Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in an Age of Uncertainty – No. 1 (Lily Photomontage)

03 July 2017


I. Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr

2. Summer Lily Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

1. Summer Lily Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

II. Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr

1. Summer Lily Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

2. Summer Lily Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

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


As an image maker I spend most of my currency in time as an observer. Mostly, it’s an intuitive approach where I am unconsciously attentive and at the same time intent, but it’s involuntary behavior. Of course, there are times that I set out to do a photo shoot at a specific place and time. These two ways to record nature occasionally intersect across inner and outer boundaries.

My identity is very much linked to my visual connection to the universe that I inhabit and what encircles me. In the here-and-now the planet seems as fragile as my heart. While I know that is not true, it seems real. The assault on precious wildlife, lands and resources by my government is an outright relentless and violent attack upon nature and human nature and cannot be accepted.

A powerful strategy to survive must be to enlighten the spirit and soul through personal action. There are many approaches. One is image making—image making that does not slip by politics or beauty or truth of the planet’s future. When I consider my kind of photographic representation, I always choose the side of Mother Nature that lifts me, pulls me out of reality of the unknown ahead.

Whether a small slice of a stem or center of a flower or cluster of florets or rhythm of a creek, my vision is tied to the environment and the climate as a whole. My vision grabs how nature illuminates our existence and shores our everyday.

Image making can be brave, nondescript, inquisitive, subtle, collaborative, inspirational, dangerous, bewildering, nonsense, provocative, brilliant, authentic, individualistic, questionable. It can burst a notion of what nature is or be undeclared in its message. I aim to explore the line between what is real and what is imagined. Each can incite or be tame. Each can speak volumes or stay silent in repose.

In my quest to record the real and imagined I’ve been experimenting and exploring with photomontage, which is a process allowing two or more layers to recreate the original subject into a likeness or a completely unrecognizable image. In the Lens section are two interpretations of a summer lily. The photograph was composed of the base of the flower, where it proudly holds its glorious, delicate maroon petals. The first (made of two layers) has a dark mood that reflects Americans’ anxiety levels; the second (the same image made with multiple layers) contains hope that the veil will be lifted through individual voices and involvement.

Quotes about the interconnection between nature and human nature:

“The environment is everything that isn’t me.” ~~ Albert Einstein

“Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man. ~~ Stewart Udall”

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” ~~ John Muir

“They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away from her, and deface her with their buildings and their refuse.” ~~ Sitting Bull

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

29 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in an Age of Uncertainty – No. 1 (Lily Photomontage)

  1. Your words from Sitting Bull got me searching. I found the quotation in Indian Heroes and Great Chieftains, by Charles Eastman, from about a century ago. I don’t know how accurately the sentiments in English reflect those reportedly spoken (but not written down) by Sitting Bull in his own language decades before the book was written. In any case, the book looks fascinating, from the glancing I’ve done at it. You can read it online at

  2. Amy says:

    Beautifully done, Sally! The second one is my favorite. 🙂

  3. MJF Images says:

    Interesting post. I agree it looks bleak right now but don’t get discouraged. This too shall pass and we’ll get back to choosing caring people for leaders.

  4. Tina Schell says:

    Both very interesting presentations Sally, I too like the colors of the second.

  5. pattimoed says:

    Beautiful images, Sally. I’m partial to the first one–with its subtle use of intense color. That green and pink are spectacular. And thanks too for the wise words. Sitting Bull’s quote is wonderful; so is Einstein’s.

  6. thirdeyemom says:

    So incredibly beautiful…words and images. I love it!

  7. nowathome says:

    I prefer the 2nd image! Love the colours in it!

  8. Lignum Draco says:

    Lovely imagery, Sally. An age of uncertainty is right, judging by the headlines your new EPA chief is making.

    • Oh, I’m a dedicated member of groups that support environmental efforts. They (for example, Sierra Club) are doing relentless advocacy. Resist, resist. See you soon. Thanks so much.

  9. Su Leslie says:

    Both strong and affecting images Sally, enfolded in a narrative that joins the intensely personal with the political.

  10. restlessjo says:

    I understand that the current climate is giving you a hard time, Sally. There are no easy answers. We have some glorious deep red lilies in our garden that make me smile every time I look at them. 🙂 🙂

  11. Angeline M says:

    I love the dreamy, moody feel of that first photo, Sally. The quotes you’ve included are so of the moment.

  12. smilecalm says:

    wonderful observations
    & app’d expressions 🙂

  13. Sally, I like the brightness of the second one. Perhaps it’s my generally optimistic bend, but who knows? Maybe it’s because the sun’s shining and tomorrow’s the Fourth of July. At any rate, happy Monday.


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