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Have you ever seen a beautiful sunrise or sunset building but can’t figure out where to go to photograph it? Rest easy: a great Android App comes to the rescue!

Astroid App on a Galaxy Nexus, Sunrise, Key Biscayne, Florida, USA. Sigma SD1 camera, Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens. F5.6, 1/200 sec., ISO 400. Using GPS technology, Astroid tells you the times for sunrise and sunset and plots their positions on a Google Maps. East of Miami on Key Biscayne, Astroid indicated precisely where the sun will rise before me. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2012. All rights reserved.

Astroid, an app for Android, is just the ticket. Sophisticated algorithms developed by Kazimierz Borkowski of the Centre for Astronomy have been programmed by Tomasz Kaczmarek to create a super-handy app for landscape photographers.

Astroid tells you the time of sunrise and sunset for your specific location using GPS technology. Then the nifty little program brings up Google Maps, pinpointing where you are and the exact directions for sunrise and sunset. It even shows the movement of the sun during the golden hours just after sunrise and right before sunset. As you can with all Google Maps, you can zoom in and zoom out, and you can move the push pin around. This allows you to find just the right location for your prize-winning shot.

On a recent trip to South Florida, I was looking to photograph sunrise. I decided to stay on Key Biscayne (just East of Miami), where Astroid indicated I would have a great view of sunrise from an East-facing beach.

I arose an hour before sunrise and called up my location on Astroid. Showing me the exact position of where the sun would rise above the Atlantic Ocean allowed me to position myself for the best dawn colors and eventual peeking out of the glowing orb at sunrise.

The result was a spectacular palm-framed image.

Sunrise, Key Biscayne, Florida, USA. Sigma SD1 camera, Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM lens, Sigma CR-21 Remote. Gitzo GT2541EX tripod, Manfrotto 468RC ball head. F8, 2 sec., ISO 100. One image processed in Sigma Photo Pro, saved as two 16 bit TIFF files with 2 stops separation, combined using Photomatix Exposure Fusion. Nik Viveza and Nik Sharpener Pro plug-ins applied. Photo copyright David FitzSimmons 2012. All rights reserved.

David FitzSimmons is Sigma Pro photographer, and free lance writer, and an educator. See David’s macro techniques in his new, award-winning picture book CURIOUS CRITTERS or visit And click here to check out David’s upcoming photo workshop schedule.

2 comments so far

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  1. Perfect! I don’t know how many times I’ve wished I had a tool like this, and you can’t beat FREE!

  2. Ah Astroid. I love the name! Should be very handy for “golden hour” fanatics, and night photographers as well.