15 March, 2011

Sunrise And Sunset Position

early wake up fail

So, I found this really cool spot along a rocky coastline where a sunrise shot will be amazing. The only problem is, no sunrise. Apparently, Wellington New Zealand is known for it’s unpredictable weather.

Every morning the weather has been uncooperative with foggy or overcast skies. Every day at 5:30am, I’ve been getting up to check the conditions. This basically consists of me stumbling out of bed and looking out the window. If I like what I see, the plan is to hike down the side of the mountain, through the woods, along the beach, then onto a sharp path over a ridge to the eastern coastline, about a 1 – 1.5 hour hike. So far, there has only been one morning with good sunrise conditions.

And where was I?

Well, 5:30am rolled around, I got out of bed, looked out the window, thought about hiking through the woods alone in the dark, and decided to sleep in instead… I’ve been kicking myself every morning since.

sun location mumbo jumbo

With all this hiking to locations at the butt crack of dawn. I always make sure to know exactly when and where the sunrise will take place. I use a combination of websites to make this happen.

The first is: Weather Underground. Weather Underground displays a few useful times such as “Nautical Twilight,” which us normal people refer to as “Blue Hour,” and of course the “Actual Sunrise Time.” It also displays the moon phases and rise times, which can be very useful for Blue Hour Photography.

The other site I use creates an overlay on Google Maps to pinpoint the exact location of the sunrise and sunset. The NOAA Solar Calculator is an amazing tool for planning your early morning HDR Photography Shoots because It takes all the mystery out of where exactly the sun will be. Knowing your sunrise and sunset positions is key to getting good HDR Photos early in the morning.

About the Author

Elia Locardi is an internationally acclaimed professional travel photographer, videographer, Fujifilm Global Ambassador, writer, public speaker, and highly skilled educator who spends his life shooting some of the most beautiful locations in the world.


As featured by Professional Photographer MagazineCNet Australia,, Wacom USA, and Fstoppers, Elia has built an engaged social media following of nearly 3 million people across FacebookGoogle+TwitterInstagramYouTube, and Snapchat. Due to the years of dedication and genuine openness with his audience, he has become one of the most followed photographers in the world.


Location independent since March of 2012, he and his wife live a 100% mobile lifestyle, perpetually traveling from country to country, continuously circling the globe. Since he began traveling full-time in 2009, he has visited more than 55 countries, flown over one million miles, and collaborated with major companies, brands, countries, and tourism agencies all over the world.


Using a combination of traditional in-camera techniques, targeted times of day, and advanced post-processing methods, Elia has developed a widely recognized and highly unique style of photography that has become well known around the world. With each photograph, his goal is to share his vision so others can see the world as he does, full of color, texture, beauty, depth and emotion. Many of his photos have been used in some of the most widely circulated publications in the world including National Geographic.


Throughout the journey, he shares the Art of Photography on many different websites including his popular blog, blamethemonkey.com, teaches post-processing workshops worldwide, speaks at major international photography conventions, and is proud to be one of the founders and leaders of Dream Photo Tours.