Need Help to Get That Perfect Sunrise or Sunset Shot?
As photographers we tend to love sunrise and sunsets, and why not, they make gorgeous photos. The problem comes from the fact that it takes more than just the sun, you need to have a great location. Let’s assume you are out taking photos in the afternoon and come upon a spot you think would make a great sunset photo, but you’re not sure where the sun will set, or at what time. The Photographers Ephemeris is the answer. Not sure what an Ephemeris is? I had to look that one up myself, from Wikipedia:
“An ephemeris (plural: ephemerides; from the Greek word ἐφήμερος ephemeros “daily”) is a table of values that gives the positions of astronomical objects in the sky at a given time or times. Different kinds of ephemerides are used for astronomy and astrology. Even though this was also one of the first applications of mechanical computers, an ephemeris will still often be a simple printed table.”
So an Ephemeris is a table of when and where the sun and moon rise and set. Let’s add Google Maps, and a really slick graphical representation and you have The Photographers Ephemeris, and to make it really useful, take your choice of the free desktop application or the version for the iPhone for $8.99.
The screen shot above is for the photo at the top of the article, this is showing the location on Google Maps and the colored lines represent the directions of the Sunrise, Sunset, Moonrise, and Moonset. This works with all of the views available including the Satellite as shown, street map, or terrain.
On the right side of the the program you can see the detail showing the exact times and compass directions.
The pictures above show the map view of the time and location that the photo was taken.
TPE’s map-based approach means you are not limited to a predefined list of locations, which often don’t include the places many photographers go. Instead, search for any place name on the planet or position the map pin exactly where you want it.
Advanced features include automatic time zone and elevation detection, correction for atmospheric refraction and height above the horizon, ensuring that you have the best possible information for planning your shoot.
You can download the free desktop version at http://photoephemeris.com/. The program uses Adobe Air (free) and if you do not have it you will need to download it also.
Now if we could only get an app that would let us know when and where the clouds will be!