Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and Black Maple Seedpods)

06 July 2015


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

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

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

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

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


This summer will be noted for its abundance–abundance that emanates from the lush plenty in my small corner of the world. We are not the only place to witness this profusion. Mother Nature has given us a spring and summer of riches: rain and rain and more rain. Especially in the last few weeks almost daily there have been sprinkles, showers or storms. They keep on thriving, just as the landscape are filled with hues of greenery and lots and lots of wild flowers, known in the vernacular as weeds. I cannot recall such an onslaught of wild things. But I do not complain, and simply do my best to control the plethora.

After all, weeds galore are not the worse problems this season can bring. Usually we are in the midst of heat, humidity and little rain that takes serious adjustment physically and psychologically. These spikes in temps and lack of rain also has different effects on the landscape.

With a tip of my garden hat, I’ve hardly had to water my gardens. This scenario is foreign and takes a bit of mental strategy. We’re usually fanning ourselves with thoughts, not watching puddles and flooding.

Abundance can be a trade-off. It can produce narratives of prosperity as well as cautionary tales. Since this weather is not the norm, it’s a constant topic of conversation: the pluses and minuses. Then, what’s new? Weather has been a serious subject for years wherever I turn.

Since I rant about climate change and sustainability, my predilections toward nature are evident. While I’m thrilled that our landscape is an explosion of summer’s best efforts, I abhor the drought on the West Coast and in other areas of our planet, the extreme weather that has become the usual.

I am more than grateful for the Pope’s words (“Laudato Si!”): his platform for the most critical issue that faces our world in the present and future is staggering and brings hope. A recent article in The New York Times titled “Pope Francis’ Call to Action Goes Beyond the Environment” (click here to read) outlines his commitment to the health of our planet and its effects upon humanity. As a world leader this encyclical may very well be the major kick in the proverbial rear for action that is needed. His support is an unexpected gift toward winning the brass ring of the greater good and worldwide involvement in solutions to the effects of climate change.

In the Lens section are examples of this summer’s abundance: a staggering multiplicity of black maple seedpods. This tree is gorgeous; it literally cultivates my attention with its purple-black leaves that are sweetly clustered and topped with scores of seedpods. But its symbolism is multi-faceted.

That tree’s wealth of life is what we all want for nature and human nature. We want a world that honors all creatures, we want a world that honors our dignity, we want a world that works on behalf of the whole, we want a world that is conscious of the greater good.

Abundance is a tricky word. It can be a hell raiser or a gentle reminder. It can incite conversations. Or silence discussions. It causes reflection. And pushes boundaries. Mostly, it provides a place for contemplation of its meaning and ramifications.

Tip of the Week: Unquestionably, artists use their work as representation of their political and social philosophy. Chris Jordan is a photographer who left his life as a corporate lawyer and became a photographer to make aesthetically-pleasing art. But that perspective changed. Jordan turned to large-format prints to demonstrate humanity’s affection and obsession with mass consumption. He also includes environmental issues as part of his current oeuvre. He created, for example,  “Roundup” (2015) as a visual symbol to show that “213,000 bees, equal to the number of pounds of toxic chemical pesticides … is applied every twenty minutes to plants and soils around the world. [And] Over 1 billion pounds of pesticides are introduced into the environment in the US each year, and approximately 5.6 billion pounds are used worldwide.” Read more about his work and view his photography here. In 2008 Jordan was an international eco-ambassador for National Geographic Society. I find his art inspirational and purposeful.

Circuit Boards, Chris Jordan, 2014

“Circuit Boards,” Chris Jordan, 2014

View other entries for this week’s challenge:


As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6.

If you’d like to join this Mobile Photography Challenge, please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming 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: Nature (and Black Maple Seedpods)

  1. Madhu says:

    Beautiful and unusual subjects I like the uncluttered look of no. 2.

  2. Love the idea of abundance. We do have it this summer in central Texas, whether it’s desired or not. Both of your seedpod photographs are supremely lovely.

  3. The second one is definitely my favorite. Love the composition and the simple nature of it.

  4. Maria F. says:

    This is a great choice, and seed pods are so sculpturesque in form. I get to deal with them when featuring a tree. I like this maple one a lot.

  5. Brings back memories of playing and making whirling wings with maple seedpods. I like the second one. It has such sharp edges and again a nice shadow.
    By-the-way in the other entries section my site somehow links back to you.
    Happy Nature week

  6. Beautiful lush greens of Summer. A perfect symbol of the many joy, adventures, memories and colors of Summer. Thanks. Have a great Summer my friend.

  7. We are experiencing a summer of opposites, Sally and my post is full of heat, wildfire smoke and drought… Enjoy your rain! #2 is my favorite this week but the clarity in both images is impressive. 🙂

  8. I love your environmental concern! We used to call those pods helicopters back in the day!!

  9. When I look at your pictures they always make me ponder what it is that makes me like one version better than the other. Sometimes I am attracted to simplicity, but in this case I like the more complex composition of the first image better. Thanks for introducing me to Chris Jordan.

  10. I prefer image 2 because of its simplicity.

  11. Tina Schell says:

    Like these both Sally – a bit different for you I think. I’m partial to the second because of the details in the pods.

  12. Tiny says:

    I like the first picture little more…the seedpods seem more alive and ready to take on the world. And I loved the article, which I read when it came out. Gives some more hope for action. Great post!

  13. Angeline M says:

    I really love the second photo, Sally, and the detail a little closer here. Lovely!
    Hope your week is off to a good start. I won’t make any mention of all the rain you talk about 🙂

  14. Wow, love the second one – a pair of birds flying through the air. A bit mundane I know, but I love the pattern of the two seedpods.

  15. Gallivanta says:

    Very hard to choose this week. Perhaps the second is my favourite.

  16. Hello Sally!
    Can I have both? Exquisite photos and insightful words on climate change.
    Jordan’s work is a bonus.
    PS. I would like to apologize for not joining the challenge while being on family vacations, and trying to be offline as much as possible.
    Happy Week!

    • Lucile, marvelous, you enjoy the tranquility of a cyber-less vacation. It’s always nurturing to take a holiday. I’ll be going on mine the last two weeks of July. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  17. Amy says:

    Both are beautiful, Sally! Just want to let you know that I’m on vacation this week, but I scheduled a post for this week’s Macro. I was not able to make a pingback though. 🙂

  18. I applaud your post this week. It is great to highlight the issues with climate change and how we and the flora and fauna are trying to adapt. For the first time, the terns that normally fly north to Siberia from Australia have not left our shores and the scientists do not know why…. perhaps the environment is changing too rapidly for species to always keep up. Meanwhile your first photo is delightful. The autumnal tones are visually pleasing against the white background – such a surprise and not unlike a canvas that nature, herself, has painted!

  19. Su Leslie says:

    Hi Sally, as always I enjoy all your photos. This week, I think I’m with Janet in preferring the first. I love the way the white background really highlights all the detail. Thanks for the link to Chris Jordan’s work. I’m feeling even more despondent than usual about our collective future at the moment, so it is good to see someone making art that raises awareness too. Cheers, Su.

  20. dsaquarelles says:

    I prefer the first for the higher contrast of colour.

  21. LaVagabonde says:

    I prefer the second photo, because of the detail. Enjoy the abundance. 🙂

  22. pattimoed says:

    Fascinating work by Chris Jordan and your thoughts on climate change. We’ve had a rainy spring/early summer in Michigan too, which has impacted the water levels of the lakes and rivers. We watch the river from our apartment windows and remember the flood 2 years ago when we had to evacuate our apartment for several weeks until the waters receded and our building could get basic system functions back. The uncertainty in the environment and the world economy has us all scrambling to find some stability in a world forever in flux!

    • Patti, that sounds like a fabulous view. Our lives, as you said, are filled with an uncertainty. I believe that where I live now on the East Coast will someday be oceanfront property. And I’m an hour and a half from the beach. Mother Nature will always bat last. See you soon. Thanks for your thoughtful response.

  23. Good morning, Sally. I like both your photos, but I think I prefer the first. The white background really highlights the beauty of the seeds. I do like the detail in the second. Last day in California today. I have a feeling the yard is going to need some serious work when I get back. 🙂


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