Today (21st December) marks the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere, known as the Winter Solstice. On this day there are the fewest daylight hours of the year – hence it’s often known as the shortest day of the year (or the longest night!) And a quick pub quiz fact: “solstice” means “sun stands still”.
But how “short” will it actually be? That depends, as different locations around the globe have different number of hours of daylight hours. This is because since the Earth is tilted on its axis, the arc the sun moves during the day will rise and fall throughout the year as the Earth’s pole points either towards or away from the sun.
The winter solstice happens at the minimum point for the Northern Hemisphere: the sun is lowest in the sky (even if it feels like there is no sun at all!)
As you read this, the North Pole is pointing away from the sun, which explains why the chill factor is so much greater. For those living in the Southern Hemisphere, the South Pole is pointing towards the sun, which is why “our” Northern Hemisphere winter is “their” Southern Hemisphere summer (and vice versa). So, for example, December – February tends to be the UK’s colder months, whereas in New Zealand those months are usually the hottest.
Going back to the question of how long the shortest day of 21st December will be, well let’s give you an accurate answer. In London, it will be 7 hours 49 minutes and 42 seconds. Who’s counting? we hear you ask. The Met Office, museums, and global meteorologists for starters!
In Glasgow (more north than London), the day will have just under 7 hours of daylight hours. In Reykjavik, Iceland, which is considerably more north, there will only be just over 4 hours of daylight hours. Conversely, the Greek capital of Athens will have 9 and a half hours daylight. As explained, at this time of the year the Southern Hemisphere has plenty of daylight, so many places in Australia and New Zealand will have 14 – 16 hours’ daylight. It’s all influenced by the Earth’s axis at the time of year (and explains why cricket is played in the Southern Hemisphere in our winter – because it’s their summer!). If you didn’t realise already, we hope you’ve learnt something!
Now that the natural science lesson is over, let’s discuss how the shortest day affects models. First of all, there’s no reason why models shouldn’t embrace the day. Obviously, you’ll be limited with the amount of daylight hours, but if the weather is fine then you can still capture terrific outdoor photos in all your trendy winter gear. Find out more in Abby’s blog:
Taking black and white photos can portray stunning wintery shots, so don’t think that just because daylight is at minimal levels, you shouldn’t experiment; producing photos to update your portfolio can be achieved on any day! Practice taking photos using the “night mode” on your iPhones. Take as many as the cold allows so you can scan through them in the comfort of your home and keep the best ones.
Oh yes, it’s likely to be cold, so our wintery blog will be invaluable to all outdoor snappers:
There are all sorts of themes leading up to the Winter Solstice – as well as on the day itself. We hope the weather will be fine, so take advantage of it (you never know – the good weather may take a turn for the worst, so grab your opportunities with grateful, mitten-covered hands!)
Read Mimi’s informative blog for more tips:
The Winter Solstice shouldn’t be depressing, but if you do have pangs of despair on this unique day, remember that the amount of daylight hours will increase from the 22nd December! Oh, and it’ll be Christmas Day in 4 days!