Michelangelo-The-Creation-of-the-Sun,-Moon-and-PlanetsMichelangelo, The Creation of the Sun, Moon and Planets from the Sistine Ceiling

Remember the days when you arrived at a promising landscape location only to find that the sun was in your eyes, obscuring the view? Or, how about a sudden torrent, washing away the dream of your next plein-air masterpiece?

We live in an age where there is little excuse for succumbing to those sorts of things.


The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE), is an application for all platforms (Mac, Windows, iOS, Android) which shows the path and angle of the sun at any time of day, for any day of the year, at any location in the world. You’ll get the same info for the moon as well, in case moonlight painting is in your future. TPE is also a great tool to help you plan that huge studio you’ve always wanted to build.

The cool thing about TPE is that is allows you to scout locations before you leave the house.

Let’s say that you’re planning a trip to San Francisco this September and want to do some paintings of the Golden Gate Bridge. With TPE, you can find out which side of the bridge will be in sun and when. Furthermore, you’ll see the sun’s path, which will help you better schedule your painting time.


I could go on, but photographer Simon Maxwell did a fantastic tutorial which covers the essential aspects for us:

Of course, TPE cannot forecast the weather. For that, we need to wait until the week or day of your trip. There are numerous weather apps and I seem to collect them. Nonetheless, my go-to weather app is Dark Sky.


The screenshots above are from my iPhone. Notice, near the bottom of the left-most image, that Dark Sky predicted rain in 20 minutes. It was correct.