Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in an Age of Uncertainty – No. 5 (Palm Leaf Photomontage)

31 July 2017


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr

Palm Leaf Photomontage, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Palm Leaf Photomontage, Longwood Gardens; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.


Each of us is familiar with a teachable moment where the life lesson is apparent in the act itself. Or even later after contemplation. And I am convinced that nature is the ultimate oracle: providing lesson after lesson.

Nature awakens sparks that encourage the foraging of my spirit and soul. Nature awakens an inner play, that creates and instigates associations and experimentations with ideas and thoughts. Unsuspected concepts are brought to light, sometimes foggy and later clarified.

This morning on a walk I thought about the hibiscus in my garden, and its short-lived beauty, within a day becoming less than its dazzling first appearance. Since I am a visual consumer, I am compelled to savor the brief sighting of this native that sparks inspiration in its brevity.

Then I was reminded about the proliferation of perennials that seem to appear at every turn in summer gardens. They gravitate to my sight line.

For example, this year the hydrangea’s outrageous abundance of flower heads have their own unique draw. Delicate and seemingly fragile in appearance, they are long-lasting and a stellar choice to dry for years of quiet yet attention-grabbing displays.

During summery cycles we often disengage from the leaves, which are essential to the nourishment and survival of botany’s progeny. When the eye allows a flower to recede and a leaf to be honored, much can be discovered and interpreted. It’s a dreamy unveiling of what exists in its visual message, but needs attention to see intricate world of rewards and wealth of character.

In the Lens section is a tribute to the seasonal leaf. I selected a palm leaf that I captured at Longwood Gardens. As I layered the foliage, it reminded me of a roadmap, which disclosed connections between this species in the proliferation of life on Earth and its “web of life.”

As the photomontage became a symbol for nature and how it navigates the universe that we inhabit, the realization became a teachable moment. Of course, I comprehend the interdependence of nature and human nature. But there occurred in my completed image a level of confluence and dimensionality of reality that made me pause and pause and pause. In my awareness I could sense the life blood of nature’s abundance and mastery. I could sense the intense power it has over me.

Note: For those of you who are devotees to species that roam our earth, Joel Sartore, a noted National Geographic photographer, has produced a book, Photo Ark, to document them. Here are excerpts from Sartore’s website and National Geographic. “Joel Sartore is an award-winning photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, National Geographic fellow, and regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. Joel specializes in documenting endangered species and landscapes around the world. He is the founder of the Photo Ark, a 25-year documentary project to save species and habitat. “It is folly to think that we can destroy one species and ecosystem after another and not affect humanity,” he says. “When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.” Joel and the Photo Ark will be the subjects of RARE, a three-part series airing this summer on PBS.” Hope that you can view the documentary and/or purchase his book, which is a masterpiece of nature’s majesty.





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

42 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in an Age of Uncertainty – No. 5 (Palm Leaf Photomontage)

  1. Fascinating capture and technique, Sally. Well done. 🙂

  2. I loved that apotheosis of reticulation!!!

  3. Tina Schell says:

    Love that you included the link to Joel, Sally, a personal hero. Also enjoyed your text, well said. And of course, as always, your photo.

  4. Let’s call your picture an apotheosis of reticulation.

  5. thirdeyemom says:

    Lovely photomontage Sally! I agree that I find so much solace and relaxation in nature.

  6. Virginia Duran says:

    I just realized that most of your pictures (if not all?) are from your own garden!

  7. I love the richness of the green and the beautiful details on this image-it invites you in for a closer look and is somewhat soothing-at least for me-

  8. Angeline M says:

    Sally, this is as fascinating as it is beautiful. A roadmap of freeways leading in all directions. Nature is indeed the ultimate oracle.

  9. Leya says:

    A brain…a roadmap – brilliant.

  10. Really, lovely photomontage, great.

  11. pattimoed says:

    Hi, Sally. I love your “web of life!” Gorgeous composition, color, and intricate detail. This one really is “spot on.”

  12. Nico says:


  13. Great montage! It looks like the way I would the see the earth for out of space.

  14. Amy says:

    Beautifully done. It does symbolize the chaos we are facing…

  15. restlessjo says:

    The palm shot is incredible, Sally! You always have something interesting to share. 🙂 🙂

  16. Su Leslie says:

    I love this image Sally. It has a similar effect on me as it does you. I feel caught up in the thread that connects the micro and the macro: the small details of an individual life with the landscape of all nature.

    • Su, your response makes me aware of the benefits of the blogging life. We meet people who are interconnected with us and yet would never ever meet otherwise. I’m humbled by your response. Thanks so much.

      • Su Leslie says:

        Thank you so much Sally. You are right; so much of my photographic practice has been informed by your work, and by others’ work that you’ve referenced. The connection that means that your ideas speak to me is quite strong. For that I am very grateful.

      • Su, I’m grateful for our connection. I’m humbled by your comment.

  17. Ah, wonderful montage, Sally, calling to mind the many roads and unexpected turns of life! Love Joel Sartore’s photos. A true statement: “When we save species, we’re actually saving ourselves.”

  18. Lignum Draco says:

    The photomontage made me think of a roadmap as well, ordered and chaotic at the same time. Quite appropriate for the age of uncertainty. (I was reading about Mr Pruitt in the local paper here.)

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