Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Architecture of Nature)

23 February 2105


1. Snow-Covered Creek; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Snow-Covered Creek; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Snow-covered Creek; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Snow-covered Creek; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you refer and why. Click on to each image to enlarge.


It’s staggering as if Siberia has magically landed on the East coast. Winter 2015 has become memorable for its single-digit days—days that can steal my daily meanderings at the creek or local parks or strolling through street life or… At the end of last week Mother Nature brought a minus 19-degree early morning welcome. The midday high broke into double digits at 10 degrees. It was time for sipping tea and hot chocolate, reading, reading, reading, and sorting through my collection of photographs.

Snow is scattered and melting slowly with more in the forecast. We’ve had weeks of hard frost, which makes me happy. Now the chatter is always about the weather, meaning that people are at least noticing nature’s role in our lives. That may seem like a strange statement, but in reality most of “us” are fixated by the daily glue of technical innovations.

Still I could not be happier with the spread of Smartphones as a mechanism for people to see the natural world and, well, just notice (with intention or not) their external visual arena. I hope that the constant documenting of one’s individual universe does open one’s awareness about our visual culture. But I’m not holding my breath.

Without question the numbers of Instagram users and photography blogs speak volumes about the current absorption. This attention to personal photography is a relatively new-found embrace of the world beyond as well as inside ourselves. (Can you tell that I’m sequestered inside.)

In the Lens section are two images that relate the narrative of our weather—ice, snow and contrasts in the landscape. The creek was a maze of various patterns and tones brought by the day’s afternoon light, which cast a particular magic across the surface of the frozen water. The cold affects the sunlight and even sunsets have been ablaze with drama.

Each image is viewed with a slightly different perspective. The architectural features of the various elements bestowed by nature are made clearer or less so by the angle of the shot. Expanse, light, shadow, shapes, shading, lines, point of view are evident or not.

I am obsessed as a watcher of our creek that runs a mile from my home. It forges a path through a long-standing sub-division and offers habitat and refuge for scores of wildlife.

The bend in the creek bed forges a distance that lures and keeps me returning to explore its mysteries–mysteries that have a depth to their patterns and textures. I am privy each day to the usual and the unsuspected. It’s a boost to my daily adrenaline.

Tip of the Week: While studying the works of other photographers is essential to become a better observer of life through a lens, it also is necessary to study the other arts. Art criticism and literature are two areas that add cohesion to my own views. Paul Valery (1871-1945), who was a French poet and philosopher known for his commentary about art and history. He also won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Here is one of my favorite quotes by Valery:

“To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.”

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, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Architecture of Nature)

  1. Unfortunately winter has been absent in the places I have been these last month. I would like to have some of the cold and snow that you have gotten, but it doesn’t seem to be very likely. My favourite of these two images is the horizontal.

    • Otto, you are welcome to scoop up all the bitter cold and hold onto to it. Th good best to come form this winter is that the earth is very happy to have 7-8 inches of frozen ground. See you soon. Thanks.

  2. In response to hope for smartphone technology: Sally, partly because of what I learned from your weekly posts, I just sucessfuly finished teaching my first 8 week iphotography class at the senior center. The students were so proud of their work! they were disapointed that there wasn’t enough space to show all their work. blogging and instagram are out of their reach. Smartphone and ipads are perfects for us who are getting a little older and vision is a problem. Looks like I’m writing an essay. May post a slideshow of their work Monday.

    I love the way #1 lays across the world, I really feel like I could be enveloped by the on coming ice!

    • Congratulations on teaching the class. It’s a joy that you’ve taken your own knowledge and given it to others–inspiring them. Thanks you for your thoughtful comment. I appreciate your kind words.

  3. ~meredith says:

    great share, sally. winter is never a blank slate, is it? i like #2–it really describes the depth and nuance you write about, here. best wishes and stay warm. ~m

  4. Indira says:

    Hi Sally! Both are nice but the second one I liked more. Is there some very pale sky blue color or I’m seeing it.
    here is mine-…ngers-choice-2

  5. badfish2 says:

    Haven’t seen snow in a long time. Where I am now, it got down to a blustery 70F last night…brrrr. Not gloating. I am going to shop for an iPhone this weekend, though.

  6. Tina Schell says:

    Spring is right around the corner Sally, I promise. We’re much milder than most down here but having lived in the northeast we feel terrible for those we left behind up there! Your photos are well done but I must admit just looking at them makes me feel cold!! Here’s to a warm-up very soon!!

  7. livvy30 says:

    Lovely shots as always Sally. I hope the weather changes for you soon. Here’s mine for this week.

  8. restlessjo says:

    I love the wintry sunsets, Sally, but I’d rather have some warmth. You seem to be faring very badly at present. It’s certainly cool here but just the odd whisper of snow (and that’s the way I like it 🙂 ) I think no.2 again, but not so sure why.

  9. Cecilia says:

    As non-photographer I would choose the second picture, and well, I don’t know why, it just speaks more to me.

  10. elisa ruland says:

    Your connection to nature is evident in each of your beautiful shots, Sally. I like the first for the curve that draws the eye in from the corner, the second for how the eye is drawn to the path in the background. Of the two I like the first better, but it was close!

  11. Virginia Duran says:

    Hello Sally! How are you? I agree with what you say on nurturing oneself with other creative stimulus like literature, (maybe architecture) and so on! So important. I really like that I always discover new awesome blogs here 🙂

    • Virginia, architecture is one of my passions too, which is why I enjoy your blog. Architectural features are woven throughout the human and natural world experience, and clearly are evident of the creativity in both. Lovely to hear from you. Thanks.

  12. Amy says:

    Beautiful snow captures, Sally! It has been a long, brutal winter for many states…
    Here is mine for this week;

  13. I love the textures in your first photograph Sally. I have posted my entries here. I also appreciate your tip for this week. Excellent advice. Have a great week!

  14. Gallivanta says:

    How does the smartphone, the camera technology cope with the extreme cold?

  15. What a wonderful little creek, Sally. Thanks for braving the cold to share these photos with us today. 🙂 I think #2 is my favorite this time for the reasons Janet mentioned above distance and implied motion.

  16. Gosh that looks quite abstract very clever. I also realised I got totally the wrong week and posted nature for your challenge this week Ooops silly me x

  17. Both are nice, Sally, but I think I’m drawn more to the second one. For some reason it seems to draw me in more and my eyes follow along to the creek in the distance.

  18. Maria F. says:

    Both of them very pleasing compositions with strong foregrounds and backgrounds.

  19. My favourite is the second one – it really draws the eye up to the top of the photo.

  20. I like the landscape one best, it seems to have more substance and I prefer the composition. Either one works though, and you have captured abstract brilliantly Sally! 🙂

  21. Angeline M says:

    I think I like the first shot better, only because of just the hint of what looks like a petroglyph in the foreground, that intrigues me. I hope your weather warms up soon. Unimaginable to me to go that many days with such frigid weather. I thought I’d send along some California sunshine to help

  22. I like the portrait shape better. The depth of field draws my attention as well as some shadows that I cannot see in the first picture.
    I enjoyed reading about your winter experience, and learning about Valery and his quote.

  23. Nato says:

    I like them both, but I am more drawn to #2. I think the vertical shot draws me to follow the creek more. I would love to say I miss snow (in Georgia), but I am afraid that after a week of your temperatures, I would of had my fill.

  24. lensclare says:

    I like the top image best, the highlights in the trees lead my eyes through the landscape.

  25. Amy says:

    It looks cold … How did you manage to go out and capture these beautiful photos, Sally. I love the abstract result.

  26. We’re certainly sharing the frigid temperatures in the Midwest, Sally. This morning it was -4 with -20 wind chill at 7 am, although Bill tells me we’re “up” to 0 now (before wind chill.) It’s been too cold to walk for too may days!

    I’m not sure which photo I like better, although I tend towards the second. The vertical shot gives the impression of distance, of a road leading me onward, and I like that. I enjoyed the abstract quality of both of them.

    Keep warm and have fun doing all the indoor things that seem cozy and wonderful right now. To everything there is a season.


    • Janet, I am right by your side. I’ve had to succumb to walking inside at the campus sports center. I’m going to try to get out today. High will be 20s. Tonight we hit zero again. Ugh–where is Spring? And yes, I am getting some mental house cleaning done. Stay cozy warm. Thanks for for comment. See you soon.

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