The New Photographer’s Ephemeris Desktop Beta Version Announce

The New Photographer’s Ephemeris Desktop Beta Version Announced


The Photographer’s Ephemeris for Desktop: All Change!

Some important news for users of The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) for Desktop: on 2 September 2014, Google will switch off the Google Maps for Flash API. On that date TPE for Desktop will stop working.

When TPE for Desktop was first launched in 2009, we still lived in a pre-iPad world and Steve Jobs had yet to write his thoughts on Flash. Building on Adobe AIR provided a convenient cross-platform technology that allowed users on Windows, Mac and Linux to run the same application.

Since then, the popularity of Flash has declined significantly and Adobe AIR was repurposed towards mobile development. It has served TPE for Desktop well, but it’s time for a change.

A New Photographer’s Ephemeris Web App


The new web app is already live

Happily, this hasn’t come as a total surprise! We have a new TPE for Desktop ready to step into the breach. The new TPE web app is already live and available at You can start using it right now. We’re keeping it in Beta until September 2nd, and will continue to refine it over the coming weeks as you send us your feedback.

The web app runs in a variety of modern browsers. It has been tested in the current versions of Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer (11) and Opera. As with the old TPE, it is designed for use on desktop computers or laptops equipped with a mouse or track pad.

One advantage of the web app: you no longer need to install additional software or to continually update to a new version of Adobe AIR. You get the latest version automatically each time you visit the site.

New Features

TPE has a loyal following and this is going to be a big change for some. The user interface may look different, but the new web app includes the same functionality as the old desktop version and comes with a number of enhancements.

Celestial events for the day are displayed in the events timeline below the map. At a glance, you can see the day’s information chronologically.

A chart of the sun, and moon’s, journey throughout the day is displayed at the bottom of the screen. Scrolling the time slider changes sun and moon information relative to your selected pin position and date.


Same features as the old desktop version, but with some great additions.

New features include:

  • Sharing: look up locations; set date and time, then share the URL of the web page
  • Saved locations can be used to set the grey pin position as well as the red – great for planning both camera and subject placement
  • Six degree shadow circle: this new feature shows sun and moon shadows, and highlights, when the sun or moon sit between +0° and +6° above the horizon – times when there’s often good light (so-called “golden hour”) or when the moon can be photographed against features in the landscape
  • Use Google Street View directly from the map
  • Timeline and chart toggle on and off to increase map “real estate” – great for users with small screens
  • Support: you can submit feedback or a support request directly from the app

Look after your locations!

Locations stored in the old desktop version can be exported and saved as a KML file, and then imported into the new web app. We’d encourage you to do this now ahead of the September 2nd deadline.

Once imported, the web app saves locations in your browser’s local storage. In order to ensure you don’t inadvertently lose your locations, we advise exporting and saving the KML files as backups. Look after your saved locations the way you look after your photos.

It’s time to switch

03 old tpe desktop screenshot

Say goodbye to the old TPE desktop app, it’s time to switch (caption)

Just like the original TPE for Desktop, the new desktop web app remains free to use.

You can send feedback to TPE at any time using the support tab in the web app. TPE is used by so many professional and amateur photographers around the world, and this is a great opportunity for you to help shape this useful tool.

We’re adding updated tutorials to the TPE website in the weeks leading up to September 2nd. There is also a Quick Start Guide you can download directly from the web app page. It outlines the major functionality along with a list of useful keyboard shortcuts.

Go ahead and try it out today!

Get The Photographer’s Ephemeris available free of charge. Tutorials are available.

Here’s a few dPS articles that mention TPE so you can try it out:

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Stephen Trainor has spent the last seven years photographing around the southwest USA. He developed The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) after finding out the hard way that successful shoots require a little advance planning!

  • logicalnot

    The app is not free as stated.

  • The Desktop web app, which is the topic of this post, is free (as was its predecessor). The mobile apps are paid.

  • Thanks for posting this article Stephen. Like many photographers, I am an avid user of the Ephemeris and wasn’t aware until I read this piece that the desktop version was going to cease working from next month. I have to say, I won’t be missing the endless updates to Adobe AIR that pop up almost every other time you start the original version.

    I have had a very quick – about 10 mins – play around with the new browser-based version and on first impressions, this is going to take some getting used to!

    Two immediate impressions are that, even with my browser set to full screen and the timeline and chart toggled off the map area feels much more cramped than the old version. Also not keen on the way the various times: sunrise, sunset, twilight etc are laid out at the bottom – seems to take up a lot of screen real estate compared to the old version, which had them on the side. This is of course based on a very short time using the new version.

    On a related note, does Bruce Percy have any plans to publish an updated version of Understanding Light and, if so, will there be a discount for those of us who bought the 1st edition?

    Glad you are still putting so much effort into keeping this very useful application up to date and continuing to make it available for free (at least on the desktop).


  • Hi Joe – yes, the layout is different, and if you have a not-so-tall but wide screen, the map can appear stretched thin. There are a couple of buttons to help with this at the top right, or even easier, keyboard shortcuts: T will toggle the timeline on/off, and F will toggle into/out of full screen mode.

    Regarding Understanding Light: yes, an updated edition is underway right now and anyone who has purchased the 1st Edition will get the updated version free of charge when it is released.

  • TheresaTWages

    Building on Adobe AIR provided a convenient cross-platform technology that allowed users on Windows, Mac and Linux to run the same application.

  • Choo Chiaw Ting

    Desktop version is always better than web version in term of performance……sadly, people are moving towards lower performance applications.

  • Of course performance is always a concern, but it’s one that has to be measured against productivity. If we’d tried to write the app in assembler I’m sure it would offer the best possible performance, but I doubt it would ever have been finished…

  • Radar

    I’m not really up with Apps, so whats the best way to get something like an Icon so I can go straight to the Ephemeris app as I used to with the old version

  • I use Photopills on Iphone and Ipad, its not free and only voor Iphone and Ipad this moment. PhotoPills is your personal assistant in all photographic matters. It
    provides tasty remedies to help professionals and amateurs answer most
    of the questions when planning and shooting landscapes.The all-in-one photography app. It does nearly everything and has
    replaced at least 8 other apps (which I have removed from this list).
    Sun and moon planning, star trails, long exposure calculators,
    timelapse, virtual reality to help plan where the milky way is going to
    be, the list goes on and on

  • Paul Kilgour

    Does this affect the iPad app?

  • Hi Paul – not directly, but we will be updating all the mobile versions in the coming weeks and months

  • Corey Gibson

    Timing of this article it great given the super moon tomorrow night! Thanks for the heads up.

  • There are various ways to do it: search for “how to create desktop icon for web site” to see a few options. For Firefox, for example, you’ll find instructions here:

  • sana

    The Desktop web app, which is the topic of this post, is free (as was its predecessor). The mobile apps are paid.

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