The Photographer's Ephemeris® 3D

Quick Start Guide

Welcome to The Photographer's Ephemeris® 3D, a 3D Sun, Moon and Night photography planning tool for outdoor photographers.

The key to enjoying TPE 3D is to know how to navigate around the 3D world using gestures on screen. Here's a quick summary of the key things you need to know:

Flying Mode

In Flying mode (default) you can move freely about the 3D map. Like a virtual drone, you fly to the area you want to look at. Here are the main gestures to know about:

  1. Fly around: drag with one finger (your height above sea level doesn't change)
  2. Fly forward: double tap the screen
  3. Fly in/out: pinch with two fingers (your height above the sea level will change if you're pointing up or down)
  4. Look around: to change where the camera is looking while flying, drag with two fingers
  5. Fly around point: twist with two fingers to fly around the point the camera is looking at
  6. Up and away: if you find yourself lost or stuck, tap the "fly up" button, or scroll the camera elevation control on the right of the map

Enhanced Mode

Enhanced mode shows the 3D terrain and shadows with maximum detail. In Enhanced mode, the camera position is fixed in space, but you can look around freely and change the camera zoom. Enhanced mode is enabled by tapping the enhance button on the right of the map (or by flying to a pin - see below).

  1. Look around: to change where the camera is looking, drag with one finger
  2. Change zoom: pinch with two fingers to change the camera's zoom

Finding a location

You don't want to have to fly by dragging your finger 1,000 miles to and from your summer vacation shooting location, so TPE 3D provides a number of tools to quickly find distant locations:

  1. Search place or coordinates: search for a place by name or enter decimal or DMS coordinates. Select a result and then tap the drop pin button: the camera will be positioned looking at pin dropped at your selected location
  2. TPE saved locations: if you already have locations saved in the original TPE app, you'll see them listed here
  3. Track device location: tap once to position the camera above your current device location; twice to have it track your device's heading also

Map pins

You can drop up to eight map pins into the 3D scene using the button shown above. Use these to mark camera or subject positions of interest as you explore the light.

You can double tap a pin to fly to it (and double tap again to fly away). When at a pin, TPE 3D is in enhanced mode, and the gestures are the same with one addition:

  1. Walk forward: sometimes you need to adjust the pin position slightly - long press to walk forward a short distance.
  2. Resume flying: double tap to resume flying again (you can also press fly up

Tap the pin list button to view a list of dropped pins. You can choose a pin to look from and, optionally, another to look towards. You can also add any pin to your saved locations list. Swipe left on any pin to delete it.

Explore the light

Most importantly, don't forget to explore the light - that's what the app is all about! Slide the chart the below the map to adjust the time of day - you can watch as many sunrises or sunsets as you like.

The chart shows the altitude angle of the sun (orange), moon (blue), and the center of the Milky Way (the Galactic Center, white) over time. Anything above the line means 'risen', and anything below means 'set'.

Tap the circles to set the time to important events, such as moonrise. Tap the play button the have the time of day animate automatically (you can adjust the simulation speed)

Change the selected date by tapping at the top of the screen, or skipping back/forward a day at a time, or from one celestial event to the next.

More Articles

If you'd like to read more about TPE 3D, please check out the articles in the Help Center, which explain some of the more intermediate and advanced features of the app:

Help Center articles are available in English.

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