Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (Edible Nasturiums)

10 August 2015


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

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

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

2. Nasturtium; 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.


“Ode to the Nasturtium”

Sassy and spicy paper-thin wings,

Drenched in sunlight’s flares.

Wishing for longevity,

Almost satisfied with the journey. ~~ Sally W. Donatello

From April to November my kitchen garden “spoils” me every single day. It lavishes me with fragrant and vibrant  flowers, scrumptious greens, and delicate and potent herbs.

Years ago I discovered edible flowers that have become part of some of my culinary fare. My favorites are arugula, geraniums and nasturtiums. So it’s not unusual to find those floral beauties atop a salad or soup.

This week the trailing nasturtiums were covered with deep red-orange blossoms that became central to my late evening dinner salads. Nasturtiums are shockingly dainty in appearance but tough in character. They are one of Mother Nature’s flowers that tastes as though it was an uptown radish. It’s peppery layers ingeniously move over the tongue and slide down the throat, creating a lengthy appreciation for this punchy taste.

Nasturtiums are particularly suited for salads where a flower head, petals and leaves can be starlits of a meal. I’m fond of wild food and each time that I pluck and imbibe any edible flowers (e.g., allium, bee balm, borage, dianthus, and marigold) from my gardens, I feel hardily nurtured. Their accents in my meals are like placing bright jewels onto  tableware.

After I wander through the kitchen garden and snip a sprig of this or that, I’m never sure what becomes more satiated: my taste buds, my visual palette, or my spirit. Regardless, these true culinary surprises are one of Mother Nature’s great progeny. To harvest these treats is to set up a challenge of how to use them in new and tantalizing ways. Once a new edible is discovered, they rarely leave my cultivated spaces or my recipes.

I’ve often stated that macro photography can reveal some of the most intriguing parts of a subject. That’s true of the nasturtiums as seen in the Lens section. I was especially stunned by the frilly inside center of this attention-seeker. One can easily miss this characteristic with the naked eye. The two images are apt examples of this flower’s seductive qualities. It has a palette that grabs our adoration. It’s simplicity is a bold statement by nature that is also for human nature’s pleasure.

Tip of the Week:

Here is a relatively short video about macro photography by Gregory Cazillo and called “Basic Flower and Macro Photography” (2012). Hope that you learn one or more lessons to add to your tool kit. Click here to view the eight minutes and thirteen second video. Also here is an article that reiterates some of the pitfalls of macro photography. If you discover one pointer that helps you with your macro shots, it will be worth the read. Click here for “Close Up! Macro Photography and the Pitfalls to Watch out For” by David Peterson from the website: digital photo secrets.

View other entries from 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.


This entry was posted in Gardens and Gardening, Macro Photography, Mobile Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (Edible Nasturiums)

  1. restlessjo says:

    No 1 looks very inviting, Sally 🙂 I love the idea of you strewing your meals with home grown goodies.

  2. RMW says:

    I really like the contrast of the black background. I remember edible nasturtium flowers in my salads as a child in England. Now I can buy them at the local farmers market. Nice job on both photos.

  3. Sweet as a Picture says:

    I especially like the flower against the black background. It makes photo pop more. 🙂

  4. LavendarLadi says:

    I was away on vacation and just catching up now… I love the contrast of the flower on the black background however I like how I ‘see’ the colour with the white background. You always take such beautiful photos and make it hard to pick. 🙂

  5. Arugula has an interesting etymology. Here’s the account in the American Heritage Dictionary:

    “From Italian dialectal (Basilicata) arucola or a kindred Italian dialectal source, ultimately from Latin ērūca, bitter cruciferous herb, arugula, perhaps from ērūca, ūrūca, caterpillar (arugula perhaps being so called from its hairy stems resembling caterpillars, or from the fact that cruciferous vegetables are often infested with caterpillars ), perhaps from ēr, hedgehog (with reference to the hairs and spines of some caterpillars).”

  6. Nasturtiums are one of my all time favorite flowers, Sally but by this time of the season ours are covered in aphids. How nice to see yours up close and ready for the table. 🙂

  7. Both images are lovely, Sally. In the end I think I will go for the one with the white background. It seems to bring out the petals really nicely.

  8. Love the second one the way it fills the page like lady peeking slyly out from under a big hat!!
    You make me appreciate nasturtiums who usually are almost a weed around here.
    Sorry I’m late commenting, the dentist kept me busy lately.

  9. Debbie H says:

    Hi, I love these shots and have just submitted one of my own – for the first time!

  10. thirdeyemom says:

    Stunning as always Sally!

  11. I liked the first one with the dark background. It has the atmosphere of an old Dutch Master.

  12. Amy says:

    Beautiful macro shots, Sally! I like the angle you took for the first one. Thank you for the tutorial link. Here is my entry:

  13. Su Leslie says:

    Seldom I have a clear preference; but your first shot just takes my breath away.

  14. Indira says:

    Lovely but the first one looks more dramatic.

  15. For me – it has to be the black background. It really pops.

  16. Lovely post Sally, I think my favourite image has to be the first one. I love the drama of a black background.

  17. elisa ruland says:

    Your post is as fresh as a summer’s day, Sally, with flowers to savor through sight and taste. Very nice.

  18. Lignum Draco says:

    Seriously, both are nice.
    I do like the works of Warwick Orme. His book floranova is wonderful. You can see a sample of it here:

  19. Sally, these are beautiful. I like the dramatic effect of the first one. I’ve never eaten flowers but I’ve seen them used and they’re certainly beautiful, adding a certain something to a meal. On a different note, I’ve gotten on the right track and published a macro photo for the week, so I’ll have a second pingback. Don’t know what I was thinking!


  20. Beautiful! I love the bright colors in the second photo! Here is my contribution this week:

  21. Fantastic. The contrast of red on the white background really makes the qualities of the flower stand out.

  22. Good morning Sally!
    You’re so lucky to have nature’s biodiversity at your doorsteps. It is fantastic to have the flowers at your disposal for salads.
    They also perform well for macro photos! I like both very much but choose the second image, as it evokes the vibrancy of summer, and I am hanging to it as much as I can.
    Have a beautiful week.

  23. pattimoed says:

    Lovely macro shots, Sally! I especially like the 2nd one–because it highlights the texture of the petals.

  24. Sue says:

    Interesting post, Sally. As for the images, I love the red against the dark background……I’ve always been drawn to the dark with the exception of well-executed high key

  25. Chris Hale says:

    I have a long attachment to this flower as my wife and I decorated our wedding cake with them (thanks to my sister-in-law). Beautiful and tasty! Hard to say which I prefer as they both present interesting aspects of the flower. The first is hiding some of its beauty, almost coyly. The second is showing all of its glory, but there is still a hidden underside that leaves you wondering what beauty it holds. Either way, great photos.

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