A good photograph is knowing where to stand - Ansel Adams

iesmith.net photography
Solar Calculator 2.2
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:00

I'm very pleased to announce that version 2.2 of the popular Solar Calculator is now complete, and is available for use right now under the Tools menu.

The new Solar Calculator has a whole host of new features. First and probably foremost, it is now able to calculate lunar (Moon) positions, as well as the Sun. To help you plot Sun & Moon positions with a compass, now also included is automatic detection of local magnetic declination, with the ability to account for it in the reported bearings. It even gives you a list of helpful links to third-party sites such as weather reports and tidal predictions for the area you're currently viewing.

From feedback recieved, one of the least favourite 'features' of the old Solar Calculator was the necessity of entering in the Time Zone (including whether or not DST was in effect) manually for each new location. This is now handled automatically for each location.

Last but not certainly least, accuracy has been improved massively. I had reports of the old Solar Calculator getting it wrongfrom time to time, especially in more Northern latitudes. It's new VSOP87-based algorithms have held up extremely well under testing, with a level of accuracy an order of magnitude about the previous version.

By request, a Frequently Asked Questions page is now available should you have any questions, or as ever, feel free to email me.

Water Drops (Part 1)
Sunday, 20 February 2011 00:00

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Water Drops (1)

In May of 2009, I successfully submitted a portfolio of ten images for an LRPS distinction. In an attempt to show the panel I wasn't a landscape photography 'one trick pony', I included two of the perhaps three genuinely successful 'studio' photographs I'd taken at that point. They were reasonably well received, and the judging panel commented that it was nice to see I "stayed indoors, from time to time."

I have to admit, the judges had a point. I love the outdoors, and so it's natural that my photography leans heavily towards landscapes. I've often wished I was more accomplished at studio photography however, if for no better reason than having the ability to occationally distance myself from the fickle British weather. It's ironic then, that a project that began as a way to stay dry during a British summer should involve me getting as quite as wet as I have photographing my chosen subject for this little project: water drops.

Castle Stalker, Appin
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 21:40

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Castle Stalker

Castle Stalker, or Caisteal an Stalcaire as it's named in Scots Gaelic, is a 14th century fortified tower house situated on a small tidal islet in the waters of Loch Laich. The castle has the tidal nature of it's islet to thank for many of it's most unique facets; not only has it kept it one of the best preserved medieval tower houses in Scotland, but being located in the sheltered waters of the loch so close to the mainland, it is also a real treat for a photographer.

What makes Castle Stalker such a visual treat is not just the waters of Loch Laich that surround it however. Perhaps it isn't even the castle itself, which in amonsgt some other more spectacular Scottish castles is a somewhat plain and functional looking building. Rather it is the castle's surroundings that make the journey worthwhile; with views of the Isle of Lismore and the Morvern Hills in the background, and the tree-lined shores of the mainland to either side.

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Location Database

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