Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (Palms and Succulents)

15 May 2017


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed.

Palms and Succulents, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Palms and Succulents, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Stackables.

2. Palms and Succulents, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights

2. Palms and Succulents, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights

Click onto each image to enlarge. Let me know which you prefer. Prints are available upon request.


Black-and-white photography continues to inspire my view of the world, its obvious and not-so-obvious narratives. When color is stripped from the subject, there is a closer affinity to purity of sight. Hidden layers often are revealed and elements of capture can be more enticing.

Color is reality, but monochrome is part (among other characteristics) dreamy boldface plus suitable subject. As I watch the world before me, suddenly the possibility for the b&w appears, is made clear and then clearer. I see the real in a new dimension. The image is influenced by the mind’s interpretative abilities. The intuitive eye fills the heart’s center, recreating what is seen and what can be seen.

The photographic journey continues on an adventure that enlightens and illuminates the visual landscape. A subject can be rendered so differently in full technicolor vs. black and white.

The reduction to basic elements (sans color) makes the stilling of a moment something beyond its original intent. Does this decision by the photographer impose a significant change in the viewer’s reaction? Or is the work simply an explanation and expression of the way that the artist sees the subject?

Mostly, it’s on-the-scene visual translation. Reasons may be prompted by an internal compass of trajectory or planned event or a moment’s notice.

Does it matter? Or is the final product the only significance?

In the Lens section is an image taken in Longwood Garden’s Conservatory where there is a permanent exhibit of cacti, palms and succulents. I have more times than I can count passed this arrangement. But on that day it was instantaneous: the focus on those palms and succulents were a monochromatic dream. Of course, light was (and is) a crucial element, and it was spreading its magic for this scene.

Textures blazed, tones burst their boundaries, details emerged. It was a moment of pure storytelling about palms and succulents and their (often surprising) power to seduce.

Tip of the Week:

The Center for Fine Art Photography is sponsoring a photography show this summer. The exhibition titled “Black and White” can be seen from 07 July 19-August 2017. Since the Center is located in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA, many of you will not have the opportunity to view the engaging art that already can be seen online.

This excerpt from their website explains the idea behind the show. “All Black & White images were eligible for submission. All genres, subjects, capture types and photographic processes both historic and modern were eligible for selection by the juror…The Juror: Ann M. Jastrab is currently the gallery director at RayKo Photo Center in San Francisco and an independent curator. Ann has curated many exhibitions for RayKo during the past decade while also jurying and organizing numerous exhibitions for other national and international venues outside of San Francisco. She has also reviewed portfolios for a multitude of organizations including the Seoul International Photography Festival in Korea, Fotofest, Photolucida, GuatePhoto, Review Santa Fe, Medium, Filter, and Lishui International Photography Festival.”

Click here to peruse through the works of artists included in the exhibition. It is a group of talented photographer who offer images that made me contemplate and imagine. Hope that you take the time to view the exhibit and website.

View other entries into this week’s challenge:

Note: 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).

This entry was posted in Black-and-White Photography, Digital Art, Mobile Photography, Nature Photography, Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (Palms and Succulents)

  1. Denis M. Garrison says:

    Very nice work! B&W eloquently exploits the alchemy of light, form and texture which is overpowered in color photography. It would be wonderful to see a renaissance in this form of the photographic arts.

  2. Suzanne says:

    I prefer the stronger contrast in the second photo. I really enjoyed reading what you have written this week Sally. You have made me think more deeply about black & white photography. There is something about doing away with colour that can bring out the essence of the subject more. Thank you for sharing your insight.

  3. thirdeyemom says:

    Beautiful Sally! I love black and white.

  4. Both are gorgeous versions, but personally I have the first as my favourite, simply for its softer tones.

  5. Indira says:

    Hi Sally! I liked the second one more. Perhaps dark shadow does the trick.

  6. Su Leslie says:

    I like both shots Sally; they show how versatile b&w photography can be. 🙂

  7. smilecalm says:

    Artistic natural composition 🙂

  8. I like the drama of the second one, but prefer the first for the details, just as Allan does. There’s so much going on in your shot, that I want to be able to appreciate all of it.


  9. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I love these B & W challenges, Sally. Your first photo is my favorite this week. it has a bit more detail in the upper half of the photo.

  10. Amy says:

    I really like the lighting and shadow of this image in BnW.

  11. pattimoed says:

    Intriguing shots, Sally. I love the shadows on the leaves in the foreground. Lovely. And they work very well in black and white, bringing out the details, shapes, contrast. I’m enjoying working in b and w as well. It does have a nostalgic feel at times and can be more dramatic.

  12. Lignum Draco says:

    You’re right, Sally. Monochrome brings out the essence of a photo without the emotions produced by colour. And for many of us, produces an automatic nostalgic effect and connects us with photographers of years gone by when black and white ruled.

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