I’m not the only one that thinks this, summer is the most challenging time of year to shoot. I often find a drought of images through the middle part of the year. July through September specifically are the biggest issues, even though this is the time of year many are getting outside on vacation.
It is just too hot though, to me. I don’t enjoy the heat. I could put up with that though if the conditions warranted it! The issue is everything is overgrown and challenging to compose in the forests or waterfalls. There is also the least amount of tonal range in the greens like there is in Spring when it is ideal with lush forests and raging waterfalls (which become more of a trickle in late summer).
The typical times to shoot become an issue this time of year too! Landscape photography is typically done close to sunrise and sunset. Sunrise is at around 5 in the morning, which means a 3-4 AM wakeup call, and sunset is at 8-9 PM which starts to be very late. It makes for a very long day! The best light is likely to be skunked by no clouds, forest fire smoke, and even when the light is good it goes away too quickly, lasting half or less what it would be in other parts of the year.
Given there are a lot of challenges it doesn’t mean everything is a crapshoot and we are better off leaving cameras in bags at home. There are things and places to practice landscape photography in the summer! Places like larger waterfalls are great this time of year because the lessened flow makes it easier to shoot without misting up the front element of the lens. Wildflowers also bloom in August still at higher elevations on mountains like in Mt Rainier. Clear skies also mean the Milky Way and night photography will be given the most ideal conditions!
With all the challenges during summer, it isn’t easy to get out and shoot. Slacking and letting the photography drop off our radar isn’t a good thing though, as we can become rusty on soft skills. So, keep getting out there because you can’t get great images if you don’t!