We asked 23 (mostly) Washington-area photographers to share a few moments from the summer of 2021. Some took family holidays across the country while others found things to document closer to home.
Like many people all across the country this summer, it was a matter of dodging the intense heat for a large portion of Summer 2021. As a photographer, I found the best time spent on a hot summer day was first light over the morning ocean and the last faraway shine of light found long into the evening sky. All else in between was just trying to “be cool”.
A trip by the Senate Fountain has been a part of my work routine since moving to DC in 2014. It’s been under construction for the past three years and inaccessible. It was to my complete surprise to see it completed on a summer walk in Capitol Hill, a welcome return after so many dark months in the city.
Though it was the start of summer, Union Station remained virtually empty. One lone traveler waiting near the Greyhound bus station.
(IG: setlistthief; Flickr)
I used to be a regular visitor to Huntley Meadows Park years ago. Then for some reason I stopped going — maybe it was the exhaustion from constantly taking my kids to soccer or the distance I had to travel to get there. But I rediscovered its loveliness this summer, and the myriad photo opportunities. On my first visit in July, my wife and I were hiking through a forested area when we heard two owls calling to each other. Simply magical!
On a second visit, I experienced the myriad bird life the park hosts, observing this summer’s visiting Roseate spoonbills, countless egrets and blue herons, and skittering barn swallows. Watching the patient green heron fishing was especially entertaining. How lucky we are to have this little natural jewel in our own backyard!
Rodney D. Cunningham
What did I do this summer? I got outside as much as possible and looked for signs of joy and hope!
(IG: maryland_route_5; Flickr)
For me, summertime means weekend visits to nearby North Beach, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay. It’s a wonderful refuge from city life. I derive so much pleasure from meeting complete strangers on the boardwalk or in the town center and photographing them. I’m energized when I see people enjoying others’ company and life’s simple pleasures.
Cindy Gayler Frank
I spent many evenings capturing the light on my flowers at the end of the day.
Other evenings, I arranged mostly dead fruit and flowers on my dining room table. I love the concentrated colors, the hard edges as the flowers dry, the multicolors of the peeled fruit. I am using overhead light, and it really works in this situation.
I liked the way the light and shadows worked around the boy, his brother and his parents.
I was trying to get some good night panning shots of young dudes on bicycles and dirt bikes, as they rode around Dupont Circle during Capital Pride. This one was the best, and his expression was gravy.
This summer felt like a celebration. I was lucky enough to photograph a few graduates this summer. Most I have known for at least ten years, and some I’ve known since they were born. I took advantage of Washington DC’s national monuments, front porches, newly named historic streets, and this summer’s stormy weather as a back drop to these portraits.
Whenever I have any free time, I head out into nature searching for a photo. I got lucky and was able to capture both a duck and an osprey coming in for a landing.
I also had the opportunity to see the amazing Batala for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Stacey spent part of her summer documenting the fight to protect voting rights.
My summer consisted of visiting family members around the country for the first time since COVID broke out, and having them visit us. The first photo is at the National Zoo — the first time I’ve been there in years – -on a brutally hot day with my 23-year-old baby. Just like old times!
The second photo was taken in downtown Chicago while visiting our oldest son. This family stood out to me. They’d be notable any time with those ensembles, but after so long it was rather striking just to see tourists at all!
(IG: angelaon; Flickr)
While some took cross-country trips this summer, Angela stayed closer to home. Crossing the Potomac from D.C. to northern Virginia she photographed Roseate spoonbills in Huntley Meadows Park and fireworks during Alexandria’s birthday celebration.
This summer, I had an opportunity to take a proper family vacation in the Outer Banks. Photos are of my niece, Avery, forbidding “work from home” and Bubba’s not so stringent inspection of the pool. Oh and Millybear is probably plotting out how to fish the connect four pieces out from the water.
A major theme of this summer was reconnecting with family — both given and chosen. I was able to safely travel to California and reunite with my parents and brother for the first time since 2019, and later in the season, spend a long weekend with close friends in the Outer Banks.
I spent a lot of time this summer trying to observe the political and social changes that are occurring in D.C., and the people who participate in the changes in a wide variety of roles. Here, a worker in July takes down the Capitol fencing that was put up after Jan. 6th.
I love to watch the intersection of past and current history in D.C. Here, Luci Baines Johnson talks with Reverend Jesse Jackson after they spoke at the Supreme Court in August about the need for new voting rights legislation, and the historic accomplishment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act signed into law by Luci’s father.
(IG: danielle.w.press; Website)
I spent time at home in Annapolis, in D.C., and at my first home, NYC, this summer. Rainey at the beach, was excited about birds behind me. She has such a funny “head of hair” and such expressive ears and eyes. I love the purple tones in the calm water and the vibrancy of her expression fighting that calmness.
A room with a view, lower Manhattan…
Mark H. Schneider
I had been in a funk for a while and needed to just get out and shoot. So I went back to Longwood Gardens with my infrared camera and decided to just go and shoot. It was quite nice to not worry about anything and to get the creative juices flowing again!
[Editor’s note: Rimma is a reader of this blog from far beyond the DMV — Ukraine to be precise.]
I would like to do it to show you how beautiful Ukraine is. This summer l was traveling around Western Ukraine. Here my soul is relaxed. The first photo is of Lviv. For me, this is the most beautiful town in Ukraine and one of the most beautiful towns in Europe. I took this photo standing on the viewing deck.
In the other photo, you can see our magnificent Carpathian Mountains and a little mountain stream.
(IG: arpixa; Flickr)
The first photo is from the National Gallery of Art, the first time we visited it in-person after it re-opened. Those stairs in the East Building are a favorite spot of mine, and this photo reflects how we are “emerging” from the more lonely times of the past months.
The second photo is from Montana, from a hike to stunning Baker Lake in the Selway-Bitterroot wilderness, far from the madding crowd … This was the first time we ventured that far away from home, and I am grateful for being able to hike in those spectacular mountains.
(IG: jeff.vers2.0; Flickr)
The highlight of my summer was definitely our month-long escape to Encinitas, California. It’s always a treat to visit this beach town in North San Diego County, but it was all the more welcome this year. The vacation offered respite not only from D.C.’s heat and humidity, but also from the nonstop noise accompanying the demolition of the old Rosslyn Holiday Inn, directly across the street from our condo. Almost every day in Encinitas featured a peaceful and refreshing walk on the beach … camera in hand.