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

12 January 2015


1. Two Equal Size Decorative Balls; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Two Equal Size Decorative Balls; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Two Equal Size Decorative Balls; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally.JPG

2. Two Equal Size Decorative Balls; Copyright © 2014 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally.JPG

Let me know which you prefer and why. Click on each photograph to enlarge.


Silence filled my mind, letting me immerse myself in the moment. On that late evening photo shoot two small decorative balls of equal size filled the frame of my iPhone. The process, which creates one singular frame after another, takes me out of myself and onto a platform, a quiet spatial place that empties and flows with uncanny unconscious.

Movement occurs, but I cannot grasp it. Composition completed, but I am in the future before the past is understood.

After stacks of books devoured about the creative process, the subject continues to be a mysterious and ungraspable concept. We know it happens, and still it continues to be somewhat elusive in expression and explanation. Certainly scores of artists and writers have devoted reams of paper to delineate their point of views about creativity.

I liken it to a silent flow, a river of synapses that are in the correct cross currents, not testing but executing their strut, their bold decisive moment (similar to Henri Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment). I am captive by this powerful lure: the need to focus and still the visual.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~~ Maya Angelou

“Passion is more than one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.” ~~ Yo-Yo Ma

“Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art.” ~~ Ansel Adams

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.  When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” — Buddha

Tip of the Week: Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi became world-renown for his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience (1990). His ideas center around the notion that if you become completely engaged in whatever you are doing (e.g., art, play, and work), the result will be a state of happiness–a place of creativity that gives meaning to our lives. He contributed to our better understanding of the creative process. In 2004 Csikszentmihalyi gave a TED Talk to continue his exploration about flow. The title of the 18:55-minute talk is “Flow, the Secret to Happiness.” You can click here to view it. Since I first read his work and subsequent books, the idea of flow continues to influence me as I contemplate the human animal’s creative abilities. But I’m never quite sure of the correlation between the creative process and happiness. It seems that flow is more about a state of being where the unconscious can release its better self–or at least a non-judgmental self.



View other entries for this week’s challenge:


As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog.

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, Macro Photography, Mobile Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

80 Responses to Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Macro (and Silence)

  1. Thanks for the introduction to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I have heard and read so much about him in various places. I think it’s time for me to read Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. After all my blog is called In Flow. 🙂

  2. Madhu says:

    Brilliant quotes to match your brilliant images Sally. I find the first very calming for some reason!

  3. misskutts says:

    Great pictures! I prefer the second picture. I feel like the balls will just roll off the screen any time!

  4. “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” So true. Been creating a positive, happier, more enthusiastic attitude and thinking in my life recently. And you are right, what we think or feel flows to our work whether in words and images. Beautiful work and inspiring post. Have a great week ahead. All the best to you and your family.

  5. I think I prefer the second because as the structure looked larger I felt smaller- an interesting perspective that way!!

  6. JJ says:

    I was drawn to the balls that where not blown up marco style. They seem to float in mid-air on the black background. As if you were in space approaching an uncharted twin planets.

  7. Jane Lurie says:

    I like them both but the second image has a composition that is very satisfying. Interesting post.

  8. Hi Sally – this is my second attempt at a comment. If the first one turns up please feel free to delete this.

    I like both photos but I was wondering why the second one appealed to me more than the first. I think it has something to do with it being summer down here and with summer we’re participating in things, being drawn into the largeness of life. It if was winter the first might have got my “vote” – a time of contemplation and holding things at a distance and examining them.

    I love your words and the links you gave – I’ll try and watch over the weekend. Your post and comments here prompted my own post. Thanks.

  9. Suzanne says:

    It’s hard to pick a favourite in your photos this week. They both are interesting but I think I prefer the second one because of the complex design. Here’s my contribution to the challenge

  10. yprior1 says:

    Sally -first to comment on the flow – and the creativity and happiness – well I like how you added this – and we were just talking about flow earlier tonight so the timing of my reading your post is spot on! and I like how you presented it so clearly and simply – and I have studied creativity a bit = especially in 2012 = and found some interesting things about how implementing it is a big aim of research – and how the creative process can sometimes be fueled more with angst –

    and while I have read Csikszentmihalyi’s flow work – I have never listened to him so I am going to come back later hit smooth to click that link. thx for it… and while I am not sure how the flow concepts exactly overlap with creativity, I do know that Csikszentmihalyi has offered a lot on creativity in the last 5 years – and 3 things to share (real quick) from his work on “flow and discovery” (2009)

    first, “for something to be creative, it is not enough for it to be novel: it must have value, or be appropriate to the cognitive demands of the situation.”

    second, creative thought processes fall into two types:
    Divergent thinking (intellectual ability to think of many original/diverse ideas and convergent thinking (to logically evaluate/choose best ideas)

    and third, concept of creativity may be delineated into three dimensions; the person, the product and the process.
    Okay = now for my fav of your pics. I went back and forth – but the second one is my top choice. The larger view confirmed it – and my favorite part was the really clear circle to the lower right – it pulls you in to the circles behind and to the whole shot – cool science integration and a post worth reading twice – for sure. have a nice week. 🙂

    • Thank you for your thoughtful response to my commentary. I have been immersed in the subject of creativity for years (as you have been). Actually, I did my thesis for my Master’s degree on demystifying creativity: creativity is on a continuum and a carpenter can be as creative as a painter or scientist (brief explanation). I will have to compose more posts on the creative process, I’ve done a few in the past. I have stacks of books about the subject. You might want to read the classic: The Creative Process by Brewster Ghiselin. Thanks again for your comments.

  11. Su Leslie says:

    I like both shots equally; and love the Maya Angelou quote! Here’s my (rather rambling?) contribution:

  12. says:

    Number one please. Spiracle jewelry! I also really enjoyed what you wrote and the quotes Sally!

  13. lumar1298 says:

    Like the close-up, but also the far away… Like them both…

  14. Angeline M says:

    I like that second shot, Sally; the way it fills the frame is appealing to me, and shows off the pattern beautifully.
    I’m taking a by-week on the challenge. My PC has a virus as have I, in addition to other little life annoyances. See you next week.

  15. Tina Schell says:

    Personally, I much prefer the second shot although it would be difficult to explain why. Perhaps it’s MY perspective on creativity that influences my choice!

  16. thirdeyemom says:

    Wonderful as always Sally! 🙂

  17. In my work, we often aim to encourage and facilitate “flow” – I feel it in good photographs and when my painting goes well. I agree it is not always pure happiness, it can be a time of immense concentration, but elation if the result is as expected. Here is the correct pingback for my entry:
    It is always late at night when I am posting this, so please delete the prior comment with the incorrect pingback. I am heading off for some much needed sleep now!!! Thanks, Sally

  18. suej says:

    Love that first one, with all the negative space – very striking

  19. Gallivanta says:

    I like the ‘flow’ of the first photo.

  20. Maria F. says:

    Both of them. The quotes were good also.

  21. maryslow says:

    I love them both, and I really like all the negative space in number 1. (It’s good to be back.)

  22. DG MARYOGA says:

    They are both interesting for different reasons,dear Sally ; you so effectively play with the size and the distance in the first one ! Most intringuing outcome,they look gorgeous against the black dof ! Wonderful thoughts and quotes as well !!!

  23. You’ve created two memorable images from these simple balls, Sally. I also like the floating effect in the first photo and enjoy the detail in the second. For me looking at both choices really brings home your points related to the flow of creativity.

  24. elisa ruland says:

    Sally, I enjoyed reading your post and studying, comparing the two pictures. I do like them both, but have to choose the first one, agreeing with other commenters about their look of floating in the darkness. A bit like outer space, I suppose!

  25. ima_soulman says:

    No. 2 for me, detail and an overwhelming feeling of balls rolling over me. 😀 In your face, sort of. Didn’t even think about their size… Thanks.

  26. LavendarLadi says:

    Interesting, I like the first one. I love that the balls appear to be floating in the darkness.

  27. Helen C says:

    I, too, like them both, but I like the second one better because the composition is more interesting for me. Thanks, Sally. Helen

  28. Love them both but my favorite is the second. It’s just more pleasing to my eye.

  29. Both are good shots, Sally. My preference is the first one where it appears the two balls are just floating in space. I love the quotes! I’ve read parts of the book “Flow”. I love those occasions when I’m working on something and I lose all track of time — when I’m “in the zone”. I’ll have to check out his Ted talk. Thanks!

  30. Amy says:

    Thank you, Sally, for encouraging us to be creative using mobile devices. Great “lens and pens”, as always! Love these quotes. Be back tomorrow. 🙂

  31. Nato says:

    I love the second as it makes me feel like a fly about to land on this mysterious thing. I like the design and framing. It just draws me in. Your quotes are great too! Here is my submission for the week:

  32. Good morning! I like both and the second a bit more, as details of the structure got closer to my eyes, giving away its texture.
    It’s like what you somehow eluded with your reflections and mentioning of flow. Getting closer to who we are, to what matters, to what makes our blood run faster, doing what we love, and doing it better, for that apparently so simple reason, and yet so complex to find it when immersed in our mundane routines.
    Thanks for the photos and post.

  33. Good morning, Sally. I will definitely have to steal your quotes for use at some point in the future. 🙂 I like the space in your first photo, the feeling that the balls are floating in dark space and the emptiness around them. I like the detail in the second and the feeling of completeness conveyed by all the circles.

    Have a wonder-filled week,


  34. Luanne says:

    I like them both equally since they are different “things” altogether. I love details in art btw. And the Angelou quote is perfect.

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