Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 19) – Orchid Still Life, Longwood Gardens

25 February 2019


Taken in Polamatic and edited in Snapseed and Stackables.

Orchid Still Life, Longwood Gardens; Sally W. Donatello 2019 All Rights Reserved

Orchid Still Life, Longwood Gardens; 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. 


Spring is on the edge of its appearance, and it seems to be accelerating faster toward its presence rather than away from it. Daffodils are inches high. Snowdrops are pushing skyward. And my spirit is on a better trajectory.

At last that “crack in the cosmic universe” has allowed beams of light to cascade across the universe landing in my small world, allowing another spark to radiate through me. The dark has been eased; the bounty of light stretches its harmony and abundance seems possible.

It’s been another warm winter with endless grey and rainy days. As the earth continues its dance, the sun rises higher and higher and daylight bathes through my gardens, beginning to awaken the gifts of Spring’s arrival.

In but a few weeks the visual landscape will be a continual array of metamorphosis, everyday rejuvenation will re-imagine the visual possibilities. It’s a seasonal shift from slumber to awakening. And my soul feels the burst of positive overshadowing the negative.

In the Lens section is my tribute to re-emergence. While at Longwood Gardens’ Annual Orchid Extravaganza a still life exhibit captivated my attention. Individuality was its strength with each scene a tiny vignette of these tropical wonders. The display in small cubicles reminded me of the artwork of Joseph Cornell (1903-1972)and his curious and inspired assemblage boxes.

While it may seem counterintuitive to convert luscious hues of orchids to black and white and then work at recreating my own vision of the still life, I did just that. Mostly, the conversion reminds me about seasonal change and the continual reinvention of the landscape by nature and human nature.


Worldark is a magazine published by Heifer International, which is an organization dedicated to end worldwide hunger and poverty. I have supported their work for decades. Their Spring 2019 issue had an article that focused on some beneficial aspects of trees that support human habitation of earth. Here are a few of the highlights from the article, “The Giving Tree.”

  1. An average-sized tree produces 260 pounds of oxygen per year, enough for two people.

2. There are 3 trillion number of trees in the world.

3. Cut utility bills, not trees: Trees on the west side of your house can block enough of the sun’s heat to save $25 on your air conditioning bill each year. Trees are also natural windbreakers and can therefore cut down your heating bills in the winter.

4. Here are two examples of health benefits: Exposure to trees and nature reduces mental fatigue and can reduce blood pressure and muscle tension. Having trees in yards and throughout neighborhoods can boost property values by up to 15%.

5. Since the onset of agriculture 12,000 years ago, the planet’s tree numbers declined by 46%.

6. Trees amazing qualities include their ability to: Emit airborne signals to alert other trees to prep for insect attacks, or to call in other species for backup. Some can produce chemicals to fend off leaf-eating insects.

If you want to learn more about the extraordinary work that Heifer International does throughout the world, view here.


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

18 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 19) – Orchid Still Life, Longwood Gardens

  1. krcc says:

    This one looks like an oriental art piece.

  2. Tiny says:

    I really like your photomontage! And the facts about trees are a treat too…trees are very special to me in every respect.

  3. Mahika says:

    Wow !! You have a splendid blog !! Do read my new post Tinseltown @ and follow my blog if you like

  4. Prior... says:

    Love the choice of black and white and then reinventing the image – gorgeous – and all the factoids about our wonderful trees – makes me love them even more

  5. Amy says:

    It is a beautiful brush painting. I remember the orchid show o Longwood Gardens, Unbelievably beautiful. Thank you sharing for the message of trees. 🙂

  6. bluebrightly says:

    I love your narrative here, Sally. And (naturally!) I enjoyed the orchid’s metamorphosis.

  7. Spring is indeed a re-emerge. Of life, of colours and of hope. And you photo embodies all this beautifully (well, maybe not colours, other than in my mind that is).

  8. Lignum Draco says:

    Beautiful artwork, Sally. Your anticipation for the arrival of Spring is infectious. It’s unfortunate that so many still don’t appreciate the true powers of Nature, including flowers and trees. Thank you for this informative post.

  9. Su Leslie says:

    I love the delicacy of your image Sally, especially as it’s monochrome.

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