Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (Geranium Florets)

07 September 2015


1. Geranium; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Geranium; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Geranium; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Geranium; Copyright © 2015 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

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


American artist Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) had a saying that poignantly describes humanity’s ability and inability to understand what is before them.: “Nobody really sees a flower, really–it is so small—we haven’t time, and to see takes time…”

That veil of the unseen sometimes can restrict our experiences, keep them distant, illusive, and unknowing. As I stood in front of the day’s geranium boughs, I knew that those flowerheads were a prime example of O’Keeffe insights. Her observations of the natural world very much influenced her floral abstractions, whose subjects became larger and larger. She used those paintings to bring bold attention to nature’s floral spectrum.

Most of the USA and Western Europe has had oddly memorable summer months. Here on the East Coast, USA, they wavered from cool to intensely hot, dry to driving rain. As a seasoned gardener, the seesaw weather verified that each season must be taken as a new challenge, especially with climate change.

This summer’s geraniums were some of the most prolific that I’ve ever cultivated. All were in planters in the shade of a southern exposure, defying what is suggested: full sun. They were not babied or cuddled, simple watered daily.

Their flowers ranged from rosy pink to burgundy red, and conjured profuse visual effects. Giant leaves  and seriously ample flowers stood tall above each clay pot. The four containers nestle side by side, and spread a meadow-like swath of technicolor.

What makes the geranium an apt choice to explain O’Keeffe’s saying is their need for up close and personal investigation. From afar they seem one flower with many petals. But move into their boughs, and you will see individual florets are their true selves.

In the Lens section is my attempt to reveal two geranium florets. These tiny jewels are lost without intense inspection. Each has individualism with reasons to be appreciated.

A floret of a geranium needs to be recognized for its role in the overall bounty of these beauties. Each one pronounces their legacy with brilliant hues and lush leaves that lure bees, hummingbirds, other nectar lovers, and me.

Tip of the Week: I spend some part of every day in nature, and thus think a lot about how to capture the character of a landscape, which is even more problematic with a Smartphone. Here is an article that has useful pointers and suggestions. “Landscape Photography: Tips for your Smartphone” by Daniel K. Berman. It can be viewed here. Let me know if you find a few helpful ideas.

"Winter Wonderland," Robert-Paul Jansen

“Winter Wonderland,” Robert-Paul Jansen

View other entries in 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, Panorama, 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, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (Geranium Florets)

  1. That top shot is a real WOW!

  2. Gallivanta says:

    Geraniums are such a pleasure to have in the garden, and hardy, too. I love the rich colour in the first photo and the simplicity of the second.

  3. I am drawn to the first one–perhaps the moody edges? Thanks for the reminder of the O’Keefe comment. Can’t imagine what she would make of today’s distracted world! Thx for sharing!!!

    • Lori, maybe she would be ambivalent: happy to see the emphasis on a visual culture, but staggered by the inundation of images everywhere with an uber-drive for many to record everything in their path. Thanks so much for your comment.

  4. badfish says:

    SALLY…at least five or six of the photos in my post are from my iPhone 6. I find it difficult to tell which ones are from my camera, and which ones are from my phone. I linked to you…OK, late, but listen, that’s me. AND, you pushed me in your last comment. So…late. Can you tell which ones are with the phone?

    • I do not know how you upload your images to WP. I use my iMac. All my images go into iPhoto and the Google Drive. iPhoto records particular information about the original of the image. It’s good to keep track. I even keep track of any app that I use to process an image. Do not be concerned about being late. Although it is to your advantage to link on Mondays, a number of participants link throughout the week. I have no deadlines, but do prefer everyone join on Mondays. There are some people who will post even at the end of the week or weekend. I’m delighted to have you as part of the photo community. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Hope to see you Monday or thereafter.

  5. lumar1298 says:

    I like them both, but if I had to chose, I would the one with the black effect around the picture… I see it more mysterious… Here’s my entry this week:

  6. I love both photographs, they do turn around on the O’Keeffe quote – make us see the flower. And, yes, the summer has been strange wherever I have been. Finally thanks to the link to Daniel K. Berman’s article.

  7. Klarinet says:

    The first picture captures me more. The second one is the nature dead.

  8. Love the slightly blurred and framed version!! But both are lovely!!

  9. Nato says:

    I am drawn more to the first since it looks like something I would hang on my wall:) But that does not mean that I did not enjoy and appreciate the second. Nature is such a powerful and wonderful thing that so many of us take for granted. I know I did for years. Now, older and wiser, I hope that I can open my eyes to see the little things before us and take the time to honor all that they are. My ‘nature’ post today is a different kind of nature, the human nature of change as we age. Maybe a reach, but my thoughts for this challenge nonetheless.

    Thank you for your challenge Sally. I have enjoyed it!

  10. badfish says:

    Sally…one day I’m going to get back to your challenge!!! I DO have an iPhone now, you know. And I love taking photos on it. I think they turn out marvelously wonderful (sometimes). I like the first one, don’t know why, maybe the frame, or more distinct petals.

    • I’d be delighted to have you return to the challenge’s photo community. Maybe you’ll become inspired by one or more of the weekly themes. Meanwhile enjoy exploring the bounty of the iPhone’s possibilities.

      • badfish says:

        I’m very sad to admit that I am becoming very enamored by this phone!!

      • I understand, but remember it’s not the equipment that matters. It’s your vision, your way of seeing that is the true lens.

      • badfish says:

        Yeah, that’s exactly what’s beginning to bother me. I like the lightness of the phone, and I like the photos it’s taking. I like not hauling a load of camera equipment.

      • It’s an adjustment to be sure. I’ve been using my iPhone 6 more and more as my camera. I use my Nikon DSLR about once or twice a month. As you aptly said, advantages are teetering towards the iPhone. But there are instances where the technology of the iPhone just cannot take a clear representation of the image sought.

      • badfish says:

        What do you know about other little lenses…like a macro and telescopic? I wonder about the quality of those lenses, but like the idea of snapping it on.

      • When I had my iPhone 4s, I had an Ollo Clip, which I liked. It seemed to work really well. I didn’t use it a lot, almost 100 % for macro. The problem with all these external devices is that you must take the case off. It’s a pain, and it also disturbs the screen protector. I did get the Ollo Clip for the 6, hoping that it would be easier to install. But I find it even more irritating, and thus I’ve barely used it. But it does work. That is the only brand that I’ve used. Many others are problematic for other reasons. I also would like to have a telescopic lens. Since I discovered Camera+, I fell in love with it.

      • badfish says:

        Oh…no. I don’t want camera trauma. I want easy. And light weight.
        That’s the second time I’ve heard of Camera+…is that an app or lens?

      • Camera+ is an app. It’s a jewel. It has a macro feature that I use. It really works. You do not EVER want to zoom in with your native camera, it makes images grainy and out of focus. At least that’s my opinion and others. Do get the app and experiment. No external lens required, which translate into your wish for no additional weight. Do I agree.

      • badfish says:

        Roger that! Thanks. Let me know if you find an app that takes telephoto shots. I’d like an 800mm please.

      • Delighted that you have a sense of humor.

  11. Sally, your geraniums always bring a smile to my face. They seem to love adversity and the wild swings of mother nature make them feel right at home in your garden.

  12. Maria F. says:

    Beautiful Sally, how I love that first one with the vignette and the simplicity of the 2nd one. How did you get it so squared? My PS only offers me round vignettes. Or was it burned?

  13. RMW says:

    As an artwork, the first is by far the more interesting with its dramatic presentation. I thought it was a rose. Geraniums are my favorite flowers. There is nothing to match its diversity and flexibility. They will grow almost anywhere and need little attention. I think I always liked them but fell in love with them on my travels through Spain, Italy and Greece. I have about 25 pots of geraniums on my roof deck, a few on my front balcony and a few more on the walk up to the front door. I love each and every one. The hardest thing for me is to go to the nursery and NOT buy another geranium!

    • Well, we certainly share a devotion to these gorgeous gems of Mother Nature. I bring a few containers into my kitchen for the winter. They reward me with flowers throughout the winter months. I adore that you care and maintain so many pots. That’s nourishment for the soul. Thanks for your comment and visit.

  14. Debbie H says:

    I too like the first one as it is very delicate. I appreciate your efforts in your posts and always try to read them carefully. I have made a post for this week’s challenge and hopefully linked it back here.

  15. Georgia O’Keeffe is one of my favorite artists and I have always found her thoughts to be quite interesting… Her legacy is so amazing.

    • Charlie, I agree. Although I enjoy her artistic legacy, I have always been more drawn to her persistence to be the person that she wanted to be and knew that she was. Her philosophy was deeply insightful. Thanks for your comment and visit.

  16. Jane Lurie says:

    The first image is striking, Sally. The vignette does draw the eye in. Lovely.

  17. Hello Sally,
    I prefer the first one, as it made me stop and look for more details, as O’Keeffe suggested, perhaps because of the vignette, and the composition, which exposed more of its detailed design. Both images are beautiful and attractive.

  18. Sally, I love that first shot. It’s so delicate and beautiful. I, too, enjoy the pens part of your blog, even though I don’t always have time to go to the links. Thanks for all the effort you put in to this.


  19. Really like 1 the black border sets it off. It could be a haiku!
    tiny jewels are lost
    without intense inspection.
    Happy Monday

  20. Beautiful, Sally. At first glance I thought I was looking at an unfolding rose (okay, so I’m not a gardener!). I love the shadows and lines in the first one. Have a wonderful week!

  21. I always enjoy the “Pens” section of your posts, Sally. They’re thoughtfully written and thought-provoking. O’Keeffe’s quote has given me pause.

    The first photo really speaks to me. I love its soft aura.

  22. Indira says:

    Flowers always look beautiful. The first one stands out. The flower has more shadows.

  23. pattimoed says:

    Hi Sally. Happy Labor Day Monday! I love your first geranium shot. The vignetting is perfect and gives the shot an “old world” feel. I will dig deeper into the article you recommended. At first glance, it gives many helpful tips. Thanks! Hope you’re enjoying the holiday.

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