As much as we give credit to the artistic imagination of a photographer for the beauty of their production, it’s important to know that photography isn’t just about creativity. It’s also about getting the science spot-on.
Sunlight photos, moonlight photos and twilight photos all require careful planning, they rarely ‘just happen’.
So if you’re detail-oriented about your outdoor photo shoots and want to perfect your images, the most important aspect is to be prepared. The great outdoors isn’t always kind, and preparation is vital to tame it. So how do you work your way around nature?
Natural light is constantly changing and never stays the same for too long. So if you want to be in the right place as the sun sets behind Big Ben or the moonlight wash over the Shard, you’re going to need some help from The Photographer’s Ephemeris to plan right.
What is the Photographer’s Ephemeris?
An ephemeris is a table of numbers that indicates the positions of astronomical objects in the sky such as the sun or the moon. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is an application that takes this raw data and visually shows you how the light would hit your scene. So you can see the relative angle of the sun and moon as it will appear on any date at any location on the planet. The use of this application can be greatly beneficial to outdoor photographers who may otherwise struggle with natural lighting.
Need to know the golden hour of your next shoot location? This is your answer.
Tips to use The Photographer’s Ephemeris
1. Scout the location
With the use of TPE, you can plan your shoot location right from your desk. Use the various map modes depending on which subject you’d like to shoot. Try Map mode for cities, Satellite mode for specific buildings or Terrain mode for a landscape.
2. Starred dates
The Photographer’s Ephemeris will have an asterisk beside dates that will have a new or full moon sitting low on the horizon near the time of sunrise or sunset. These are often the best days to shoot landscape photos including the moon.
3. Check the angle of view
You can use the secondary map pin to check the elevation angle from your shooting location to your subject or scene. This can help you decide what focal length lens you will need to use to accommodate the subject in the frame.
4. Find the perfect street shot
TPE can help you find out when the sunsets are in perfect alignment with your chosen street. Try and play around with the sun position using the details slider so that it’s just above the horizon where you can still shoot it, and then check the optimal date for the alignment with your favourite street.
5. Download TPE app
You can’t always account for everything and plan ahead on every aspect. By downloading the TPE app on your phone you can carry the information you need with you on your shoot trips. The Photographer’s Ephemeris application for iPhone has the same functionality as the desktop version.
If you’re a super planner when it comes to photography and you want to know the exact position of the sun on 14th June at 12:53 PM, photography ephemeris is your friend. Whether you want to shoot in sunlight, moonlight, or twilight, planning ahead doesn’t hurt one bit.
Your problem with lighting in landscape photography isn’t going to solve itself. Neither can you expect the sun and moon to bend to your will. This is why The Photographer’s Ephemeris app is the perfect solution to planning your outdoor photo sessions perfectly.