A Great Tool For Photographers!

18 04 2010

Hey folks

Somebody recently pointed me to a new tool for landscape and urban photography…. so of course I was pretty interested and checked it out.  In the first week that I have been using the software it has already helped me immensely and I urge you all to check it out.

It is called The Photographers Ephemeris… Now I don’t know about you but I didn’t know what the hell an Ephemeris was (but I do now)…. It’s basically tables of astronomical movements (sun, moon etc.)  Now while I was relying on various other sites to give me information about sun and moon positions, what I like about this tool is the integration to Google Maps.  You can simply put in an address or location, and you see a placemark appear on the Google Maps screen showing sunrise, sunset, sun & moon position at any point int the day overlayed over the Google Maps!!!  It’s Awesome.

The thin orange line shows the direction of the Sun at the time I was shooting. On the right hand side you can see the elevation of the sun at that time is < 30degrees

A Recce shot at the Old Dunlop Factory

Let me relay a real case study of how this has helped me on a shoot that I am planning later today.  Last Saturday I went to the abandoned Dunlop Factory in Alexandria for a scouting trip in preparation for a shoot that I am planning today.  I took this photograph of my son as a scouting shot.   I rang the model and set a time of 3PM on Sunday for the shoot figuring that as the sun sets the ambient light will be lower and I’ll have more control with my strobes.   Now yesterday I was playing with The Photographers Ephemeris and I typed in the address to the search box at the bottom and my location came up.  I then adjusted the calendar to todays date and moved the time slider to 3PM.  It immediately showed me that the angle and elevation of the sun was wrong for my shoot.  The old warehouse has big open sides on the second story, and I didn’t realise that they were facing due West.  This would mean that the setting sun would shine right into the factory and give me too much ambient light.  So I called the model and re-scheduled the shoot for 90 minutes earlier when the elevation of the sun would be higher (about 40 degrees).

This is a great tool, it’s available free for Mac & Windows platforms, and you can buy it for your iPhone as well.   I have bought it as well as downloading it on my Mac at home and I have also made a donation to the developer of this great bit of software.

Head on over to the developer’s website where you can download the application and also watch a couple of quick tutorials on how to use it.






12 responses

18 04 2010
Ilya Genkin

The Photographers Ephemeris is a really great tool. I’m using it for quite a while and I love it! Wrote a short post about it in June 2009: http://ilyagenkin.blogspot.com/2009/06/yassc-yet-another-sunrisesunset.html

18 04 2010

Very Cool!

18 04 2010

What a fantastic tool. Thanks for posting about it.

18 04 2010
Fabien Mahaut

This is an incredible useful tool. thank to share

18 04 2010

Cheers Brent.

19 04 2010
Sandy @ Shots

Thanks for sharing the post Brent….this is great tool to travel with, especially when in unfamiliar locations with only one day/night to get the shot.

19 04 2010

Brilliant, particuarly when shooting away from well…anywhere. (Like Newman). Thanks very much.

22 04 2010
Graham Leggate

Excellent find. Thanks Brent.

24 04 2010

wooow amazing program I was looking for a work around this problem thx for this

27 04 2010

Glad you liked it, mate 🙂

8 05 2010
Flemming Bo Jensen

Thanks so much for that link, just checking it out now – what an incredible tool!!! I am in Death Valley at the moment, there are mountains on both sides (incredibly, seems to be a trademark of valleys!) and this tool is really helpful!

8 05 2010

Hey Flemming Bo Jensen (not sure which of those is your first name…)

You are lucky to be in Death Valley… one place I haven’t been yet that I’d love to go to.

Glad the tip was useful.


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