Were all carrying around mini computers these days so it stands to reason that wed use them to help plan and run our day. One app that helps me a lot is The Photographer’s Ephemeris, an app for desktop, iOS and Android.
What Does The Ephemeris Do?
In short, The Photographer’s Ephemeris gives details of sun and moon positions at any given time and date. This allows some forward planning when wanting to capture in a certain light.
For this example Im going to plan where the sun will be, and thus my perfect position, for shooting Tower Bridge in London.
First Ill locate Tower Bridge by typing it in the search field;
You can see here that its jumped to the location and added a pin. The lines all show sun and moon positions.
Zooming out a little and clicking the Sunrise button (1) I can see the the sun will be coming from the east diagonal to the bridge (2)
This is fine if I wanted to photograph from the bridge. By clicking and holding then dragging the pin to a new location I can see where the best position might be to capture the sunrise over the bridge;
Thats all very well, but the chances are the sun will still be behind buildings. The optimal time for this shoot is likely to be around 8am.
I can slide the time slider along until I get to 8am (8:01 is the closest I could get) and then replace the pin until I get the sun where I want it, right in the middle of the bridge.
Ok, so i got my sunrise, now Id like the sun to be illuminating the bridge. Again Ill move the slider and pin until I get the sun on the bridge, about 11:11 am and from the south of the river.
The sun coming down the bridge, 14:05.
In this shot Ive lined the moon up with Tower Bridge at a time where I can stand on London Bridge and shoot it, 22:32. Now, theres more to calculating all this of course and Ill let you get stuck into the more technical aspects of this wonderful app.
If youre planning on shooting using natural light then do yourself a favour and grab TPE, you’ll thank yourself later!
Known as only “TipSquirrel” for two years, Eric ‘went public’ when he was a finalist in The Next Adobe Photoshop Evangelist competition. He’s also been a finalist in Deke’s Techniques Photoshop Challenge.
While still taking on some freelance work, Eric has recently become a Lecturer at Peterborough’s Media and Journalism Centre where he enjoys sharing his knowledge as well as learning new skills. This realisation that he loves to teach has made Eric look at altering his career path.
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