Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (in Northern California)

06 June 2016


1. Convergence of China Beach, San Francisco Bay and Presidio, San Francisco, California; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Convergence of China Beach, San Francisco Bay and Presidio, San Francisco, California; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved


2. Glen Park Bart Station, Glen Park California; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Glen Park Bart Station, Glen Park California; 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.


Nature has many guises: Butterflies winging, petals unfolding, seeds floating, birds migrating, sunsets dazzling, fog wandering, snakes sunning, ants scurrying, haze darting, peonies perfuming, frogs jumping, trees swaying… Discoveries are infinite.

And the place that represents a centerfold for my passion about Mother Nature’s abundance is Northern California. It was home before I knew it was home. Some places simply embrace one’s inner soul, punching and soothing with a spiritual cadence that is evergreen.

To be completely honest my first experience with a natural wonder that struck me with such intense spirituality was the Southwest; its brand of nature forcing me to my knees with tears that shed with a roar of awe. I will never ever forget my first visit to Southern Utah and eventually Zion National Park; they were the apex of that first encounter.

During that trip I was transported to Southern California, and years later lived there for a “mini-sabbatical.” Then we were catapulted back to the East Coast, which had always been the place designated home. But nowhere else had or has secured my heart as Northern California.

During my visit in April my heart was quickened by the small and larger wonders of this West Coast haven, where I feted the wonders of San Francisco and its environs. In the Lens section are two examples of how nature can be experienced there. The weather was pristine with gorgeous cloudscapes and many hues of blues across the skylines.

The first image shows the convergence of nature’s forces intersecting with human nature’s creative hand. The view at China Beach easily stills time. In front of me was the San Francisco Bay rolling with the sun’s approval. The Golden Gate Bridge was being spied upon by an orange seafaring vehicle (barge of sorts), and as it moved under the bridge it mimicked that famous orange that lights up the spectacularly famous Art Deco landmark. To the right is the Presidio, which is a park, former military base, and part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. That trio was alarmingly captivating, a confluence of inspiration.

Behind me was the expanse of the Pacific Ocean that had just ushered into the bay that orange barge. The ocean being the guardian of San Francisco’s jewels, and the entire scene being gently stored for my retrieval.

On another occasion as I made my way to my family’s home from the BART station, the second image easily caught my attention. A multitude of pigeons were threading themselves in and out of the shadows of the late afternoon light, coercing me to imagine the scene in black and white.

During my visit Mother Nature provided a myriad of experiences for me to savor. Those memories sealed my passion for one of nature’s prized possessions–Northern California and its proximity to an array of national wonders as well as smaller everyday gems that stagger the senses and prod the mind’s best work.

Tip of the Week:

“Nature, Williams contends, isn’t exclusively hallowed ground, nor is it merely a backdrop to act in front of. Instead, nature is something to interact with. Nature is a battleground where we grapple bare-fisted with what exactly living on this planet means.” From “The Review of Terry Tempest Williams’ The Hour of Land,” by Gretchen Lida (23 May 2016)

Terry Tempest Williams is an activist and a nature writer. Her environmental classic Refuge and memoir When Women Were Birds, are highly praised. This year is the one hundredth anniversary of the national parks, and Tempest has written a stellar tribute to these natural treasures. In The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks (2016) she combines natural history, social criticism and memoir to show how the wild shores and sustains the spirit and soul. I hope that you get a chance to read this important book that gives a platform to the national parks, which is one of the keys to land preservation and open space for human and non-humans. To read Lida’s review, click here.

The Hour of Land (2016) by Terry Tempest Williams

The Hour of Land (2016) by Terry Tempest Williams

View other entries from 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, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Traveling and Travels, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (in Northern California)

  1. DG MARYOGA says:

    Always endlessly fascinated by your lens and pens, Sally.Your thoughts “paint” with all sorts of colors, with emotions, you write with your soul. Nature has so many challenges, both photos are utterly bewitching, we should be asked why we like each one. The power of the ocean, the blue giant, peacefully mingles with the colossal human structures, I am still freely surfing between the blues and the shadows of greys … I love though playing with the fast-changing afternoon light and its illusory motion.

  2. Awesome images Sally, as usual and I’m so excited that you mentioned Terry and her new book. I’m so excited to be a part of it.

  3. wildsherkin says:

    Sally, I love the dappled light and serene atmosphere of your second image but the colours of the ocean will always win my heart!

  4. Prior-2001 says:

    I really like the shadows in the second shot with all those birds – and like how you wrote that they were “threading in and out”
    Also – when we traveled to and thru the southwest I was enamored by the beauty – oh and Colorado is my heart’s home like northern California is yours…..
    But I find the east coast has that easy feeling and makes quite a nice place to live…..

  5. restlessjo says:

    Not hard to see why you’d lose your heart to San Francisco, Sally! I’d go with that first shot and the curl of the ocean every time 🙂 🙂

  6. Great wave capture. Photographing at the beach is a lot like surfing and you made it all the way into shore on that one! Yes we must bow to nature. or allow ourselves to be bored over by Her.

  7. Virginia Duran says:

    April looks good! Hope July is as good too, I may visit SFO in a month!

  8. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I love the first photo of the Golden Gate. The perspective is wonderful.

  9. Amy says:

    The first one is great! Here is mine

  10. thirdeyemom says:

    Beautiful Sally! I too love the Southwest and the rugged beauty of Northern California. We live in an amazing world! Beautiful photos.

  11. Su Leslie says:

    Blue skies and rolling waves; I lost my heart to your first shot this week Sally.

  12. Angeline M says:

    I think China Beach has me roped in for first spot today. The color and perspective is wonderful. That said, the shadows and light in the BART station photo is lovely too.
    I’m surprised you haven’t moved here already 🙂

  13. Your colour image is superb – really powerful. That said I love the way the shadows and the pigeons make for an interesting photo too.

  14. Between the lapping of the waves in serenity blue and hearing the cooing of the doves, I can’t pick a favorite! Love them both! 🙂

  15. I like both but SF has my heart so the vista and water and color and the bridge are my favorite.

  16. smilecalm says:

    nice phone images!
    having had driven across that bridge
    and ridden on that train
    they both express memory 🙂

  17. Sally, no contest this week. The colors, scope, and feel of the first shot are wonderful! I agree that it would look perfect on someone’s wall.


  18. LavendarLadi says:

    They both look very relaxing. I think the beach/bridge photo is my favourite. I’d love to have that photo on my wall.

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