colder and the lines more rigid, so this helps to give a clearer shot, do you think? Here is my contribution and I also chose architecture in monochrome.

    • Since that was my first photo shoot with it, I’m going to reserve my judgement. I loved my 4s, and hope that I become as fond of the 6. Certainly there have been some camera changes. Thanks so much.

  19. How are you liking your new iPhone 6? I’ll bet you’re finding the camera a sheer delight in the move up from the iPhone 4. The clarity of the iPhone 6 images appeals to me with your black and white subjects, I must confess.

    I’m still using my iPhone 5s, and finding that the big news is in editing with iOS 8, since the capabilities have improved vastly. That’s how I edited the images in my post for your challenge this week:

    • I am slowly falling for its larger size (just big enough) and various innovations. Mostly, I was drawn to the upgrade for the changes in the camera. I need to keep shooting to compare. As you said, there certainly is a bit more clarity. Will be noticing more and more as I dive farther into its possibilities. Thanks so much.

  20. They are all lovely photos, Sally, but The Path to Somewhere is really something special. It holds mysteries and unknown delights. Where does the path lead to – or where does it come from? And it’s almost like it’s a safe way through all the dark and threatening vegetation.

    • Otto, as always it’s lovely to hear form you. Since I walk every day, any scene with a solitary individual ambling along is one that inspires me. As he headed toward the wooded area, I could sense the unknown, the undiscovered. See you soon. Thanks so much.

  21. dsaquarelles says:

    I prefer the first, it is a bit mysterious.

  22. Love all your photos and looking forward to hearing more about your iP6! Architecture can be fascinating but I’m afraid, in my book, man takes a backseat to nature.

  23. Angeline M says:

    I love that solitary tree, it just poses such a presence, and the light is wonderful. I love the link you provided today, such a good topic to delve into.
    As for me…
    Have a great week.

  24. Ooooh….love the window shots.

  25. dodgysurfer says:

    My favourite is the tree. I love trees so that is a big part of it, but the photo captures the contrasting solidity of the trunk and branches as well as the softer translucency of the leaves, then fades into the surrounding less dense undergrowth, so for me that’s why I particularly like it. The second picture I also really like, but there’s less ‘grey’ and more Black and White if that makes sense. I feel that the black is perhaps more dense than I’d like, but overall I love the subject and the texture and depth of the path.
    The last two pictures do little for me. I am quite opinionated about architecture although I have little knowledge, but they just don’t reach me at all. It’s probably less striking because I’m viewing on a phone, ironically!

  26. Nato says:

    I love ALL the photos, but if I had to choose, I would say the Path to Nowhere is my favorite. The light sets a mood that makes me want to know more.

  27. pattimoed says:

    Ingo Arndt’s work is stunning! Your post helps me realize the connection between human and animal architecture. I had never thought of it in those terms before. My favorite picture is the Path to NoWhere. I love the moodiness and mystery of it. Happy Monday!

  28. Sandi says:

    I love “The Path to Somewhere”!

  29. Sally, thanks for linking me. I was just sitting down to see if you’d posted yours yet. I like the first photo as it’s a place I’d love to walk. Of the two building photos, I like the second. The combination of lines going in different directions and the light-dark contrasts appeals to me.


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