The Photo Sundial app.
It was back in February that I discovered Rick Sammon's Photo Sundial app.
It's an app that will tell you when the best time and position for photographing sunsets, sunrise or starlight and the moon. It runs on your iPhone or iPad and is really easy to use. It shows you an aerial view of your present location or you can move the the map to a different or let the GPS find you. There is a graphic overlay of a sundial over your location that shows you the path of the sun from sunrise to sunset and the time that both events will happen. There is a slider that you can move and track the passage of the sun right through the day, and see the time position and the angle at any time during the day.
I was playing with the app moving the map around under the sundial with it set for sunrise for the next day. I had the map set to the photographic satellite view of the landscape so I could see the detail on the ground. I moved the map over my local nature reserve to see if there was any opportunity for a sunrise shot. The app showed me that the ridge in the field opposite to the reserve faced south west, and that at 07.05 the next day the sun was going to rise right behind a small tree on the horizon.You can see the tree in the screen shot of the app. In February the trees were bare and I thought that would make nice silhouette against an orange and blue sky. The app even showed me where to stand on the foot path in the field to get the angle perfect. I checked the weather in the app (it will give you weather reports also) ,and the forecast was for clear skies.
Armed with this info I was up at 06.00 and in the field by 06.30 with the camera on a tripod all set and ready to go.
I decided to shot this HDR and had a three shot bracket one stop apart setup in the camera.
Right on cue at 07.05 the sun started to rise over the horizon. I started to shoot sets of brackets as soon as the sky started to get lighter. I finally chose a set just before the sun broke over the horizon.
I processed the three frames in Photoshop using merge to HDR. Then into ACR and did some polishing in Lightroom.
Rick Sammon's Photo Sundial app is really simple to use and I'm sure I will be using it a lot more in the future.
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This is the final Photograph I made that morning, called Early Start.