Winter Solstice Sunset over West Pier

Winter Solstice Sunset over West Pier © 2011 Mufidah Kassalias

We're almost at the shortest day of the year in England, the 2011 winter solstice being 5.30 am on Thursday 22nd, and not the 21st as I had expected. Somehow I've lived this long under the assumption that the summer and winter solstices were always on the 21st of June and December respectively, but, it turns out, the solstices are moveable feasts, falling between the 20th and 23rd of the month.

I first caught wind of this a week or so ago when I received an email invitation to a winter solstice celebration on Firle Beacon (Sussex), scheduled for 8.00 am on the 22nd. Then this morning on Twitter I came upon a tweet that linked out to explaining that the solstice’s varying dates are the result of the Gregorian calendar system.

You can also click through from the article to the sunrise and sunset calculator for your own location, which I did — and learned that tomorrow is only one second shorter than today! Intrigued, I entered a few different locations in the search field and discovered that the solstice is, of course, relative, i.e. it occurs at the same moment around the world but at different (local) times … which means that the December solstice on the west coast of the US is at 9.30 pm on the 21st, in the UK it’s at 5.30 am on the 22nd, and in New Zealand it’s 6.30 pm on the 22nd (which for the Kiwis is their summer solstice).

This photograph was shot in Brighton last year with my compact Canon, and although it looks warm it was a typically cold English winter day.

Finally, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my followers — thank you for taking the time to read my blog and make comments, it’s always much appreciated. This is likely to be my last post of 2011, as I intend to spend the remainder of the month enjoying the holidays, as well as working on a new writing project.

57 responses

  1. Another great solstice shot, .. every time I see great shots like these just makes you want to get out and practice shots like yours.

    • Thank you Karen! I waited for the sun to drop to the point where it was sitting on top of the West Pier, which turns out to have been the perfect place for its rays to shine through the pier’s skeleton :-) Thank you for noticing that.

  2. Oh, finally the worst of the dark and gloomy days is over and we’ll have more time to take pictures again soon.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  3. Wow! I love it, love it! Golden is fantastic, with so many perfect silhouettes. “Perfect”! :)

    Happy holidays to you; capture more great moments, and share it next year. See you in 2012, and all the best for your new project.

    Good wishes. :)

  4. Beautiful image, Mufidah! What a catch! :) Just perfect for the Solstice! And isn’t it confusing on the Solstice and when it occurs? :) No matter, it does occur, which is perfect!

    Thanks for having such a wonderful blog and Happy Holidays to you! :)

    • Thanks Katie! It was lucky I had a camera with me, as I don’t always carry one. Thanks, too, for always visiting and commenting on my blog, much appreciated.

      Happy Holidays to you too :-)

  5. The winter solstice is perhaps my favorite holyday, the beginning of light in the deepest dark. Thanks for sharing your lovely shot. Happy holidays to you Mufidah, and I look forward to seeing your work in the new year.

    • Yes, it’s uplifting to know that the days are getting longer, even though some of the colder weather is likely still ahead of us. Happy to know you like the photograph and I’ve just visited your blog (which I thought I was following) to see you have a whole bunch of posts I haven’t seen! Guess that’s what happens when you’re not following someone. So I’m now following and, likewise, look forward to seeing more of your work in the new year. Merry Christmas Noel, or I could say (rather cheesily) something you must have heard many times — Joyeux Noël :-)

      • When I was young the other kids used to tease me by singing The First Noel at me, but you know, I rather like seeing my name in lights now. :) Thank you Mufidah.

  6. I passed on an award “Candle Lighter Award’ to your blog, to send the best wishes for the coming year and thank you for the wonderful work you are doing in your blog.

  7. I am wishing you a wonderful New Year and have nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger!
    The Versatile Blogger Award rules are:
    – Thank the person who nominates you and link back to them.
    – Share 7 things about me that are not shared on my blog.
    – Nominate and link to 15 other versatile bloggers.

  8. A treat of a photograph Mufidah, i never get bored with pic’s of the Pier and that one is a great shot. The West Pier beach and Brunswick beach were my favorites, love Hove.