Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 23 (Triptych of Autumn Leaves)

11 December 2017


Taken in Camera+, Polamatic, Snapseed, Stackables and Pixlr.

Autumn Leaves Triptych; All Rights Reserved 2017 Sally W. Donatello

Autumn Leaves Triptych; 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.


The oaks, the last trees in my area to shed their leaves, finally are bare and strutting their glorious bones. It was good timing because, while it’s still autumn by the calendar, the first snow appeared this weekend, and plans to return later this week. And it’s cold, really cold, which makes for reinvention of one’s days, and hibernation becomes quite easy.

Autumn leaves fascinate and tease me. Each reinvents its outward appearance—the original, which becomes the chlorophyll green of spring’s leafing trees, are replaced by subtle to brilliant colorations. The season brings less light and more ways to really see the landscape.

As various colors and shapes spread across lawns, gardens, driveways, roofs, habitats, each changes its status, and the more intriguing they can become. Distinguishable marks surface, colors soften or burst, dehydration changes their designs, decay brings stunning alterations. Some linger with determination.

Sometimes a leaf’s decomposition is a sure thing of beauty, while others are meant for less notoriety. The leaves in the Lens section were collected a few weeks ago. They were pressed, and ready this week to have their portraits taken.

Each drew my attention for some outstanding or quiet quality. Each captures the ambience of autumn, and nature’s clever recycling system. Leaves not only give their life to new ones, but they can benefit in other ways: homes for insects, cover for wintering
plants, compose for next year’s crops. On many levels it’s the circle of life and science in all its intricacies and mysteries.


In the Letter of Recommendation section of the Magazine of The New York Times the article iNaturalist (by Ferris Jabr, published 06 December 2017) caught my attention. It’s subject is as vital today as any day: “Learning the names of our many wild neighbors is an exercise in perspective and empathy.”

Jabr introduces the reader to the website iNaturalist, which has evolved since its first appearance a few years ago. Here is an excerpt from the article.

“iNaturalist is a novel hybrid of artificial intelligence and ceaseless human curiosity. In 2008, Ken-ichi Ueda and several other students at the University of California, Berkeley, founded iNaturalist as an online community for biologists, citizen scientists and people who simply enjoyed observing wildlife. Members helped one another identify species, eventually amassing a database of more than six million labeled photos. When the iNaturalist app was introduced, it was essentially a mobile version of the website. But it has been updated several times, and the current version employs a neural network trained to recognize species using images from the rich library compiled by human user.”

And as informative, “More than an identity, a creature’s name is also a password. It gives you access to entire realms of knowledge about the natural world that would otherwise be inaccessible, because you did not know the right phrase when you went knocking. “Small brown bird” does not have much purchase on Google or in a library, but “house sparrow” (Passer domesticus) will open every relevant portal. The name of the rose is the key to its whole story, to its evolutionary arc and cultural entanglements, to the names and narratives of its many cousins. One discovery inevitably leads to another.”

Hope that you view the entire article found here. It’s worth the read.


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20 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 23 (Triptych of Autumn Leaves)

  1. Very abstract and artistic🙂

  2. Tina Schell says:

    Lovely triptych Sally and as soon as I finish here I’m off to download iNaturalist, thanks!

  3. Lignum Draco says:

    Lovely triptych, Sally. And thanks for the introduction to iNaturalist. It seems like a useful app to have.

  4. I’d read that Times article and I’ve just downloaded the iNaturalist app.

  5. love the triptych and your poetic words!!

  6. Gallivanta says:

    The triptych captures the essence of autumn. Lovely.

  7. A beautiful triptych. Love the simplicity of each frame that combined, give depth and a wider perspective.

  8. Su Leslie says:

    Beautiful portraits of autumn Sally. Thanks for the reference to and information about iNaturalist 🙂

  9. Amy says:

    Beautiful, rich fall colors. Thank you for the pens, Sally. 🙂

  10. Such beautiful color, Sally. I just read a book I think you’d enjoy: “a country year; living the questions” by Sue Hubbell. It’s about her post-divorce year of living in the Ozarks, making a marginal living as a beekeeper and observing and enjoying nature. I really liked it.

    Happy Monday!


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