Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in an Age of Uncertainty – No. 52 (Maple Leaf Collage)

30 July 2018


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

Maple Leaf Collage; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

Maple Leaf Collage; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

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


July has become unpredictable. I live in the Mid-Atlantic on the East Coast of the USA, and traditionally this month (midway through summer) has always been hot and humid. It also tends to be dry, dry, dry. In the last few years the heat has intensified even more in August, and on a sunny day miserable is more than a descriptor.

Climate change and this month’s weather patterns have tossed any generalization into the stratosphere. In the last two weeks we’ve had daily rain, mostly pop-up storms. But severe thunderstorms also have persisted. To add to this unexpected shift, temps have swung downward to the low 80s, accompanied by high humidity. I feel as though I am living in the tropics.

While gardens are flourishing, we desperately need the sun to cast its magic. With excess rain comes premature dropping of leaves, mold and tomato-end rot. And the other day as I labored over cast offs, I found myself spying on a unique summer sighting: a maple leaf that had already lost some of its pizzazz, color dissipated and hues of autumn prevailed.

It stunned my visual senses. It sparked an instantaneous response, and I experienced a luxurious celebration of nature’s artistry and surprises.

Sometimes what you see in the natural world is unto itself perfection, perfection in the moment and the gaze. That’s exactly what happened. Even with the circumstances of the leaf’s demise, I found elation.


“I’ve started keeping an eye out for what others have in their years.”

Yesterday I read a charming article by Jan Benzel (The New York Times, 29 July 2018) who speaks to how her inner gardener was coaxed to emerge. “Confessions of a Late-Blooming Gardener” shares the metamorphosis of a city dweller “into a life with plants and trowels.” It’s a sweet article about how she was converted to the gardening life. You can read it here.





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28 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography in an Age of Uncertainty – No. 52 (Maple Leaf Collage)

  1. What is happening with the climate is indeed beyond any predictability—predictably so. Love your composite photo of perfect nature.

  2. I liked the way you captured the leaf-tear in each shot. I had to look carefully to see how they were different. I liked the third one best, primarily for the more complex colors, or perhaps better said, same colors in a more complex scene.

  3. prior.. says:

    Hi – sharing that mid-Atlantic rain with ya!
    I actually supplemneted with vitamin d near the end of last month – and I NEVER do that in summer –
    The article
    Sounds interesting –

  4. What beautiful thoughts and I love all three!

  5. thirdeyemom says:

    Beautiful and reflective as always Sally. It has been a strange summer for us too. My garden is going crazy with blooms everywhere yet the water levels are going down. Will see what August brings.

  6. Gallivanta says:

    I enjoyed the article in the link, especially the final line, ‘I feel planted’. The photo montage makes me feel as though the plant is in pain.

    • Thanks for your comment, and I guess that is the beauty of individual perspective. I see the leaf as entering (prematurely) another phase where it gives back as it becomes less a leaf and more food for earth.

  7. Topsy-turvy times, Sally. We have Azaleas blooming this week. I like the first photo of the Maple leaf. It’s reminds me of a crooked finger and the white background accentuates the physical changes taking place in the tree.

  8. Angeline M says:

    I love all three photos, the green areas with highlighted veins make me think of life still coursing through the leaf, even if only partially. Beautiful.

  9. Su Leslie says:

    Lovely post Sally. Your leaf is beautiful; delicate and powerful at the same time.

  10. It’s an interesting and lovely collage, Sally. And you are so right about the weather — so unpredictable! Your leaf photos are lovely but I’m one who is not ready for the falling leaves and colder temps! 😉

  11. restlessjo says:

    My husband tends to do most of our garden work, Sally. I wander around giving encouragement to my zucchini plant and ridding clematis of wizened petals and leaves. 🙂 🙂 The tear in your maple leaf makes it look so vulnerable.

    • Jo, your comment mirrors the fragility of Mother Nature in the face of our assault on the planet. Every garden is a pledge to give back, reduce cement, urban/suburban/rural development, and build green spaces.

  12. pattimoed says:

    There are no constants in nature–now more than ever. I want to thank you for the recommendation of The Understory. I’m reading it now and I’m astonished by his prose. You remind me that it’s important to hone our senses and let our emotions roam free so we always keep ourselves open to the wonder of the natural world.

  13. Lignum Draco says:

    A beautiful description about finding perfection and beauty in the moment, Sally. Lovely artwork.

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