170621 Ephemerides - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

There's this old saying about 'best laid plans' – something about them often not working out.

What I was trying for was a photo of the setting sun transiting behind the CN Tower, which was to happen a little after 8:35pm from this spot at the end of the Leslie street spit last weekend. Heavy clouds were well entrenched before then, and afterwards it started to rain.

Such is life. It's best not to get too attached to any one idea.

While it doesn't predict weather – there's a different app for that – I've planned my last couple of visits to the Spit using The Photographer's Ephemeris on my phone. I've known about this software for a while, having read a review of it on the Luminous Landscape ages ago, but I don't do landscapes so it was never more than an intellectual curiosity. 

When it came time for me to actually want to know where the sun would be I tried just looking it up on some tables and even using TPE's web interface. It's not the same. So I bought the mobile version, which is cheap for camera gear but not trivial for an iOS app. But while last weekend the sky didn't cooperate the way I wanted it to, TPE was still a fantastic planning tool. I used far more than I expected to, and it had much more information than I thought I would need. Like Nautical Twilight. Who knew?

And naturally, since I bought the Ephemeris a couple of weeks ago, they've announced a new 3D version. The new one needs more modern processing power – it would be great on a new iPad Pro, no doubt – and from reading between the lines it looks like it will launch with limited, if any, offline support. And I don't know if its terrain mapping and shadow prediction will include city skylines, let alone if it could possibly keep up with Toronto's evolution. But it looks like there will be a bundle price, so maybe I'll try it out anyway.

The plural for Ephemeris, I learned from Wikipedia, is Ephemerides. I'm adding that to the things that I didn't know a few weeks ago, but might turn out to be useful just the same.


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