Joe Cornish, the great British landscape photographer, advocates taking most of your photographs no more than thirty minutes from your home. So, here's my blog featuring pictures either thirty minutes drive or walk away from my front door or from the place where I'm staying for a few days. I'll also be writing about photography in general from time to time. Please enjoy!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The Photographers Ephemeris

I'm a sucker for sunsets, I really am and there's lots of places I'm getting to know where, given the right conditions, some spectacular ones can be seen. My current favourite locations are West Kirby on the Wirral peninsular and the west coast of Anglesey from Llanddwyn to Tywyn Fferam. There's lots of places to discover, too. I'm planning a trip to the Jurassic coast of Dorset, the north Devon coast and to see and photograph the wooden lighthouse at Burnham on Sea in Somerset probably in May.

One of the best tools I've found for planning such adventures is The Photographers Ephemeris. This little tool allows you to plot sunrise and sunset times for just about any location in the world. It's superbly accurate; I put it to the test a couple of weeks back on Anglesey when it plotted the sunrise at Beaumaris perfectly. There's two versions: a desktop one, which is free, and an iPhone app, which is £5.49 (UK). Once you've got a copy of the program or app start it up and search for a location. When it finds where you're after it drops a pin that can be moved to the optimum location. Yellow and blue 'beams' are projected showing the sunrise and sunset on the yellow axis and moonrise and set on the blue one complete with times. You can fix the date to any point in the year.

There's all sorts of other calculations such as elevation above sea level, azimuth and altitude of the sun or moon for any time of daylight and it will even find when the sun/moon will appear from behind a hill! It's invaluable for the landscape photographer. All I now need to complete my landscape kit is a nice set of Lee ND grad filters!

You can get TPE by clicking below:

To round off this post, here's a West Kirby sunset from last winter. As always, ACR5 was used to process the image before final tweaking in Elements and a 5x5 crop, a format I'm liking this more and more...

Click the image for the bigger picture

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