Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (and the Fog of Winter)

15 February 2016


1. Foggy Afternoon; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Foggy Afternoon; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Foggy Afternoon; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Foggy Afternoon; 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.


The morning was a blue-moon event. The entire landscape was painted with pockets of clouds that gave new meaning to foggy, creamy and deliciously provocative. The intersection of air currents, temps, heavy rain and snow created a moisture-laden environment.

In my hometown usually fog is closer to the horizon, being shy to rise into the trees or skyward. Truly, during that morning’s sightings memorable forms tentatively held shapes that surprised and stunned me.  This profusion was salt and peppered along my journey, and my astonishment overflowed into euphoric emotions and visual ecstasy.

It was as if the land and its surroundings were being swallowed by the intersection of weather-related elements. Areas of the landscape were overtaken by this phenomenon that provided a conundrum. My impulse was to jump out of the car to grab visual memories. But each place that succumbed to swaths of fog were located where it was inaccessible. It was frustration personified.

The effects were grandiose, and all I could do was marvel. As I continued toward my destination, one pocket disappearing to reveal yet another, I found a spot to stop in a small park.

I moved closer to the tree line in the distance, where soft ribbons of fog could not compete with what I had seen over the last half hour’s road trip. The elements were shifting and the fog with them. The rain had become timid, so I stood and enjoyed the serenity of the scene with its near abstract formations. Within seconds there was a radical transformation from ethereal and mystical to low-clinging mist. It was transformative in ways that only nature can produce.

In the Lens section are two images that show the scene at the park. The first image has the  view with a denser fog, and the second–only minutes later–shows a simple patina of mist.

That dense fog of a winter’s afternoon, filled with haze and soft glaze across the distance, was a clear voice from Mother Nature about her ability to bring engaging and yet ephemeral visions into our lives. But we must see them, envelope their unique qualities and remember who is truly in charge of nature’s palette.

Tip of the Week:

“[w]e know that people are formed by the light and air, by their inherited traits, and their actions. We can tell from appearance the work someone does or does not do; we can read in his face whether he is happy or troubled. ~~ August Sander

When I read about Emblems of the Passing World: Poems after Photographs of August Sander by Adam Kirsch (2015), I immediately ordered it. This book brings together the work of a photographer and a writer. Kirsch is a noted critic and poet who was inspired by the works of the father of Modern Photography. August Sander (1876-1964) specialized in documentary and portrait photography. He is well-known for an ambitious project that documented the German people from pre-World War I to World War II. Sander was able to capture the character and personality of his subjects with a searing outcome. Adam Kirsch has presented his response to forty-six of Sander’s black-and-white portraits–portraits that are created with a directness, insight, and sensitivity. Kirsch’s poems do not distract from Sander’s artistry. It’s a curious little tome that pays tribute to Sander’s contribution to the German society at a significant time in history, and also brings attention to his classic approach to photography. Click here to see some of Sander’s work. We can learn much from studying his portraiture with its tender and realistic depictions.

From Emblems of the Passing World: Poems after Photographs of August Sander, Adam Kirsch’s poem, “Bricklayer,” 2015, and August Sander’s photograph, “Bricklayer, 1928.”

Bricklayer, August Sander, 1928

“Bricklayer,” August Sander, 1928

“Before the architect can contemplate

Strategic harmonies of line and mass,

Before the engineer can calculate

The densities required to bear the stress,

Must come the laborer, who bears them up

As surely as the stack of twenty bricks

He wears as nonchalantly as a cap

Piled on a board across his back and neck;

Reduced to nothing but a quantity

Of muscle power, his defiant staring

Announces the heroic certainty

That he can bear a life of only bearing.”

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.

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Poetry, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (and the Fog of Winter)

  1. Tina Schell says:

    I’m for the second Sally – more real life to me.

  2. Su Leslie says:

    Both shots are interesting in their own way; I slightly prefer the first for the enigmatic qualities it offers, but both draw me in and intrigue. As always too I find so much in your Pens section. Thank you for the introduction to Sanders’ work and to Kirsh’s poems.

  3. ChristineR says:

    I prefer the second image, Sally. The first looks a bit unnatural to me, despite being natural. The second gives me more reality.

  4. It occurred to me that a few of the young people depicted in Sander’s photographs could still be alive. If so, I wonder if any of them know that Sander’s portraits became so well known.

    • Steve, I suspect that they do or did. Sander’s notoriety for his project became widely known in Europe and beyond. A note about his work during the war: About 1,800 negatives survived; in 1944 his studio was bombed by the Nazis, and 40,000 negatives were destroyed.

  5. Like them both…ALOT but I love the surreal nature of the first one.

  6. Madhu Shetty says:

    I am going with the ethereal, mysterious feel of the dense fog. Love your pens section even more! 🙂

  7. badfish says:

    Sally, It disturbs me no end to not be able to take the shot! I like the second I think…I like the sky and clarity in it more. The other is kind of cool in a vague sort of way! Hey, I linked up with your B&W theme (I hope sepia is OK, let me know if not?). I don’t see anyone leaving their links here, so I won’t.

  8. Maria F. says:

    I like both for their own beauty.

  9. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I can’t make up my mind this week on which one I like the best. The first is a bit mysterious, while the second is a hint of what is to come—or perhaps what just passed. Good job on both accounts, Sally.

  10. Indira says:

    I liked the second one dear. Perhaps being a bit sharper is easy on my eyes.

  11. Amy says:

    These two photo are like beautiful B&W brush painting, beautiful and poetic. I like the second one especially! 🙂

  12. DG MARYOGA says:

    You did envelop the moments, the visual memories; you clearly heard Her voices, Sally. Both photos and accounts are in absolute accordance. I like the first as it displays how the elements intersected and designated their boundaries. But,the “Event Horizon” of the second is a thing of beauty, a joy forever …

  13. I hate it, Sally, when I’m driving along, see a beautiful scene, and I am completely unable to pull over anywhere to try and capture it. Very frustrating indeed! I like your photos. My initial reaction to the first was that it felt sort of alienesque (is that even a word?)! I prefer the second one showing more detail. I hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day and will have a fabulous week ahead! 🙂

  14. I love the first panorama best – more mysterious somehow. More of a dreamy quality to it.

  15. Angeline M says:

    I really like the first one more with its more mysterious aspects. So many stories could be made from this photo. Lovely.

  16. My favorite is #2. I love the spooky feel of the landscape and it’s “line drawing” feel.

  17. They are both lovely but I think the mood of the first one is slightly more enigmatic and therefore intriguing. Beautiful work!

  18. pattimoed says:

    Hi Sally. I am fascinated by Sander’s work and Kirsch’s poetry inspired by Sander’s photographs. My next novel is set in Boston and Detroit during the 1940’s and I’ve done a lot of reading about the rise of fascism–both in Europe and the USA. What an intriguing and frankly frightening era! As for your photos, I’m partial to the second one, which brings the landscape into sharper focus. But both are great “mood” shots!

  19. Nato says:

    This is tough because I like the mystery of the first one, and yet love the details of the sky and fog in the second. So tie! What a magical scene to see in person I am sure. I am curious about your link. I’ve always thought portrait photographer was compelling, and difficult. I will have to check it out for sure.

    • Nato, yes, I am always mesmerized by a telling portrait. It’s a truly tough genre of photography. Sander was a master. In his later years he turned to architecture and nature. Ket me know what you think of his work. I appreciate your response to my images.

      • Nato says:

        I’ve done some portrait photography. Some has been great when you really connect with the person. But, others miss the mark indeed. Good for the customer, but not powerful and amazing. THAT would be goal. I’ve pondered about starting some portrait/feature story projects. For now though, it is just a thought. Thanks for the always-great info!

      • My pleasure, enjoy your week.

      • Nato says:

        I just looked at the link. What powerful images! Everyone looks so serious. Yet, those looks are very telling, more telling than a fake smile. What an artist to get the character of a person so well, or at least what we perceive is the character anyway.

      • Indeed, I absolutely agree. He was able to find the source of their inner life and show it to us.

      • Nato says:

        That is my goal when I shoot photographs of people, but it doesn’t always happen. Shooting people is much more difficult than any photography I do. Wait, trying to get a good picture of my hyper dog is pretty hard too!

  20. Sally, I completely understand this feeling, “euphoric emotions and visual ecstasy”, and have shared it with you many, many times, as well as the frustration of not being able to pull over to get a shot I simply must have! Which of your photos do I prefer this week? It’s close, but I’m going with the second one. I like the combination of slightly sharper trees and background contrasting with the fog. I do like the ethereal feel of the first, though.

    Happy President’s Day (even though I hate that they put the two birthdays together.)


    • Janet, yes, that longing to capture a scene, and allowing oneself simply to enjoy the moment can be a conundrum. The strangest part is that even during the time when “that” shot is achieved, it never seems to render the original sensation of awe and wonder. Thanks for your comment. Enjoy the upcoming week.

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