Monday, June 1, 2009

Cool photo tool

It's not a computer tool specifically for Mt. Rainier NP, but Stephen Trainor has developed a cool sun/moon information program for Mac's (ok, PC's too). It's at his tools Web page. You need to install Adobe Air, available here. You have to install it before installing "The Photographer's Ephemeris" program.

It has an good display and some nice features not commonly found on other sun/moon information Websites, such as saving locations and display the full suite of information with a map location. That alone is worth the tool. And in comparing it to other Websites which calculate sun and moon rise and set times, it's within a minute or so of them.

What's not, and can't be, accounted for is local terrain. The calculation have to use some basic rules for the calculations, namely a relatively flat earth surface, which means the differences for local terrain is lost, and you have to either know or estimate an adjustments. This is important in Mt. Rainier NP due to the mountainous varying size, shape, direction, etc. of the river valleys.

If this program has a downside it's the lack of use in the field. I tried to make my sun and moon information fit a print page so you can simply fold and take it. This is common with some other Websites where portability of the information helps, but for planning purposes, his tool is hard to beat and worth installing and using.

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