Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (A Tree at Sunset)

04 April 2016


I. Shot in Hipstamatic; processed in FX PhotoStudio

1. Sunset at the Reservoir; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Sunset at the Reservoir; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Shot in Hipstamatic; processed in FX PhotoStudio

2. Sunset at the Reservoir; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Sunset at the Reservoir; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

3. Shot in Hipstamatic; processed in FX PhotoStudio

2. Sunset at the Reservoir; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

3. Sunset at the Reservoir; 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.


This post will be my last until Monday, 02 May 2016. In a week I will be traveling to one of my top-tier cities. Although occasionally I will check into cyberspace’s virtual reality, my attention and energy will be focused on a city that decades ago captured and still holds my heart. It’s a haven that is constantly rewarding me with a treasure trove of discoveries and stellar memories. Some metropolitan areas simply have it all, and this one qualifies. It’s a star that continues to shine, and shed light on all it touches.


In the Lens section is an image that I took on a recent walk around my town’s reservoir. As the sun began to set, it floated with intention through the leafless tree on a hill above me. That golden hue pushed through the bare branches, and gave this arboreal guardian a patina of luminosity and tranquility. The sunset cleverly lifted the mask of winter’s grey, and replaced it with spring’s radiant luster. Strangely, as I worked with the image, the black-and-white versions rendered it closer to my interpretation of the experience.

The third version seems to portray the layers that are offered by Spring. For me the tree is a metaphor for this season’s metamorphosis: its implications for daily life and its accumulation of the new. Spring is now in its infancy: the rebirth of the landscape is unfolding, there is uncertainty attached to climate change, the airwaves are infiltrated with songbirds, the appearance of groundhogs and other animals delight, migratory birds are heading this way.

But the beauty and mystery of this season is its attitude; fickle is a good descriptor. Friday and yesterday are perfect examples. Friday’s temps soared to summer-like 79, and yesterday the winds were so gusty that the wind chill factor brought the afternoon’s high of 36 to a cold 22.

Mostly, as a longtime gardener, it’s hard to hold back. Planting the vegetable garden becomes a steady thought, yet years of experience keep me in the preparation phase. I know that a frost can be the carrier of gloom for too much enthusiasm to plant early.

When I return from my travels, it will be planting time. I will come home to a revitalized landscape, and will become immersed in the throes of glorious renewal. It will help my   re-entry.

My edits of that metaphorical tree were done with intention to show that even in nature’s strength, its fragility is clear. On the opposite side to where that tree stands (among a short tree line), the outer area of the reservoir is completely dry. Even with our wet winter, the ground needs rain. It’s hard to complain about it, knowing how many places are in desperate need. But it makes one conscious of the world that we inhabit and increasing environmental problems. The out-of-focus image was meant to show this character of Spring, and how it wraps itself around life–all life in expected and unexpected ways.

Today’s theme of nature is appropriate for my send-off into real time and real space. Nature is my muse and even in an urban environment, my goal is to discover pockets of green that lift city dwellers’ spirits as they navigate above-ground archaeology and a bustling metropolitan life.

Until my return in early May, please enjoy every moment of every day. Many thanks for your readership, and happy blogging journey or perusal of the Internet.

Tip of the Week:

I’ll be thousands of miles away from my hometown on Earth Day. So I wanted to take this opportunity to showcase this celebration that has become so much more than an annual festivity. Friday, 22 April will be an opportunity to promote a message of hope through this year’s theme: Trees for the Earth.

Here’s a quote from their website that speaks to their longevity and mission:

“We are now entering the 46th year of a movement that continues to inspire, challenge ideas, ignite passion, and motivate people to action. In 1970, the year of our first Earth Day, the movement gave voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. Forty-six years later, we continue to lead with groundbreaking ideas and by the power of our example…Let’s plant 7.8 billion trees for the Earth.”

Click here for the Earth Day website, and here for their blog. Each gives a wealth of useful information. Each of these sites provides ways to get involved, learn about the work being done, and networks to join.

Let’s make every day Earth Day. Let’s do something every day for the planet and therefore nature and human nature.

Earth Day, 22 April 2016; Earth Day website

Earth Day, 22 April 2016; Earth Day website

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

56 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (A Tree at Sunset)

  1. elisa ruland says:

    I like the third – very Peter Max! Happy trails to you, Sally.

  2. badfish says:

    FOR some reason, I like the third one. I like them all, but the last one has a unique, otherness, quality to it. Or like Peter Max art.

  3. Maria F. says:

    As usual, all three have their virtues!

  4. Bill says:

    Thanks for the link to the Earth Day blog. “Let’s make every day Earth Day.” Amen to that sentiment. Why not plant a few trees every year? Happy Earth Day!

  5. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Challenge: The Long Paddock – Christine R

  6. Aquileana says:

    Excellent series of photographs dear Sally… the second one is my favorite… wishing you a great sunday… cheers. Aquileana 🎇 ~

  7. I like the haunting quality of #2.

  8. RMW says:

    Definitely Number 3… very artsy

  9. dsaquarelles says:

    Number 2 very beautiful contrasts.

  10. I like all three, but if pressed, #1 really resonates–the *glow* is just enough to make it other-wordly-as if we can recognize it by its form, but it is really not of our world. The second reminds me of an infared image and it also has a kind of unsettling quality about it-I see the branches reaching out-and #3 just has a nice, strong graphic quality about it-much more friendly 😉 Safe travels Sally-and may there be an abundance of photo opportunities waiting for you!

  11. pattimoed says:

    Hi Sally. #3 is the winner for me. I love the ghostly effects. And have wonderful and safe travels! I can’t wait to see the photos you bring back to show us. 🙂

  12. Nato says:

    My favorite is No. 1. I like the mystery of it! Safe travels and I hope you get to embrace and see all that you want.

  13. Yeah, gotta say the first one is a real eye-catcher. A good blend of offbeat & beautiful. Nice!

  14. As always you provide food for thoughts, Sally, and interesting variations of the same shot. This time my favourite is the first one. I like its openness and how the processing brings out the details and tones. A lovely photo.

  15. Beautiful, Sally! I’m leaning toward the third one. Have an absolutely glorious vacation and come back renewed and refreshed! 😀

  16. You’ll probably be surprised to hear—though it fits the theme of your post wonderfully well—that the English word tree comes from the same root (oh, the play on words) as true and trust. For more etymological relatives, you can go to

    and scroll down to the entry for deru-.

  17. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Tough choices this week, Sally. The second one is my favorite. The dark tone is a bit more dramatic, and pleasurable, to me.

  18. thirdeyemom says:

    I like number 3 too! Have a great time traveling! 🙂

  19. Su Leslie says:

    I’m really drawn to the first image; it has a delicacy that I just love. Have a wonderful time away.

  20. Love the way the trees weave together, 2 is my favorite.
    Thank you for the Earth Day Info

  21. Amy says:

    I really like the photo (the 1st one). I like how you capture these branches. 🙂

  22. I. Greenwald says:

    Just love photo #3.

  23. I love waffles, so I’m waffling today because I like them all. They’re so very different but so beautiful. Have a safe, exciting, and wonderful trip. I’ll be suffering from severe Mobile Photo Challenge withdrawal while you’re gone, but I’ll be happy for you having an adventure, renewing your soul, and taking zillions of photos!


    • Janet, you brought a mammoth-size smile across my morning. I’m about to put another pot of water on for my second cup of tea. I’ll share a cup with you. See you in May. Thanks so much for being part of the challenge’s community.

  24. I like the first one, like HDR in monochrome.

  25. LavendarLadi says:

    I find the first photo very interesting as I’m sure it would inspire some wonderful tales. The photo just draws me in, wanting to know more.
    Enjoy your holiday.

  26. Monika B says:

    Wonderfull picrutes.

  27. Sue says:

    Number 3 for the textures!

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