Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty – No. 51 (Abstract Series #2 – Succulent Leaf Photomontage)

23 July 2018


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed, FX PhotoStudio and Pixlr.

Succulent Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

Succulent Leaf Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

Succulent Photomontage; All Rights Reserved Sally W. Donatello

Succulent Leaf Photomontage; All Rights Reserved Sally W. Donatello

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


Visual abstractions force us to create a storyline, a passable narrative to soothe the mind’s curiosity. From the objective to subjective we dance a few tunes that arise during the first sighting. Then we settle into a curious exercise of what if…

I’ve been circling for weeks around the notion of nature’s fortitude and solidarity with infinite examples of the non-representational. It’s seems counterintuitive: nature represents the non-human species of the earth, and they are very much definable as visually recognizable beings.

And yet everywhere there are abstractions that entice and mesmerize the imagination. So I’ve been experimenting with my own notion of abstraction, and how it surfaces as I gaze upon Mother Nature.

Mostly, I’m using the luminosity of light to create what became (in the Lens section) an otherworldly effect. Two images of a succulent leaf beam with its surface patterns and show how one can isolate parts of the whole to make them disconnected with their real life meaning and purpose.

Then they inherit a space that is a different language–language that binds imagery with the unknown. We can imagine the subject, even as it has disappeared.

The final image can be simpler and more complex, depending on the elements emphasized. But usually the result calls upon the viewer’s emotional response, pushing the senses to rise up.

As time marches through a seasonal cadence, I am pledged to continue this quest. The abstract is nurturing a certain part of my spirit, and the experimentation takes me on my own abstract journey. And in this age of uncertainty that is a safe place to be.


For as long as I have been a devotee to nature I have been enamored by hummingbirds. I have spent decades creating gardens to lure them, to provide their favorite trump-shaped flowers. Every April I await their return, and the first glance exhilarates each and every time. There is magic and elation in their presence.

So I should not have been surprised to learn that they are a keystone species. As other pollinators, they serve a vital role in the ecological balance of our planet. Many other species are dependent on their existence. It’s comforting to have them return every year to dine upon my menu of flowers and vegetables.

Visit the National Geographic website to learn more about keystone species. They define the moniker: “A keystone species is an organism that helps define an entire ecosystem. Without its keystone species, the ecosystem would be dramatically different or cease to exist altogether.”

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

18 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in the Age of Uncertainty – No. 51 (Abstract Series #2 – Succulent Leaf Photomontage)

  1. The way you have made the succulent leaf into an abstraction really appeals to me. Beautiful images, once again, Sally.

  2. prior.. says:

    Thanks for giving us the definition of keystone species and not having us leave to read it – that was nice – and thanks for the new term
    Also – I like the first image most

  3. Sally, your amazing eye continues to amaze and delight. Thank you.

  4. Tina Schell says:

    I think I favor the B&W this week Sally – it leaves much to the imagination (no pun intended!) and seems almost molecular in nature. Also thanks for the keystone explanation. Must admit I’d not heard of it. Amazing that the hummingbird makes the list!

  5. Gallivanta says:

    It must be lovely to see the hummingbirds return each year. Very reassuring.

  6. That first shot reminds me of a snake skin or a hummingbird. Such deep, rich colors.


  7. I like the colors in this first one, Sally. I must say, my first thought was of a close-up of a prehistoric animal’s skin (read dinosaur!). The second made me think I was looking at something under a microscope! Yes, my mind is running away with me again! LOL!
    I, too, think hummingbirds are fascinating little creatures!

  8. Your B&W photo looks almost like an electron microscope image of some type of matter. Thanks for the link to the National Geographic article. I’m not yet up on keystone species and I look forward to learning something new today.

  9. pattimoed says:

    Fascinating, Sally. I didn’t know about keystone species. The abstract in b and w is really intriguing and inspires me to dive deeper into the image! 😊

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