Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 43 – Abstraction #2 Photomontage

14 May 2018


Abstraction Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

Abstraction Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello


Abstraction Photomontage #2 ; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

Abstraction Photomontage #2 ; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

Click onto each image to enlarge. Let me know which you prefer. Prints are available upon request.


As I passed the climbing hydrangea that has become a jewel on my front entrance, there was a dried flower from last autumn. That remainder from last year’s garden is a showy remnant. This native plant’s flowers are an apt example of how nature inspires human nature. The lace-like delicacy could easily encourage embroidery or lace work. The cluster of tiny flowers within the web-like flower spread outward with spaces for light to illuminate its design elements. It will be weeks before this year’s blooms appear in full regalia.

Meanwhile this one precious reminder will do. This climbing hydrangea quietly mesmerizes, and is one of few that will not harm the surface on which it clings. Its leaves are deep emerald and nearly heart shape. As a slow grower, it is manageable and easy to control and maintain. After six or more years it has spread as though wings opening the path to my home. It’s quite an emblem of Mother Nature’s presence.

That one leftover flower enchants and forecasts. In their full display they have tiny white flowers that are like a miniature winged bouquet. They cast a spell fresh or dried. Their resemblance to lace encourages the imagination. Even in their fragile appearance it survived a cold, cold winter to introduce this year’s spray of posies.

These signature florets of this native hydrangea is another symbol of spring’s verdant and continuous flourishing. Recent rain’s intermittent bathing of new and renewed life gives me pause. It lifts the cloud of political upheaval, and adds to spring’s many invigorating qualities, qualities that are ever-changing and evergreen.

While this hydrangea is eloquent in its dried state, it was not photogenic. No matter the effort to show what the mind interprets, it did not translate into a photograph. But it inspired me to revisit last week’s abstraction, and create another photomontage to show that while nature can be precise, she also has many sides that encourage circular responses.

Whimsy is just as cunning as an exact expression. So I offer you another impression of that reality, and with it I give you a way to see the hydrangea that floats through my thoughts. And in those imaginative moments it becomes a floral dream of Mother Nature’s extraordinary kaleidoscopic possibilities.


I’m waiting to receive the highly-praised book, The Overstory (2018), by Richard Powers. Its content bridges nature and human nature through the main protagonist: trees. You can read the review (“The Heroes of This Novel are Centuries Old and 300 Feet Tall” from The New York Times) that describes Powers as “a storyteller of such grand scope that Margaret Atwood was moved to ask: ‘If Powers were an American writer of the 19th century, which writer would he be? He’d probably be the Herman Melville of ‘Moby-Dick.’” If you have not heard of this novel, I urge you to read the review, especially if you are interested in nature’s mysterious and wondrous abilities. I cannot wait to dive into his storytelling that pays tribute to the natural world.

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36 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty: No. 43 – Abstraction #2 Photomontage

  1. DG MARYOGA says:

    Such a hardy and showy vine, Sally. Great Hydrangea species, wonderful your photos. At first sight I thought it was the flower of an ice plant surrounded by succulent leaves,you have amazingly transformed the dried remnant. I’d say that the second one with the darkest patches is more beguiling while in the first, the use of lighting emphasizes more the values of the intricate florets. Superb abstraction photomontage, thrilling your descriptions and thoughts in the pens part.

  2. thirdeyemom says:

    Absolutely stunning Sally! Finally we have flowers here!

  3. dsaquarelles says:

    I like so much the colours!

  4. Tiny says:

    Beautiful montage and I loved your description! Have a great weekend!

  5. Tina Schell says:

    Love your creation this week Sally, and your take of the steadfast hydrangea. The book sounds wonderful, thx for the recommendation

  6. Do you happen to know what species this is, Sally?

  7. Gallivanta says:

    Both montages have beautiful rich colours which I love. I also love the last part of the book review “Even if you’ve never given a thought to the pulp and timber industries, by this book’s last page you will probably wish you weren’t reading it on the macerated, acid-bleached flesh of its protagonists. That’s what a story can do.” The books sounds fascinating.

  8. I just love the colours in these photos. Both are gorgeous, but my personal favourite is the brighter version. 🙂

  9. Su Leslie says:

    Both are equally mesmerising to me Sally. Delightful.

  10. Cristina says:

    Both look awesome Sally ! 🙂

  11. Suzanne says:

    I prefer the lighter image too but the dark one does have a kind of brooding presence.

  12. pattimoed says:

    Hi, Sally. The colors in your 2 images are fabulous! I love the richness of them both, but my favorite is the lighter one. I think it reminds me of the light in springtime. And thanks too for the link to the book. It definitely looks intriguing. I’ll read the review next. Hope all’s well with you! When the rain ends, you’ll have fun discovering the changes in your gardens.

    • Patti, today we have a short reprieve, and the rain begins again tomorrow (forecast for days upon days). Wish that I could spread the wealth of it to the well-needed areas of the country. Let me know if you get the book. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

  13. Jane Lurie says:

    I love all the vibrant hues, Janet. Hard to say, but I think I’m drawn a bit toward the lighter version. Well done on both counts.

  14. Helen C says:

    I like the darker one better, because of the breathing space it provides 😉
    Before reading Janet’s comment, I didn’t see any difference between the two. I didn’t click; I scrolled. And lighting changes somewhat when the same photo scrolled to the top of the monitor, so it was difficult to tell the difference. Clicking works much better 😉
    Have a great day.

  15. I’m with Janet on this one, Sally. I prefer the lighter version today. Possibly due, in part, by the persistent overcast skies this morning. Nice editing on both versions.

  16. Angeline M says:

    Oh, when I clicked on the first photo, and it filled the screen on my iPad, I was in awe at the beauty. I do like this lighter version vs. the darker second one.

  17. As far as I can tell from clicking back and forth, the second abstract is a darker version of the first. I like them both: the richness of the second gives one impression, while the somewhat lighter first conveys a feeling of sunshine and spring/summer. Thanks for the hint about the book. I just put it on hold at our library. 🙂

    Happy Monday.


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