Chasing the winter solstice

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Image above: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon © Emily Mount 

Emily Mount has brought together eleven landscape, nature and wildlife photographers from across the northern hemisphere to take part in her project Winter Solstice. Giving each photographer the same brief, to head out into the field and interpret what the shortest day of the year means to them and their region, Emily hopes to compile a stunning set of images from Canada, Sweden, Slovenia, Ukraine, Taiwan, Panama the UK and USA in under 24 hours. We’ll be following her and her team members’ progress through our social media channels, join in too by using #chasingsolstice. Here Emily explains more about the project…

In today's busy world, we rarely notice the subtle shifts in our seasons, the gradual changing of days and nights, or the arc of the sun across the sky. While ancient civilizations marked the progress of the seasons and celebrated the arrival and passing of significant astronomical events, today our season's turning points – the solstices and equinoxes – are relegated to a few words of text on the calendar.

On December 22, the shortest day of the year, 11 photographers will head into the field with cameras in hand to capture the beauty of the winter solstice in the north hemisphere. Many will contend with cold and intense weather conditions in the far north; others will enjoy warmth and sunshine near the equator. We have a full 24 hours to search for ways to showcase the northern hemisphere gripped in the depths of winter.

During this day, all of the participants will have to face the question of what it means to capture the essence of winter solstice for their region. Our goal is not only to document what is happening in the natural world, but portray the feeling of the land. With luck, we will catch a glimpse of the north's wild residents and discover how they are contending with and surviving the shortest day of the year. We hope you will follow us as we embark on a journey into the darkness and light of winter solstice!

Meet some of the photographers:

Rich Reid: Ojai, California, USA

El Nino along the California coast is my topic this winter solstice since the predictions are for considerable coastal erosion and heavy rainfall. Weather events are my passion and this winter will afford great opportunities to witness the strongest El Nino in recorded history.

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Mathieu Dumond: Kugluktuk, Nunavut, Canada

Mathieu Dumond is a photographer and videographer passionate about documenting the natural environment in the Canadian Arctic where he lives in an outpost camp with his wife and son, near the village of Kugluktuk in Nunavut. Mathieu uses his knowledge in wildlife biology and his experience of the Arctic to get shots and footage in the most remote places of western Nunavut.

The Winter Solstice photo project is a great opportunity to showcase the beauty of nature during the shortest day of the year. Around Kugluktuk, approximately 200km above the Arctic Circle, the sun disappears for about a month around the winter solstice but resident wildlife still roam the majestic frozen landscape under the aurora borealis.

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Jose Calvo: Coiba Island, Panama

I’ve been working in tourism for over 25 years leading nature, birdwatching and photography trips to Costa Rica, Panama, Galapagos and the Amazon. For this project, I am working as a photography instructor for Lindblad Expeditions aboard the ship National Geographic Sea Lion.

I’ll be photographing at Coiba Island in Panama on the 22 December, one of the biggest islands of Central America on the shortest day of the year (only slightly shorter here as we're so close to the equator).

I’m passionate about participating in interesting projects that raise awareness of our incredibly beautiful natural world.

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Alexander Kitsenko: Kharkov, Ukraine

My name is Alexander Kitsenko and I live in Kharkov, Ukraine. My main job is with an energy company as a central dispatcher but I spend my free time either with my family or taking photos. In my hometown, I’m considered a professional landscape photographer and I am pleased to participate in this exciting project. I decided that I would take pictures around home, because there I love every tree and every blade of grass. I know it will probably be rainy and gray weather with almost no snow but I will try to show nature is beautiful here whatever the weather!

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Emily Mount: Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

On December 22, I plan to be at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, USA. This is an incredible desert landscape with stellar geologic formations, twisted trees, and potentially great or terrible weather. I was inspired to create this project with photographer Rich Reid, and have enjoyed reaching out to photographers around the world to collaborate on the winter solstice photo project.

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Lizzie Shepherd: North Yorkshire, United Kingdom

I’m Lizzie Shepherd and I’m a full time photographer based in North Yorkshire in the UK. I’m really excited to be involved in a collaborative project that pulls together photographers from a number of different countries and I love the idea of finding ways to celebrate the shortest day of the year. In modern times it seems the winters solstice is viewed rather dimly due to the lack of daylight hours and, here in the UK, a tendency for rather dank winter weather, yet in past times it was celebrated. I have a number of ideas for where I’d like to shoot during the solstice but I’m keeping my options open, what with the vagaries of the weather at present!

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Oliver Wright: Abisko, Sweden

I’m a UK photographer but I’m working in Abisko, Northen Sweden as a photography guide for Lights Over Lapland photography tours. As I’m 195 km north of the Arctic Circle, I will be shooting what it’s like this far north at the heart of winter. These will be nature photographs of frozen water, landscapes and hopefully some aurora.

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Luka Esenko: Slovenia

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Rich Matheson: Taiwan

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Want to join in on the conversation? Use #chasingsolstice in your social media posts.