Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Still Life in Nature)

25 July 2016


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr

Forest Primeval Photomontage; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Ever-Changing Forest, Photomontage; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click on image to enlarge, which takes you to another page. If you decide to leave a comment, please return to this page.


A human trait that keeps us re-imagining and re-inventing ourselves is reflected in self-expression and self- exploration. We search and find, find and search for those bits and pieces of our life’s journey that not only spark our creativity, but also keep us afloat with what we can be and do individually. This short diatribe re-introduces my latest quest to push my own level of possibilities.

Photomontage has taken over my thoughts. It has opened my path to see beyond what I usually see. I began this adventure about a week and a half ago, and have immersed myself in its various dimensions. To still a moment in time and space is to memorialize the visualization and its layers of meaning. A photograph can be seen for the obvious, or can expose its components.

In a photomontage those components multiply and are made of either desperate or inextricably linked images. In my brief jump into this genre (that is, through the digital darkroom), I have blended two images and as many as five. For me it’s not about the number of images, but the re-interpretation of the original. Sometimes my intention is blown away. While at others the completed image fulfills my intent. And sometimes the result moves vastly past my thoughts. One of the most compelling parts of this creative process is the unknowing.

What will transpire in the re-imaging of that framed moment? How do I know when to curtail the process, doing just enough to produce an image that actually is (to me) more powerful or intriguing than the original? Why even make a photomontage? My responses to these queries are being examined as I experiment.

What I can say is that it is a completely energizing experience. It’s as though my inner lens is mining for the visual story that builds the elements of the past into the present. It’s remarkably intriguing.

Photomontage is a continual aesthetic and method class: construction and re-construction and construction anew. The final image is a still (life) image made by the  re-interpretation.

This direction places me on a new trajectory. It lifts me into the world of my inner seeing, building layers within and outside of my visual universe. Regardless, my photographic eye continues to define and refine. As part of this evergreen process, a composite photograph is created using intertwined stories—stories that mirror life’s journey.

In the Lens section is an image that reflects nature as the past and present. The composite image was created with four photographs: each portrays nature. The final photomontage is an ever-changing forest: a reflection of nature and human nature’s tinkering. The original image is part of the entrance to a path that moves along a creek. The area is maintained by the city, and the foreground of my composition is a mowed area, showing human nature’s hand in the natural world.

“We” think that there is a separation between nature and human nature, but humans always have been entwined with Mother Nature. In those seamless times we measure and value all living things as one.

Tip of the Week:

Gary Winogrand (1928-1984) was an American photographer who recorded everyday urban street life from the 1950s through the early 1980s. He also is an icon in the history of documentary photography. During his life he had champions of his images, but his early death occurred before his work was fully appreciated. Read more about Winogrand and view his work here. The following are a few of his quotes that make me think deeper about the photographic moment. Whether you agree with Winogrand or not, each quote does evoke a response.

“There is no special way a photograph should look.”

“You have a lifetime to learn technique. But I can teach you what is more important than technique, how to see; learn that and all you have to do afterwards is press the shutter.”

“Photography is not about the thing photographed. It is about how that thing looks photographed.”

“The photograph should be more interesting or more beautiful than what was photographed.”

"John F.Kennedy, Democratic National Convention, Los-Angeles," 1960, Gary Winogrand

“John F.Kennedy, Democratic National Convention, Los-Angeles,” 1960, Gary Winogrand

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 would like to buy a print of any of my photographs or have any questions, please view the Contact Information found on the masthead. Thank you.

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 Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Challenger’s Choice (Still Life in Nature)

  1. Maria F. says:

    Great image Sally, I really like it!

  2. Extraordinarily magical!

  3. Sally, I really like this image a lot-the colors are rich and true and remind me of the *rich* treasures waiting to be discovered from such spaces. And your comments on the “unknowing” of the process-what better way to describe why we do- what we do-Thank you!

  4. smilecalm says:

    lovely image taken
    to that higher
    dimension, Sally 🙂

  5. Madhu says:

    Beautiful photo. And I love the quotes, especially the last one. Happy weekend Sally 🙂

  6. badfish says:

    You are becoming quite the pro at this!!! I love this shot, it draws you in and makes you wonder just what is going on there.

  7. pattimoed says:

    A wonderful creative project. I’d like to try it too. At some point can you post all the images you use in the montage? I’d like to see and compare. Gary Winograd’s work is great.

  8. Tina Schell says:

    Lovely take on this one Sally. Your final result is primeval indeed! I’ve done some montages but haven’t created anything I’m happy with – YET 🙂 beautiful creation, well done.

  9. Your photograph is excellent, and I cherish your first passage of your pens section!..Sally, that pic is magnificent… Great to become more acquainted with additional about the procedure behind the completion photo… there are such a variety of one of a kind focuses you have highlighted concerning Photomontage. Imagination at its fullest, a restoration, another creation by one means or another…

  10. First I thought the photo was a little cluttered and too dark, but then I opened it up in full size—and it’s gorgeous. Needs to be seen big! But what a treat! Very creative and simply beautiful. No need to say that Winogrand has been one of my (many) favourites…

  11. Amy says:

    Love the edits, Sally! I shall try these two apps. 🙂 I’m working on my entry. See you later.

  12. Angeline M says:

    Your photo is beautiful, and I love your first paragraph of your pens section! Winogrand’s quotes are great! A very satisfying way to start the week, Sally. Thanks!

  13. I love how your photomontage turned out. It’s dreamy and ethereal to me. Have a great day, Sally! 😀

  14. I love your editing this week. What I like about Pixlr is that there are just so many filters to play with, especially with each individual overlay. I also had some fun doing this too.

  15. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I like your photo this week, Sally. I find that working with photomontages is like stacking a bunch of 35mm slides on top of each other and then viewing them against a bright light.

    Here’s my attempt for the week:

  16. Aquileana says:

    Sally, that pic is marvelous… Great to get to know more about the process behind the ending photograph… there are so many unique points you have highlighted concerning Photomontage. Creativity at its fullest, a renewal, a new creation somehow… Sending love and all my best wishes!. Aquileana 😀

  17. Your photo shots are amazing and incredible as always. One day I will be as good as you. I enjoy the photography of Garry Winogrand, Walker Evans and Robert Frank. I also plan on visiting a Diane Arbus special exhibit being held in New York City. I have a photograph of my Dad taken when he was a little boy back in the 1930s by famous Harlem Renaissance photographer James Van der Zee. Last year I went to the building where Mr. Van der Zee’s photography studio used to be. It is now a Real Estate office.

    • Deborah, that’s marvelous to have such a memento and by Van der Zee. Just think that you walked in a space where your dad walked as a child. Oh, and all the others that entered his studio. Those experiences are invaluable. Thanks so much for your response to my work.

  18. I do agree with Gary Winogrand! And your forest primeval!!

  19. Sally, the photomontage is intriguing to me. How do you do it? Is there an app? I really like the way your montage worked out!


  20. Sue says:

    Enjoyed reading this, Sally…I had a brief play with in-camera double exposures, and yonks ago dabbled in photo montage very briefly…I have been thinking I would revisit this, and along comes your post!

  21. Tish Farrell says:

    What a phenomenal composition, Sally – figuratively and literally. Reading your words about the process of photo-montage and the unexpected possibilities (worlds) it can reveal, conjured in my own mind the notion that through these playful, yet meaningful acts of transformation, you are conjuring maps/landmarks/ that lead you into the creative subconscious. Simply fascinating. It’s like a treasure hunt driven by subtle and enigmatic clues, and no knowing quite where you’ll end up.

  22. Ulli says:

    Great shot, dear Sally! True words about photography! Thanks for this and have a good time.
    heartily, Ulli

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