To photograph this story will require your willingness to wander the streets of your city during the hottest parts of the hottest days. You’re seeking images that reveal how the heat of the summer in the city affects people, pets, plant life, structures and the very atmosphere.
Many people must work outdoors during the hot summer months: mail carriers, construction workers, police and fire, landscape crews, etc. They provide you with an interesting palette of individuals who react to the heat in different ways. Close-ups of faces beaded with sweat, people fanning themselves with whatever is handy, large floppy hats, people seeking shade for some relief, a construction worker bathing his or her face with water, the look on the faces of street vendors and their customers, etc.
Look also for people living in the heat: sitting outside their apartment or home without air conditioning, children running through a lawn sprinkler or playing in a park’s fountain, etc. Many of the people, who have worked all day in air-conditioned buildings and offices, must endure the heat to travel home, walking to their car, a bus or the subway. Their reactions to the oppressive conditions they’ve been avoiding and the heat-stressed looks on their faces are also great images for your summer-in-the-city digital photography story.
Pets and animals must also cope with the heat, which can develop into equally interesting photos. Heavily panting dogs, lazy cats and lethargic zoo animals will all paint the picture of a sizzling summer in the city. Plant life may suffer too. Shot from the right angles, drooping flowers, withered vines and weeds poking through a hot sidewalk ready for spontaneous combustion will also add to your storyline.
Your photos of the simmering surface of structures and sidewalks and streets can often create the illusion of heat waves. The hard, constant rays of the sun may physically affect some structures. Paint will peel, signs and lettering may come lose because the heat has compromised adhesives, fruits and vegetables at outdoor stands may seem to over-ripen right before your eyes. Look for a great expanse of glass or very shiny metal surfaces where you can capture the harsh reflection of the blazing sun.
Schedule your digital photography shoot of summer in the city during the afternoon and into the evening. Dusk and then twilight are sure to offer a number of images that easily reveal how hot the day was: a blood, red sun and a density to the air that registers on your camera’s sensor.
Make sure you are well protected for such a photography adventure. Wear a hat and sunglasses, use sunscreen liberally and drink plenty of water. If you plan to be on the hot streets for hours, then take at least a half-hour break in an air-conditioned location.
Explore your sizzling summer in the city and you’re sure to find and record many interesting and wonderful images that most digital photographers wouldn’t consider attempting.
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