I came across a fantastic aid for planning photographic field trips: The Photographer’s Ephemeris by Stephen Trainor. This neat tool combines with Google Maps to display not only sunrise and sunset times, but also where it will be rising and setting. Here’s an example, for my hometown Nelson:
The yellow and orange lines apply to the sun, the blue lines to the moon.
It can even show the sun’s location at any particular time of day, or whether the sun will clear a particular mountain or ridge, seen from the spot where you are planning to place your tripod. Trainor’s website contains several tutorials explaining how it can be used to best effect.
The original tip (from the Nikon users website ‘Nikonians’) actually concerned a similar app, the Solar Calculator produced by NOAA. But having tried both, I prefer this one.
I’ll put up another post once I’ve used it successfully to get some fantastic landscape shots (which will hopefully be during my next trip south, in a couple of weeks).