It’s Ephemeral

ephem·eris (e fem′?r is, i-)
noun pl. ephemerides eph′·emer′i·des′ (ef′? mer′? d?z′)
– a table giving the computed positions of a celestial body for every day of a given period
– an astronomical almanac containing such tables
Etymology: L < Gr eph?meris, diary, calendar < eph?meros: see ephemeron
Webster’s New World College Dictionary Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio.

Where’s the Sun?

When scouting a location or planning an outdoor shoot the most important question is, where will the sun be? Where it will rise and where it will set can be important for landscape photographers, but for most others it’s more important to know where it will be at 3:30pm, or some other time that works for the shot, or the client, or the traffic, or other variables.

We have long had various look-up table (ephemeris) either on paper, computers or various portable devices that provide the angle and elevation of the sun at various times for various places. But visualizing what this means in terms of the actual geography of a location can be difficult and time consuming.

Last year a program called The Photographer’s Ephemeris by Stephan Trainor came out and it made quite a splash, especially since it is free, and works on Macs, Windows, and Linux machines.

In mid-April 2010 Ephermis for iPhone at $8.99 came out, and also a competator called LightTrac for iPad at $3.99. So now we have similar products for every likely platform at prices ranging from free to just under $10. What are they like?

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LightTrac for iPad

So – you don’t have an iPad yet?

If you live outside of the US, that’s understandable. Shipments should start in much of the rest of the world in late April. But, if you’re a photographer or film maker who works outdoors – whether you do landscape, architecture, advretising, fashion or any other decipline, you owe it to yourself to spend $3.99 and get a copy of LightTrac for iPad. Oh yes, and get yourself an iPad to run it on.

Strong words? Yes, but I believe deserved in both cases.

As I’ve written before,  the iPad is a game changer, not just for photographers, but for consumers of still images, books, magazines, newspapers and video in general.

No, it’s not a laptop replacement. It’s not intended to be, though for many people with simply demands it could well be. And it’s not just another tablet computer, because along with the thousands of apps available now, and appearing every day, it represents a complete new information and entertainment ecosphere.

Which brings us to an exciting new app for the iPad, just released in mid-April, 2010.

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April, 2010

 Updated: April 5, 2015