SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE TOOLS FOR YOUR SUNSET PHOTOGRAPHY
Planning for Sunset Photo Perfection
To give you all the advantages that good planning can add to great sunset photography, here are a few of the free specialized tools I use.
Plus, as an added benefit, I find that these resources also help inspire me to get out and take more sunset photographs more often, because by using them I know that I have a better chance at capturing a unique moment.
Give them a try, and if you do use them, please let me know what you think.
Best Free Tools for Sunset Photography
To predict the best times for outstanding sunset photography, I use a great Web site that creates customized tables showing you exactly when sunrise and sunset occur – anywhere in the world (even Winnipeg!)
From your own back yard to the ice caps of Antarctica, you can now plan your sunset photography outings to maximize those surreal scenes! Now you don’t have to get up too terribly early, because you know EXACTLY when the light will be right for your shot!
1) Check out the free sunset tables here. Most major global cities are included on the Web site, and if you know the latitude and longitude of just about any place on earth, you can create similar tables. Google Earth and Google Maps can give you the lat/long which you can then type into the tables.
2) Steve Edwards, the creator of the site, also has a great free downloadable tool that you can run directly from your from your PC. Good if you are traveling with your laptop and won’t have Internet access.
The Ultimate Sunset and Sunrise Photo Planning tool – iPhone/Android app too!
You should already know how much I love iPhone photography and when cruising through the App Store I came across this cool tool. It’s name is weird, but don’t let that stop you from using it. What was an even better surprise is that there is also a FREE desktop app as well. I use both almost daily.
It’s the Photoephemeris, and it lets you manipulate a map of your location to show you where the sun will rise and set and how high in the sky it will be on certain days at certain times. It’s based on a terrain map so you can “see” the shooting environment, and you can also set up your shot by positioning the lines for the sun and letting the app calculate the dates and times! This is one screenshot, but visit my review of this cool app here.
At least try the free desktop app and once you see how cool it is, then if you like it, you can pay the expensive (8.99) for the iPhone version – for nature photographers who travel, this really is a MUST HAVE tool. Don’t waste your shoots with guess work. Plan for success!
Best Resource for any Photography involving the Sun or the Moon
If you are really into sunset photography you can make some highly unusual images by including the moon, stars and planets in your composition. The easiest way to do this is to uncover when the heavenly bodies will be aligned in your part of the world. I highly recommend a cool little application called Heavenly Opportunities.
For just about any location in the world, this software will help you find the best places and times for sunset and sunrise photos, as well as moonset and moonrise photos. It will even help you determine the best times and places for capturing rare events like sunset combined with moonrise!
You can download a free trial of Heavenly Opportunities here.
For example, here’s are a few images from the Heavenly Opportunities Web site.
How would you feel if you were visiting here the day after this happy conjunction occurred? As my old friend Maxwell Smart would say “Missed it by that much!” 🙁
So, never miss another opportunity like this again. Now you can plan your photo expeditions around perfect sunset photographs and moon and sun events, to really maximize your photography time!
HO lets you choose the angle of the sun at sunset, position on the horizon and the times of day or night for that perfect combination of WOW and technical photographic composition. Plus the documentation is some of the best I have seen. Download the free trial for better sunset photography. I know you’ll love it.
After using this software a few times, I couldn’t believe how many more great sunset photos I was able to take. And I was so motivated to get outdoors and shoot more often. Remember what a wise person said, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” 🙂