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

18 January 2016


1. White Clay Creek Panorama; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. White Clay Creek Panorama; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Let me know your response to this panorama of trees. Click on image to enlarge, which takes you to another page. If you decide to leave a comment, please return to this page.


Photography, which is one of humanity’s  most ingenious inventions, changed the world of art and reality. Painting, for example, had been a source to record what we experienced, remembered and saw. But that early black-and-white stilled frame set a trajectory that not only changed art history, but virtually every form of human interaction from culture to science.

The evolution of the photographic image has gone through many iterations. Today we are privy to the most extraordinary opportunities to create traditional and non-traditional prints. The digital darkroom is a world of infinite creativity. We can express exactly what we see or our impressions of that visual landscape. While using some similar tools as chemical darkroom processing, image makers can choose to safely play digitally with reality.

In early December as autumnal change in light patterns were more and more evident, I ventured to the White Clay Creek—a preserve of substantial natural wonders that is  protected state land. I wanted to meditate with the season’s profusion of leafless trees and flowing waters. I also intended to practice with the panorama feature of my iPhone.

More than two hours had passed, and my meanderings shifted back and forth in my mind. The glow of the afternoon light was dramatic and almost palpable. It gave me pause to be able to witness such luminance amidst wild yet quietly serene splendor.

In the Lens section is an image that captures a panorama of trees that line the banks of the White Clay Creek in Delaware. This location (just five minutes from my home) is part of an expansive system that is available to me. It sweeps through acres of parkland that is home to a myriad of wildlife. It spans the tri-state area (Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania), and one can walk days and not finish exploring.

My mission was to show the effects that these untamed lands offer. And so, I gave the original image a more ephemeral, and, at the same time, ethereal patina. This  version of what I “saw” exemplifies the tenuous state of Mother Earth. But it also verifies her abundant force and influence, circling my thoughts as I move through each day.

To wander the evergreen tapestry of the wild is to experience a sublime level of understanding about what is available to us. When venturing into nature’s expanse, what unfolds continually humbles me, rewards me, astonishes me.

Tip of the Week:

“The best in nature photography…records both the object and its setting. It arrests, in its normal surroundings, some form of its life, portraying it in a characteristic moment of its existence. Such pictures possess emotional as well as intellectual impact.” Edwin Way Teale, Photographs of American Nature (1972)

One of the twentieth century’s renown literary naturalist was Edwin Way Teale (1899-1980). He wrote seminal books about American nature. Autumn Across America (1956) is one of his four books devoted to the four seasons. He was an award-winning photographer, scientist and writer, receiving the John Burroughs Metal in 1953 and the Pulitzer Prize in 1966. Read more about Teale here.

Naturalist Edwin Way Teale, from archives at the University of Connecticut

Naturalist Edwin Way Teale, from archives at the University of Connecticut

View other entries to 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 Black-and-White Photography, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (and Nature)

  1. I love the ethereal expression you have given this photograph. And thanks for making me aware of Edwin Way Teale. Didn’t know anything about him.

  2. Maria F. says:

    I like all the detail of the trees and the frozen creek.

  3. smilecalm says:

    creative nature
    inspiration 🙂

  4. tiramit says:

    The picture at the top of the page has the feeling of white brushstrokes on a black canvas

  5. Beautiful panorama, Sally, expressing the wildness of nature.

  6. pattimoed says:

    Hi Sally. This image does look like a b/w negative. Given your love of developing film, that’s not surprising! I think this image could be printed on a piece of wood or an archival paper that has some rich texture to it. I can just imagine it. And thanks too for the information on Teale. It turns out he lived not far from where I lived in CT. It is a beautiful spot.

  7. Amy says:

    Hi Sally, I have had difficulty to bring up your blog this morning through Wi Fi. Thank you for the link. I really enjoyed your B&W image. 🙂

  8. Angeline M says:

    An amazing photo, Sally. It looks like you’ve been in the dark room with this one, making a digital photo harken back to the film days.

  9. phoartetry says:

    The light seems to stand out much more and becomes the ‘center stage” in your photo. To me it creates an hauntingly otherworldly image. I like the dramatic effect.

  10. seraireland says:

    Mother nature is so beautiful. It’s why I go walking every day because I never know what I’m going to find. Glad I found your link up and take part in it today. It was a lot of fun. Thanks for the tips. 🙂

  11. The panorama view adds some mystery and atmosphere to the image – there is more to see – it looks like an infrared image that was so popular in the 90’s when I was experimenting in the darkroom.

  12. Tish Farrell says:

    The image is so brimming with energy, Sally – as if you’re revealing the usually unobserved nervous system of plant life.

  13. The panorama speaks also of the fierceness of nature, the wild untamed not sublime or pretty. True wonder and beauty.

  14. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Good morning, Sally. I like the panoramic format of your photo. When you combine it with your editing it looks almost like a negative image and that caused me to pause and do the ‘reverse edit’ in my head—filling in the elements with what they would look like in a straight B&W. It focused my attention.

    Here is my entry for the week:

  15. Nato says:

    Your panoramic is mysterious. At first glance it looked like a shot gathered with a night vision camera. It drew me and I followed along the picture from left to right, trying to see what was there, what was hiding. And the larger trees that showed in white were symbolic as night vision shows the heat signatures of life…they are the life of the forest as well as the earth from which they grow. Great shot and story.

  16. A happy Monday and Martin Luther King Day to you, Sally. Maybe the latter makes this an appropriate day for the black and white challenge. Your photo, with its harmonious use of the two colors working seamlessly together to create a very different feeling than the original, is an apt metaphor for what Dr. King strove for and for what so many of us are still striving for, even while we enjoy the fruits of the labor of him and so many others. We’re not all the way there, but we’re much further along than we were.


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