Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in an Age of Uncertainty: No. 20 (Chrysanthemum Photomontage)

20 November 2017


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

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

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

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


Life has rhythmic patterns in what we do, feel and see. Those repetitions can be especially prevalent in our senses: black and white, color, gray areas of our sensibilities and thoughts. Nature has a cunning way to lure us and emphasize these experiences, giving a particular point of view of life and its limitless possibilities.

While strolling through Longwood Gardens and its annual Chrysanthemum Festival, the notion of being entirely surrounded by floral enticement easily whisked me into a quiet and tranquil place. Whether single or multiple designs, the displays ignored any of the world’s ills. Yes, the woes of reality dissipated.

Forms, shapes and execution are one of the most engaging of the last few years. There was a definite leap in creativity and visual appeal. The Conservatory was aglow with blooms that cascade, spiral, stand upright, rise towards the light, or dance with one’s imagination. Hanging baskets were bursting with a variety of mums. One area had small brightly yellow loops of button chrysanthemums that stagger the senses. They would have made a lovely garland for any occasion.

Each display seem to guard against the outside world. I could barely ask for more.

The image in the Lens section represents my interpretation: two images that combine to become even more alive with sensuality and technicolor. There is a sense of disguise, hands lifted to cover one’s face. And that’s how I felt as though I could mask the outside, and at the same time become deeply appreciative of the salute to autumnal chrysanthemums.

********** The Festival ended yesterday, but you can amble through this world-class horticultural treasure here.


British falconer Helen MacDonald is widely known for her book, H is for Hawk (2014), which won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Nonfiction 2014. After the publication of this  rhythmic, riveting and seminal memoir about her response to her father’s sudden death, the book became a classic of nature writing. Even after I devoured the book, her additional work, which includes other books and articles, began to appear in The New York Times, and sealed my admiration. Through her strongly emotional and lyrical prose it’s clear that she reveres nature. H is for Hawk chronicles how she “fled from humanity” and raised a goshawk, who she named Mabel, to ease her loss. And now there is a video on PBS that covers her latest experience with a young goshawk. This time she says the training of this wild creature is “my wings to somewhere new.” Click here to view Macdonald’s latest step into falconry. Her story is a celebration of how nature can challenge and heal. These birds of prey become her hunting partners as well as companions. It’s an extraordinary peek into the wild, and the bond that can be created between nature and human nature.

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

26 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in an Age of Uncertainty: No. 20 (Chrysanthemum Photomontage)

  1. prior.. says:

    the flower is wonderful and almost like those petals are arms! and the flower is looking….
    also – the Chrysanthemum Festival sounds great and that book, H is for Hawk, is now on my list to read in 2018

  2. Tina Schell says:

    You’ve addressed two of my very favorite things this week Sally – Longwood Gardens which I loved when I lived nearby, and H is for Hawk, a favorite novel. Lovely interpretation in your montage this week as well – love the hands over the face comment.

  3. smilecalm says:

    thanks for the bright
    warm lesson 🙂

  4. Amy says:

    The process is incredibly beautiful! I really enjoy the cheerful bright color.
    Thank you for sharing with us, Sally.

  5. Angeline M says:

    Your photo is beautiful. Even before reading your narrative my first thought was the flower shielding it’s face. Maybe from the world?
    Thanks for the information on Helen MacDonald; I will definitely need to look for the book you mention, and PBS.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. restlessjo says:

    A shy ‘Mum’ 🙂 🙂 I like it, Sally.

  7. pattimoed says:

    Wonderful post, Sally. I love the image as well as your description of H is for Hawk. I will check it out.

  8. Allan G. Smorra says:

    A beautiful photo skillfully edited, Sally. Such a lovely shade of yellow.

  9. Lignum Draco says:

    I can certainly imagine you were in another world in that environment, Sally. A world of wonder, beauty and joy.

  10. That is a lovely photo – full of sunshine. 🙂

  11. So beautiful, Sally! Yellow is such a cheerful color! The petals seem to reach out and pull you in! Well done! 🙂

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