Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 2)

08 October 2018


Taken in Polamatic. Edited in Snapseed and Pixlr.

Coexistence #2, Crepe Myrtle Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

Coexistence #2, Crepe Myrtle (‘Fantasy’) Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

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


Every day reality and variations on its theme can give us pause, concern or deep angst. Often the mind’s eye sees less and sometimes more of what the universe provides. The continuum between illusion, subject and mystery can be become apparent or hide forever.

Abstraction folds and enfolds ideas that seemingly are less defined by the eye. But the mind can interpret and re-interpret an expansive non-representational image. The same elements that we interpret a realistic photograph also are found in abstract photography.

To parallel nature is to see the range of what she offers. The pure image with its layers of 2-D and 3-D recognizable qualities can beguile. And the abstract can equally impress the synapses, allowing them to imagine various scenarios. One sees with new perspective and the mind invents subjects where there are none. The joy is in the discovery, the mind being free to flow itself into unknown territory.

Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia fauriei ‘Fantasy) is a stunning tree with bark that sheds in autumn. Those natural shavings curl and fold as they drape and hang onto the tree’s trunk. Their appeal, especially in the full force of the setting sun’s glow, is radiant colors that fill the spectrum from pink, orange, grayish white, and black (shadows). Each adds to the visual dance, which captured my attention one late afternoon last week. It’s an abstract performance that must be appreciated.

The image in the Lens section is my attempt to build a more intense abstraction from the bark’s colors and shapes. Colors deepen and form morphs. While the mind roams, interpretation is limitless. Or one can simple be with the reality, basking in the layers of the tree’s magic.

This photomontage repeats one of my ongoing themes: out of the dark layers of the real comes the light of hope. I wish with all my heart that the powers that are destroying more of our sacred earth could see the reality of their assault. That they would wake up and have an epiphany of what is truly important: the bond and partnership between nature and human nature that urgently must continue.


“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.”

Aldo Leopold (1887-1948), who was a biologist and conservationist, in the 1940s said, “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” His views were part of the initial ecological movement. Today scientists use resilience (instead of stability) to define that relationship. Leopold’s philosophy also applies to human communities: their beauty, integrity and resilience. To learn more about Leopold’s philosophy, read his most influential book, A Sand County Almanac (1949) and a sundry of other books about his call for humanity to develop a land ethic. In 1999 For the Health of the Land was published. It released previously unpublished essays and other writings. His work strongly resonates in light of today’s critical concerns about climate change.


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

24 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 2)

  1. Tiny says:

    Love the abstract of nature, Sally! And the notion that from the dark layers light and hope emerge.

  2. Tina Schell says:

    Crepe Myrtle was my dad’s favorite tree Sally and we have many here on Kiawah. Some fond associations for me. Your photo this week is quite striking, as is (unfortunately) the current storm cycle which illustrates so vividly what we are doing to our planet. Hoping against hope we are not yet past the point of no return.

  3. “The continuum between illusion, subject and mystery can become apparent or hide forever.” I’ve been thinking about this as well and the ways in which we have trouble dealing with the mystery of what is hidden. I’ve never seen (or perhaps not noticed) crepe myrtle before, but your “Coexistence (No. 2)” makes me hope I’ll get to witness this visual dance of which you speak.

  4. I love the colors in your photomontage this week, Sally. Our town is getting ready to remove and replace the ailing Dutch Elm trees in the medians. Many of the new trees will be Crepe Myrtles. I am looking forward to seeing them in all their glory after reading this post.

  5. pattimoed says:

    Lovely image and thoughts, Sally. I love the intense colors in the montage. We’re hiking this week in the Berkshires and I keep wondering about the impact of climate change on this beautiful places.

  6. I would never had known it was from nature, Sally, if you hadn’t said so (or if I didn’t know the basis of your work.) I love the deep, rich colors.


  7. Lignum Draco says:

    Beautiful montage, Sally. From dark comes light, hopefully.
    You probably saw the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report, released in the last 24 hours or so. The Australian Government has already rejected it.

  8. Ulli says:

    This is an amazing work, Sally, love this a lot!
    All the best, Ulli

  9. Amy says:

    … basking in the layers of the tree’s magic, indeed. Beautifully done, Sally!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s