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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Nature & Landscapes Talk 
Thread started 17 Sep 2010 (Friday) 06:18
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Predict Sunrise?

 
jay415
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Sep 17, 2010 06:18 |  #1

I was just wondering if there are any signs in weather the day before or upcoming forecast, that would give you clues to an extremely colorful sky at sunrise as in the photo I uploaded. I know the pic is nothing special, I was at work and couldn't leave. I snapped it quick with my 780is. I work nights into the morning and watch the sunrise often, but I don't often get the treat of seeing the sky like this! I have only seen it twice this year. I'd love to go down to the beach to catch the sky like this. Is this just a game of chance?


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misshotnspicy
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Sep 17, 2010 09:47 |  #2

Some landscape experts have this down to a science predicting the sunset. I'm certainty not one of them, but what I can tell is if there is precipitation in the sky, there is usually a good chance of some good clouds. The more clouds there are in the sky, the more color you will be able to capture during sunset.

P.S. Beautiful sunset.


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GJim
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Sep 17, 2010 14:54 |  #3

You might have some luck by checking satellite and/or radar images. The best sun-rises & sun-sets are when you have good cloud-cover where you are, but none where the sun is over the horizon - in other words, no clouds far east of you for a sun-rise, no clouds far west of you for a sun-set.

Hope this helps.


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FlyingPhotog
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Sep 17, 2010 15:03 |  #4

Combine weather reports with software like The Photographer's Ephemeris (external link), and you can nail down pretty tightly where/when sunrise/set will occur and what kind of conditions you'll encounter.

Ephemeris is also available for the iPhone and Droid.


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jay415
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Sep 18, 2010 15:03 |  #5

Great thanks for all the info. Now I have to just see if I can put it to good use. lol


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blackcap
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Sep 18, 2010 18:57 as a reply to  @ jay415's post |  #6

I think by reading weather maps etc you can identify conditions that might be condusive to a nice sunrise/sunset, but it's still down to luck after that. So much has to go right and often you can't even tell what it's going to do 30 mins beforehand let alone the day before.

You just have to get out there often and sooner or later you'll get conditions are that ideal, but you also have to deal with the ordinary ones in between.

If anyone does discover a way to predict colorful sunrise/sunsets then I think they will become rich! I'd certainly pay for a service like that.


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jrader
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Sep 20, 2010 02:29 |  #7

It's not just chance.

Part of doing landscape photography, IMO, is to learn many different skills, one of those is meteorology. Here's my take on this one. Look for low pressure areas in the forecast. High clouds will be drawn to a low pressure area, so before the zone moves toward your location, you will get banded cirrus (high altitude) clouds, making very distinct patterns. When the zone moves away from your location, you will get striped cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds, because they are so high in the sky, are the first to see light at a sunrise (way before the sun even peaks the horizon) and are the last to see light after a sunset, thus you will get the light with the strongest Rayleigh scattering, hence the most colorful on the red end of the spectrum.

Another thing you can do is learn to read satellite imagery, particularly infrared. Cirrus clouds are the coldest, thus are highly visible on the IR band. If you see them in your forecast, you should probably make a beeline for a very scenic sunset/rise spot.

I actually look at the sky every day to see what the cloud conditions are, and then plan appropriately for sunsets (because I am not an early riser!) and possibly a sunrise if I stay up ALL NIGHT. However, if you happen to be up before the crack of dawn (i.e. Astronomical twilight, i.e. when the sun is 18 degrees below the horizon), I highly suggest dragging the camera, tripod, shutter controller, CPL, and GND or rGND filters to your favorite spot.

One recommendation previously mentioned is The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE). It is extremely valuable, and I recommend getting it as well.

I hope this helps.

John



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blackcap
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Sep 20, 2010 02:41 |  #8

jrader wrote in post #10941053 (external link)
Part of doing landscape photography, IMO, is to learn many different skills, one of those is meteorology. Here's my take on this one. Look for low pressure areas in the forecast. High clouds will be drawn to a low pressure area, so before the zone moves toward your location, you will get banded cirrus (high altitude) clouds, making very distinct patterns. When the zone moves away from your location, you will get striped cirrus clouds. Cirrus clouds, because they are so high in the sky, are the first to see light at a sunrise (way before the sun even peaks the horizon) and are the last to see light after a sunset, thus you will get the light with the strongest Rayleigh scattering, hence the most colorful on the red end of the spectrum.

Have you come across any articles on the net that give a good introduction to reading weather maps specifically for photographers? I'd love to see examples of weather maps and the corresponding sunrise/sunset that follows.


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jay415
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Sep 20, 2010 17:24 |  #9

I don't expect any method to be fool proof. I was just looking to better my chances and there is some great info here.


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jrader
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Sep 21, 2010 14:57 |  #10

blackcap wrote in post #10941083 (external link)
Have you come across any articles on the net that give a good introduction to reading weather maps specifically for photographers? I'd love to see examples of weather maps and the corresponding sunrise/sunset that follows.

I, unfortunately, have not. Everything I said is based on previous experience and conversations I had with a former coworker who studied meteorology in college. From what I have experienced though, those statements hold true. I have seem some spectacular sunrises and sunsets because I follow my rules. I have also missed some great sunsets because I ignored my intuition. You take the good with the bad. These are just guidelines anyway, since these are many components to a great sunset and what actually makes a good sunset is subjective.

Anyway, it would make a good book and could fill a niche that other photography books haven't covered :)

John.



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FlyingPhotog
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Sep 21, 2010 16:06 |  #11

Speaking very generally, a barometer that's trending downward means possible stormy weather while one that's trending upward means fair weather.

Google the terms "Stable Air Mass" and "Unstable Air Mass" and you should learn some basics on what makes storms tick. ;)


Jay
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pbelarge
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Sep 21, 2010 19:08 as a reply to  @ FlyingPhotog's post |  #12

Get out there often and early...before night turns to dawn. I like to start my mornings with stars in the sky and photograph as light is a faint glow on the horizon. When first doing this, I was dismayed, thinking I was missing the sunrise. Just be patient. ;)

Don't forget your tripod.


just a few of my thoughts...
Pierre

  
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Predict Sunrise?
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