A Winter Solstice Celebration
As the winter solstice approaches, the longest night of the year holds a special allure. It’s a time when darkness envelops the landscape. Here in the Dandenongs many of us associate the solstice with the Belgrave Lantern Parade. It is a truly magical evening when community come together and light up the main street of Belgrave with lanterns, both large and small.
This year I decided to take on a personal solstice photography passion project. I chose to photograph a number of shop windows in Olinda, Sassafras and Kallista after dark. I chose these towns as they aren’t the epicentre of the Hills’ solstice celebrations. They are also home to many small businesses and I wanted to shine a light on these.
I took the images on a freezing and very windy Saturday night 5 days before the 2023 solstice. I had just completed an extended family session at RJ Hamer Arboretum and was already chilled to the bone. I rugged up, took my cameras and went walking.
This was an opportunity to capture the essence of local community through their shop windows. Each window tells a story, exuding warmth and creativity. The lights, displays and decorations create a visual feast that captures the spirit of hygge and the solstice.
As I walked the streets on this cold, dark night I was taken back. It reminded me of the time I spent in Europe as an exchange student and later while studying at the University of Essen in Germany. There, in winter, there is barely 6 hours of a daylight so it was not unusual to be shopping by artificial light only.
Photographing in these conditions was a unique challenge. It was a chance to embrace the warm yellow hues of the lights, rather than fighting to balance them like in portrait photography. I had to balance the surrounding darkness. I had to time the shots to avoid headlights obscuring them or lighting up and reflecting whatever lay opposite.
I hope these images inspire you to rug up, get outdoors and explore despite the pending inclement weather.
- Storehouse Roastery, Olinda
- Butlers Vintage Depot, Olinda
- Mangana, Olinda
- Truffaux Hat Store, Olinda
- Angus & Celeste Ceramics, Olinda
- Lennox of Sassafras
- Through The Looking Glass, Sassafras
- Gepetto’s Workshop, Sassafras
- Chojo Feature Trees, Sassafras
- From Dust, Sassafras
- Storehouse, Sassafras
- Sohum, Sassafras
- Tea Leaves, Sassafras
- Wilga, Kallista
- Clementine By Design, Kallista
- Epoche, Kallista
- Leaf Studios, Kallista