The photographer's ephemeris

April 15, 2009 § 1 Comment

The Photographer’s Ephemeris is a program to assist the planning of landscape photography shoots. …
While times of sunrise etc. are readily available on various sites on the internet (direction of sunrise etc. less so, but still readily found), there are fewer programs available which combine such information with a topographical map allowing the photographer to match the astronomical to the location.

This is from the about page from this excellent program! While “only” in beta 0.8.0, it is already meeting most of my expectations. Previous versions just had the sunsets combined with the maps (which was already great), but it left you guessing where the sun would be 15-20 minutes before moon/sunset or after sun/moonrise. Now you can actually drag around a slider for the clock which gives you the info on where the sun and/or moon are at that exact moment.
A couple of examples:

I positioned the cursor at metro station Botanique/Kruidtuin to see when the sunset (thick orange line) would be in the direction of the ring road leading up to Basilique. Now you don’t need the sun to be setting, as it would be completely hidden by that same Basilique. So we need a couple of days later, let’s say April 21st. So what I did next, was go to the details part of the Ephemeris tab and take the slider until the thin orange line lines up with the R0. You can see that the elevation is still only 3°, maybe a little low, but I would have to test that out.


On June 17th at 20:32 local time (program detects timezone and daylight savings time), the sun will be at an elevation of 10° and shine along the line of the Chaussée de Waterloo between Parvis and Vleurgat. Whether you think this is as exciting as the previous example is up to you, but it shows you how powerful this little engine can be to (urban) landscape photographers.
I’d suggest you give it a try, find out some interesting sun/moon-rises/sets in the area where you live or plan to go on holiday. Feel free to share in the comments, but please don’t forget the author Stephen Trainor and leave some feedback on his blog!

Oh, the program runs on AIR (which means it runs on any platform supporting AIR: Linux, Mac OS, Windows)


§ One Response to The photographer's ephemeris

  • Stephen says:

    Mike – thanks for blogging about TPE. Great to see how others use the tool. Let me know if it helps you capture any masterpieces!

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