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September 1, 2013 at 8:45 PM

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The Elements of Summer: Earth, Wind, Water, Fire


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After months of mist and grayness, the beauty of a Northwest summer in July and August is prized and celebrated by Seattleites and the wave of tourists that comes and goes like the sun. With Labor Day upon us, the symbolic end of the season, a few members of The Seattle Times photography staff wanted to pay tribute to mother nature's gift in images.

Photographers Marcus Yam, Bettina Hansen and Erika Schultz set out to interpret summer through four elements: earth, air, wind and fire.

Some scenes are from regular assignments. Others we would seek out: riding the ferry, collecting flowers with Hmong farmers and watching fire dancers. But often, we'd capture special moments while just enjoying the weather on our own.

It's bittersweet to say goodbye, so we hoped to preserve the light, mood and ambiance of this fleeting season. Here's our tribute to summer in Seattle, before the rains return.



BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Sailors on "Absolutely", owned by Charlie Macaulay, take their second lap around the course as the sun sets behind the Aurora bridge during the Duck Dodge, a Tuesday-night summer tradition since 1974 on Lake Union, July 30, 2013.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A Hmong flower farmer picks sunflowers at his farm near Carnation, Wash. Sunflowers are planted in early summer and harvested by August. There are roughly about 90 Hmong flower farms in Washington state, said Bee Cha, Washington State University extension immigrant specialist.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Jered Cottell holds two crabs recently caught in a trap in Puget Sound, just off of Discovery Park in Seattle. Kara Velikanje, not pictured, retrieved the trap from her stand-up paddleboard and Cottell then retrieved the marine animals from the trap.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

University of Washington GenOM project and incoming UW freshmen celebrate the end of their summer internships around a bonfire at Golden Gardens Beach in Seattle, on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Dillon Garnes, 11, jumps into Rattlesnake Lake on a recent evening near North, Bend, Wash. The Garnes family, who lives near the recreation area, has been swimming at the 111-acre lake nearly every sunny day.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Hikers crowd around a snow patch on the Burroughs Mountain Trail near Sunrise on Mount Rainer. The trail, seven-miles round trip, offers stunning views of the White River and Emmons Glacier and was named after naturalist John Burroughs.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Ma Thao, 55, transports flowers at Shong Chaos Farm on a recent evening near Fall City, Wash. The family works very long days during the peak of the summer to provide pesticide-free bouquets at Pike Place Market. There are roughly about 90 Hmong flower farms in Washington state, said Bee Cha, Washington State University extension immigrant specialist.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Michaela Gill, 76, plants beets, cilantro and chard in her raised planting bed at the Magnuson Community Garden P-Patch. The site features about 150 plots for 200 gardeners. Gill said she was ecstatic to have a raised bed due to her bad knees and back. "I like to get my hands in the dirt and see things grow," she said.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Doug Dahl watches the Patriots Jet Team perform for Seafair Weekend at Genesee Park in Seattle Sunday August 4, 2013.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Elizabeth Mull and her son fly a kite at Gas Works Park while boats circle Lake Union for the Duck Dodge, a Tuesday night summer tradition, July 23, 2013.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Stephanie Orrico helps out on Charlie Macaulay's "Absolutely", a G&S one ton, vintage 1985 sailboat, while circling the last lap of the Duck Dodge, a Tuesday night summer tradition, July 30, 2013.

BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Sailboats circle Lake Union at sunset as the city glows with the last light of day for the 39th season of the Duck Dodge, a Tuesday night summer tradition, July 23, 2013.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Pyrosutra dancer Leslie Rosen, performs at the Arts in Nature Festival at Camp Long in West Seattle Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

A s'more sits on a log as it heats up by the fire at Golden Gardens Beach in Seattle, on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013.

MARCUS YAM / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Beachgoers huddle around bonfires after sunset at Golden Gardens Beach in Seattle, on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013.

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It's pretty, and I enjoy seeing a different kind of take on our local summer, but it... MORE
What depressing music for "Elements"! Sounds more like the soundtrack for a... MORE

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