At Large  June 27, 2022  Colleen Smith

The Art of Summer in 11 Photos

Created: Mon, 06/27/2022 - 09:00
Author: anna
© Diane Allison, 2021.

Diane Allison, Blue flower with bee. 

“Summer’s lease hath all too short a date,” Shakespeare wrote in Sonnet 18. Yet fine-art photographer Diane Allison manages to stop summertime with her camera. In a salute to the Summer season, Allison's photos capture quintessential macro moments and digital enhancements add a bit of photographic fairy dust.

A Denver native, the artist shoots 30 to 100 images almost daily and favors the Colorado outdoors. "I am compelled to get out every single day, even if [it's] overcast because the light is always incredible—even today with [wildfire] smoke in the air, there is a different quality of blue.”

The images selected for this series are vivid and magical, infused with light that feels typical of summer’s long days of dazzling sunshine. There are ripe fruits and sparkling fireworks, luminous rainbows in pewter skies and sunshine spangling lake water. And yet, the artist’s keen eye and digital touch also make the familiar seem foreign. A bee’s wing resembles black lace and the dreamy gleam of a gilded carousel horse captures summer’s lightheartedness.

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Diane Allison, Strawberry Moon.
Strawberry Moon

The Strawberry Moon, the first full moon of summer, also featured a lunar eclipse. Allison shot the photo in Vail, Colorado, using her 600mm lens. “I didn’t have to do much to it,” she reflects, “but added a little bit of color.”

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Diane Allison, Dandelion seed with pink background.
Dandelion Seed

This zoomed-in image of a dandelion seed features a vibrant, pink background that nearly disguises the plant's true identity. “I love dandelions,” the artist discloses. “Sometimes, I get so immersed that I lose myself looking through the macro lens. I can believe what I see. It’s amazing, the details.”

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Diane Allison, Blue flower with bee. © Diane Allison, 2021.
Blue Flower with a Bee

Summer flowers delight not only humans with an eye for color, but also bees with a taste for pollen. “I see bees all the time in my backyard,” says Allison, “but when you get close with a macro lens, you really see the detail in the wings and the pollen.”

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Blue Waters. © Diane Allison, 2021.
Blue Waters

The reflection of light off bodies of water has become a motif in the photographer’s body of work. In this case, light sparks off the surface of Sloan’s Lake in Denver. “It’s mesmerizing and hard to capture,” she says. “When you really look at it, you almost fall into a trance. It’s a matter of being at the right spot when sunset hits.”

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Carousel Horse. © Diane Allison, 2021.
Carousel Horse

This unicorn on a carousel at Lakeside Amusement Park in Lakewood, Colorado, typifies the sense of fantasy Allison’s images often evoke. “The sunlight was hitting this just right,” she explains. “This did not need a lot of reworking.”

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Rainbow. © Diane Allison, 2021.

Allison captured the full spectrum of this vivid rainbow from her front porch using a 300mm zoom lens. “The camera doesn’t capture what I see. The camera can flatten out the color so I color correct to bring back what I see, which seems more brilliant.”

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Fireworks. © Diane Allison, 2021.

America’s Independence Day sky marks the unofficial middle of summer. “I was fortunate enough to be on the rooftop of The Source Hotel for somebody’s birthday and saw the fireworks show after a Colorado Rockies baseball game,” she explains. “This one has a lot of post-production because fireworks out of a camera don’t look as magical.”

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Red Sunbeam on Water. © Diane Allison, 2021.
Red Sunbeam on Water

The devastating summer wildfires in the Western United States can make for terribly beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The increased frequency of such fires, due to climate change, often results in smokey skies which can boost the color vibrancy of a setting sun. The neon red of one such sunset can be seen here, playing across a body of water.

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Ladybug, © Diane Allison, 2021.

A ladybug ready for its close-up surprised the artist when she spotted it through her camera lens. Its shell appears to hold a sheen reminiscent of Chinese lacquer.

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Summer Fruit, © Diane Allison, 2021.
Summer Fruit

Through Allison’s macro lens, familiar fruits of summer—a lemon and a raspberry—take on abstract appeal. “This was staged like a still life. There’s no auto-focus on that macro lens, so I move in and out a lot. There’s a lot of physicality to getting a macro shot finally dialed in. I don’t like to use a tripod. I use my body and my instinct.”

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Pink Cloud. All images Copyright 2021.
Pink Cloud

Allison photographs clouds, one of her favorite subject matters, both in color and black and white. “It’s everchanging, the feel and mood of our skies,” she says. “In Colorado, there’s something about being a mile high. Up in the ozone layer, the light is different.”

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© Diane Allison, 2021.
Portrait of the Artist

Diane Allison, pictured with her large prints on paper, part of Crush Walls in the RiNo Arts District of Denver.

About the Author

Colleen Smith

Colleen Smith is a longtime Denver arts writer and the curator of Art & Object’s Denver Art Showcase.

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