Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 10)

10 December 2018


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr.

Floral Photomontage, Longwood Gardens; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

Floral Photomontage, Longwood Gardens; All Rights Reserved 2018 Sally W. Donatello

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

Pens: The celebration of Mother Nature and her diverse progeny are bountiful at one of our national treasures, Longwood Gardens. And the winter holidays always inspires displays that entertain and mesmerize.

We’ve had unseasonably cold weather for weeks, and days are less and less lit, but sunsets seem to replace the exhilaration usually from longer sunlit days. To cheer my mood and get an infusion of grandeur, I visited Longwood Gardens last week. Their holiday exhibits were perfect: a less ostentatious approach, more minimalistic, illuminating poinsettias and other holiday plantings with numerous varieties.

But as I wove in and out of groups of visitors, I was star struck by the discovery of tree trunks of Banana plants. I have been to this world-renown destination numerous times a year for decades, and I have never fixated on these intriguing plants, really trees.

What drew me to those tropicals, while fanfare of the holiday season was beautifully interspersed within their permanent collection? These wondrous plants hidden and in plain sight drew my attention with the skin of their trunks: true examples of nature’s abstract artistry. Each tree, aged and anywhere from six to eight feet tall, screamed with swatches of tones ranging from greens to browns to blacks. It’s as if Mother Nature sat patiently painting horizontal bans of color with free-form gestures. I was captivated.

The real question is : How was I diverted from holiday decoration to the calm swaths of nature’s coloration? I felt as though I was the only one in the Conservatory who was admiring elderly representatives of their collection. But their majesty rests with a few images that simply do not do justice to my memory.

In the Lens section is a photomontage of two holiday jewels combined into one: Poinsettia ‘Euphorbia’ and Authrium ‘Anthbasawa.” The composite image exudes the emotions of the entire holiday exhibition. As I left the grounds, my spirit rejuvenated, a light snow escorted me on the hour-long ride home. The unexpected gift was another gem that added to a morning filled with memorable surprises and nature’s strong grip on my senses.


For a poignant presentation about how each of us can learn to see the world afresh, view Amy Herman’s TED Talk titled “A Lesson in Looking.” Click here for the 12:59 minute video.

Here is an excerpt: “I have been mining the world of art to help people across the professional spectrum to see the extraordinary in the everyday, to articulate what is absent and to be able to inspire creativity and innovation, no matter how small. And most importantly, to forge human connections where they may not be apparent, empowering us all to see our work and the world writ large with a new set of eyes.” 

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24 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 10)

  1. Tina Schell says:

    Loved your image this week Sally, very festive. But I was hoping you’d post some of the banana plants!

  2. Amy says:

    Beautifully done, Sally! I visited the Christmas exhibits of the Longwood Gardens a few years ago, it was fabulous. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 10) — Lens and Pens by Sally – selvipriya

  4. Botanically speaking, a banana “tree” isn’t a tree:

    Of course we don’t have to be technically botanical in our regular lives.

  5. Lignum Draco says:

    It sounds like a wonderful experience at the Gardens and you were well and truly lost in its beauty. Love the photomontage. The colours, textures and dynamism.

  6. I love your photomontage this week. Purple anything is always a welcome sight. I look forward to seeing some photos of your Bananarama time.

  7. Su Leslie says:

    Lovely shot. Thanks for the Amy Herman link 😀

  8. Angeline M says:

    I love the layers and colors of your photo montage, Sally; truly glorious. And I can hardly wait to carve out a little time to listen to that Ted talk today, thanks for that.

  9. Prior... says:

    Beautiful photo and I will listen to the TED talk later – thanks S, and wishing you a great week ahead 😉

  10. Tish Farrell says:

    This photomontage makes me think of stained glass or delicately painted silk. Lovely. As to ways of seeing, and if you can see it in the US, you might like the David Hockney interview on YouTube showing work for his Royal Academy exhibition:

  11. pattimoed says:

    Gorgeous shapes and colors in your image this week, Sally! I love how you discovered the real natural jewels of the banana plant amidst the man-made artificial glitter of the season!

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