Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and a Seasonal Legacy)

01 February 2016


I. Taken in Hipstamatic and processed in Snapseed:

1. Dried Reddish-Purple Stock; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Dried Purple-Red Stock; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

II. Taken in Hipstamatic and processed in Snapseed:

2. Dried Reddish-Purple Stock; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Dried Purple-Red Stock; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Let me know which you prefer. Click on image to enlarge, which takes you to another page. If you decide to leave a comment, please return to this page.


Autumn’s final appearance is the culmination of its performance as well as the accumulation of spring and summer’s legacies. My gardens are overjoyed with the presence of mostly native plants—plants that convey the courage, mysteries, tenacity, and triumphs of Mother Nature’s progeny in my area of the universe. But I also have some other varieties that are foreign to it. Still, I work to recreate the wild of old in the present.

At the end of autumn I energetically observe flowers in their last hurrah, and leave some for the wildlife to enjoy. Others are brought inside to strut a new kind of eloquence. It’s a ritual that gives me such pleasure. To watch a flower in its best form, and then observe its gradual redefinition, is an even more intriguing path to follow.

Flowers and leaves may seem at their pinnacle in their initial blooming, but they have much to offer throughout their entire seasonal days and nights. Sometimes the last stage of existence becomes a most glorious visual display.

While the burst of coloration and other characteristics are a reason for praise, the lingering “spent” flowers and leaves may be another sort of lasting memory. While goldfinches pluck seeds of coneflowers, other leftover flowerheads are fanciful actors for the winter garden.

Some end of season annuals and perennials become burdened with weathering and fading into the background. Still, I find magic in their presence. And their next life becomes fodder for my compost bin to enrich next year’s crops.

It’s always surprising to watch glacial changes in the flowers brought inside to dry. Weeks of slow dehydration take away some of their charm, but rewards often are curious and even staggeringly unforeseen.

In the Lens section is an example of the results of a specimen of purple-red stock that enjoyed many weeks of sunning this past summer. In their dried state they lost much of their purplish hues, and found new bursts of red that appealed to me.

My thoughts raced to their painterly quality, to that place where the real is given an impressionistic interpretation. But also where the real stays in the past, and is replaced with a new yet discernible reality.

True, I did help Mother Nature with a bit of post processing. Nevertheless, a new appreciation can be given to an annual that now will continue to spread its legacy of delicate beauty and gentle eloquence, at least to me.

Tip of the Week:

My devotion to nature is a daily exercise in its literal and figurative forms. My stroll through printed books and online sources provides a myriad of information and news about the natural wonders of the planet. Last week I learned about Peter Wohlleben, who is a forest ranger in Hümmel, Germany, and now a celebrated writer who brings his enthusiasm about nature to the mainstream. In the article, “German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too” (29 January 2016 by Sally McGrane, The New York Times, click here to view it), I was intrigued by Wohlleben’s mission is to inform the general public about the mysteries and surprises that accompany life in the forest. His nonfiction approach tells the story of the social life of the trees. A huge success in Germany, his book will be published in English this year. Here is a sample from the article:

“PRESENTING scientific research and his own observations in highly anthropomorphic terms, the matter-of-fact Mr. Wohlleben has delighted readers and talk-show audiences alike with the news — long known to biologists — that trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.”

******Just discovered that his book can be pre-ordered ($14.97, what a deal) on Amazon. Click here for the link.



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, Panorama, 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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62 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and a Seasonal Legacy)

  1. Oh I love both of these-but the bottom one is what held my interest, it reminds me of a stained glass window- in both the colors are so rich and vibrant- and what also came to mind are the floral designs of the Arts and Crafts movement-lovely images both Sally!

  2. Your photos always make my eyes light up. Thank you. I like eye candy…. 🙂

  3. You are quite right, the dried Purple-Red Stock has a painterly quality with its subtle colours. This is of course is enhanced by the processing in Hipstamatic and Snapseed. My favourite is the later version with its somewhat darker hues. 🙂

  4. lumar1298 says:

    A little late as usual… Your flower is quite lovely… I always have a hard time choosing… I like them both… Here’s my entry…

  5. hii…I am a newbie here so dunno much about these photography challenges…it would be a great help if someone could help me out. thanks 🙂

  6. Tina Schell says:

    Interesting suggestion this week Sally – there is really so much we don’t know, isn’t there. I prefer the first shot but only by a very small margin.

    • Yes, there are no more Renaissance people. The Internet has given us, however, a vast library (I also use a real library.) of information. But we must be vigilant about the source of our searches. See you soon. Thanks.

  7. Simply gorgeous, Sally. 🙂 Your flower studies are always at the top of my favorite lists and these are wonderful. I’m most drawn to the lighter red of the first but appreciate both. Do you remember the lens and filter combination used in Hipstamatic before Snapseed?

  8. wildsherkin says:

    Sally, that book sounds fascinating. Who’s to really know what trees and other living things are capable of. There is so much more to discover. Both images are like paintings but I think the first one is my favourite as it seems to catch the light. P

    • I appreciate your comment and response to the post. I agree that we know so little about nature and its mysteries. In some ways it glorious that in 2016 we still are not privy to so much about life on and off our planet.

  9. Madhu says:

    That’s an amazing transformation Sally! And I appreciate the impressionist quality. I might prefer the sharper, deeper hued flowers in the second image.

  10. Su Leslie says:

    Both lovely images. I’m drawn perhaps a little more to the slightly more delicate first image. I agree that nature offers beauty in all its phases. Thanks for the reference to the Wohlleben book. It sounds fascinating! Wishing you a great week.

  11. Gallivanta says:

    I like the idea of using a programme called Snapseed to process a plant photo. Seems very appropriate. My favourite is probably the second photo. Thank you for bringing Wohlleben’s book to our attention. I have always felt that trees were having conversations; glad it wasn’t just a fanciful notion on my part.

  12. Jane Lurie says:

    Interesting book recommendation, Sally. Thank you. It was difficult to pick a favorite image- subtle differences.

  13. Maria F. says:

    Very artistic look, you know so much about the different apps. I’m delighted with the new iPhone 6s camera, and I’m shooting a lot more with the phone.

    • Maria, it drives me a little crazy that I use my iPhone 6 for much of my work. I adore my Nikon, but it really is not about the equipment. Still, there is something dramatically different between using a traditional camera and a cellphone to capture our tiny part of the world.

      • Maria F. says:

        I think going mobile is a reality because of ergonomics. Most DSLR equipment weighs more than that which is ergonomically realistic, and setting up a tripod and carrying all the weight of the equipment is just useful for that one opportunity. The phone, on the other hand is always available and useful. However, this is not really the main reason, Photoshop has revolutionized the entire imaging industry. Pretty soon shooting with a mobile and then using PS to add bokeh and completing the image, may be a viable option for photographers. So Photoshop is also behind this mobile era as well. The “getting things right” in the camera may become a thing of the past. Post processing may take over completely. This is just a mere assumption, however.

      • Yes, I agree, the equipment is a major concern. One can hardly imagine the changes ahead. I’ve never gotten immersed in PS. But use apps on my iPhone and iPad. One can hardly imagine what the future will bring through more advanced technology.

  14. This book sounds so intriguing, Sally. I really want to find out more! I love your photos this week. They definitely have a painterly quality. A fantastic canvas on the wall no doubt in part to your artistic post -processing. I joined in this week too:

  15. Beautiful photo, Sally. I think I lean a bit more to the first one. That book sounds fascinating. I’ve always believed that all living things can have a social order, so to speak, with feelings, etc. Why not! Love it!

  16. Angeline M says:

    Beautiful interpretation of flowers, spent, but really coming into their own as they decline.
    I had already picked my photo for today’s challenge prior to seeing your post, having read recently just a little about Mr. Wohlleben’s Trees. I will have to read more. Trees are magnificent beings.

  17. Very thoughtful and engaging, there is a lot to learn from your post.

  18. I love both of your images this week. They each highlight something a little different about the blooms. I lived in Austria for 11 years or so and the people in the rural areas are very much in tune with their environment. But that book reminded me of the Hummel children –

  19. DG MARYOGA says:

    Although engrossed in Peter Wohlleben’s astounding scientific work, I marveled at your work too, Sally. I think the fainter dof of the 2nd photo naturally highlights the warmth of the crimson colour.

  20. Nato says:

    I love trees; this sounds very interesting indeed. I agree with you, nature offers us a little bit of wonder with each season and stage. I really enjoyed your images!

  21. Sally, even though I don’t always take the time to follow you links, I greatly appreciate the vast wealth of photography knowledge you glean and share each week. I know it’s there when I’m ready to take the time to go a bit deeper into the craft, something I think I should put on my list of goals for 2016.

    I like the deep color of your second shot.


  22. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Hi, Sally. I like the first photo the most. It is a bit lighter and detailed than the other one and that is speaking to me this morning.

  23. Tish Farrell says:

    Thanks so much for the Wohlleben book link, Sally. It looks fascinating. Your images today are both very beautiful. If I wanted to study the flower more carefully and in detail, I would prefer the first, but for overall impact I like the more intense colour of the second.

  24. It’s interesting that the man’s name is Wohlleben: wohl means ‘well’ and leben means ‘to live’ or ‘life.’ My German dictionary tells me that Hummel (without an umlaut) means ‘bumblebee.’

    Do you know whether Wohlleben’s interpretation of trees has gotten any pushback from biologists for being overly anthropomorphic.

    • Steve, I have not found any opposition to his publication. He does mix science with language that is relatable (and as you said, has an anthropomorphic slant). We’ll see what happens when it has a more widespread distribution. Apparently, the e-book gained a huge audience in Germany, and the printed version has sold over 300,000 copies. It’s due to be optioned in 19 countries and published here in September. I just found it on Amazon, and pre-ordered it.

    • Just discovered that his book can be pre-ordered ($14.97, what a deal) on Amazon. The link is at the bottom of my Tip of the Week.

  25. pattimoed says:

    What a fascinating book! I must read it. As for your images, I love the “painterly” look and feel. I think my favorite is the first one. The tones are a bit brighter and vibrant. Have a great week.

  26. Luanne says:

    I want to read this book! I love trees. That is amazing news to me! I love the 2nd image!

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