December Light

Sun Chart, Summer Solstice to Winter Solstice for Frenchtown NJ

I hope everyone is getting out and shooting despite cold fingers and sometimes soggy toes. We are in the second month of our Winter Light in B&W project when the sun is at its lowest in the sky.

Above is a sun chart that I generated using on-line application at the University of Oregon (

The chart shows the position of the sun on the 21st of each month from the summer solstice (June 21st) to the winter solstice (Dec 21st) for my location in Frenchtown (latitude 40.52 degrees north, longitude 75.03 degrees west).

What it illustrates is how high the sun is throughout the day. We are now in the November to December part of the chart (the bottom two curves) At high noon the sun only reaches about 25-30 degrees above the southern horizon. In June it’s almost 75 degrees, nearly directly overhead.

The next 6 weeks or so (from now until mid January) are the peak of winter light when the sun is lowest in the sky. I love winter light. It has a rich creamy color and creates long shadows. When it gets cold and dry (especially in January) the light gets nice and crisp.

Frankly, I’d rather stay inside where it’s warm and cozy rather than venture out into cold weather, but who can resist this light? It’s perfect for black and white photos, even when it’s cloudy. There is still winter light behind those clouds!

I’ve got long johns, woolen socks and mittens to stave off the cold. Plus being outside for a while makes being inside feel even better. I can shoot then come back inside, makes some hot cocoa and sit snug and warm at my computer and process my photos.

So go out, get some great shots and show us the light (winter light). Submit your best shots and be part of our project Winter Light in B&W.

Use the link to learn more about the project and to submit your photos. You can also use the link to navigate to our November photos and take part in judging the best ones.

Think of how cool your photos will look next summer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *