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The Photographer's Ephemeris Review

June 27, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Given that this pasSupermoon Rises Over Cannon Research Facility in Kannapolis, NCCannon Research Facility Supermoon t weekend was the Supermoon I figured this would be a good blog post for this week.  This week I'll be reviewing the use of "The Photographer's Ephemeris."  As always, I am not getting paid or anyway reimbursed for this review.  This is just an app that I have found extremely useful, and others do too so it's worth mentioning.

The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) is a very handy tool that is available in multiple platforms.  It is free to download to your PC, but has a small fee to download as an Android App.  I have been using the PC version for a few years now, and I can say it was honestly the first app I paid for when I finally bought a smartphone.  In fact it is one of only three apps I have ever actually paid for and it is well worth the cost.  Now that I think of it, I remember being in the car after purchasing my smartphone, and as the thought crossed my mind, the wifeling glared at me with a "What?  I know that look." So I told her that I could finally get TPE for my phone.

With the application in general it allows you to search for a location and pinpoint whatever location you desire.  You can even save frequently used locations to make the process even quicker and easier.  In the Android App you also have the option to allow GPS tracking and can pinpoint your location using the compass icon. 

I found out the night of the Supermoon that if you doubletap the compass icon it not only centers on your location, but actually adjusts the map for the way that you're facing.  It was a few degrees off when I tried this, but I don't know if standing so close to my car had anything to do with throwing it off, or if there were any other environmental issues that may have been involved.

Other features include lines for sunrise/sunset, and moonrise/moonset, as well as giving the information on times for all of this information for specific days.  It also has information on elevation above sea level and azimuth of your selected celestial body. 

One thing that I have noticed is that in the PC version some days will have an asterisk and the information says something to the effect of "extra celestial phenomenon" these tend to include things like eclipses, but the asterisk doesn't always tell you what might be occurring in the sky.   Most times you'll already know from the news what might be occurring such as eclipses, meteors, etc., but every once in awhile there will be something on TPE that I can't find what the extra phenomenon might be.  Now to be fair it's been awhile since I've used the PC version as I always have my smart phone on me.

There is a spot on both apps for all three twilights (Civil, Nautical, and Astronomical), so that you can plan your shoot accordingly.

There have been a number of times I have used this app and known where I wanted to setup my shot before I even walked out the door.  It has also allowed me to change ideas as necessary because I have looked at spots and thought, that would make a great photo to get the moon rising over that field.  Only to realize that it's not quite facing the right direction at the right time.  This is readily apparent when you think of moonrise and sunrise on the horizon during the summer and winter times.  They may only be different by a few degrees, but those few degrees can make a big difference.

I think that's about all for this week.  Anyway, check it out for yourself, it's definitely worth it.


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