Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 9)

03 December 2018


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr.

Autumn Refraction, Collage; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

Autumn Refraction, 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.


Mysterious, mesmerizing, enchanting—words that hint at the sense of awe I experience each autumn as the sun moves with a cadence downward in the sky. That change creates many effects, including unfortunately days of less sunlight. But there is one that appears annually that always, always astonishes, seduces and surprises my inner response.

This phenomenon provides tender moments of quiet and sanctuary. The effects translate into ghost-like refractions that land with an ethereal wonder upon the same place every late autumn. The interior wall where is appears serves as a blank canvas for nature’s art. And it only happens because the sun has moved lower in the sky.

In the Lens section is an example that I discovered this week, sitting comfortably and suddenly noticing the dance of light. Late morning these ethereal images move in and out of time. Their magician-like appearances create illusions, and their longevity is brief as if reality is a fantasy.


The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World (2015) was one of The New York Times ten best books for 2015. Humboldt (1769-1859) was a naturalist and scientist. Andrea Wulf won numerous awards for this contribution to nature writing. Among the prizes that she received for the publication include: Winner of Royal Society Science Book Prize 2016; Winner of Costa Biography Award 2015; Winner of  Acqui Storia Award 2017 (Italy); Winner of the Inaugural James Wright Award for Nature Writing (Kenyon Review & Nature Conservancy) 2016; Winner of LA Times Book Prize 2016 (Science & Technology); Winner of Dingle Prize British Society for the History of Science 2017; 2016.Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award (SONWA).

Here are some short comments about this well-received book:

“Andrea Wulf reclaims Humboldt from the obscurity that has enveloped him. . . . [She] is as enthusiastic as her subject. . . . Vivid and exciting. . . . Wulf’s pulsating account brings this dazzling figure back into a dazzling, much-deserved focus.”
—Matthew Price, The Boston Globe
“[Makes an] urgent argument for Humboldt’s relevance. The Humboldt in these pages is bracingly contemporary; he acts and speaks in the way that a polyglot intellectual from the year 2015 might, were he transported two centuries into the past and set out to enlighten the world’s benighted scientists and political rulers. . . . At times The Invention of Nature reads like pulp explorer fiction, a genre at least partially inspired by Humboldt’s own travelogues. . . . It is impossible to read The Invention of Nature without contracting Humboldt fever. Wulf makes Humboldtians of us all.”
—Nathaniel Rich, New York Review of Books


This entry was posted in Abstraction, Black-and-White Photography, Collage, Digital Art, Mobile Photography, Nature, Nature Photography, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 9)

  1. Tina Schell says:

    I see you’re focused on darkness and light this holiday season Sally. Beautiful thoughts.

  2. Fascinating abstract photos, Sally. Well done. 🙂

  3. I love your autumn thoughts! I find it a hard transition! Beautiful Sally.

  4. Gallivanta says:

    Such a lovely capture of light, Sally. And I enjoyed reading about The Invention of Nature.

  5. Lignum Draco says:

    The beauty of Nature is always awe-inspiring. Thanks for these personal reflections and the artistry, Sally.

  6. pattimoed says:

    Hi, Sally. Lovely images. I guess we are all seeing the images differently! I see them as inkblots…almost like a Rorschach test! I hope all’s well and you’re enjoying the autumn sunshine.

  7. Your images remind me of large x-rays of leaves on a branch. Ethereal indeed.

  8. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been preoccupied recently with fire and its role in our lives, but your autumn refraction images had me thinking of flames dancing. Looking forward to hunting out a copy of Ms. Wulf’s work.

  9. Angeline M says:

    I have to say I like both photos, Sally. They remind me of sparks of fire; and then I think, how appropriate for the autumnal reds so present right now out here in California, and what I saw in the PNW.

  10. Amy says:

    It only happens because the sun has moved lower in the sky. Amazing capture, Sally!
    Reality is a fantasy, wow… Thank you for sharing.

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