It’s a true summer’s day –  blue sky above with white patchy clouds, and the sun is beating down with its warmth.  We are driving along some county roads in northern Wisconsin.  We’ve passed fields of green soybeans and acres of corn, all thriving in spite of the late planting season and the copious amounts of rain this year.  But up ahead is a bright and welcome sight — at an intersection there is a sea of yellow on one side of the road.  It stretches off to the trees in the distance, and it is a glorious field of sunflowers.  Faces to the east, backlit by the sun, the large blossoms are nodding in the wind.  To me this is the epitome of summer, and I’ll soak it in to remember during the not-so-summery days that lie ahead.

Bright coneflower_StaatsSummer is about sunshine, warmth, and color.  We’re surrounded by blue skies, green grass, and the flowers that bloom profusely, sharing their colors.  Our gardens are in full bloom now; the coneflowers, roses, lilies, clematis, and coleus.  The coneflowers have always been one of my favorites.  They start out a pale yellow, with their petals reaching upward to the sun.  As they mature, the petals become a deep pink and then turn downward.  It’s almost as if they were two completely different flowers.  Their beauty and brightness always speaks to me of summer.

I’ve been thinking of how best to depict summer in one image.  There are so many adventures and activities that we associate with summer, but how can one summarize those all in one photographic image?  To me, this photo brings together the colors of summer — the bluest of warm-weather skies, the white puffy clouds that grace the heavens, the green of all the abundant growth that takes place during the season, and the golden-yellow of the sun and the flowers and the warmth that accompanies summer.   My second photography instructor (and my favorite — thank you Karyl!) had a saying that I have always remembered when photographing — “isolate to simplify.”  To me this image represents the essence of that phrase, pulling all my feelings of summer into three elements and one simple representation.