The Ramsgate Insider’s Guide to chasing light across the coast

There really is no place like home, and Ramsgate makes me swell with pride that this life on the clifftops is in the place I was born! The more you open your heart to the wonders, people and places, the more Ramsgate gives to you. There’s no better time to soak in Ramsgate in all its beauty than at sunrise and so I’ll let light paint us a journey across a day in Ramsgate. Like that saying goes, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and so we will follow this path today!

I feel a deep alignment to sensing where light will be, my work is after all so light led and I love how in tune I’ve become with the cyclical nature of where the sun will be throughout the year. Just like the ebb and flow of the tide, the sun’s seasonal position in the sky has polarity. Summer bringing those sultry long evenings as the sun flirts north of east. The first light in summer can almost escape around the corner to Broadstairs rising around 4.20am. Once it illuminates the day known as summer solstice, it starts to gently feel the pull of the south, each day orientating southwards. By winter solstice the sun has journeyed south east in the sky, rising straight out of the sea at Eastcliff just after 8am.

This movement of light across the year absolutely blows my mind, each season brings a different quality the sunrise of summer seem so rapid, almost an eagerness to shine so bright from first light and in winter, it feels so much slower, the angle in the sky stays low across the southern horizon, the moody darker colours emphasising the feelings of depth in winter. I’m so in tune with it, with planning brand shoots, the first thing I will think about is ‘where will the light be’ so we can connect in to this and plan with it.

You can see France from Ramsgate all year around. In the day, the sun highlights the cliffs and boats sit as if they are hovering on the horizon. At night, starlight fills the sky, The Milky Way often rising above the French coast. We see lighthouse lights cycle around, dots of lights almost as if individual street lights are visible. On our first New Year’s Eve in this house it was so clear that we could see the fireworks along the coast of France at 11pm, we got to see in the new year celebrations in two time zones!

The Eastcliff leads down into the harbour, it is the last remaining Royal Harbour in the country and it is clear to see that life here is built around the harbour at the heart of everything. At low tide, a walk around the harbour is just incredible as the bridge that connects the two sides is lowered to keep the water in the inner harbour! To take in some beautiful seascapes, pace along the East Harbour Arm for epic 360 deg sea views and chasing last light as it moves to the west. On a bright day at high tide, the harbour looks most full and dazzling with the water reflecting the big blue skies.

The Western Undercliff beach is a gorgeous golden hour and sunset spot. In summer the golden hour paints from the north west and the deepest part of winter almost calls the sun to drop into the water here as daylight fades. Moments after sunset, the cliffs can turn pink as the sky picks up those refracted rays just below the horizon and momentarily paints colours that feel so beyond belief, it just stops you in your tracks.

Thanet often has a synonymous pairing of ‘Turner Skies’ and Margate, it is a totally different quality of light over on the north coast. Both to be loved and adored. If you ask me to pick a season of light, there is something about winter, seeing such moody and dramatic sunrises and sunsets, just 8 hours apart, means the short days are boundaries by anticipating spectacular moments.

Wherever I am, I will always be working out where north is, where light will rise, paint across the day and fall and make my shoot plans around this.

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