Sun direction on an overcast day

5 years 11 months ago - 5 years 11 months ago #426291 by Wendy-May
Often it's difficult to know where the sunlight is coming from on an overcast day.  Can anyone tell me how they determine which direction the sunlight is traveling in overcast conditions?  I read somewhere that a compass is a useful instrument to help figure this out, but not sure how to use a compass to do this.  Can anyone help on this score or perhaps share how you find the light's direction.  Appreciated.


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5 years 11 months ago #426300 by TGonzo
I recommend you check out this  app photoephemeris.com/


That will show you the direction of the sun, moon and so much more. 


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5 years 11 months ago #426331 by effron
On an overcast day the Sun's location is of no consequence. The light is even and everywhere. Most photography where the sky won't be included in the frame is improved by dense clouds.....;)

Why so serious?
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5 years 11 months ago - 5 years 11 months ago #426378 by hghlndr6
+1 re the Ephemeris.  It's a very useful tool for planning.

To find the sun when it's so overcast that you can't see the sun using a compass, you would also need to know the time of day.  You could also find it simply using an analog watch if you are aware of your orientation relative to a compass rose.  Neither way is difficult.

And Ernesto is right ... if it's so overcast that you can't see a shadow, can't find the sun, it's of no consequence.

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5 years 11 months ago #426387 by Kevin W. E.
The sun is diffused by the clouds spreading the light evenly, which is much like adding a soft box to a photo light.

As already stated, there is no need to know the suns direction, there will be no angle of light to fuss over.


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5 years 11 months ago #426477 by ThatNikonGuy
+1 TPE is the best app IMO for photographers


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5 years 11 months ago #426497 by Joves
Very simple, hold your hand up, and turn yourself till you get a good shadow on one edge. Then you know what direction the sun is. But as stated if it is so overcast as to not form good shadowing then it does not matter much. 


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5 years 11 months ago #426521 by Alan Nunez

Joves wrote: Very simple, hold your hand up, and turn yourself till you get a good shadow on one edge. Then you know what direction the sun is. But as stated if it is so overcast as to not form good shadowing then it does not matter much. 


+1

A compass can help too. The sun travels consistent manner depending on the time of day and the time of year and the location.


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5 years 11 months ago #426660 by Camera Diva

Alan Nunez wrote:

Joves wrote: Very simple, hold your hand up, and turn yourself till you get a good shadow on one edge. Then you know what direction the sun is. But as stated if it is so overcast as to not form good shadowing then it does not matter much. 


+1

A compass can help too. The sun travels consistent manner depending on the time of day and the time of year and the location.


True, but who knows how to operate a compass these days?  :rofl:

At the beginning of time there was absolutely nothing. And then it exploded! - Terry Pratchett
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5 years 11 months ago #426692 by hghlndr6

Camera Diva wrote:

Alan Nunez wrote:

Joves wrote: Very simple, hold your hand up, and turn yourself till you get a good shadow on one edge. Then you know what direction the sun is. But as stated if it is so overcast as to not form good shadowing then it does not matter much. 


+1

A compass can help too. The sun travels consistent manner depending on the time of day and the time of year and the location.


True, but who knows how to operate a compass these days?  :rofl:


Old guys ... like me.  ;)

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5 years 11 months ago #426693 by Geospiri

True, but who knows how to operate a compass these days?  

Most have operated on their own since forever all yuo need do is look at the magnetized point of the needle (usually the blue part if a simple compass or the north needle if a little more elaborate then face in that direction and very basicly the sun comes up to your left and sets to your right depending on the season and where in the world you happen to be it could pass behind you or in front of you......but you knew that ;)


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5 years 11 months ago #426694 by Hassner
To know if the light is stronger from one direction than another in overcast conditions, do this:

Hopefully your camera is already in manual exposure mode (where it should be ;) :lol: )
Lift your hand in front of the lens so you do not see anything than the palm (and maybe a bit of fingers) of your hand.
Less than a standard lens might be a problem, because your hand might be too close to the lens.
Set the exposure so the needle is in the middle.
Now, while holding this pose, slowly turn 360 degrees. See of the exposure changes.
If it stays the same, it does not matter where the sun is.
If it does, see from which direction you get more light.


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5 years 11 months ago #426823 by Alan Nunez

Camera Diva wrote:

Alan Nunez wrote:

Joves wrote: Very simple, hold your hand up, and turn yourself till you get a good shadow on one edge. Then you know what direction the sun is. But as stated if it is so overcast as to not form good shadowing then it does not matter much. 


+1

A compass can help too. The sun travels consistent manner depending on the time of day and the time of year and the location.


True, but who knows how to operate a compass these days?  :rofl:


My iPhone has a built in compass. I still keep a small compass in my camera bag with my multi-tool, torch and Gaffa tape.


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