What time is Sunrise ? Sunset ?

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TPE (The Photographer’s Ephemeris), an invaluable free tool for landscape and seascape photography.

Many of us enjoy landscape and seascape photography.  Invariably the best time to photograph is sunrise or sunset so it is really useful to know in advance the time of the sunrise/sunset.  It’s also useful to know the sun’s azimuth (angle) at these times. In some situations it also helps to know this for the moon as well as the moon’s phase.

There is a free program available that will help you do all this and more !   It’s called The Photographer’s Ephemeris, and it’s developed by Stephen Trainor.  The short name for the program is TPE.

Some of TPE’s great features:

  • Calculates sunrise/sunset times and azimuth for a particular day
  • Calculates moonrise/moonset times and azimuth
  • Overlays the sun/moon azimuth onto a Google map
  • Change time of day and watch sun/moon position change on the Google map
  • Also calculates civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight times
  • Quickly jump to any date in the past or future
  • Saves a list of your personal favourite locations

TPE integrates with Google Maps, so you can see the sun/moon positions on top of a topographical map.

The sample at the top of this post is for Balmoral Beach tomorrow, December 16th 2011.  Click on the thumbnail to see a larger version.

The program is free for your PC or Mac. Download it here.

There are versions for an iPhone here and Android phones here.  The mobile phone versions do cost around $4 to $9 dollars.


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3 Responses to What time is Sunrise ? Sunset ?

  1. Colin Lipworth says:

    This looks similar to LightTrac. I don’t know if LightTrac has a PC version, but it has an excellent version for the iPad. The iPhone version is small but useable.

  2. Colin Lipworth says:

    I had a good took at TPE over the weekend. It also has an iPad version. It is more sophisticated than LightTrac. The both give the time and direction of rising and setting events for sun and moon anywhere in the world, using Google Maps, but TPE has additional functionality if you want more precision. For example, It can adust the times of sunrise or sunset to compensate for being high above the horizon. It can adjust these times for refracion caused by the atosphere. It can calculate whether the sun will clear a hill and at what time, or calculate when the sun will shine on the face of a distant mountain.
    I think that this additional functionality is mostly useful to photographers who can clearly visualise the image they want and then carefully ‘stalk’ it.

  3. Michael Stevens says:

    I have used TPE for a couple of years. It is great to know the direction of sun or moonrise or set both in Sydney and when you go traveling and rather than use an iPad while away it is simple to check at home and just use a compass on site. The bearings given are from True North and in eastern Australia set your compass to 12 degrees less to allow for magnetic variation. The only thing that TPE doesn’t do is predict a clear sky!

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