Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 13) with Trees (Series 1, No. 2)

14 January 2019


Taken in Polamatic and edited in Snapseed and Pixlr.

Simplicity Photomontage; Sally W. Donatello, 2019 All Rights Reserved

Young Tree, Nature Photomontage; Sally W. Donatello, 2019 All Rights Reserved

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


Photo manipulation has been part of my aesthetics for decades. Years ago I was immersed in Poloroid’s SX-70 Camera, I spent countless hours manipulating the surface of those magical images. When the film was no longer available, my creative energies were given a major jolt. As many, I recovered. When The Impossible Project came to the rescue, I brought out my cameras. But the film has never equaled the original.

Over the last year I began to experiment on my iPhone with Photomontage, a technique that has given me the creative space that in teeny tiny ways mimics the Polaroid experience, at least the emotional high. Often I combine variations of these apps: Camera+, Polamatic, Snapseed and Pixlr. The Pixlr allows me to play with double exposure, giving me the unexpected excitement of the SX-70 film and surface manipulation.

While results do not create the magic of an original Polaroid image, I am given a new kind of canvas to fill. This canvas seems to appease a creative need. With Pixlr as a permanent app in my toolkit, I plan to experiment with others.

My aesthetic goal remains constant. To show how nature and human nature interconnect; how nature’s majesty is paramount to my own well being; record the omniscience of nature;  speak on behalf of Mother Nature; and, express my reverence for the natural world and its ability to sustain life, all life. So in the New Year I continue to use composite images to illuminate nature in all her splendor, to revel in her spell upon my inner aesthetic  journey.

In the Lens section is my second in the series about trees and their coexistence with human nature. This interpretation is from Henry David Thoreau’s poignant words: “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” This emphasis on one word and its strength to prevail has been a guidepost of my philosophy and spirit.

The image is a reflection of nature’s swing from complex to sparse. It was taken in early afternoon against a wintry sun’s caress, but I wanted to show its quiet beauty through a background that evokes the dark of night. The dark background allows the viewer to appreciate the youth of the tree, and how it is lit with possibilities yet to be realized.


Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), American naturalist and writer:

“All good things are wild, and free.”

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

“The world is but a canvas for our imagination.”

“I should be glad if all the meadows on the earth were left in a wild state, if that were the consequence of men’s beginning to redeem themselves.”


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16 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 13) with Trees (Series 1, No. 2)

  1. I really like how it combines to form the light and dark shadows, Sally. I’m happy to see your art productions again (my absence, not yours!).

  2. Amy says:

    I don’t know much about the Photo manipulation, do know it takes a lot of effort and requires fine art background to get the result like you have produced. :).

  3. I like this image and your reflections on Polaroid film, Sally. This tree reminds me of one that is illuminated by random ambient light sources, a bit of an X-Files vibe, if you will.

    I used to experiment with manipulating Polaroid images and making transfers onto watercolor paper. The first time I saw a Hipstamatic image I was reminded of my Polaroid experiences and fell in love with the app. The Wheel of Time spins and everything old is new again.

    Happy Monday,

    • Allan, such nostalgia, I know that you fell “in like” with Hipstamatic. I played with it and somehow got distracted with Polamatic. Will eventually revisit it. And yes, there is that repeated cycle that we witness as we grow and evolve. See you soon. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  4. pattimoed says:

    Gorgeous image, Sally. I love its simplicity and hopefulness.

  5. Su Leslie says:

    So much said in simplicity Sally

  6. I like that this image combines recognizable (the top) with unrecognizable (the bottom). Abstract in a way, but not completely abstract.

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