In my previous post I showed you a simple tool to determine the direction of sunrise and sunset. Although useful, this is only part of the information that we as photographers need. To be really useful, we also need to know the time of the event as well as the direction. This is important, not only if photographing a sunset or sunrise, but to determine the Golden Hour – the best time for landscape photography.Fortunately there are a number of useful tools that you can use from websites to computer programs to device apps. From some of these you can even print out the relevant information to take with you, for the day or for the whole month.
One of the critical pieces of information that outdoor photographers need to know is where is the sun going to rise and set as well as when. There are a number of apps for PCs and devices that can give you this information, and I will look at some of these in a future post. But, the simplest tool to use is a Sunrise/Sunset Compass. These can be bought for between £20 and £30. However, you can make one for yourself. All you need is a small compass (sometimes known as a button compass), a copy of the Sunrise Compass template (see below), and a laminating pouch. Small compasses can be bought from eBay, Amazon, and most outdoor suppliers.