Photography, as a powerful medium…offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.
Well, it has been a while since I posted an issue of my blog. I have been busy and admittedly, doing a lot of thinking about whether or not I want to continue this undertaking. I have decided that I will try to put one issue out each month and since I started a seasonal theme a few months ago, I thought it would be a propos to continue it with Summer, even though it is just over one month into that season as I write this.
Summer is the warmest season where I live – the Northern Hemisphere, so those who live south of the Equator will have to excuse my ignorance of their situation. I write what I know about and that is summer in the Foothills of the Rockies.
Trees, Flowers etc.
There are innumerable opportunities presented for photographing trees, flowers, even weeds at this time of year. Summer is not the best season for shooting trees, unless you find one that is quite remarkable for its form, or perhaps sits isolated on a hillside covered in summer flowers. Flowers, both domestic and wild, will often be in full bloom at various times in the summer – some early and some later – the secret is to know when and where. Even weeds, such as the dreaded dandelion present a number of opportunities to make interesting images during the summer. The flowers have gone to seed and the fuzzy tops make very interesting subjects for macro photography.
Activities that occur on farms, as the summer progresses, can also provide subjects of interest. Farmers are often harvesting the first crop of hay in the early to mid-summer. Canola, that crop that blooms a beautiful yellow can also provide subjects for close-up or colourful landscapes. Flax, with its small, blue flower, is abundant in some parts of the Western Prairies.
Water in all its forms is an endless source of subjects to photograph. Mountain streams have handled all the run off and are now flowing at slightly less volumes than in the late Spring. This means that you may actually be able to wade into some of the smaller streams to take pictures from a different perspective than you could when the waters were higher in the runoff period. This may give you a different position for images of waterfalls. Just make sure that you have a decent pair of wading boots, as the water can still be extremely cold, even in summer.
Birds and other Wildlife
Summer is the season of growth. A lot of the eggs that were laid in the nests built in the Spring are now hatching, or have hatched, and there is a lot of activity around the nests as the young hatchlings are fed and raised. As the summer wears on, the young birds start to test their wings and eventually fledge from the nest. Early summer will also see the return of latecomers – those birds that did not arrive until very late Spring or very early Summer. They will be participating in activities that the early-arrival birds have already performed. Keep your eyes and ears open – you will be surprised at what you can see and hear.
Animals like deer and elk will now be starting to regrow their antlers in preparation for the fall mating season. These will be covered in the velvet of new growth, providing a slightly different picture than you might see later on in the year. Animals like raccoons and foxes will have a new batch of little ones ready to follow mother around and learn the survival skills they will need when they leave home.
Insects are another form of wildlife that are quite prevalent in the summer. Flying varieties like bees, butterflies, damsel flies and dragon flies are present everywhere in the fields of the mountains and prairies. Ants and spiders can also be very obvious in and around your home and gardens, as well as various places in the fields and woods away from home. All insects make for excellent subjects for close-up and macro work.
Yes, even landscapes take on a new appearance in the Summer. Alpine meadows are covered in the blooms of new growth and, as noted, the insects that pollinate them are also abundant.
Summer skies present another opportunity that is not available in the other three seasons – storm clouds. Depending on where you live, the large, cumulonimbus clouds generated by afternoon atmospheric instabilities can present incredible backdrops for landscapes, particularly on the prairies. These clouds often grow to altitudes of 15,000 metres of more and present formidable subjects when photographed against a background of yellow canola fields. Even the clouds themselves can be objects of significant photographic compositions.
As the weather warms up, people flock to recreational areas for a variety of activities. Everything from swimming and waterskiing to beach volleyball can be found on the many lakes across the countryside. Picnics and barbeques flourish. As well, a lot of towns and cities have an annual summer fair supporting everything from rodeos to amusement parks and the associated rides that can be found there. All of these activities present innumerable possibilities for photography. Often these Summer events have displays of fireworks, something for both the amateur and professional alike to spend time photographing.
Regardless of where your photographic interests lie, there are innumerable opportunities available as Spring grows into Summer and Summer fades into Fall. One of the keys to good Summer photography is knowing where to go to get the bests shots of whatever subject interests you. I carry a map book around with me in my travels and make copious notes in it regarding the things I see at various locations. If clouds are of interest, then knowing where the high ground is will give you good positioning for images of these objects.
As I have said before: “Start planning now and maybe you will have that opportunity to capture an image that you never thought possible. You never know where your photographic journey will take you.”