Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 12 (Coneflower Photomontage)

18 September 2017


Taken in Polamatic and edited in Snapseed, Pixlr, Stackables, and PhotoStudioHD.

Coneflower Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Coneflower Photomontage; 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.


In less than a week autumn will be official. Throughout the summer one floral star and a diminutive bird have been preparing for their most serious duty. Both have been ablaze for much of the season. But in August and September the flower and the bird perform their high wire acts: acts that are aimed at a late breeding season, nest-building and feeding.

Nature provides a sweet tale of this duo: the medicinal coneflower (Echinacea) and the sunny-yellow and night-black diminutive American goldfinch. Once the babies are born, seed heads become the center of the goldfinch’s daily existence. While tiny in size its visual impressions captivate, especially the male’s showy plumage. Paramount to mating is its brightly seductive coloration that woos the female, and humans cannot help gazing at the brush strokes of color.

Nature creates symbiotic relationships and certainly these two perform a duet that brings visual grace to the landscape. While the spritely aviators wait to nest until June or July when fibrous seeds are aplenty, the coneflower is readying itself with stately flowers most of summer’s days.

In my gardens I give ample space to a variety of native coneflowers (commonly called purple coneflower): ranging from white to pink to red, short and tall. Other thistle plants (e.g., milkweed and nyjer) also lure goldfinches. I’ve never seen any other bird imbibe upon the Echinacea’s nine species. It seems the sun-gold birds have priority.

In the Lens section is one variety of native coneflower with its startling and unique flower head, eloquent petals, and intensely lime-colored stem. It does everything to call attention to its presence and is rewarded for its efforts. These perennial daisy lookalikes charm with their long-lasting blooms, and even intrigue in their dried state with spiky needle-like seeds. They are true summer and autumn jewels, and in their dried stage stay on the landscape throughout the winter to serve as more food for the year-round goldfinches. Truly, this duo is a sampling of synergy and symbiosis in nature.


The environmental anxiety artist, Justin Brice Guariglia, has garnered my respect. It’s not just that he has donned himself with that bold description. More importantly, his work pays tribute and honors nature. Guariglia’s art tells the story of human intervention as it relates to the health and well-being of Mother Earth. Still, his moniker gives meaning to how many feel who create, and so strongly want to have more meaning through image making.

Mr. Guariglia’s art is multi-tiered. His large mixed media images create his vision of the physical world and climate change. Through art history, journalism, politics and science, he uses his art to tell  the ecological story of the Earth in present day time. His mission became clearer after he joined a NASA project in 2015 that recorded aerial views of Greenland.

His new exhibition titled “Earth Works: Mapping the Anthropocene” is being held at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA, (through 07 January 2018), and shows his large works that evoke topography through various techniques. He says his images are “somewhere between a photograph and a painting.”

View his website to see his work that is very much about art as a vehicle for climate education. His abstract images also are a vehicle to tell the story of nature’s fragility.

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28 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 12 (Coneflower Photomontage)

  1. smilecalm says:

    somehow generates empathy
    for nature and moving
    into our autumn 🙂

  2. Tina Schell says:

    Lovely composition Sally – a bit different this week!

  3. Amy says:

    So beautifully expressed with your photo and pens. Love to hear about your garden. 🙂
    Gorgeous color of the flower.

  4. Amazing colours and such a beautiful composite composition.

  5. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I love the colors as well as your images this week, Sally. The multi-angle views remind me of the old TV show, 24, and their use of multiple onscreen “windows”.

  6. No one can write about Nature as beautifully as you do.

  7. Hadn’t heard of Guariglia. In addition to your link I found this:

    His work with glaciers brings back parts of my just-returned-from trip to the Canadian Rockies, where I saw a bunch of glaciers. That’s a relatively convenient place to go if you want easy access to some (in contrast to flying halfway around the world to see my first glacier in New Zealand in February).

  8. It’s a lovely montage Sally. I love the different angles you’ve chosen to show the beauty of the flower.

  9. restlessjo says:

    The cone flowers are beautiful, Sally. I didn’t know of their relationship with the birds. Good to know that you can watch them in your garden and gain some solace. 🙂 🙂

  10. Where, oh, where, has summer gotten off to? Although we’re having beautiful weather now, I do keep looking for the hills to become dressed in their fall multi-colored coat! Love your photo, Sally. Love the colors and the different views. Have a beautiful week!

  11. Sally, I like this montage very much. The color of the flower/s is deep and beautiful, playing off perfectly against the black background. I like seeing the two other angles and I like the framing. What else is there? 🙂 As the coneflowers I have in my little perennial garden are short, I’m imagining myself plastered to the ground trying to get a POV like yours here. 🙂 Happy Monday!


  12. Archita says:

    Such a beautiful note about about autumn, Sally. Loved every photograph too 🍂🍁

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