Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (and Geraniums)

14 March 2016


I. Taken in Camera+ and Edited in Snapseed and Polamatic

1. Geranium Floret; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Geranium Floret; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

II. Taken in Camera+ and Edited in Snapseed

2. Geranium Petals; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Geranium Petals; 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.


Regardless of the season geraniums grow through my days. In late Spring I orchestrate their positions in my gardens. It has taken many moons to discover just the right location for their summery and autumnal home.

Over the years it became even more problematic as I navigated new homesteads, where my labors created naturalized spaces and essential habitats for wildlife. My current home is topping sixteen years and it’s definitely a sanctuary. That means my gardens are showing their maturity, and strutting my diligence.

No matter the size of the garden or its location I’ve always found a way to cultivate geraniums, especially placing where the hummingbirds can devour their nectar and the plants can become their best selves. Over the years I’ve tried numerous varieties, and found that I’m drawn to the deep pink through maroon-red ones. The single blooms have risen to the top. The herbal plants are dear with aromatic scents, but I am devoted to the annual traditional variety. All geranium leaves have a unique aroma.They are drought tolerant, which is a bonus with climate change and its uncertainty.

In late autumn as the leaves become a visual kaleidoscope, a few geraniums are brought inside to adorn my kitchen, and play acrobatics with seasonal changes. Then the outside blends inside throughout the winter.

For years my care and maintenance of geraniums has been accompanied by stilling their effervescence and essence: my vision of their signature style. I continue to search for a singular image that exemplifies their worthiness. That mission is a lifelong journey of observation, of silent watching, of appreciation, of noticing, of quietude.

Geraniums are feisty with many, many annuals, biennials and perennials to admire and select. I savor flowerheads that appear to be a single blossom, which up close reveal multiple florets. Some varieties have single tiny flowers (such as the perennial ones in one of my gardens) that are sweetly memorizing in their simplicity.

Throughout the winter each plant will present me with an occasional  bloom. A week ago the buds on one plant felt the sunlight’s energy and warmth, which unveiled their glorious colorful splendor.

My latest attempt to quiet the afternoon light filtering through their delicate petals illustrates what is uniquely the geranium’s inner and outer flare. The framing secures my attention, seconds of discovery. At the time of capture several images seem to cast my intentions, yet they did not. Often I expend great patience and a few days of shooting to get one worthwhile image, which is part of the story of my photographic journey.

This ongoing project is a continual adventure of discovery, discovering the intense beauty of a single geranium, discovering the effect that each photo session bestows upon me. It’s a glorious way to venture through time and space.

Tip of the Week: I’ve often wondered how it would be to devote oneself to  photographing the same place over and over, day after day, month after month, year after year. Many have attempted and completed this challenge, known and unknown artists.  One extraordinary daily project is being achieved by South Korean photographer Ahae. After a five-year documentation (and ongoing) of the world from his home in Seoul, he has amassed over three  million digital images. From a single window in his home he chronicles the seasons with roaming wildlife and untamed horizons. Born Yoo Byung-eun (1941) he became a religious leader, businessman and inventor, and as an artist is known as Ahae. He has shared his work through exhibitions and publications. In France two hundred of his large- and medium format photographs were exhibited (2013) at the Orangerie garden in the Place of Versailles. Read a review of the show at The Economist website (here). His nature photography also has been seen at the Louvre in Paris and Grand Central Terminal in New York City.

Ahae has a talent for seeing the unusual in the same scene day after day. Obvious themes include the passage of time and the way the landscape is altered throughout a day. He also has a deeply-felt devotion to the idea of conservation and preservation of the land.

Professor Milan Knížák, former General Director of the National Gallery in Prague, said that “all the photographs of today have some social meanings and they are over sophisticated” and that “to meet [Ahae’s photographs] was like a miracle…so simple, so beautiful and so perfect.” As an artist, Ahae puts great emphasis on honesty and simplicity: characteristics that are sadly disappearing from today’s art world. Photographic works such as Ahae constantly produces are oftentimes dismissed as “ordinary.”

Vinous-throated Parrotbill, 2010 by Ahae

Vinous-throated Parrotbill, 2010 by Ahae

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 Abstraction, Gardens and Gardening, Macro Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Macro (and Geraniums)

  1. Beautiful images both-the second image appears like a row of small haloed light-delicate, ethereal and welcoming. The first image is bolder and inviting you to take a closer look-and that red in both is so rich-and thank you for the introduction to Ahae-his images are lovely!

  2. Geraniums are beautiful flowers and makes for a good subject for a photographer. You captures its beauty in both these images. And thank you for getting my attention about Ahae and his work. I didn’t know about his existence before you wrote about him here.

  3. Aquileana says:

    Excellent dear Sally… those Geraniums are so full of life, love their bright colours and it seems one could even feel the texture of their petals… Lovely. 🙂
    All the best to you!, Aquileana 😀

  4. Nato says:

    I really like the framing and shadows of the first photo. And with the second, I am drawn to the contrast of the soft petals with the light reflecting through them and the straight black lines in the background. Nice! Watching these grow must be a treat indeed!

  5. thirdeyemom says:

    What a beautiful burst of color Sally. I can hardly wait for my garden. 🙂

  6. Su Leslie says:

    Beautiful images, and a lovely ode to your garden. As usual I struggle to choose a favourite, but probably the second. I like the drama of the contrast between dark and light and the bold shapes of the petals. Cheers, Su.

  7. says:

    Love the depth of number one Sally 🙂

  8. elisa ruland says:

    Oops I pressed “send” way too soon – I was in the middle of editing! Anyway, I will think of you as well, Sally, now that I’ve learned of gardening passion. Have a great day.

  9. elisa ruland says:

    I always think of Europe when I see a patch of geraniums. There’s nothing like ancient buildings of window boxes bursting with this gorgeous flower, usually in the colors you prefer.

  10. Allan G. Smorra says:

    The color of the Geraniums is beautiful and the first photo is my favorite for a macro— closeup and full-frame.

  11. Have you portrayed any of our native gernaniums, which in your area would be Geranium carolinianum and Geranium maculatum?

    I was puzzled by Professor Milan Knížák’s comment that “all the photographs of today have some social meanings and they are over sophisticated….” That excludes almost all nature photography.

    • Steve, I believe that he was making a generalization about the proliferation of photographs in cyberspace, and the ease of manipulation against Ahae’s work, who does minimal editing. But I also in a “general” way agree. The environment and therefore nature is very much a part of economic, social, and political commentary. Nature photography is part of our everyday story. Partly, I use my blog to tell that story either covertly or overtly. Your documentation of wildflowers is a service to the archival record and, at the same time, shows the beauty and mystery and wonder of nature. You’re on the Internet and using social media to share that message.

  12. pattimoed says:

    Ahae’s work is stunning! Like you, I have a special place in my heart for geraniums. (My grandfather’s favorite flower.) I love your tribute to them! It’s impossible to choose my favorite shot this week. The color is absolutely beautiful.

  13. Madhu says:

    Such a vivid hue Sally! I pick the second for the enhanced light and translucency. And thank you for the introduction to Ahae’s beautiful work.

  14. Tina Schell says:

    I’m in for the second Sally – something about just the petals leaving it up to our imaginations about the rest of the flower.

  15. phoartetry says:

    I really like the first photo. To me it shows the sensual essences of the geranium. It reminds me of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work.


  16. restlessjo says:

    It looks like strutting your diligence has been rewarded, Sally. I love the vibrance of the first, and then the subtle textures of the second in close up. 🙂 I looked at the newspaper article too. Wonderful details and I loved the water deer.

  17. Exquisite images, Sally. I really love them both.

  18. Oh, Sally, your first picture just jumped out at me. I absolutely love it — the colors, the shading — everything! This spring will be the first time I’ve had any plants or anything that might be termed a garden. I am anxious to see what all is around here in the landscape. So far, we have the effervescent daffodils but there are buds forming on numerous other branches. It will be fun to discover!

  19. Love your ode to geranium planting and growing! I sometimes think I take too many pictures of my garden you are helping me rethink that attitude. Just documenting how big the artichokes get this year might be fun!!
    Love the deep well feeling of the first image.
    Happy macro Monday!!

  20. I just love the shadows in the second image. These flowers remind me of Austria – and all the hanging flowers from the balconies.

  21. Maria F. says:

    I have shot Geraniums but I have that one pending for an ID. I wonder, what sort of light did you use here? They are hardy here, but again, in the mountains.

    • Maria, it was natural afternoon light (through my kitchen doors) from a southern exposure–very bright. Spring is in its infancy, and the sun is changing its angle. Oh, how I wish that they were hardy here. Thanks so much.

  22. Amy says:

    Such a beautiful macro photo, Sally! It takes a lot of time and passion to take care of a beautiful garden. 🙂

  23. Sally, your garden must be fabulous and I wish I could see it. This weekend, I spend a few hours clearing things from the garden (already landscaped when we rented the house) that should have been cleared last year. Although I’m not nearly done, the results look great and give me hope for spring. The day lilies are well out of the ground, growing by leaps and bounds, as are the tulips and daffodils. All is just leaves yet, but I know that soon the spring flowers will be showing their beauty. I can’t wait!

    Happy gardening,


    Almost forgot…I like the tender folds and softness of the first shot this week.

    • Janet, yes, I’ve been clearing, pruning and thoroughly happy even as the days are too warm. But it’s glorious that SPRING is here. Our daffodils are in bloom, crocuses have already blazed the landscape, and tulips are quickly growing upward and will be another two weeks until bloom. We got through the winter, oh joy. Thanks.

      • You’re always ahead of us. Every day I go to the park, I look for the first tiny wildflowers. Nothing yet, but in the grassy areas where the picnic table are, the grass is green, and there are green plants coming up near the path as well. Can’t wait!

      • Yes, it such an uplift to watch the incremental changes. Each gives us hope.

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