Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (and Abstraction of the Ginkgo Leaf)

09 November 2015


I. Taken with Camera+ and Post Processed in Mextures

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

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

2. Taken with Camera+ and Post Processed in Romantic

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

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

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


Even in her most articulate moments (wind stirring my senses, rain tapping at my soul, birds awakening me early morning, currents of the creek catching my attention, acorns bounding on the earth) Mother Nature is seemingly more silent than loud. But we are hearing her plea more and more. I often feel that her extravagant behavior (through climate change) is not only a result of human interference, but a way for her to get our undivided attention. Yes, I am a dreamer.

Last week my hopes were enlivened by the axing of the pipeline from Canada through parts of the United States. Thank you President Obama. Certainly, this decision is a moment to exhale a huge relief for our planet and its inhabits, but mostly for younger generations and those yet to be born.

One witness to the earth’s metamorphosis and turmoil is the remarkable Ginkgo tree. She must have exhaled too.

Ginkgos can boast a genealogy of millions of years, yet it depends on its appearance to grace our lives and city streets. “We” are drawn to their unusual fan-like leaves that seem to beg for acceptance with their eloquent shaped edges that are curvy and scalloped. The Chinese were the first to cultivate these trees, and eventually even used its seeds for medicinal use. The tree’s longevity astounds.

Nature’s generosity is exemplified in this Old World tree. The Ginkgo, which is prevalent in my small town, seems to have a greater presence during the current season. Its autumnal portrait seems to stir my attention with scores of leaves that act as a ground cover. Once fallen I notice individual leaves curling and turning into a kaleidoscope of sun-streaked and orange-stained colors. In spring and summer their usual green leaves tend to hide unique qualities, because the tree becomes one medium-sized canopy of greenery. You really must must move into a macro view to see what is available for our visual appetites.

In the Lens section  are two examples of autumnal Ginkgo leaves. Each taken a week apart. The first image (with assistance from the app Mextures) displays the turning colors of autumn. The second image is the first phase of the Ginkgo leaf’s change: a yellow that pulls a viewer into its simple character.

When I move closer and closer to the tree, abstractions burst into view. They are as cunning in their non-representational form as in the sum of their parts. Each leaf is visually pure with a serene sanctuary for the eye and the mind.

Tip of the Week:

While the still image (e.g., drawing, photograph) contains a wealth of commentary about the world that the image-maker sees, the moving picture (e.g., film, video) is just as revealing in similar and different ways. One of my favorite movies is Wim Wenders’ “Wings of Desire” (1987). It’s monochromatic format adds to the storyline that rivets the heart and soul. As I thought about that deeply felt production, I was reminded why I watch film after film after film. The juxtaposition of still to moving is a lesson in reality as well as virtual creations.

Here is a thought-provoking comment by Wenders, who uses film to communicate his ideas about image-makers and the process of seeing: “The most political decision you make is where you direct people’s eyes. In other words, what you show people, day in and day out, is political…And the most politically indoctrinating thing you can do to a human being is to show him, every day, that there can be no change.” ~~ The Act of Seeing by Wim Wenders (1945, German filmmaker)

"Wings of Desire," cover art, 1987

“Wings of Desire,” cover art, 1987

View 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, 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 Abstraction, Macro Photography, Mobile Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (and Abstraction of the Ginkgo Leaf)

  1. juliav305 says:

    Wonderful vibrant colors

  2. I enjoyed reading your poignant thoughts about Mother Nature and our relationship with her. I also feel very much in agreement with Wim Wenders’ statement about imposing the thought that changes aren’t possible onto others. And like you, I enjoy his films. Finally I also enjoy your abstract takes on the ginkgo leaves.

  3. Congratulations! You have been nominated for the Prestige and Power Award – please visit the link. Thank you. Kemdirim Okezie, Editor, Prestige and Power

  4. RMW says:

    I really like the first image… it’s abstract but I can still see it’s a plant… and it has a nice flowing motion to it. The second one I can’t really tell what it is and looks kinda like potato chips! I can see the first one blown up really big hanging on a wall.

  5. badfish says:

    You have ginko growing near you?

  6. Leya says:

    I love Ginkos and the first photo. I also love the decision from Obama. Have a great weekend!

  7. Luanne says:

    I wish I could take photos like you do. I have this desire to take these kinds of photos and poof I end up with something barely better than what is in our family archives (which are terrible).

    • Luanne, my best advice is: just do it (as Nike suggests). The act itself helps you to see differently. Also, viewing art, including photography, gives you the vision of others. Thanks for your comment and visit.

  8. Busy week just now having time to focus on your Monday Post. Yea stopping the pipeline!!! I agree Mother nature is demanding our attention. We are feeling it here with fire and mudslides. I just heard a quote that goes something like “if we focus on wonder we will be less destructive” Certainly what many photographers do every day. Gingko is a good example. They turned way too early like August instead of November and are not very bright. they are one of my markers for the season around here.
    I love your your yellow leaves they appear to be flames! Mixtures is a challenging App, well used here.
    Happy Thursday

    • Carol, thanks for your thoughtful response. Being a longtime gardener, I’ve noticed many changes that have become part of the fabric of the seasons. Of course, migrating birds is a huge one. See you soon. Thanks.

      • We have turkeys and geese that have made themselves at home around here. Gardening is a wonderful way of staying in touch with the seasons.

      • You must have made habitats that bring the wildlife. That’s one of the keys to reintroducing places for creatures to inhabit. You should get your property designated a wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, a great organization.

      • Ha ha! Around these parts folks try to keep the wildlife out. There is a wild park just a few blocks away and the critters wander down here. The sewers have to be designed to keep raccoons out. Deer are cursed for eating roses. It was their land first and we are just visitors.

      • Absolutely, which is why I create habitats, because we have taken their homes. I have a myriad of wildlife in my area, including foxes, groundhogs, raccoons, skunks, possums, raptors (my favorite is the red-tailed hawk), and a wide assortment of usual and unusual birds (of which the hummingbirds and woodpeckers are dear to my heart). We do have deer, but they stay mostly in the parks and preserves that are close.

      • I see your point. I have a dead apple tree that I won’t take down because it’s home fore so many birds. I guess I just need to be more intentional about the habitat. I do plant for honey bees and humming birds come to think of it. Thanks for a new name for my wild yard.

      • Yes, that tree will become home to many, and the woodpeckers will grow to love it too.

  9. The first photo speaks to me of Autumn, my favourite season.

    Is this the same Ginkgo that has memory-boosting properties?

  10. The end of the pipeline plans made my day too, Sally. Your ginkgo leaves are simply lovely and I’m really enjoying the paper-like textures in #1. Have a wonderful week. 🙂

  11. thirdeyemom says:

    Beautiful Sally! All our leaves are finally down now but it sure has been one of the best falls ever!

    • Nicole, happy that you have enjoyed the changing palette and temps. Our autumn has not had bursts of color, but small pockets of hues that engage. Some leaves are still hanging onto their places, and the temps have been beautiful. We’ve not had a frost, and nighttime temps have been mostly in the 40s and 50s. I’m a warm weather kind of woman, and so I’m content. Thanks for your comment.

      • thirdeyemom says:

        Interesting. I wonder why the colors weren’t as good. I guess every year is different which makes it magical. Our fall really has been outstanding. I’m going to miss it as it begins to turn cold.

      • Nicole, yes, every year is different, and much of it depends on the temps. A hard frost seems to increase the beauty of the palette.

  12. The orange one is dramatic & lovely but the other has a quiet beauty.

  13. Sally, I look forward to reading your weekly post because it is a delight to learn not only about photography, and appreciate the world through your lenses and those of your guests, but also to learn so much through your pens. Once again, I have enjoyed your words.
    I’ve had Ginkgo as a herbal medicine but never saw the tree except in photos. How lovely to have them in your town.
    And as for the photos…Please let me have both. Beautifully executed.
    Have a lovely day.

  14. Su Leslie says:

    Hi Sally. I love both of these shots. The first cheers me with its bursting colour, while the second draws me in to investigate the texture and the sculptural qualities.

  15. pattimoed says:

    Hi Sally. The orange ginko shot is spectacular. The color is just wonderful. We had a very washed out fall, so this vivid color is very welcome! Have a great week and thanks for the visual treats!

    • Patti, our autumn was ho hum too. But occasionally there was a “visual treat” to pull at the senses. Delighted that I was able to bring some sparkle to your day. See you soon. Enjoy your week.

      • pattimoed says:

        You too, Sally. It’s a bit gloomy here in Michigan, but hopefully the sun will triumph! I hope it’s warmer and sunny in your part of the world!

      • In the Mid-Atlantic it’s a rainy day and the trees are almost bare. Oh, and daylight is decreasing, which is not great for my psyche. Nature does gives us much to ponder. Hopefully, the sun will burst forth for both of us. Enjoy your week.

  16. Maria F. says:

    What a beautiful form this leaf has!

  17. scillagrace says:

    I definitely prefer the first shot. The second one reminds me tortilla chips!

  18. restlessjo says:

    Ooh, Mextures please, Sally! I haven’t seen many Ginkgos. There was a lovely young one in the arboretum I visited recently but I’ve never seen it’s Autumn wear. 🙂

  19. Ulli says:

    Dear Sally, in this case I like pic one … indeed of the colour! But even because of the movement in it. For me it is a real excellent photo! The second is symbolizing love for me, its the way how this two leaves stay together- nice, too!
    all the best to you

  20. I just that love first shot – the colours are stunning and beautiful soft lines.

  21. Mary Slow says:

    Love the vibrant color and light in the first one!

  22. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I like the warmth that is conveyed in the first photo. The orange cast is gorgeous.
    On a side note, the Ginkgo leaf was the first leaf that I learned to draw. I was going to school in Atlanta and our free-hand drawing instructor took us outside to draw leaves, trees, twigs, rocks or whatever caught our attention. Ginkgo trees are everywhere in that town and that made my choice an easy one.
    This past Summer, when I returned to Atlanta, I took the time to sit under the trees and marvel at the leaves once again for old-times sake.

    Thanks for the memories—both old and new— today, Sally.

  23. Angeline M says:

    Really like both photos, Sally. The first for the autumnal color and light, and the second for the wonderful abstract quality you’ve brought out. Have a good week.

  24. livvy30 says:

    Love the top shot! It looks like a piece of abstract art.

  25. DG MARYOGA says:

    Profoundly beautiful leaf Art, most sophisticated your relationship with nature’s echoes, dear Sally! The second leaf quietly displays the early preparation for winter, while the shapes and the colours of the first one are more ostentatious for the season!

  26. I love the abstract quality and colors in the first image.

  27. Sally, I like the sweeping curves you’ve captured in the first shot. I was happy to find that there are ginkgo trees in our area. I too find their leaves to be graceful and beautiful and a constant inducement to take “just one more” photo. 🙂 Have a wonderful week.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s