Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 31 (Cymbidium Orchids Photo Collage)

12 February 2018

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

Cymbidium Orchid Photo Collage, Longwood Gardens; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

Cymbidium Orchid Photo Collage, Longwood Gardens; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

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


Whether I need to raise my mood or simply bask in the reverie of life, I take frequent visits to one of my country’s horticultural jewels, which always, always heightens my day. Longwood Gardens offers year-round special exhibitions and performances, but honestly every journey has its extraordinary memories.

This historic site is the legacy of Pierre du Pont, and has been bringing untold joy to countless worldwide visitors since the early decades of the twentieth century. I am particularly fortunate to be able to stroll through its conservatory and grounds, which is a forty-five minute drive through lush countryside. I pass historic sites and small towns, reminding me of the history that bridges my home state Delaware and nearby Pennsylvania. The drive alone is calming and nurturing, creating a pre-mood.

Last week I took myself to the gardens for the Orchid Extravaganza, one of their signature events. Long ago I stuffed anticipation back onto its page of the dictionary. My personality holds onto the notion that daily adventures will bring me a range of emotion and insights that vary with ridiculously rich, mild and tricky results. So Longwood’s latest exhibition would give me whatever I could “see” with open eyes and quiet heart.

The day’s chill had me briskly enter the Conservatory where large containers of white orchids basked against the morning light. That greeting set up the experience of sighting scores of cymbidium orchids, which seemed as though tiny floats of whites and pink and purples that dazzled the senses.

As I pondered the design of the exhibition’s features, I realized that displays were asking me to move as close to each flower as possible. The set-up allowed that macro view, and it also allowed for some remarkable discoveries.

One cannot really “see” the inner core of a flower’s offering from a distance. It takes a spy to realize the unique beauty held by each floral beauty.

In the Lens section is a photo collage of four captures of those cymbidium orchids. This diminutive orchid gives pause for its depth of soft and intense hues. While a straight-on view reveals splendor, I find various angles uncovers spiritual aspects of its form and structure—form and structure that cannot be appreciated by gazing only into its facial features.

Cymbidiums wield tropical splendor that plays with the notion of high maintenance. Being able to savor the laborious work of Longwood Gardens’ staff is one of the benefits of their proximity to my home.

No matter how often I visit their splendrous offerings, my gratitude overflows with abundant appreciation—appreciation that continues to manifest itself days after each excursion.


Since the internet provides the opportunity to see places we might not ever visit, those of you who cannot travel to Longwood Gardens can view its wonders on their website.This national treasure has much to offer and no matter how many times I have, there is always a lesson of profound stirring of the heart and soul. While that is hard to find virtually, one can get a sense of the magic that the gardens provide, both inside and out.

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22 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 31 (Cymbidium Orchids Photo Collage)

  1. Tina Schell says:

    One of the things I miss from my time in Philadelphia Sally. It truly is a magical place.

  2. I can see why visiting Longwood Gardens would lift your spirit. Such amazing details of beautiful flowers you have captured there. Feel inspiring for me, too.

  3. Cristina says:

    They are so beautiful Sally! Have a great day! 🙂

  4. pattimoed says:

    These colors are spectacular! A beautiful collection, Sally. Hope you have a great week. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  5. I love orchids, Sally, and these are beauties!


  6. Su Leslie says:

    Delicious images Sally. I love orchids, and your montage has provided a wonderful burst of colour on an otherwise very grey day.

  7. Stunning orchids….like my father used to grow. Thinking about him today.

  8. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I love your montage, Sally. The 4 quick looks are what I would expect if I were to view the orchid in person. The closeups are lovely and you are correct, there is so much to ponder and see.

  9. Beautiful, Sally! Have a wonderful week and a happy Valenetine’s Day! 🙂

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