Behind the shot: A Kent Downs Cloud Inversion

Behind the scenes look at a photograph I took at the beginning of December 2019 on the Kent Downs.

One of the most amazing sights I have ever witnessed! The cloud inversion over the English Channel has spilt into the Downs below, isolating Summerhouse Hill nicely and all under a beautiful colourful dawn sky.

As I write this on New Year’s Eve, there has not been much winterly weather so far here in Kent with the only real spell of cold weather occurring at the start of the month. This brief 3-day spell did produce some fantastic mist and frost though which I am always keen to make use of in my landscape photography.

I have been shooting this area of the Kent Downs nr Folkestone quite a bit over the past couple of years and I had a list of the views I wanted to capture in the forecasted cold snap.

Farthing Common in the frost as the sun rises behind me illuminating the hills in the distance.

The first shot I got on that initial cold morning was this panoramic from Farthing Common. I could see the landscape was covered in a frost as I passed in the car and with sunrise only a few minutes away I decided to grab this rather than risk missing out around the corner.

The next morning had very similar conditions. Low winds and low temperatures overnight is usually a good indicator for mist but again it did not occur on the Downs. Perhaps there is a hint of it in the valley of this shot below taken near the Arpinge Ranges. I like this view as it shows off the shape of the hills here with Summerhouse Hill set apart in the distance. This is one of the nicer versions I have of this view so I left happy.

A panoramic of the Kent Downs nr Arpinge Ranges taken on the second morning.

On the next morning I set off much earlier than before. Whilst driving to the Downs on the past two days there had been a fantastic colour in the sky at first light approximately 1 hour before sunrise. It hadn’t really cost me because the weather hadn’t been that great but I knew I would be angry if it occurred again and the mist did decide to show up this time.

Halfway along Stone Street and I knew this morning was different as I encountered my first bit of fog. Immediately one location stood out in my mind as being ideal for these conditions.

I proceeded to park up at the top of Tolsford Hill and after a short hurried walk, I was greeted with the view seen at the top of this page. It was well before sunrise but the sky was already a fabulous red colour and there was a cloud inversion where the sea could normally be seen which was seeping into the Downs below. What a sight!

Sunrise behind Summerhouse Hill on the Kent Downs, taken on the third morning of this little cold snap in December 2019.

A little later I took this shot as the sun rose above the clouds and cast the landscape in a golden hue. As you can see the mist has burnt off a little revealing the outline of the cliffs with the sea beyond still covered in fog!

Let’s hope we get some more mornings like that this winter. Some snow would be nice too..!

Thanks for reading!

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