This summer of 2018 we had several stretches of 90 degree days. Temperatures somehow make it into a photo – trees and plants look bedraggled and unhappy, even the air itself trying to vanish and say little. So we felt compelled to wait for more evocative air. Our shot was to be the beautiful main building of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute. We were hoping for a dynamic sky to frame and add even more drama to the building. Finally the end of the summer approached, so I thought that the last day of summer could be a sub theme of the photo. Bravely, I titled the photo before we went out to take it: The Last Day of Summer. That meant we had to hope for a sky depicting both the oncoming fall and the departing summer on September 21: brooding clouds and a lively sun having a last conversation.
The weather report looked promising with a front moving across the area, so we headed out to observe the skies. However, when we arrived in the late afternoon, our favorite time of day for sun angles, there were many distractions in our frame, which needed to be exactly the same as our other season shots. There were painters on the veranda and a car sitting nearby in the frame. As we sat and patiently waited for the painters, the sky darkened ominously. We finally decided to leave rationalizing that well, the solstice probably technically occurred at some point the next day and we could come back.
On the drive home, I kept reviewing the sky we were missing. The dark cloud canopy seemed to be giving way to sun at least intermittently. So we turned around, determined to get this sky and hope that the painters and their car left “the frame”. When we arrived, the painters were indeed packing up, but so was our sky. We knew we had to race around the track (er trail) to get to our position. Running that hard with all of our camera gear almost guaranteed an “art attack”. With luck, we made it just in time, as the summer sun was exiting behind the dark bank of clouds. It seemed we saw that final moment when summer left, when the high sun danced away taking the hummingbirds with it. It was dramatic, it was heart stopping, and it was the last day of summer: