Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and Longwood Gardens Photomontages)

07 November 2016


Taken with Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr

1. Longwood Gardens Photomontage #1 ; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Longwood Gardens Photomontage #1 ; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Longwood Gardens Photomontage #2 ; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Longwood Gardens Photomontage #2 ; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Let me know which you prefer and why. Click on image to enlarge, which takes you to another page. If you decide to leave a comment, please return to this page.


In this election season that has induced much anxiety and stress, nature becomes even more crucial to my day. And so it was easy to transport myself to Longwood Gardens, which is a frequent sanctuary for my well-being.

While strolling the grounds and meandering through the conservatory, I was struck with a particular plant that evoked a deeply-felt response. I was a voyeur that witnessed the delicacy of time through a bonsai’s glacial growth. A pomegranate tree (Punica granatum, Southwest Asia), whose training began in 1910, astonished my sensibilities and rationality. I’ve seen this plant on many occasions, but this visit I really saw it.

There on this miniature tree was a sizable fruit, similar to what one would purchase during this season. Because of its juxtaposition to the plant that one fruit seemed larger than life itself. I was pulled into its story and its longevity. Time stood still with the bonsai’s minimalism, and yet it was wearing a centenarian’s coat.

In the Lens section are my two responses to that scene–that scene that made the other bonsai trees nearby fade into the background, as the pomegranate stood boldly statuesque. My interpretations are layered in a soft and more pronounced seeing of its aged stoicism.

Time shapes our language and our lives. We speak and think and know that time ticks to a certain cadence. Nevertheless, my concept of time and someone’s else tracks differently. It’s not simply one’s perspective that makes time’s meaning slide along a personal continuum. But it’s the rhythm that sways, for example, from a clock’s hand to a sundry of possibilities, including Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

My vision of time runs with certainty through nature’s pathways. On most of my days its story transcends the expected, and situates itself in an untouchable realm—a realm that teeters between irrationality and rationality.

That makes perfect sense to me. While I can feel the weight of time in increments, I also can be lifted to new heights with its intangible gifts.

Tip of the Week:

Self-taught artist Manuel Álvarez Bravo (1902-2002) was a noted Latin American photographer who was considered one of the founders of modern photography. His Mexican roots were a signature for his work. During his earlier days of photography he met and worked with such other luminaries as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Tina Moditti, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. He has been praised as a “poet of the lens,” especially telling the story of Mexico, its culture and people. He was feted and honored worldwide, and his work was exhibited in hundreds of exhibitions. Throughout his life he continued to produce work, the greatest volume being done between 1920s and 1990s. In an obituary from The New York Times (“Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Photographer, Dies at 100” by Jonathan Kandell, 21 October 2002; view here) Kandell wrote,

“…Mexican artists emerged as the vanguard and political conscience of a revolution whose radicalism was already waning. Such muralists as Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros strove to depict the socialist country that they hoped Mexico would eventually become. Rivera said, ”The painter who does not feel attuned to the aspirations of the masses — this man may not produce a work of art.” Mr. Alvarez Bravo shared that ideology. Before the 16th-century Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, he wrote, ”all art was of the people, and popular art has never ceased to exist in Mexico.” His subjects became workers and peasants and Indian life in the provinces. But Mr. Alvarez Bravo almost always managed to portray them in unconventional ways and through compelling images.”

Quotes by Bravo:

“The word ‘art’ is very slippery. It really has no importance in relation to one’s work. I work for the pleasure, for the pleasure of the work, and everything else is a matter for the critics.”

“I just get the will to do it.  I don’t plan a photograph in advance…  I work by impulse.  No philosophy.  No ideas.  Not by the head but by the eyes.  Eventually inspiration comes-instinct is the same as inspiration, and eventually it comes.”

“The Daughter of the Dancers,” 1933, by Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Throckmorton Fine Art Gallery

“The Daughter of the Dancers,” 1933, by Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Throckmorton Fine Art Gallery

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, Photomontage, 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 Digital Art, Language, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photomontage, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

44 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Nature (and Longwood Gardens Photomontages)

  1. Love the second one for its drama–happy new year!!!

  2. Dom says:

    One of these days I’ll have to figure out how to do these photo challenges:)

    • I’d happy to help. Let me know.

      • Dom says:

        I wasn’t sure if you used a hashtag or made a new post. I’m still learning the inner workings of WordPress. 🙂

      • You enter the challenge with the image or images on your post. You mention the challenge either in the body of the post or with a link to my post. Then you send me a link that you are participating. I link your post to mine and visit yours. I suggest that you view some of the those who participate, which you can see at the end of the Tip of the Day on my post. Hope that you’ll give it a try.

  3. prior.. says:

    I like the second image best!

  4. Maria F. says:

    I like these, lots of detail on both, graphic lines.

  5. I like the top one for the light and textures, but it is the second image that really caught my eye. Like someone else mentioned, it looks like a wonderfully bright Christmas ornament that nature has lovingly crafted-Wonderful Sally!

  6. Su Leslie says:

    Both are lovely images Sally, but I am drawn to the second where the single pomegranate shines out like a beacon of much-needed hope.

  7. I am spellbound by these images, particularly the second one. An amazing play with silhouette, structure, patterns and a singular colour. And, yes, Manuel Álvarez Bravo was an exceptional photographer.

  8. Nato says:

    I like the texture of the first montage and the mystery of the second. It’s nice to hear how the moment inspired you. It is fortunate that you can be so present in the moment…and find relief from this stressful election. I too have had anxiety about it. My submission (, which will post at 7 am on the 10th, was inspired my the political stress. At least we can find peace in nature and solace in our creations. I really connected with those quotes too. That is how I see photography too! It is just a feeling and an impulse to follow. The expression through words and a lens bring comfort and joy to my soul.

    • Nato, I’m shocked and devastated with the results. The reality is just setting into my psyche. Your post hit it right in the center of the target: What went wrong? Let’s try to be hopeful and have a shred of optimism.

      • Nato says:

        I told my loved ones to give me a day or two to mourn. I am heartbroken and scared. This is not the America I thought I knew. [sigh] But I am a big girl. I will survive. However, I don’t have to respect hateful character and behavior. But, I will respect the position as directed. And I will pray that those of us who are shocked find peace and hope. One day at a time.

      • Nato, your heartfelt words express my sentiments too. Each of us must channel our dismay and shock. Every day for the next four years I will be on edge. I must turn my energies to do more advocacy for nature. I am terrified about his choices for the EPA.

      • Nato says:

        A state of fear is what he campaigned on and has now created. I hope we are proved wrong and he shows a deeper side. Prayers and hope…for the next four years. We must unite as a nation to survive.

  9. lumar1298 says:

    Love it… Looks like one Christmas ball on the tree…

  10. pattimoed says:

    Beautiful work, Sally. You were indeed inspired by this tree. The photomontages are great. The layering works beautifully here. Thanks too for the introduction to Bravo’s work. Intriguing. Like you, I’ve found nature to be a great balm during this dreadful election season.

  11. The pomegranate really stands out in that first image.

  12. Yesterday Sunday I took a walk in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and made some videos. Hope this is appropriate for the challenge.

    • Happy to have you participate in the challenge. As long as the photographs are taken with your Smartphone, they are eligible. At the bottom of your post are some photos of nature that evoke her power over us.

  13. livvy30 says:

    Looking like Christmas!

  14. I like your first image today, Sally. It compliments your words and thoughts on the subject of time. You might want to Google the Long Now Foundation and take a look at some kindred souls who are looking at our place in the next 10,000 years.

  15. I love the first one. The shadows that are being cast gives it a very graphic quality.

  16. Amy says:

    Beautiful, Sally!

  17. A very good Monday morning to you, Sally. This week I have a clear favorite: the first. It makes me think of a Christmas ball and I love the delicacy of the rest of the shot. I completely understand the healing necessity of retreating into nature. Last week I wasn’t feeling well and didn’t get my walks in at the park. I really miss them. I can’t wait to see the changes that have occurred since I was last there.

    Have a beauty-filled week,

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