Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Useful Tool Worth Considering

I've been a location photographer for more than 25 years, knowing where and when the sun rises and sets is very important to my business. With the advent of the Internet as well as some fantastic web sites, this task could never be more simply.

Like a lot of photographers, before I head out to a new location I"ll first visit Google Maps/Google Earth to become familiar with my location. The next thing I'll do is open a program called "The Photographer's Ephemeris". This program is a free download for the desktop version, and the mobile version for your iPod Touch or iPhone is about 9 bucks.

What I like most of all about the program is, I can use a slider to advance the suns position throughout the day. With the satellite view, it allows me to see from what angle the suns position will be in at any given time and therefore allow me to plan my photographic day. The program uses different colored lines showing you the exact line at which the sun will track. As you move the time slider, the line indicating the suns position will move across the map.

Do check out this great program, if you have seen another one you like better, I'd like to hear about it. DT

8 comments:

Beau A.C. Harbin said...

I really like using this tool. I have used it for a while now it is great. I also have it on my iPad too. I wish it was native to really use the screen nicely but the iPhone port works fine. Has really helped on a number of occasions.

Phil said...

It is a really good tool. As well as azimuth, I also really like that it does elevation and shadow length. It also lets you set a geographic horizon and will let you know the elevation over that point - I live in a mountainous area and this is particularly good to get sunrise shots. A really good tool to alert people to.

Jon said...

Wow, thank you! Besides being useful, this is just plain COOL!

bmillios said...

Hey, David, cool app.

Check this writeup over at Vincent Laforet's blog:

http://blog.vincentlaforet.com/2010/05/21/tech-tips-iphone-app-sun-seeker/

It seems close to what you have, but maybe has some features that are different.

Alex Orrow said...

This is brilliant have been using a similar tool on the iphone but wanted a desktop version. Thanks for sharing.

There is another tool although more basic which would work well in conjunction for calculating the levation of an obstacle. Together you can estimate at what time the sun will rise above or below a given obstacle and at various distances to that obstacle. At least I hope that's the correct explanation.

Dean said...

There's an iphone app called LightTrac that is similar. Not sure if it's any good though. Still looking around...

Keep up the good work Tejada! You're an inspiration!

Dean said...

...And this one online, works on my iphone too. Don't forget to click the sunrise and sunset buttons under the map.

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/grad/solcalc/

Marcin Retecki said...

Aww, I wish I knew about it earlier.. I was looking for such useful solution since I remember, thanks for the clue!