For many of us, thinking about summer goes along with thinking about vacations, about traveling. Maybe this comes from when we were kids and waited the whole year for the long family road trips to see grandpas. At least I know that's where my summer addiction comes from.
However, now my addiction also gathers its strength from somewhere else: beautiful, golden light; rich colors and contrast everywhere; harsh light; no rain for weeks in a row. In other words, summer time equals photo time.
I have nothing against winter (actually, I do hate winter a little bit). I even kinda like the mood you get from those short, humid, gray days. But summertime... my oh my!
There are several things about summer that, at least for me, turn on the inspiration for making photos. For starters, there's the raw material we've come to love: light. In a variety of flavors and textures and always available.
If you're not a fan of trips, there's always the possibility of getting to know a bit more of your home town. Take a walk downtown just for the sake of it and get in your camera whatever it is that catches this great light.
Winter cold tends to lock us up in the warmth of our homes whilst the nice, warm weather is an invitation to see and enjoy the world around us. There are subjects for every taste: the nature is more radiant, there are more people in the streets, the light itself becomes a subject. For B&W lovers, there's the harsh contrast between bright lights and deep shadows. Color fans couldn't get bluer skies, more colorful flowers and even more colorful people.
Then, there's the beach. The awesome, fun, gorgeous beach (along with the damn sand). Those wonderful sunrises and sunsets and the oportunity to chill with the camera in one hand and a beer in the other.
I've gotten into the habit of taking some time out of my vacations to know the not so turistic side of the places we visit. When I see an opportunity while being with my family, I try to not interfere. After all, we're all together on vacation. If I can come back later to a nice photo opportunity I do, if not, it doesn't matter. Family trumps photo every time. Even better: there's always a photo opportunity within a family on vacations.
When I can take one morning or an afternoon for my photographic shenanigans, I try to get a glimpse of the local life. How/where they live, what they do in their everyday and how they treat visitors often shows up in the images. I for one, consider myself very lucky whenever I come home with a good picture in which I can portray the essence of these customs, of these people who make a space for us visitors interfering with their peaceful lives.
For sure I love making photos. I love that I'm blessed with the chance to know new places every now and then. But, most of all, I love that I still have the ability to enjoy these moments. To this regard, I'd like to close with a quote from the movie "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty":
Walter Mitty - When are you going to take it?
Sean O'Connell - Sometimes I don't. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don't like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.
Walter Mitty - Stay in it?
Sean O'Connell - Yeah. Right there. Right here.
It's something that hit me in the face when I heard it. What's the point in making a memory of something we don't actually remember?