4 Apps for Predicting Sunsets & Sunrises

Heat/weathermap USA

There’s an enigmatic feeling that comes with watching a sunset or a sunrise. Maybe it’s how breathtaking the colors that paint the sky are or perhaps how still the world becomes for a moment – either way, it’s a sentiment you’d want to capture through your lens.

In this post, we’re going to share 4 apps with you. They will tell you exactly when the most sensational sunrises and sunsets occur in your area. Ready to snap your best photo yet?

Heat/weathermap USA

SunsetWX - Website For Sunrise & Sunset Prediction

PRICE: FREE

Welcome to the most sunset- and sunrise-centric website you’ll ever find!  Complete with international weather forecasts, the SunsetWX site also features a handy How-To Guide. It helps users interpret the data the team provides so they can make the most out of their experience. Not just that, but the site serves as a news outlet for all things sun-related as well. On their news page, you can stay tuned for extra special sunset or sunrise events happening in your area or nearby.

Key Features

  • Provide accurate, global sunrise and sunset quality forecasts utilizing proprietary methodologies
  • Serve 37 domestic and international news platforms
  • Partnered with The Weather Channel, where content is shown daily on AMHQ and Weather Underground TV
apps for predicting sunrise & sunset, 4 Apps for Predicting Sunsets & Sunrises
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Alpenglow: Sunset Prediction

PRICE: Free - In App Purchases

If you’re an avid outdoor enthusiast or nature photographer, you’ve likely heard of Alpenglow at some point. Had your doubts about it back then? We’re here to tell you that Alpenglow is worth it!  In addition to offering easy access to Magic Hour times, it also gives you accurate predictions of incredible sunsets/sunrises up to 4 days in advance. This way you get to plan, scout, and set up accordingly. There’s more! The app notifies you of upcoming events you don’t want to miss either. For iPhone users, you can link Siri with the app and have your AI assistant track predictions for you – which is super convenient if you ask us.

  • Key Features

    • Ability to customize notification features and reminder times
    • Check quality predictions, weather forecasts, Magic Hour times, and upcoming sunset/sunrise events
    • Share predictions instantly with family, friends, or fellow interested photographers
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02/18/2024 03:07 am GMT
apps for predicting sunrise & sunset, 4 Apps for Predicting Sunsets & Sunrises

SkyCandy Android & iOS Apps

PRICE: FREE - In App Purchases

While SkyCandy is another app with paid options, it has some features that makes it stand out – hence why it made the list.  For starters, the SkyCandy App provides maps and satellite images to help plan your next sunset and sunrise capture. This helps provide an accurate prediction of what the sky will be like and determine the ideal sun position for your image. Enjoy other nifty features, like predicting the exact times for various daylight phases, like Sunrise, Sunset, Golden Hour, and Blue Hour. With the premium version, you also get a quality score and a handy countdown timer until sunset.

Key Features

  • SkyCandy uses historic, current, and future weather data to determine if your next sunrise or sunset will be colorful and vivid – tested to be 80% accurate.
  • Set fully customized alerts to get notified when an upcoming Sunrise or Sunset is going to be beautiful, colorful, and vivid with Sunrise and Sunset forecast alerts.
  • Using the Sun Position Tool, drop a pin anywhere on the map to know exactly which direction the Sun will be at any time, any date, and any location. 
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MySunset Android & iOS App

PRICE: FREE

Believe it or not, our founder, Virginia (@buewho), swears by this app! She’s been using it for years, though she does say it’s pretty 50/50 on the forecast predictions.  Still, it’s a neat app for when you only want a general idea of what to expect from a sunset or sunrise. Plus, it’s free, so what’s the harm?  So even if it’s not the ideal app for photographers looking for a sunset’s nitty-gritty details, it’s perfect for nature enthusiasts who want to witness a lovely sunset from time to time.

Key Features

  • Features an interactive map with an overlay showing the forecasted quality of upcoming sunrises and sunsets. By default, your current location is shown on the map.
  • You can toggle between sunrise and sunset, change the date, move the map around, and zoom in and out of the map.
  • Includes a table showing a list of custom locations. Each location displays a forecast percentage, with a corresponding color representing the quality of the sunrise/sunset, and the time of the sunrise/sunset.

How to Predict a Good Sunset & Sunrise: 7 Expert Tips

With these tips, you won’t be playing God, but you’d at least know for sure that you’ll be witnessing a sunset or sunrise like no other. Here’s our secret:

1. Check the Weather 

First thing to check: What’s the weather like where you’re going? 

For instance, clear skies with some clouds can enhance the colors during sunrise or sunset. So, use weather apps or websites to check for cloud cover and precipitation forecasts.

2. Consider the Time of Year

The time of year can significantly affect the quality of sunrise and sunset. In general, sunsets tend to be more spectacular in the fall and winter. That’s due to the sun’s angle along with the season’s atmospheric conditions.

3. Factor in Your Location

Sorry to say it, but your geographical location plays a crucial role. It’ll determine what mood your photo will end up being.

Coastal areas, for example, often provide stunning sunsets, while mountainous regions can offer picturesque sunrises. As such, we recommend researching popular spots in your area or nearby destinations known for beautiful sunsets or sunrises.

4. Take Advantage of the Golden Hour

We’ve all heard of the ‘Golden Hour’ – it’s what many nature photographers seek in their photos. Do you know why, though?

Well, during the Golden Hour, the light is soft, warm, and perfect for capturing a serene sunset or sunrise. If you want to take advantage of that, remember that the Golden Hour is the short period of time after sunrise and before sunset, when the sun is low on the horizon.

5. Check Out Different Apps and Websites

Any photographer or sunset enthusiast should use apps and websites specifically designed to help them determine the best times for sunsets and sunrises. Let technology provide information on these exact times as well as predictions for the event’s quality.

6. Scout Locations in Advance

Why not try visiting your chosen location in advance? If you’re a photographer, you, especially, will benefit most from doing this. For starters, it allows you the chance to familiarize yourself with the best angles, compositions, and potential obstacles. Neat, right?

7. Patience

Sometimes, the most spectacular moments happen when you least expect them. So the best advice we can give you is be patient – and remember: The colors and lighting can change rapidly during sunrise and sunset.

Finally, note that while you can plan and prepare, nature can be unpredictable. Some of the most incredible sunrise and sunset moments happen when you least expect them. We say that from experience!

How to Take the Ideal Sunset or Sunrise Photo

Mastering the art of taking the perfect sunset or sunrise photo can be hard. After all, you’re trying to capture a sensitive moment in nature where multiple factors are at play. Luckily, you just have to read through our following expert tips for help! 

1. Composition

Think about your composition and framing. This is also where scouting the place beforehand plays a big part. Going there without a camera allows you to see what elements of nature could you include in your photo. 

From experience, we can tell you that a lot of great sunset/sunrise photos don’t even include the sun! They focus more on how the golden orb reflects off a lake, for instance, or shyly shines behind a mountain or tree.

The takeaway here is to include interesting elements, like trees, water bodies, or landmarks to enhance the beauty of your scene.

2. Camera Settings

There’s a lot to adjust when it comes to your camera settings. From ISO and shutter speed, to aperture and focus – you have to perfectly hit them all for that prize-winning photo.

We’re not going to bore you with technical terms you likely already know. To make your photography session easier, here’s what makes a good sunrise photo:

  • ISO: Low to mid-range (200, 400, or 800)
  • Aperture: High (= greater depth of field) (prefer f/11, f/16, or higher)
  • Composition: Use the rule of thirds
  • Focus: Switch to manual as auto-focus can get disruptive with sunset/sunrise pics

3. Learn Your Magic Hours

When are sunsets the best? To answer that question, you need to familiarize yourself with the sun’s Magic Hours.

Golden Hour

The Golden Hour is when the sun is showing off the most vibrant colors! This is typically 15 minutes before and after the sun rises or sets.

Blue Hour

The Blue Hour is the hour before sunrise and the hour after sunset. This is when the sky has a blue glow, and you can typically see the pastel colors across the horizon.

4. Share with #NJspots!

Since you’re part of the NJspots community, don’t forget to share your amazing sunrise or sunset photos on social media using #NJspots! This helps connect you with fellow enthusiasts and inspire others.

Final Tips For Shooting the Perfect Sunrise or Sunset

Before we wrap up here, be sure to keep the following tips in mind too:

  • Good things come to those who wait. 

When you see the vibrant colors of the sunset or the amazing pinks of a sunrise, you want to be patient. Wait around for another 15-20 minutes so you can see if the sun and the angle of the clouds change even more.

  • Have fun!

Shooting the sunrise can be hard to get up for in the early morning hours, but make it fun. Take a nap on the beach afterward or camp out the night before.

Final Thoughts: Check Out NJspots Map for More!

Once you have your apps downloaded and your times set up for a fantastic sunrise or sunset, be sure to use the NJspots Map to find the best spots for watching. 

We have dozens of great spots for you to watch the sunset or sunrise in New Jersey. Be sure to check them out and get there early enough to set up for that next great shot!

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