Is this the ultimate app for landscape photographers? Michael Topham tries it out

The-Photographers-Ephemeris-appThe Photographer’s Ephemeris app at a glance:

  • Gives localised sunset and sunrise information
  • Reveals direction of light at any given location, indicated by coloured lines
  • Price: £2.99, available for iOS and Android mobile devices
  • Websites: www.apple.com/uk/itunes and play.google.com/store

The quality of light and the precise time at which you capture an image is key to creating the best images of the great outdoors. Estimating the time of a sunrise or sunset isn’t always easy, particularly if you’re shooting in a new or unknown location. The Photographer’s Ephemeris has long been one of our favourite apps, and version 3.0 is now available to download on iOS and Android mobile devices through the App Store and Google Play. It has been designed to assist landscape photographers in the field by supplying detailed information about how light falls at any given time – for any location on earth.

Opening the app for the first time, you soon appreciate how sophisticated it is, with options to pinpoint your current location, search for a new location on Google Maps or search specifically by location name.

After finding and plotting a location, the app instantly reveals the sunrise and sunset times, but also reveals the direction of the light on the map using coloured lines. Helpfully, the app displays the current direction of light as well – revealed on the map by a thin orange line.

The Photographer’s Ephemeris app – key features

Sunrise/sunset

A yellow line indicates the angle of sunrise, while sunsets are revealed in orange.

Light direction

The live direction of the light is presented on the map view and is revealed by a thin orange line.

Locations

It’s possible to search for a location by name. Locations can also be added to a saved list for future reference.

Shadows

The app reveals detailed shadow information, and accurate elevation adjustments can be set manually.

Google Maps

TPE offers various map views, including Google Standard, Hybrid and Terrain options.

The Photographer’s Ephemeris app – verdict

The best thing about this app is the way it presents very precise and accurate location information in an easy-to-understand manner. It could make the difference between arriving at your location at the perfect time to get the shot or missing it altogether. Its usefulness extends to working out how the light will fall on a subject or scene at any time of the day. It’s a must-have app for any serious landscape photographer or those wanting to research a location thoroughly before a visit. The information it offers for the price is superb.

SCORE: 5 out of 5

You may wish to consider:

OS-MapFinder
OS MapFinder

Price: Free to download (in-app purchases extra), available on iOS and Android

This mapping app enables users to view, navigate and download the most up-to-date OS Landranger (1:50,000) and OS Explorer (1:25,000) maps of Great Britain in high resolution. Ideal for landscape exploring.

Focalware
Focalware

Price: £3.99, available on iOS

This compass app features GPS support and doesn’t require an internet connection to work – ideal if you find yourself in a remote location. As with The Photographer’s Ephemeris, it calculates sun and moon positioning.

Tide-Times
My Tide Times

Price: Free to download, available on iOS and Android

Those who enjoy photographing seascapes will want an intuitive app to check the tide times before setting out. My Tide Times is free to download, recognises your nearest locations and is very simple to use.