Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice-Still Life (with White Gerber Daisy)

22 February 2016


I. Used Polamatic and Snapseed

1. White Gerber Daisy; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. White Gerber Daisy; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

II. Used Polamatic and Snapseed

2. White Gerber Daisy; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. White Gerber Daisy; 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.


Lately, my attention has been coerced to view the lives of white flowers—flowers that seem to add a level of clarity to the grey days of winter. This pre-occupation seems to mirror the lack of floral presence on a wintry landscape, which (in my part of the world) is stripped of technicolor most days. White brings a new source of freedom where less has become more. But it’s also about the idea of a white bloom as a symbol of all that is free, pure and seemingly absent of color, just like the view of my gardens.

Logically, white appears to be devoid of color, but a mixture of psychology and science tell  us differently. In fact, it contains all the primary colors. It is much more that what our naked eye reveals. I know that. Still, it does not always connect with the synapses that produce my visual thoughts.

To see white is to conjure interpretation, content and context through an odd prism of knowledge. It requires one to contemplate more than the mind wants at the moment of noticing. Also, its presence depends on it malleability, on the slightest of colors that peek out from the veil of its seeming purity.

That pure white is cloaked in a veil of deception, which creates a slanted view of what we see. That visual disconnect produces a shroud that provides a one-sided coin.

The human mind plays with our sense of what it. When I study the white flower, it is clear that up close it is anything but white. It’s a living thing that shows its tiny streaks of yellow or green or browns running through the petals.

When I began the inner journey of post processing the white Gerber (from my favorite florist) seen in the Lens section, my ambition was to make it coincide with the conflict of seeing one thing and knowing something else: to show its totality in the whitest of whites, even though it isn’t.

To achieve that goal, I had to blow out the image, giving it as much light as it could take without reducing it to a complete abstraction. Light, of course, being the source of the spectrum of color or lack thereof. Light being the heroine in this scenario.

(another view of the Gerber processed in FX PhotoStudio, iColorama and Snapseed)

3. White Gerber Daisy; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

3. White Gerber Daisy; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Imagine the freedom that purity can bring to its subject; there is an opportunity for appreciation and consideration in ways that the opposite usually cannot sustain. It’s a place of contemplation that offers a monkish response.

My interpretation of the white Gerber is as much a portrait as a still life. As an image-maker my instincts are guided by natural light, simplicity of composition, perspective, and negative space. A still life can contain multiple or singular themes. I prefer a simple uncluttered composition that defines exactly my intention.

Part of my quest to find the “white” of white flowers was to discover that visual voice that is fragile and seductive. The Gerber is one of the floral jewels that coaxes my attention and does so each day as it changes. I watch it as it moves into a metamorphosis–a metamorphosis leading to shades of off-white and even beige.

The symbolism of white is very much a metaphor for much of life: what appears to be one way is truly another, sometimes even the opposite of our mind’s notions. But it also represents the wintry landscape, where it seems to be  grey and lifeless. While on the surface and below much is readying itself for spring’s burst of coloration and renewal. On the surface that Gerber aims to please, and it does so throughout its various stages that  reinvent its white color into other phases of its visual voice.

Tip of the Week:

I consider myself a gentle editor of my images. I have become fond of several apps that intrigue my instincts and spark my intuition. My favorites are Hipstamatic, Polamatic and Snapseed. Some have come and gone, this trio remains in my arsenal. Recently, I added iColorama to the tool kit. Click here to learn about it. Teresita Alonso created the app, and it can be used on iPads and iPhones (different uploads for each at the iTunes store), if you’d like to read more about that process and the app, read an interview with Alonso from 2013; click here. I find myself turning to iColorama more and more. Hope that you try it.

Photograph by Teresita Alonso, creator of app iColorama

Photograph by Teresita Alonso, creator of app iColorama

View other entries for this week’s challenges:


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, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice-Still Life (with White Gerber Daisy)

  1. Lovely images both Sally of a long-time favorite. I am drawn to the color image because of its ethereal-looking presence. The soft colors are a lovely reminder of the promise of spring and it looks almost like the petal are pushing light towards us-it is eye-catching. I also like the black and white as a study of line, form, light and movement-beautiful work!

  2. The black and white. It’s soothing. And the shadows are soft. Nice.

  3. Maria F. says:

    Beautiful work Sally, each one has a beauty of its own. I love the ‘calycle’ which is like a fused calyx on these Gerberas. They are so beautiful.

    I don’t know if you have the ‘Olloclip’ lenses for your mobile phone, but I ordered some. Have you tried those? I’m interested in trying them out, because the ‘optical’ zoom in an iPhone is limited. When you ‘pinch out’ or use the slider to zoom, what one is getting is the ‘digital’ zoom, which is not as good quality as the optical. So I’m going to be attaching these Olloclip lenses to test that.

    • I have the Olloclip, and have not used it much. I do not like having to take my case off to use it. I tend to even forget about it. But I promised myself to try harder, especially as you point out with the macro shots. I never use the zoom on the iPhone, because it makes the images grainy. I suspect that the future will change it with better lenses. Let me know what you think of the macro lens. Personally, I use Camera+ and its macro setting; it’s a favorite app. I appreciate your comment. Thanks.

  4. inesephoto says:

    Love the green shadow 🙂

  5. Love the first image best, Sally. Gerber daisies are always lovely to see, and the white ones especially so. 🙂

  6. Both pictures have their own beauty but I’m drawn to the first with color–probably because I’m craving spring and the colors it will bring!

  7. Su Leslie says:

    The composition of this shot is beautiful, and I’m drawn to its fluid grace. I surprise myself though by preferring the first shot. I’m not a “gentle editor” (I love that phrase by the way), so would have expected to prefer the second. Perhaps I’m seeking more solace in nature at the moment and for that reason prefer the naturalist beauty and delicate colours.

  8. DG MARYOGA says:

    Refined elegance your first photo, Sally; it touches the possibilities of perfection with the diffused whitish petals suggesting virtue. Your “pens” part and your thoughts on the psychological impact of different colours on mood and emotions,made me think of Goethe’s revolutionary and intuitive work, “The Theory of Colours” and how these are perceived by humans.Your second photo is also noteworthy; you have so efficiently distributed the light.

  9. Well, the first one is pretty but the second one goes *pop”! Lovely!

  10. livvy30 says:

    The black and white shot is fabulous Sally.

  11. Cristina says:

    Both pictures are great. I’ll pick the first one because it looks more natural, lovely and delicate. I also love the light and that green…maybe because spring it’s on the way 🙂

  12. Once again, I don’t know which one of the photos I’ll pick. They both have a strong expression, but with different characters. I still enjoy reading your thoughts around the process.

  13. Angeline M says:

    I like both photos, Sally. The first one seems so soft and delicately beautiful; I thought of a bride when I first looked at it. The second one Intrigues me; it almost seems like an optical illusion on the back of the flower; at first I wasn’t sure if it was part of the flower, or a shadow.
    Have a good week.

  14. phoartetry says:

    Sally, I like the first one best it feels pleasing to the eyes. Thank you for sharing the info on the apps you use. I downloaded the I colorant app tonight. Is it as complicated as it seems? I always love to read what you have to say.


    • Connie, I appreciate your comment. AAs with many apps, using a new one takes patience. I found it intuitive. Mostly, you must experiment. I bet if you go on YouTube, you might even find a tutorial. Thanks again for your comment.

  15. Why do I think of Georgia O’Keefe when I admire the first (color) flower? It’s so graceful and sensual.

  16. Suzanne says:

    How beautiful. I like both images but it is the top one that is my favourite. The geen and creamy white are so relaxing.

  17. restlessjo says:

    Such very different images, Sally. I’m instinctively drawn to the warmth of the first one, and think Tish has put into words rather well my response to the second, like it though I do. 🙂

  18. dsaquarelles says:

    They are beautiful but the 1 is so radiant!

  19. pattimoed says:

    Hi Sally. I love the delicate beauty of these shots! The lighting is perfect, as well as the angle of the shot. I think I still favor the color image though. That green is so vibrant and full of the promise of spring. Speaking of spring, I’m hoping it comes to you soon. We are still in winter here and will be for a few more weeks.

  20. Beautiful – I just love your colour version – it is so soft and delicate and gentle.

  21. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Sally, the first photo is quite lovely—the green and off-white colors work well together. The second image is also a good one, more illustrative than photographic—and that works as well. Either one of these images can stand alone, no words necessary.

    I am a fan of the Polamatic and iColorama apps, although I do not use them very often (no particular reason). Thanks for the link to the Alonzo interview. I am going to read it later. I enjoy finding out what the creators of apps had in mind when they created them. For me, it is a starting point in learning how to use the app, and eventually tweak it to my own preferences.

  22. Amy says:

    Beautiful, Sally! I love the angle you took and lighting is so well captured..

  23. The second one makes me think of a dancer with fabric spinn around her

  24. Definitely color for me on this one. You lose the detail in the petals in the black and white.

  25. tiramit says:

    The first one really does it for me, white cream and green…

  26. Tish Farrell says:

    I love the creamy, warm tones of the first shot, Sally, and also the contrast with that juicy spring green of the stem. The second shot gave me a sense of remoteness.

  27. Sally, I like the spare beauty and simplicity of both your photos. The delicate colors of the first brighten my morning, the details of the second catch my attention. A question about your editing. Do you edit on your phone? Although I love my iPhone, I find it too small to be able to really see what I’m doing, so I end up editing either on my iPad, where I can use Apple-compatible apps, or my laptop, which means I use Picasa3. If I had a Mac, I’d probably have a lot more editing apps, but I’d also have a lot less money. 🙂


    • My iMac has always been my main editing tool. Recently, I got an iPad, which I’ve been using more and more for editing. Have not done much on my iPhone. I always use the iMac for a last perusal. Thanks for you thoughtful comment.

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