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Outdoor Photographer Resources
The outdoor photographer faces many challenges being in the right place at the right time.  Below you will find listed several websites and other resources that I have found to be particularly useful in my many years of photography. 

Few if any of these resources stand on their own.  For example, Tide Charts aren't particularly helpful without knowing the sunrise/sunset times and direction of travel.  You will also see interesting facts start to emerge when collating these two data points.  For example, you will see how the moon phase affects the tide.  You'll also be able to predict conditions better even without these resources at your fingertips.  An example, you will start to see that the full moon occurs at the time when the sunset and moonrise are the same.  You will also see that you have nearly two full tide cycles occur every 24 hours. 

Most of these sites will be helpful in planning your shoot while others which run on mobile devices can be essential while actually in the field.  One such mobile app is The Photographer's Ephemeris.  If you have a favorite program or app that you would like to share let me know and I'll consider adding it to this resource list.

 

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The Photographer's Ephemeris
This may be my favorite app and I run it on my iPhone and iPad.  It not only provides essential information like sunrise/sunset times, moonrise/moonset time and the moon phase, it also displays an accurate path of the sun's travel superimposed on a satellite map.  This information is critical when determining where the sun will be when you are shooting, where shadows will fall, and whether your scene will be in full, partial, or shadow at the time you plan to shoot.  

Slideshow 2
Sunrise/Sunset
This online resource allows you to select any location in the world and create customized sunrise/sunset tables.  You can select what information will be displayed and once you have your document configured to your needs you can print a calendar.  Data fields include not only the sunrise and sunset times, but also moonrise/moonset, moon phase, and other important times such as nautical/civil/astronomical times.  Again, these times are used to help you be in place when your ideal conditions are likely to occur.

Slideshow 3
Tide Charts
Tidal charts predict (very accurately) when the tide will be at its highest and lowest points at a particular time but also the range (amount of change) that will occur.  These times can be used to determine when conditions might be optimal for a particular type of photography.  For example, wading birds are most active as the tide is going out and near the low point as this is when things they feed on are revealed.  If you are in a location where you are tying to shoot tidal pools you will want low tide and if you can catch a negative tide (a phase when it is actually lower than normal) you can get your best shots.  Although there are several sites that provide this information the link I've include will take you to the NOAA website.

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Weather Predictions
Weather have a major impact on the success of a photographic outing.  It not only helps you prepare yourself and your equipment for the conditions but it may impact on your safety (i.e. whether you will encounter lightning or wind).  The discussion of ideal conditions for various types of photography is too lengthy to include here but it will be a topic we talk about during all of our workshops.  My favorite site is Weather Underground but there are many available on both the Internet and through specialty apps for mobile devices. 

Slideshow 4
Depth of Field
Depth of Field (DOF) has a dramatic impact on the way your images will appear when displayed electronically or printed.  Loosely defined it is that area of your scene that is acceptably sharp (in focus) from foreground to background.  It is affected by three different factors:  (1) Aperture Size (f/stop), (2) Focal Length, and (3) Distance to the Point of Focus.  The site I have linked here is for DOF Master and they have great discussions, visual depictions, as well as tables that can be created for various camera and lens combinations.  They also have manual an automated tools; some that can be run on your mobile device.  This is another subject that we will cover in our workshops.