Essence of Summer Assignment Gallery

This assignment must have struck a cord because we had an amazing response and participation!

The July assignment asked each photographer to explore summer. Each person was encouraged to think about all the things that represent summer to them and do their best to capture the elements of summer with their camera. Each person submitted three of their favorite images and answered the following questions:

  1. What is quintessentially summer to you?
  2. What was your biggest challenge with this assignment?
  3. What was the most exciting part of this assignment?

To enlarge the thumbnails just click on the images. Enjoy the results!

And think about participating in next month’s assignment!

Harold B Field

What is quintessentially summer to you? I live on Guam (U.S. Territory out in the Pacific) and it’s summer all-year-round.  Going to the beach is an everyday activity and I cannot even imagine living anywhere else.

What was your biggest challenge with this assignment? “Summer” (June – August) is part of the “wet season” on Guam.  Celebrating events such as birthdays on a bright, sunny weekend can be frustrating but we manage and take it in stride.  But it was an OK day when I was able to take a photo of my brother-in-law with his grandson, who was just learning to walk and wanted in the worst way to get into the water.

What was the most exciting part of this assignment? Spending time with members of the family.

Jammie Graves

I am typical guy – summer means fast cars and things that go boom like racing, car shows, and fireworks. Central East Tennessee is home for racing from local drag strips to Nascar and some of the most beautiful fireworks shows over water to celebrate Independence Day!

Picking out the very best set of images to truly convey how much I enjoy summer is the biggest challenge.

Every time I review my images they bring back great memories of fun times in my life and motivate me to want to improve even more.

Genevieve Neal

What is quintessentially summer to you? To me, summer is long, carefree days with wild, tanned children running around and no particular routine to worry about!

What was your biggest challenge with this assignment? The biggest challenge was finding photographs that tell the story of my personal feelings about summer.

What was the most exciting part of this assignment? The most exciting part was sifting through my photo library and reliving all the fun moments that have been captured so far this summer.

Andrea Shandri

What is quintessentially summer?

As my photos show, I appreciate nature and the beauty that you can find outside your home. These photos were shot in Milwaukee, WI, while I was at a family wedding. Weddings are also a fun part of summer because they awaken my soul, just like fresh gardens and wildflowers. Lemonade served at a wedding set in such a beautiful spot? Wonderful!

What was biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge with this was attempting to not be so cliche. I wanted, especially my floral shots, to be a portrayal of summer warmth and beauty- not just typical photos of flowers found in a shop.

Most exciting?

I loved the act of shooting these flowers because I had a wonderful excuse to get up and close to see imperfections that occur in nature. From far away, an English garden is exquisite. It’s even better when you see up close that not everything is perfect.

Mel Mann

What is quintessentially summer to me? Summer is all about color that is bright in the strong sunshine.  Sort of post-spring, pre-fall color that shows up in the sky, in fields, in forests.  Sometimes it’s so bright I wonder if I’ve over saturated an image!

What was my biggest challenge with this assignment? Staying away from snapshots of my vacation.  No, seriously, finding those essentials of summer without resorting to cliches.  I mean, how many more photos of fireworks do we really need?

What was the most exciting part of this assignment? Seeing the colors in my medium format Velvia slides and marveling at the technology capable of capturing such vibrance and detail.  Waiting to see them teaches me patience and planning for my next photo outing.

Lisa Wilson

What is quintessentially summer to you? When I think of summer I think of freedom from school-year obligations, exploring Montana and playing at the park.

What was your biggest challenge with this assignment? Choosing my favorites.  I love how my son’s hair is still wet from the sprinklers!

What was the most exciting part of this assignment? Having an excuse to take even more photographs!

Cheryl MacLean

What is quintessentially summer to you? Warm evenings with great light … eating outside, whether it’s a cookout, a picnic, a restaurant patio, or our deck … swimming, sun, and ice cream… a more carefree, laid-back lifestyle (at least while on vacation)

What was your biggest challenge with this assignment? Choosing only 3 photos! I am part of a photo-a-day group, so I am collecting loads of summer photos!

What was the most exciting part of this assignment? Trying to define the essence of summer and reflect on what images really depict that – it’s a fun challenge.

Bob Blanchard

Until this year, when someone asked me to describe “quintessentially summer” I would talk about climbing in the Tetons, trail runs in the mountains and hanging out on the river. But this summer, I’ve been living at my son’s organic farm in northeast Iowa ( and the essence of summer took on a totally new meaning: mowing cover crops and tilling them under; transplanting vegetables from the greenhouse to the fields; packing boxes to be delivered to customers whether those are grocery stores and coops or individuals who have purchased a summer long subscription to receive a box of vegetables a week; and, surviving weekly electrical and rain storms. The essence of summer took on a new meaning of a very special relationship between growing food and providing it to those that eat the food we grow.

Last year during SI and AI and professional studies, I was profoundly impacted by the idea of photojournalism and documentary photography.

My challenge this year has been developing the idea of creating images that tell a story. It’s not there yet, I’m still working at it.

These three images are part of a larger portfolio that I hope begins to tell that story of life on the farm.

While my summer has been filled with frustration – being away from the mountain landscape I love and the people that go with it, I’ve taken advantage of a unique opportunity to spend an extended time with my family. What a luxury. And along with that goes the excitement of seeing vacant fields turn green with vegetation that becomes the food that we eat each night.

Amy Uthman

What is quintessentially summer to you? To me, summer is quintessentially all that is Montana. From weekend camping trips, to afternoons at the fishing hole, to BBQ’s with friends and family.

What was your biggest challenge with this assignment? I am a counselor at a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. – Some of my most favorite pictures are of these children with the joy of summer written all over their faces. Due to confidentiality I cannot use these. So my favorite summer activities made more sense to use. However, the biggest challenge came with picking just three of my favorites.

What was the most exciting part of this assignment? Looking back through photos I had completely forgotten about and looking at some of them from a different perspective. I’m now ready to take on my next task of redoing all the picture frames in my hobby room.

Kathy Wright

What is quintessentially summer? The beach, color, water, bathing suits, kids, sun, lush foliage…
The biggest challenge was deciding to or not to have a ‘theme’ ie. Focus on a place in summer, or a particular group of people, (example, my family). I am inspired by what people look living. My photography, at least in this very moment, needs PEOPLE. ‘Quintessential Summer needs people. There is also great challenge in planning for the best photos.
The most exciting part of the assignment was discovering the color, creating the compositions, wanting to look at “summer” before it’s gone.

Joy Rehnee Greco

A quintessential summer means less layers—of clouds, clothes and routine. Periwinkle dawns and peach gloamings calm my spirit, and a child’s squeal of delight helps me realize my own pure joy.
My biggest challenge with this assignment was learning how to use GIMP software for editing the photos.
The most exciting part of this assignment was interacting with the individuals who let me share in their summer fun.

Gary Todd

Summer is: Lazy Sunday afternoons, greenery, shade, water, bright colors and patriotism.
Biggest Challenge: Looking deeper into photo subjects; beyond the ordinary or common photo.
Most exciting part: Going out to take photos and finding unexpected opportunities better than those originally planned.

Rebecca Fletcher

What is quintessentially summer to you? Beautiful water and warm weather
What was your biggest challenge with this assignment? The bad weather I had in the Caribbean. However it did provide some great cloud shots
What was the most exciting part of this assignment? Being there in the moment
All photos taken in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, 18-25 July 2010.

4 thoughts on “Essence of Summer Assignment Gallery


I really intended to submit photos for this…and took pictures with this “theme” in mind, and feel that my creativity was expanded because of it…but then I missed the deadline to submit… 🙁 Thanks for the inspiration though, because it really improved my shots this past month! 🙂

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Page Orb Pedde

I’m sorry you missed the deadline but at least it got you out and photographing. We will be doing this every month so there will be other chances. You should consider doing the self portrait assignment and submit those images.


Thank you! I took the Basic Photography workshop in June and this is a great way to expand and concentrate on the things I learned there…thanks! Looking forward to all the next assignements…

Picture Framing

Great post, thanks for sharing with us.

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