As a landscape photographer I presently have two pieces of software I use as part of the
composition process. The main one is “The Photographer's Ephemeris”
(also know as “TPE”) the other, “Stellarium”. Both of these programs are
available for Linux, Mac and Windows OS’s and are free to download.
The Photographer’s Ephemeris is a free application developed by Stephen Trainor designed
for landscape photographers. Among other things TPE can be used to track the time and
direction of the rising and setting sun and moon. As well it also outlines the times of the civil,
nautical and astron. twilights on any given day. At least these as the features I use.
I use it all the time and often will cycle through it (adjusting the calendar) to see when
the sun or moon would line up with various landscape or cityscape features I want to photograph.
For example TPE helped me plan this shot. I expectantly waited, with nd grads in hand,
and enjoyed the show!
Morning Has Broken at Petty Harbour
After using TPE for about two years I now have a general idea of the suns movement in my
area, rising and setting, as we move from season to season. If I want to capture a sunrise
or sunset in a certain area I can easily plan in advance what would be the best time to
shoot it. I have found this has allowed me to be more proactive and prepared and has
increased my chances of a successful shoot. This gives us an even greater opportunity to
“chase the light”!
Another example of a photograph I was able to capture because I planned ahead was
“Heading out this Morning”. As well as knowing exactly where and when the sun would
rise I also knew the fishing boats were going to be going out to the fishing grounds. All I
needed now was a little luck for the right weather. As I stood there all prepared, the show
began right on time, cool!
Heading out this Morning
The other program, which I use to a much lesser extent is Stellarium.
Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a detailed
rendition of the sky, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.
I might use it when I want to include a planet in a shot. With all the news about Jupiter
these days it was an obvious subject!
Journey to Jupiter
I have found that simply just browsing around these programs gives me ideas and options
for future photo shoots. Always great to have a plan and sometimes it even works out the
way I hoped!
Thanks for dropping by and having a read. If you got any software applications you’d
like to share, it sure would be great to hear form you!