Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Macro (and Queen of the Night Tulip)

11 May 2015


1. "Queen of the Night Tulip; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. “Queen of the Night Tulip; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Inside the "Queen of the Night" Tulip; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Inside the “Queen of the Night” Tulip; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Dried Petal of the "Queen of the Night" Tulip; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

3. Dried Petal of the “Queen of the Night” Tulip; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which you prefer and why. I suggest that you click onto each image to enlarge.


Each spring day the sun rises higher in the sky, and spreads more and more glorious light. The ascent of emotions is everywhere to be observed. Moods are being exchanged. Cheeriness, at least on the surface, exudes as “we” spend more and more time celebrating spring’s renewal.

Neighbors, who had been indoors for winter months, suddenly reappear. They are perky and somewhat dazed as sunshine spreads its magic. It was a prolonged cloudy and grey winter, and the power of the sun’s beams cannot be understated.

In my gardens that luminance is bringing rewards. I watch as small green shoots reach skyward. One of my coveted flowers of this season–the Queen of the Night tulip–is as radiant as I’ve ever seen them. The intensity of the deeply dark purple brings an irresistible bounty to my inner world. I am compelled to record their essence–the colors haunt.

When the flowers fade, I want a visual to help me reconstruct that glowing ember of beauty. But it’s not just the first encounter of those seductive hues, I must spend ample effort seeing, really seeing, it’s interior. If pondered with the light shedding its charm inside, the revelation stuns, truly takes my breath and keeps it captive. This tulip has a startling infectious visual appeal. I knew from the moment that I first discovered this variety that it would be a highly-prized seasonal regular.

The microscopic, the tiny, the miniscule, the macro is the view that we cannot see with the naked eye. During most of our lives we are so sure that what we see is the real. Mostly, we see such a small portion of the world in which we inhabit. The enormity what we miss is can be made evident in up-close and personal photographic captures.

In truth things are really never as they appear to be. There are always hidden layers that are impossible to perceive. When that world is magnified, we are introduced to a splendorous universe of the unknown that becomes known.

In the Lens section are examples of the jewel Queen of the Night. This tulip is stunning even in its final stage. These beauties have almost completed their life cycle for this spring. Even as leaves and stems dry to give nourishment for next year’s showing, their effects upon my sensibilities will roam through my thoughts for weeks. And I will allow those memories to linger.

Now some results from the ongoing discussion about the next title change for the challenge: The last few weeks have had our photo community conversing about the next title change. I do believe that the selection  is on the horizon. Here are the choices that I want to toss into the arena one more time. If you are unfamiliar with the reasons for the change, please check with my last few posts about  the evergreen quality of photography and technology’s influence upon it. Mostly, I am grateful to each of you who gave  your advice and opinion on the subject. The choices are listed in no particular order. Please give your vote for one of the four.

1. Sally D’s Mobile Device Photography Challenge: Theme

2. Sally’s Mobile Device Photography Challenge: Theme

3. Sally’s Phone and Mobile Device Photography Challenge: Theme

4. Sally D’s Phone and Mobile Device Photography Challenge: Theme

Tip of the Week:

When your intention is to take a macro, the best advice  is: use a tripod. Smartphones and other digital devices are known to have “camera shake.” To resolve this instability you can steady the device on a surface, lean your arm and hand and body against a tree or wall, or physically brace yourself in any way that’s available. Certainly, a tripod is the best solution. Tripods can be a small portable one that is made for a Smartphone. Or you can use the tripod made for your DSLR or SLR cameras. All you need is an attachment for the device that allows you to mount it to the tripod. Even a selfie stick can add stabilization. The idea is to keep the device as movement-free as possible. Since the last time I mentioned this subject, consumer choices have multiplied. A mount and a small tripod are an inexpensive investment. The equipment available keeps increasing to give Smartphones and other mobile devices better technology for your photography tool kit.

Smartphone Mount; Google Images

Smartphone Mount; Google Images

Small Tripod; Google Images

Small Tripod; Google Images

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 Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Macro (and Queen of the Night Tulip)

  1. Really lovely macro flower photos… 🙂

  2. elisa ruland says:

    I like the elegance of the first composition, it’s lovely. Also…brilliant tripod!

  3. prior says:

    Hi Sally – my fav of the pics is the second one – inside – and I like it on both the larger click view and in the post view. However, the first one came to life on the close up click – that light at the base to the right was gorgeous in the click view – wow!

    and I enjoyed the part about neighbors reappearing – so true so true – agree with the tripod tip and lastly, my feedback on the name options.

    you HAVE to go with Sally D – well you don’t “have” to – but this is just me writing here. But it the Sally D is just fun, relational, kind of hip, and maybe even simple-edgy for a photo challenge name.

    the “mobile and phone” together feels redundant – yet I know from previous posts why you included that option – but phone falls under mobile so I would leave it out.
    I also would leave out the word device – because that is assumed and we do not need to mention it. And shouldn’t a title be simple, easy to say, and catchy? and shouldn’t it also have a nice acronym. well not always – but sometimes it helps.

    So while I would go for version 1 from the choices –
    1. Sally D’s Mobile Device Photography Challenge: Theme

    I also propose this
    Sally D’s Mobile Challenge: Theme
    and of course you can spell it out any way that you want to – and add in photography in the full version – but the 4 letters and the 4 words – ” Sally D’s Mobile Challenge” are sometimes just easier for blog lingo and all that.
    just my thoughts and will not be offended if you toss it all out – but I like how you are open to feedback.

    • I’m really touched by your comment. Please know that I appreciate your response. Sally D has a history in my life, and I thought about it at the last minute in listing the choices. Your suggestion appeared at just the right time to push me toward this title: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge. I feel particularly strong about using “Photography” in the title. It makes it specific, which appeals to me for several reasons. You’ve helped enormously. One of the reasons to use Sally D is that it differentiates from those that use a first name only, giving it a bit of pizazz as you said. THANKS THANKS THANKS.

      • prior says:

        well thanks for the reply! and I can see how it differentiates with the D – and is still informal than using a full last name – and it is also just fun – makes me way to say “yo” or wassup? just kidding – but very cool. hope you have a nice rest of the weekend 🙂

      • Many thanks again–for me it gives it a bit of zippity do dah.

  4. restlessjo says:

    Hard to choose, Sally, because the shots are so different. Probably no. 2 🙂 Such a lovely plant!

  5. Maria F. says:

    What a set Sally! I like all of them, the first one being particularly attractive to me. My Smartphone stand is from the “Jelly Fish” brand and I bought it from B&H video. I then attached it to a tiny table tripod I already had.

    • Maria, there are so many choices in tripods for Smartphones. I’m delighted that you found one that works for you. It really makes a difference in a macro shot. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  6. Su Leslie says:

    Hi Sally. I think I prefer the middle shot; I love the burst of colour and texture. As for the name change; number 1 I think. Here’s my contribution for the week

  7. #1 is my favorite this week, Sally with the gorgeous color against black and the splash of green stem. I can see why this tulip is such a favorite, it’s lovely! For the title vote I like #2. 🙂

  8. Suzanne says:

    Your first photo is far and away my favourite here. There is a mystery and sadness to the image that is very poignant.
    I like your second name choice. I like the informality of just calling yourself Sally and feel there would be no need to add the initial D unless there was some other Sally with some other surname who was also offering WordPress Digital Devices Photo challenges.
    Here’s my contribution to this week’s challenge. I used your prompt as a starting point and went somewhere else with it. Hope that’s ok.

  9. I think my favourite this time is the last one of the dried petal, simply gorgeous. As for a title for your challenge, I like the more simple version, aka number 2. 🙂

  10. Such a beautiful tulip. I love the first one. The deep purple on the dark background — so soft and mysterious. Of the four titles, I think I prefer #2. Short and to the point! 🙂 Here is my contribution:

  11. lumar1298 says:

    I like it short and simple so I vote for #1.

  12. Virginia Duran says:

    My favorite today is the dried petal, I think is amazing! Looking forward to next week’s challenge!

  13. I love the first image so much. It is such a demure image.

  14. It is always enjoyable viewing Macro week! My entry is a crazy web I found on my early morning walk.
    Sally, I like Option 3 for the title change for your wonderful challenge. Funny how I don’t take many photos with my SLR or auto focus Canon powershot anymore. But I have loads of photos ALWAYS on my phone!!!

  15. tiramit says:

    All three are wonderful. I prefer 1. because it seems to have a planet-like form…

  16. Angeline M says:

    I’ve fallen in love with your first photo; when I enlarged it, the beauty just increased. The color and texture is fantastic. Really all the photos just popped when I enlarged them.
    I vote for name change to #2 for its simplicity. Have a good week, Sally.

  17. Sue says:

    Love all three images, Sally, but my favourite is the dried petal….my kind of thing!

    • Sue, I have always enjoyed your work. I also find such stellar qualities in the final stages of a leaf’s life, especially because the next step is decomposition and adds to the next cycle. See you soon. Thanks so much.

  18. Every one makes fun of me for having a selfie stick but I use it for stabilization! Thanks for the validation.
    I vote for #2 it is easy to read and digest!
    I vote for flower petal 3. My mind goes to a magical slipper… Reason to use untitled in exhibits.
    Fun Monday Challenge
    What a great way to start the week,

  19. LifestyleswithLia says:

    I love all your photos presented here, but the first one entitled, “Queen of the Night Tulip” is my looks so regal and elegant…almost as if the petals represent a diva’s raven-colored, wavy hair as she sets out upon the stage to sing!
    All are lovely!

  20. Jane Lurie says:

    Hi Sally- The black background in your first image is quite frantic with the purple petals and your detail in the second is beautiful.

  21. Hi Sally,
    I love them all but today I go for number 2. I’m drawn to the inside details so beautifully captured.
    I also go for 2 for the name’s choice.
    Have a good week.

  22. I like the way the first photo fades in and out of the black background. The dark purple is stunning! The overall effect is very mysterious.

    We published a similar post today – a first stab at flora and iPhoneography. Great minds, eh?

  23. Dina says:

    Beautiful shots (love all three of them) and a very good tutorial, Sally! Thanks for sharing.

  24. pattimoed says:

    Hi Sally. What a great color! I love the first two shots, which highlight the texture and varied shapes.

  25. Beautiful flower portraits! I like the top one the best because the rich colours of the flower suit the black background very well, and it’s a lovely simple composition.

  26. Before I get distracted, and lose my comment again, I vote for #2 in the title voting. The photos appeal to me in different ways. The first has a tantalizing look, a promise of beauty not quite seen. The second reveals the inner beauty, while the third shows that beauty isn’t always confined to life. It must be glorious to see a number of these in your garden and I’m happy you’ve had a chance to enjoy them. Thanks for sharing.


    • Janet, it’s a glorious time to savor nature’s unfolding. Thanks so much for your comment and vote.

      • Sally, thanks for the information about tripods. I really need one of these for macro shots, as I just can’t get some because I can’t quite hold the phone still enough. I also need a photo bag for my Nikon, but there are so few photo shops around anymore, that it’s difficult to look a/o get advice before buying, to actually try the bags.

      • Oh, I agree. I’m so fortunate to have a marvelous photography store in my university town. They are the quintessential customer-based business. They solve every problem and always are responsive to questions. I have numerous bags that I’ve had for years. I’d suggest going to Amazon and really researching the ones available there.

      • Any suggestions as to a shoulder bag, a pack, one of those that holds the camera in front, etc?

      • Honestly, the joy of a ready-made camera bag is its padding. I prefer a backpack for ease of carrying. I use pads with velcro that wrap around the camera and lenses, which keeps them protected. I try to plan on what I’ll need. Or pack everything. It’s all preference. What I do not like is being exhausted carrying heavy equipment. So I try to travel light or share the load. My iPhone is the best champion even with the tripod. It’s a breeze to take. But there are many times I need my DSLR Nikon. Let me know if this comment helped.

      • Thanks, Sally. That does help.

  27. Indira says:

    Lovely. Even the dried leaf is looking very dramatic.

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