Sunrise & Set Pro for iPhone/iPod Touch

Like many in this industry, I started as an assistant to other photographers. One cold and wet afternoon while cleaning the cases of one of my clients I came across a curious set of plastic laminated cards with the word “Sundicator” printed on them. Being the complete geek that I was (am,) I recognized the terms Azimuth and Inclination and figured that these cards were a way of estimating where in the sky the sun would be at a particular time and place. Each card was specific to a range of latitudes on the globe. In order to use the set properly you needed the correct card for your latitude and a compass. It’s worth noting that this photographer had lost the card for our home latitude.

Jump ahead 15 or so years and you have the age of gps and hand held computing. Hence the iPhone app Sunrise and Set Pro. This wonderful little app will read your current gps location and tell you the Azimuth (heading) in inclination (angle above horizon) of the sun for any given time. It will also give you sunrise and sunset times for that location on any given day. The app automatically computes daylight savings time issues which is great because I can never remember whether to add or subtract and hour. And it will also allow you to save custom locations for later review. This is a great option for location scouting. With saved locations you can easily change dates and times of shoots from home and know what the sun will be doing before arriving on location. (more…)

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When the Light isn’t Right

Rhododendrons and Redwood Trunks, Damnation Creek Trail
Rhododendrons and Redwood Trunks. Damnation Creek Trail

Sunday the light just wasn’t working for me.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t ugly out. It was a beautiful blue-sky day in far Northern California, where I was just finishing up a much-too-short run to spend a couple days in the redwoods, in part as part of the Save Our State Parks effort. The trip was amazing. But yesterday, full sun and 30 miles-per-hour winds left me uninspired.

Now, I’m far from the first photographer to observe that “the light isn’t right” is often as much a statement about the photographer as the light itself. Yes, it’s likely that a sufficiently creative photographer will find a way to make great images in any light she or he ends up with. On the other hand, it’s also true that some types of light really fit my photographic vision better than others. And no matter what the cause, the question remains, what to do with a day like that? (more…)

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Scouting the Oregon Workshop

(This is the first of a series of posts I’ll be making from the road during a workshop I’m giving along the Southern Oregon coast. It’s my hope that this series will be of interest both to photographers looking to take workshops in the future, as well as photographers giving workshops.)

For me, one of the most important parts of giving a photo workshop is the scouting, spending (depending on the workshop) one or more days scouting. (more…)

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