Phoneography and the Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Nature (Old-Fashion White Bleeding Hearts)

04 May 2015


1. Old-Fashion White Bleeding Hearts; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Old-Fashion White Bleeding Hearts; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Old-Fashion White Bleeding Hearts; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Old-Fashion White Bleeding Hearts; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why. Click onto each image to enlarge.


The old-fashion bleeding heart is a strangely enticing sight. The usual fare for this species is various shades of pink that is named for its heart-shaped blooms. That seeming resemblance is a stretch for me, because I’m much more attracted to the way the flowers hang like charms on a bracelet. Their feathery leaves balance out the simple design of each bloom. I see the whole rather than the sum of its parts. Certainly, a macro view defines the heart.

While I do have the pink variety, it is the old-fashion white ones that conjure springtime in  a completely different way. White flowers are magnets for my spirit, and I cannot even explain that reaction. Their leaves, which resemble parsley, are dark enough to push the white to appear even whiter. As the wind blows, each flower rocks in the air and beckons explorers and onlookers, one of which is hummingbirds that arrived last week.

Apparently, the Royal Horticultural Society named this variety (Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’) one of the top two hundred plants of the last two hundred years. It’s obvious that the shape of the flowers brings this spring shade lover much attention.

In the Lens section are portraits that I took last week. I use a low-key approach to allow the plant’s small flower heads to take center stage. The lighting is the path to success of this technique. It must be placed exactly where the emphasis is envisioned. The drama produced is palpable and triumphant.

More about the proposed new title for this challenge: During the last few weeks posts I tossed ideas to you about a title change. Responses have been supportive. As I wade through the pros and cons, your advice and suggestions have been beneficial and given more to consider.  Some of you went completely beyond the proverbial box and that is inspiring.

The reason for this change is the evergreen quality of photography, especially in the twenty-first century cultural environment of technological innovation. The “new” with its sophistication of inventions creates multiple levels of tools. These additions to our toolkit make available digital devices that are not traditional cameras, which is the basis for the challenge.

Only devices that are not considered cameras are to be used. A Smartphone is first a cellphone. An iPad is foremost a tablet. An iPod is primarily a music and entertainment center. But each has a camera as a feature. Each are capable of very respectable images. Each becomes its own digital darkroom.

The challenge’s title needs to be specific, but clarity in word choice is my goal, which makes it a true CHALLENGE in itself. Here is my latest conundrum. First, the title that got the most votes is:

1. Photography Challenge, Using Phones and Mobile Devices as Your Camera.

Allan (OhmSweetHome) and Angeline (Angelina M) proposed that I add my name to the title. Something I had not considered. I would like your response to the following, and hope that we can put to rest this subject for the present. Allan suggested using my first name, and Angeline strongly suggested that I use my first and last. If the response is positive to these ideas, then I also (possibly) could remove the “using” (example: 2. Sally Donatello’s Photography Challenge, Phones and Mobile Devices as Your Camera”).

3. Sally’s Photography Challenge, Using Phones and Mobile Devices as Your Camera

4. Sally Donatello’s Photography Challenge, Using Phones and Mobile Devices as Your Camera

Please give me your opinion about the four choices.

Coincidentally, yesterday’s The New York Times Magazine section had a marvelous cartoon/illustration, “The Amazing New Thing,” by Tom Gauld, which was found in the issue’s “Sunday Funny” page. (Click here to view it.) It hits exactly the right chord for my own philosophy about continual infiltration of the “new” in our lives. It’s also relevant for the title change of this challenge as well as the current forces upon photography. We may have the new, but will we have it tomorrow. And do we need it? The challenge is meant to be just an exercise in our photographic journey. The devices are simple a tool for our own creativity and experimentation. Photography is photography.

Tip of the Week:

My last three posts have shown high-key photographs, which eliminate background and details to focus on the subject that is surrounded by white space. It uses bright lighting to lure the viewer. As you would surmise, low-key photography is the opposite. It reduces the light, giving the subject a black background that makes an almost über-dramatic scene. Both techniques have their advantages. Low key is used, especially, for portraiture, but can make any subject pronounced and even profound. Low key is more dramatic in its visual impact, but it can be cunning in subtle ways too. Each has an ability to catch our attention and hold it tightly.



Here are two tutorials that give advice about low-key techniques. Most can be adapted to our digital devices, because now many have manual capabilities. Regardless, the ideas are easily extracted to use. Click here and here. Happy shooting.

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.

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66 Responses to Phoneography and the Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Nature (Old-Fashion White Bleeding Hearts)

  1. elisa ruland says:

    The Bleeding Heart photographs are beautiful, and I especially like the close-up.
    Hope you are well!

  2. Lovely shots of Bleeding hearts. I haven’t seen the white variety before and I agree with you I prefer the old-fashion type. 🙂

  3. Love both photos, Sally, especially the second one. 🙂

  4. Sweet as a Picture says:

    I love photos of bleeding hearts. Love both photos.

  5. “We may have the new, but will we have it tomorrow?” Time passes, and nothing stays new for long. Think about how what used to be called simply “news” because it was new is now always “breaking news” on television news shows. I’m also reminded of Art Nouveau, which may have been new over a century ago but is still known by the same name. It’s also true that the Pont Neuf in Paris, which was new in 1600, is now the oldest standing bridge in the city.

    • Steve, well said. Our language is fluid and evergreen, responding to cultural and historic and historical changes. Your point about Art Nouveau touches a heartstring. Art Deco and Art Nouveau always seem new to my sensibilities. Thanks for your thoughtful response. Enjoy the weekend.

  6. Madhu says:

    Hard to pick a favourite here Sally. Love them both equally! I am drawn to white flowers as well. The giant yellow chrysanthemum does make an appearance in my home off and on, but i prefer whites mostly 🙂

  7. Sally #1 is my favorite this week, I really like the detail of the leaves along with the lovely flowers. Bleeding hearts are one of my favorite spring perennials. On the subject of title changes everyone has great suggestions which makes Lucile’s response so nice. As long as you identify with it we’ll be here each week. 🙂 If I had to pick from the choices above I like a combination of your #1 and Allan’s latest comment – Sally’s Mobile Device Photo Challenge: Nature…

  8. thirdeyemom says:

    Simply spectacular Sally. I just love the photos and especially the delicacy of the second shot. I just read a fascinating book set in Delaware by the way. It is called “The Book of the Unknown Americans” and is a best seller. Have you read it?

  9. Su Leslie says:

    Hi Sally. These are both gorgeous photos. I thought I would prefer the second, close-up, but after looking at them both for ages, I think I almost prefer the first. Not sure why, but as I say, both are lovely. As to challenge name: I’m stumped. The shorter the better would be my only advice, and as Lucile says, the most important thing is that you’re happy with it. Here’s my — rather brief — offering:

  10. I prefer the top photo as you say the blooms look like charms. How about Sally’s Mobile Device Challenge? Simple and easy for a title.

    • Your suggestion for a title in tossed into the latest round, and is certainly closer to the final selection. I do believe that photography has to be part of the title to lure new participants, and define the subject of the challenge. See you soon. Thanks so much.

  11. I have bleeding hearts in my garden, but did not realize there was an all white version…A trip to the nursery is now in order.

  12. Maria F. says:

    Beautiful image and description of the flower.

  13. Loved the 2nd one as it drew my eyes to look at.

  14. Amy says:

    I have never seen the white bleeding hearts before, they are beautiful, Sally. Thank you so much for sharing the tips! Here is my entry: Hope you like it.

  15. Virginia Duran says:

    Wow! The white bleeding heart pictures are amazing :O
    Always nice to read you again!

  16. Gallivanta says:

    The white bleeding heart photos are exquisite.

  17. I have heard of a bleeding heart, but up till now did not know what they looked like. I like the way you portray them in the second photograph with such clairty and sensitivity. The tutorial links are great. I found some really useful tips there. Thanks Sally. I have been busy for the past few weeks, but have published one of my snaps for this challenge here:

  18. Angeline M says:

    I love both photos today, but tend towards the second closeup to see this beautiful flower the better. And lovely with the low key technique.
    The Times cartoon made me chuckle! So true as I can’t wait for my next new thing next month 🙂

  19. Suzanne says:

    I love the detail in these shots. The second one looks so life like. I also like your writing about high key photography. I am experimenting with it too.

  20. Hello Sally, I should already wish you a good week as Monday is already over at CET.

    As always the beauty of your shots make it for a very difficult choice. But, I will let my heart vote for the 2nd one.
    “White flowers are magnets for my spirit, and I cannot even explain that reaction.”
    I, too, love white flowers. Just like that.

    Now the renaming. I vote for Sally without surname. But I am in doubt about the rest. I think that a shorter name would work better. “Using Phones and Mobile Devices as Your Camera” is just too long. As one of the commenters said above, people just don’t read anymore. A catchy name would be better. Have you researched about Phablets? Sorry If I’m overcomplicating. If the choice is a bigger one, then I go for number 3.


    • Lucile, I did research Phablets. Quite honestly I’ve never heard it used and it excludes devices like iPods that are used by participants. Maybe Sally’s Photography Challenge, Using Mobile Devices as Your Camera.

      • Sally, honestly, I’ll be here no matter the name you choose. The most important is that YOU identify with the name and feel good about it. It’s your blog and it represents you.
        I’m honored that you value our opinion, but at the end it’s your call.
        We naturally always bring different opinions, and for that it’s impossible for you to please everyone.
        You have my full support for whatever decision you take.

      • Lucile, that’s a thoughtful response. Thanks so much.

  21. Mr. Gentleduck says:

    They’re both lovely. I prefer the 2nd one’s “pose” — great job isolating them against black, too.

  22. Love the first one, the arch is so graceful!
    The Challenge of the name of the Challenge strikes a chord with me. Since I have been trying to teach a class in whatever we call it photography, naming it has been a challenge. The latest issue of the catalog put me under the catagory iPad not photography or art. and I so far have no students.
    For the names of yours. I would prefer Sally’s ….”for” instead of “using”. Remember people don’t read. The less you say the better.
    Remind me does iPhotography imply Apple devices?
    Oh and Happy Monday Challenge.

    • Thanks for your suggestion, I appreciate them. Yes, iPhoneography is using an iPhone, which is why I removed it from the last title change. The selection of a title that says it all is a difficult task. Thanks.

  23. My favourite is the first photo. I don’t know why, but the line “pretty maids, all in a row” came to my mind when I saw it. 🙂

    I choose the second title. It identifies you as the creatrix of the challenge, and covers all the photographic devices that aren’t standard cameras in a nice, neat way.

    Thanks for the tips, especially the one on low-key photography. I’d like to give it a try one day. I like the effect.

    I’ve seen some photos in which the clarity of the subject in the foreground is sharp, with another in the background being a bit blurred. How does one achieve that effect?

  24. I vote for Number 3. And here’s hoping you’ll continue to give tips along the way. This newness is really old hat for some people, but for me it’s still new!

  25. Love the first one. That angle makes it special. I usually picture them straight on. Love what you’ve done.

  26. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Hi, Sally. I like your second photo the most. The way you framed it, with the branch and flower on top, gives me the feeling of a comfortable hug as I look at the beautiful white flower in the middle.

    As for the name game: The phrase “… Using Phones and Mobile Devices as Your Camera” seems overly long to add on to the title. Perhaps a phrase like, ….Mobile Device Photo Challenge, could be added to the beginning of the title? Ω

  27. Good morning, Sally, and thanks for another week of hosting the challenge, whatever it’s called. I prefer “Sally Donatello’s/Sally’s Photography Challenge: Phones and Mobile Devices as Your Camera”. No preference on first name only or first and last, but I definitely would delete “Using”, which seems obvious to me and use a colon, rather than a comma. 🙂

    We have both white and pink bleeding hearts and I don’t really have a preference; they’re both lovely. I like your first photo for showing the gracefulness of the whole and the second for highlighting the shape of the individual.

    Rainy day here today, so I’m headed for the basement to lift weights rather than to the park to walk. I enjoy both or either, so that’s good and the rain in necessary for all the beauty of spring. I wish I could send some to California and other dry places out west!


    • Janet, I adore your opening sentence. Oh, do I agree with your wish; it’s mine too. Hopefully California will do as it usually does: lead the country in short- and long-term solutions. The title choice is noted. While I agree with the colon, I still want to use the title and then colon with the week’s theme. I guess that it could be title (theme). Decisions, decisions. Mostly, thanks for your vote. Happy weight lifting, even though I know that you’d rather be in nature.

  28. joshi daniel says:

    Looks great against the black background 🙂

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