Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (and Washington Square Park Photomontage)

21 November 2016


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Hipstamatic and Pixlr

Reflections Where There are None; Copyright © 2016 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Reflections Where There are None; 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.


To escape the pre-election uncertainty, two weeks ago I went northward to visit my grandson in the city that melts, pumps and secures our hearts: New York. It’s THE urban center that has cradled most human experiences and always, always has a way to dazzle.

As a young child my frequent trips by airplane were made to spend a few days with relatives. Today I-95 carries me there in the time that it takes to read half a book or have a lengthy conversation or …

Because of my state of mind, Washington Square Park would be a priority on my last day. This greenspace is a mainstay and respite for residents and the curious. This prized landmark conjures and represents democracy and freedom, culture and diversity, dissent and voice, and historic and historical events.

From the park’s vantage point I surveyed that day’s unfolding, and gazed in comfort upon the Freedom Tower, which boldly stands in distant Lower Manhattan. Since its completion I noticed that this symbol of democracy seems to be visible wherever I wander in New York’s cityscape. Its stellar design and significance magically gives hope.

For a little longer I sat and observed: a deflating balloon sculpture resting against the arch and probably from a previous day’s festivities; the Second Amendment chalked on the path near the fountain; a father playing soccer with his son in the empty fountain; youngsters reading and sunning on the grassy area; dogs strolling with their caretakers. Essentially, people being people.

The day was bright as though good news was to follow. There in that moment and in other places people were feeling that good, mostly optimistic. Only a few days later, that changed.

In the Lens section is the image that stole my attention at Washington Square. The sunlight casting its rays onto the building, which houses bathrooms. Its design and features were emboldened by the light. The strong morning glow gave its angles and lines emphasis to capture my gaze.

On the other side of the park the archway that leads into Washington Square had its own illumination from the morning light. Its guardian came out of the shadow of the arch to salute the symbolism of America’s beginning. George Washington himself was listening and watching; his statute standing high above to inspire all that pass by him and notice.

That arch was built 1889 to commemorate the centennial of Washington’s inauguration. It has seen many cultural and political celebrations and events. Prior to the election Madonna surprised New Yorkers with an impromptu performance to encourage people to vote.

Later in the morning clouds surfaced with a chill in the air. Already the universe and I had an escalating emotions. And so my photomontage has a soft layer of clouds and other shadows that shows Americans’ moodiness and feelings of uncertainty on that day, the days that  followed, now, and those yet to come.

Hope stills looms somewhere in human history’s lessons, and I very much want to latch onto its dimensions.

Tip of the Week:

When I first held my iPhone 4s, I had no inkling that it would within six months become my camera of choice. No offense to my fabulous Nikon DSLR; you will always be part of my photographic tool kit. It’s just that my infatuation with its technology’s abilities grew with it and my current iPhone 6. I always loved that 4s, that is, until it began to self-destruct. Today the 6 is just as much a part of me, an extension of my inner lens.

When I explored the possibilities with that first iPhone, I succumbed (almost instantaneously) to its magical charms. In the honeymoon stage I spent much of my time using the native camera and relying on my instincts. Months later I discovered a few apps that incorporated features of value to photo shoots and others that I could use as part of my digital darkroom–a darkroom that over the last few years makes experimentation a daily occurrence.

One of the earlier apps on my iPhone 4s allowed immediate conversion of the image to black and white. I was smittened. But after a year or so I realized that was not a benefit. I kept stumbling upon articles that reminded me that a color image produces details that are needed to translate accurately an image to black and white. Much is lost if the shot is immediately created in monochrome. I tossed the app, and began to shoot in Camera+. Then conversion to black and white was and is to this day done in another app, usually I’ll use Snapseed. So my suggestion is to use your native camera or other camera app to shoot in technicolor. Then conversion will be oh so much better and more accurate.

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 Black-and-White Photography, Digital Art, Human Nature, Mobile Photography, Photomontage, Street Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (and Washington Square Park Photomontage)

  1. Beautiful black and white. And I believe it goes to show what you say about converting colours to black and white. I always enjoy your enthusiasm about shooting with your cell phone. 🙂

  2. thirdeyemom says:

    I adore NYC. I really like the High Line walk. I think it is so amazing what they did with the abandoned rail tracks to make an urban green walkway. When I was there in September I also spent a lot of time exploring more of Central Park. It is so amazing how huge it is and that it is still there. It would be hard for me to live in such a huge urban city without my nature but I do love NYC.

    • Nicole, what I enjoy about this incredible urban center is the greenspaces. The High Line is newly minted, but Central Park is an example of the foresight to create nature within a city’s design. New York has many smaller parks that give people a chance to meditate with nature. And you can drive short distances to be immersed. I agree that it is a city that is lovable and memorable.

  3. The allure of technology in photography is incredible, Sally. I find I prefer my mobile to a camera now too. The clarity of the screen on my Galaxy note is something so many people comment on when I ask them to take a photo for me. On a recent overseas trip, I used both, but found the mobile was useful in low light situations, but for zooming in, the SLR won hands down. Guess it is best to always have both – for backups. And that is a great tip re Monochrome. I usually use an app so I will stick to doing that. Snapseed is one of the better ones, it seems.

  4. pattimoed says:

    Lovely light and shadow, Sally. It reflects your mood that day. Washington Square is one of my favorite places in the city, too. Lots of memories there.

  5. Amazing light and shadow and your commentary on a place who knows if I will ever visit. I avoid big cities like the plague these days lol (except for edinburgh and dublin of course lol)

    • Cybele, thank you for your response. There are some cities that just take your breath away. In my opinion New York and San Francisco are at the apex. They rejuvenate and bring me home to my small university town where I can appreciate both settings.

  6. What’s nice is that this doesn’t seem to be the “double exposure” that photomontage sometimes brings. Yea time with a grandson.
    Happy Holidays.

  7. Angeline M says:

    Lovely photo composition with black and white bringing out the curves and lines so wonderfully. The image of the Freedom Tower in the background almost seems to be ghostly, looking out over the trees, seemingly sad (or is that my mood?).

  8. Sally, I continue to find the use of photomontage fascinating. It allows production of such wonderful images such as the one above. As Thanksgiving approaches, one of the things I’m thankful for about blogging is discovering your site, the challenges, and the information you share so freely. Have a blessed and joyful holiday.


    • Janet, your response fills me with quiet and soothing gratitude. Truly, how we find each other in the wide and bored cyberspace amazes. I am joyful to have you as part of the challenge’s photo community. Make strong memories this holiday and enjoy every moment.

  9. Amy says:

    I like how you captured the lights and shadows. Beautiful!

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