How to track the sun for perfect landscape photos

How to track the sun for perfect landscape photos

One of our best landscape photography tips has nothing to do with your camera. In our landscape photography tutorial below, follow our simple technique for tracking the sun and you’ll always get the best light in your landscape photos.

How to track the sun for perfect landscape photos

Besides letting you know it’s time to get up to capture that glorious sunrise, a common analogue wristwatch can also tell you from which direction the sun will be rising and setting.

Not only is this a help to you now, being able to predict when the sun will be in a better position later in the year will really boost your landscape photo compositions.

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. However, the position of sunrise and sunset on the horizon varies throughout the year, caused by the Earth’s axis of rotation.

To work out roughly where the sun will rise or set on the 21st of each month, begin by pointing 12 o’clock due north. In mid-summer (June, with the 21st being the longest day) the sun will rise at approximately ten past and set at ten to.

In mid-winter (December) it will rise at approximately 20 past and set at 20 to. It moves between these two points at roughly two minutes per month.

1 This is approximately where the sun will set on the 21st May and the 21st July.
2 This is roughly where the sun will rise around the 7th April and the 7th August.

In the Southern Hemisphere
Our example above took place in the UK (Somerset to be exact). But tracking the sun will be different for everyone at different latitudes – and particularly those who live in the southern hemisphere!

Here is a simple tutorial on how to find north using your wrist watch in both the northern and southern hemispheres. There are also more sophisticated ways of calculating the sun’s path.

All that said, if you lack an analogue watch or the patience to try this technique, you can download The Photographer’s Ephemeris app for your smartphone or tablet which accurately calculates how light will fall on the land, day or night, wherever you are on Earth.


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