Remembering Summer – Common Photo Themes

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For many of us here in the Northern Hemisphere, Summer is over.  Our children have gone back to school, summer holidays are tapering off and we now look to autumn themes for our photography.  But before we send Summer packing, we wanted to take one last look back over the summer-themed photographs and share some of our favorites:

“The Fading Grass of Summer” by Rachel Melton

"The Fading Grass of Summer" by Rachel Melton

“The Fading Grass of Summer” by Rachel Melton

We’ll start with this great silhouette photo from Rachel Melton featuring the sun.  To be fair, this shot could have been taken during any season.  But something about the warm colors and the bright hazy sun, this screams summer to me.  To get that really hazy look, you could use a tilt-shift lens.  But Rachel used a freelensing technique:  The lens is held in front of the camera’s lens-mount and tilted in any direction to change the focusing plane.  It’s scary technique for some, but the results are stunning.

“Summer Heat” by Djura Stankovic

"Summer Heat" by Djura Stankovic

“Summer Heat” by Djura Stankovic

Nothing says summer like ice cream.  Of course this ice cream tragedy, captured by Djura Stankovic, is enough to put this ice cream lover in tears.  This is without a doubt a story-telling photograph.  Djura was able to capture time here.  We all have a rough idea of the speed at which ice cream melts.  And there’s a good amount left here.  I’m going to guess that the bokeh was not created in-camera, but that is of little concern to me.  In my opinion, the blur helps to emphasize the path of the melted ice cream and it makes the story that much more apparent.  It’s a sad story; I think I’ll be up all night.

“Relaxing” by Pia Cvijanovic

"Relaxing" by Pia Cvijanovic

“Relaxing” by Pia Cvijanovic

In the warmer months of the summer, we tend to flock to large bodies of water.  So this bay scene from the camera of Pia Cvijanovic fits right into our minds as a summer scene.  I realize there isn’t a lot here to indicate that this is indeed summer.  But our minds don’t need a lot:  Some clear aquamarine water, a few rocks in the foreground and some boats should be enough.  What I really like about this photo is the use of the vignetting.  I’m not typically a fan of dramatic vignetting, but in this case it makes you view the scene as if it were a memory or a flashback.  Even personal rules are meant to be broken.

“Fusillade” by Steve Ives

"Fusillade" by Steve Ives

“Fusillade” by Steve Ives

Fireworks are seen worldwide.  But here in the United States, Fireworks are legendary to our most coveted summer national holiday: Independence Day (July 4th).  To an American, Steve Ives‘s photo, Fusillade is representative of Independence Day memories and in turn, summer vacation as a whole.  Fireworks are difficult to capture well in and of themselves.  Steve captured the fireworks and some observers.  Seeing the two featured in the same frame makes the photograph for me, especially the cheek of the person frame left.  I also learned something from Steve’s photo:  Fusillade is a series of shots or missiles fired in bursts or in succession (I had to look that word up).

“City Bike Tour” by Christoph Hetzmannseder

"City Bike Tour" by Christoph Hetzmannseder

“City Bike Tour” by Christoph Hetzmannseder

The summer does not exist only in rural areas or near large bodies of water.  Summer comes to the city as well.  This panned shot from the great Christoph Hetzmannseder captures a different kind of summer perfectly.  To our brains, this is summer because of the attire and activity of our subject.  And the panning adds some interest and texture to the photograph, making this an exceptional photo. (To be fair, if this weren’t panned, this might not have been as interesting).  But there’s a second benefit to the panning technique in this case:  The majority of the scene isn’t very clearly in focus, much like the way our memory works.  Contextual aspects of any memory are going to be blurry.  And so Christoph’s technique evokes a memory or a dream-like sequence.  The viewer almost feels like they’ve seen this scene before.

 

 

 

 

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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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