Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (and Creativity)

08 June 2015


1. Paperweight; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

1. Paperweight; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Paperweight; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

2. Paperweight; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved/Lens and Pens by Sally

Let me know which version you prefer. Please click onto each image to enlarge.


I’ve had a love affair with creativity for most of my adult years. My youth was filled with known and not-so-well-known artists, including my mother who was a recognized abstract expressionist painter in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Years later I realized it was not by happenstance that I did my master’s thesis on creativity.

Over many decades I’ve learned much about my experimentation with various media and the creative process. Mostly, I would pinpoint constancy, passion, patience, persistence, and pursuit of the unknown as critical elements in these lessons. Ideas are just that: notions to tackle. But they must be tried and tried over and over to achieve any level of self-satisfaction. At least that’s true for me.

Photography is certainly an example of lessons learned and lessons sought. Probably passion is the singular quality that can make a difference in one’s pursuit. Devotion and love are elements that push my exploration. They certainly keep me going. But it also takes a regular and vigorous approach to that creative effort. Just as every journey in life includes work, hard work, the act of creativity is rigorous.

This week is an example of that drive to try numerous avenues to create a macro image. I am enamored by the beauty and design of everyday objects. So I took a paperweight and used it as my subject for this week’s challenge.

I kept at it, because it was quite difficult to get the result that finally seemed to be my desired effect: to show a tiny world within the glass paperweight. The designs inside are mostly bubbles and abstract spheres.

When I saw the results of the photo shoots, words like alien, planet, heavenly, and otherworldly criss crossed into my thoughts. I selected an image, because it was the only one that suited my perceptions of those descriptors. The first one was taken in Hipstamatic. The second one was edited in PhotoStudio.

The marvel of macro photography is the surprise universe that emerges. We think that we can see all with our naked eye, but whole new worlds can appear for one’s enjoyment and wonder with a close-up view.

Keep at the creative process and a fount of the hidden becomes a reality. Keep at the creative process and revelations abound.

View other entries for this week’s challenge:

Tip of the Week:

In The J. Paul Getty Museum’s online magazine, Iris, you can read about the current exhibition, Light, Paper, Process, that takes the viewer into the past world of analog photography. The work of seven artists shows their unusual methods that result from darkroom techniques, sensitive emulsions, archival negatives, and custom-built cameras. These artists, who are currently using traditional photographic alchemy, are examples of how experimentation can lead to unique images. At the California-based art center’s blog states, “All seven of the artists in the show work with repetition, seeking to uncover how a similar technique or gesture can lead to unexpected results.” The exhibition also pulls works from the Getty’s permanent collection to show unusual photographic techniques used in the twentieth century. This exhibition is instructive and poignant in a world where mobile photography has its own inventiveness within a digital darkroom. And still these twenty-first century artists chose to use the chemical darkroom to push their own creativity. To learn more about the exhibition, click For those who cannot travel; to see the exhibition being held in Los Angeles, California (until 06 September 2015) you can read the online link or purchase the book by the photography curator and head of the Department of Photographs at the Getty, Virginia Herbert.

"Light, Paper, Process," by Virginia Herkert, 2015

“Light, Paper, Process,” by Virginia Herkert, 2015


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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55 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (and Creativity)

  1. elisa ruland says:

    They both make me thing of our wonderful universe, Sally. Both are beautiful.

  2. restlessjo says:

    Although reason told me that I wasn’t I could have been looking at a beautiful planet. Number 2 has colours that always appeal to me and grabbed me first, but I like them both. Thanks for sharing, Sally.

  3. Another wonderful set of images, Sally! I particularly enjoy the details in the first photo and it’s great to see your Hipstamatic results. 🙂

  4. Gallivanta says:

    Glass objects are so fascinating. Your first photo is the one that brings home that fascination to me the most.

  5. Su Leslie says:

    These are both utterly gorgeous. I love the way you have captured a world inside the glass globe, with each image offering a different way of thinking about that world. Here’s my contribution to the theme:

  6. I never cease to be inspied and amazed by the creativity in your photography make a mundane object look special

  7. Indira says:

    Hi Sally I liked the colorful second one though the first one also seems fine. Here is my attempt-

  8. I love the colours in the second one!! Beautiful creative macro!!

  9. LavendarLadi says:

    I find myself drawn to the details I see in the second photo.
    Happy photo challenge!

  10. Both are great but I love the soft colors in the second one. Fascinating! 🙂 Here is my contribution for this week:

  11. prior says:

    I really like the first image – and words like planet and moons came to my mind. 🙂

    I also really like the encouragement to “keep at it” – so true.

  12. Virginia Duran says:

    Hello Sally, I prefer the first image. The light/color balance is just amazing 🙂

  13. Amy says:

    Beautiful macro images, Sally! I like the second one especially, love the colors and details. Here is my entry for this week.

  14. badfish says:

    Sally, I like the second one. You can’t tell what it is, but the second one has color, so…nicer. And get this: I bought an iPhone! I’m entering Macro!

  15. I’m finally back: both home and online. This weekend I was in a “no service” area almost the entire time. It’s really quite nice in many ways. 🙂 But it’s nice to be able to see who’s posting what. Today I’m firmly in the corner of the second photo, as I love the color. I really appreciate all the extra information and tips you include in your blog, Sally. Hope your Monday went well and that the rest of the week is wonderful.


  16. Angeline M says:

    Both photos bring out different perspectives, and I love them both. Your creativity shines through every week, Sally. I always look forward to what you’ll have for us. Even though I’m close enough to drive down to see the Getty, I doubt if I’ll be able to do it, so I appreciate your links, as always.

  17. Archita says:

    Macro photography is one creative outlet, I love it. Like you I am creativity enthusiast, have gone to several workshops and courses in Stanford here ( almost neighborhood) but still I don’t feel content. I love both of your photographs but the black and white one looks more magical.

    I’m sure you must have watched these TED show videos,if not, leaving links here:

    • I am a devotee to Northern California. You’re fortunate to live there. Yes, Macro photography is a spicy challenge. I haven’t seen the Burstein one, thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely see it. Thanks so much.

  18. RMW says:

    I like them both… at first I was partial to the second but when I saw them both enlarged I couldn’t decide. I saw the Getty exhibit you mention on my recent trip there… reminded me of when I had my own darkroom decades ago and was always experimenting… I need to get to that point with digital.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Since I live on the East Coast, I will not be visiting the Getty’s exhibition. I found that it’s focus and theme were simpatico with my own philosophy. I had a darkroom for years, and had hours of uninterrupted fun (even with young children). I agree with you: “I need to get to that point with digital.” Thanks again for your comment and visit.

  19. Good day Sally.
    Your photos of today look like images from outer space. Stunning photos.
    The words, ah your words Sally. It feels like going to the fountain and getting the purest water.
    Thank you and have a good week.

  20. Nico calavita says:

    Fantastic Sally, especially the second one.

  21. Nato says:

    OH oh oh! I do love these. I am drawn a bit more a bit more to the second, but that is probably because of my fascination with iridescent-like objects. I adore blended colors, particularly those! You come up with the most interesting shots:) Great read too. I will have to check out the Getty link. It sounds quite interesting.

  22. pattimoed says:

    Great experiments, Sally. I especially like the 2nd one–because the colors add a luminosity to the shot and more depth to the image. Lovely. And thanks too for the tip about the Getty. I’ll check it out. Happy Monday–Patti

  23. Sue says:

    I like the second image as, for me anyway, the colours add depth and intrigue. Constancy, passion and pursuit of the unknown I can identify with, Sally. I enjoyed your words. Patience and persistence are the tricky elements for me, especially now I fatigue easily….but that’s just an excuse. I have made myself keep practising certain elements of photography more recently and I think the persistence is paying off! 🙂

    • Sue, lovely to hear from you. I believe that the more one works at a particular endeavor, the more that becomes clear and unclear at the same time. It’s a lifelong journey of discovery. See you soon. Thanks.

  24. Maria F. says:

    I love these paperweights, if I’m not mistaken they are like big marbles with bubbles inside. They’re considered fine art, unless massively produced somewhere in China or somewhere else. Amazing close-ups; they look like intergalactic planets or similar subjects.

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