Thursday, October 13, 2011

Favorite Photography App: The Photographer's Ephemeris

Every now and then there's a fantastic app that is worth noting.  With so many natural light photographers out there this handy app is sure to be a hit.  This app is one you'll love if you haven't discovered it already.  
It is called The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE). Ephemeris is a term to describe the positions of the planets and stars based on a particular date in a regular sequence. Most often these are provided in a table.

The beauty of TPE is it uses Google's map services and overlays the direction of natural light (both moon and sun) and how it will fall on a particular coordinate on a map.   With Google Maps, you can often see the actual monument, house, park or structure you are planning to photograph to plan ahead.

Let's say you want to shoot a photo of the Golden Gate bridge during the next full moon.  Using TPE it will help you plan your photo shoot and best camera angle to achieve your desired results.  If you want to take a shot of the bridge at sunset, what shadows do you need to be aware of and what's the best time of day to capture the colors when the sun goes down.  TPE will help you plan this.  You can adjust the date and time to find out the ideal scenario.

Or perhaps you are going to shoot an outdoor wedding in 6 months.  Use TPE to plan ahead and know what direction the sun will set on the bride to create that wonderful glow.  Check out TPE.  And don't forget to enter the date and time of your shoot.

Right now TPE is free for your desktop.  You can also download the app on your smartphone for a small fee.  The app is handy when you're on location.  It is available now for your iPhone, iPad and Android (Beta).  Check it out, it's a very handy tool for the outdoor photographer and in general an interesting tool that shows the direction of light on a subject.

For tips on how to use TPE, here's a youtube tutorial:

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