Blue hour

Blue Hour

VIEWFINDR forecasts the perfect cloudless blue hour. Shoot breathtaking photos with our advanced weather forecasting for landscape photographers. Visit a photo spot when VIEWFINDR tells you that the probability for a blue hour is high. We guide photographers to success.

weather forecast for photo spots

Understand the parameter

Blue hour is the time after sunset and before sunrise with that magical blue light. If there are no clouds in the sky, the blue sky will offer awesome photo occasions. Our algorithm forecasts if the sky will be free of clouds.

Find a good area

The more transparent the map is visible, the higher the probability. Look for an area in your reach where the map is widely visible.

Choose the right time

On top of the map you see the blue hour times. Scroll to the time closest to the blue hour in your area.

Choose a photo spot

Tap on the photo spot icons in the transparent area. If you like the preview, tap it. The phot spot view opens up. If you like what you see, just start the navigation to the spot.

Blue Hour Tutorial

Blue Hour Parameter

This parameter guarantees a blue hour (twilight) without disturbing clouds in the sky. Compared to conventional weather apps, the parameter not only takes into account the clouds at the exact location of the photo spot, but also the clouds in the surrounding area. By including the 3D clouds, it is guaranteed that the horizon is also free of clouds.

blue hour times
Template Parameter

Like any parameter with a gray color overlay, this is a template parameter. Areas where the map is clearly visible have a high probability. Areas where the map is grayed out have a low probability.

Based on the visualization we use, the “Streets” and “Outdoor” background maps provide the best contrast to see the color overlay well. The background map can be changed at the top of the menu bar.

Weather Forecast App
forecast app for photo spots
Probability

The scale can be used to translate how high the probability is. Simply compare the map with the scale and read off the value. Please remember: a probability of 20% means that you will come up empty in 4/5 cases!

clear night sky
Select Forecast Time

By scrolling the time scale you can change the date. An up arrow marks the sunrise, a down arrow the sunset on the respective date.

weather phenomenon app
Using the parameter

In the highly visible areas of the map, the probability of occurrence of the weather phenomenon is particularly high. Pick out photo spots in these areas. The weather overlay covers the photo spots up like a template. The better a marker can be seen, the higher the probability for the weather phenomenon to occur at this specific photo spot.

best app for photography
Weather specific photo spots

By setting the filter in “Views” to “Weather specific”, only those photo spots will be displayed that can be photographed with the selected weather phenomenon.

best photo spot app

Common things about weather forecast you should know!

Computer Simulation

The weather forecast in VIEWFINDR is a computer simulation that very realistically forecasts the coming weather. However, the forecast is not exactly the reality and there will be deviations.

In VIEWFINDR new weather data is provided every 3h. For example, if you check for the probability of afterglow after sunset in the morning hours, the forecast will change several times over day. This is perfectly normal and that’s a good thing!

The closer the deadline, i.e. the sunset in the evening, the smaller the deviation of the computer simulation from reality becomes. The forecast becomes more precise. Before you finally set out to take pictures, you should therefore take another look at the current forecast.

You should therefore check the forecast again before you start your photography tour to see, if the probability is still high. Don’t be mad if the forecast probability changed into worse, it probably saved you from a bad outcome!

The weather forecast in VIEWFINDR is limited to 24h for local weather models and 72h for continental weather models. It is not useful to look into the future for a longer period. The forecast becomes inaccurate and is not reliable. Weather apps that allow forecasts of more than 3 days but do not provide any indication that the forecast is extremely inaccurate are a disgrace. This gives the

Weather Data Resolution

Just as the resolution of your camera is limited, i.e. it cannot take an “infinitely” sharp photo, the resolution of the weather model is also limited. This is 2.8km for Central European weather data and 7km for European weather data.

Structures and features of the landscape that are not that large are averaged by the model. For example, if a mountain is 800m high, and the valley next to it is 400m high, then the landscape for the weather model in that “pixel” is 600m high, corresponding to the average altitude.

This means that small structures, like narrow mountain valleys or local small river valleys cannot be properly captured by the model. This is not a problem, you just have to learn to deal with it. If a valley in the mountains is much smaller than the resolution of our weather model, then you have to interpolate.

Small valleys always end in larger valleys. You can therefore use the weather in the next larger valley as a good reference for the weather in a smaller, adjacent valley. In the example, you can see that the large valley is filled with fog. It is almost certain that the small valley is also filled with fog.

Due to the limited resolution, it makes sense not to use too much zoom. It is important that you look at the overall context. Therefore, consider the weather forecast not only for your location, but at least for the entire region where you are shooting.

best app for photo spots

This example show how the weather model sees the landscape. It is pixelated because of the limited resolution.

weather forecast for photo spots

Due to limited resolution, this layer of low clouds/fog will not indicate fog in valleys with a size below the resolution.

Understand the parameter

Blue hour is the time after sunset and before sunrise with that magical blue light. If there are no clouds in the sky, the blue sky will offer awesome photo occasions. Our algorithm forecasts if the sky will be free of clouds.

Choose the right time

On top of the map you see the blue hour times. Scroll to the time closest to the blue hour in your area.

Find a good area

The more transparent the map is visible, the higher the probability. Look for an area in your reach where the map is widely visible.

Choose a photo spot

Tap on the photo spot icons in the transparent area. If you like the preview, tap it. The phot spot view opens up. If you like what you see, just start the navigation to the spot.

"Blue Hour" Tutorial

Play Video about Blue-Hour-App

Link a photospot

When uploading a new photospot you guide other photographers. Connecting a photospot to the blue hour parameter is not “making a wish”. Only connect photospots which actually can be photographed with a blue hour. Look at our example images.

How the algorithm works

Common weather apps only regard the sky exactly at the location you choose to forecast. The VIEWFINDR blue hour algorithm fits the needs of landscape photographers. When you shoot a scene in the landscape, the sky is 3D. The clouds closer to the horizon also count in. For every photo spot we calculate not only the location itself, our algorithm calculates the surrounding clouds. The lesser the clouds in the environment of the photo spot, the higher the probability of a cloudless, perfect blue hour. If the algorithm reaches up to 99% probability, you won’t see a cloud close to the photo spot, blocking the blue hour light.

Our Weather parameters

Burning red sky

Based on 3D cloud, rain and sun position we calculate red afterglow propability.

Fog layer height

Know which mountaintops to visit for “over the cloud” shots of photospots.

Thunderstorm cells

Numerical calculation of storm position relative to photospots.

Clear night sky

See which nightscape photospots will have a clear night the next days.

water reflection

Find perfect water reflections for your landscape photos.

Visible sunriseset

Cloudfree sunrises are more beuatiful than grey skies in the morning! We forecast them.

Structured sky

We forecast the perfect amount of cloud cover for long exposure photography.

Photo contrast App

You don’t need grey skies. We forecast when the sun is shining at your photospot.

Blue hour

Forecasting when the blue hour has no clouds in the sky with perfect light conditions.

Screening smoke

A fine layer of fog in the grassland is pretty nice to shoot. We forecast the propability.

Weather parameters

Burning red sky

Burning red sky

Based on 3D cloud, rain and sun position we calculate red afterglow propability.

Fog layer height

Know which mountaintops to visit for “over the cloud” shots of photospots.

Thunderstorm cells

Numerical calculation of storm position relative to photospots.

Clear night sky

See which nightscape photospots will have a clear night the next days.

water reflection

Find perfect water reflections for your landscape photos.

Visible sunriseset

Cloudfree sunrises are more beuatiful than grey skies in the morning! We forecast them.

Structured sky

We forecast the perfect amount of cloud cover for long exposure photography.

Photo contrast App

You don’t need grey skies. We forecast when the sun is shining at your photospot.

Blue hour

Forecasting when the blue hour has no clouds in the sky with perfect light conditions.

Screening smoke

A fine layer of fog in the grassland is pretty nice to shoot. We forecast the propability.

M.Sc. Stefan Engel

Founder, developer

M.Sc. Stefan Engel
B.Sc. Bastian Werner

Founder, CEO

B.Sc. Bastian Werner
Dipl. Met. J. Lang

Founder, meteorologist

Dipl. Met. J. Lang
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