Predicting the best sunrise and sunset color
We’re excited to have partnered with Skyfire™ to offer a new service for professional landscape and outdoor photographers, initially available with TPE for iOS.
Capturing beautiful locations in the best light is the goal of every landscape photographer. Skyﬁre (patent pending) provides custom sunrise and sunset color forecasts that show where and when spectacular skies and great light are most likely.
It’s the perfect complement to TPE as an outdoor photography planning tool: as well as giving times and angle of the sun, TPE can now forecast the quality of light.
“I had been testing Skyﬁre for several months and was really impressed with the helpful way it portrayed anticipated light conditions and the reliability of its predictions.
When I learned that it was to be incorporated into TPE, which I use all the time, I was absolutely thrilled. Over the last months I’ve been trying out the combo. It is extremely convenient to have both the light angles and light conditions in one package.
It is now a tool that I use daily and wouldn’t want to live without. I’m absolutely thrilled with the way it works and highly recommend it!”
Using multiple weather models, Skyﬁre applies complex algorithms to generate forecasts of where the best light and color will develop in the coming days. This information is shown as an overlay on top of the TPE map. The intensity of the color of the overlay coincides with the likelihood of there being a colorful sky at that position around sunrise or sunset.
Skyﬁre for TPE is initially available for the lower 48 States of the USA, southern parts of Canada, and Europe and is available as a subscription. A 30-day free trial is available, and you can subscribe directly within the app thereafter.
Two versions are offered:
- Skyfire Basic offers forecasts for today plus 2 days
- Skyfire Plus extends the forecast to today plus 4 days (plus 3 days in Canada), with configurable push notifications
(Please check in-app for current pricing and subscription options.)
With both versions, you can view all available forecasts for your favourite locations with in the app, so you can see at a glance where colorful skies are most likely.
Configurable Push Notifications
With Skyfire Plus, you can configure push notifications for your favorite locations. A threshold (e.g. > 70% probability) and a maximum notice period (e.g. 2 days) can be configured on a per location basis. Whenever a forecast is seen that meets your notification criteria, we’ll send a push notification to your registered iOS devices. (And if an updated forecast backs off on the probability, we’ll let you know it’s no longer looking as good.)
Our current coverage is as shown:
How does it work?
Using multiple weather models, Skyﬁre analyses numerous factors that affect sunrise and sunset color including:
- Cloud type determination
- Cloud height predictions
- Gap light
- Complex system behavior
- Satellite weather information
The algorithm is run against the latest weather data multiple times per day. Forecasts for both sunrise and sunset are generated for the next four days. Each forecast is refined using the latest input data when the algorithm is re-run.
TPE displays Skyﬁre as a colorful map overlay, alongside the critical time and light angle information. A spot-check API allows TPE to display the latest forecasts for your favorite locations all in one place.
What do Skyﬁre’s forecasts mean?
Skyﬁre data is displayed in two forms within TPE.
A map overlay is shown around times of sunrise and sunset. Different colors in the overlay correspond to the chances of a colorful sunrise/sunset. In the favorite locations forecast page, you can also view spot predictions for particular places in the coming days.
Where clear skies are expected, the Skyﬁre overlay is also clear. Without clouds illuminated by the sun, there’s no chance of fire in the sky.
Overcast conditions are shown as white: the sun has a low chance of lighting the clouds in these circumstances, and so little or no color should be expected.
Where clouds are broken or lie at the edge of a storm system, if the timing is right, they might be illuminated by the rising or setting sun, creating the oranges, reds and pinks typically associated with spectacular skies. Skyﬁre indicates the chance of such conditions using a color scale: ‘cool’ blues and greens indicate a low to moderate chance of good light. Yellows, oranges and reds indicate higher chances, with red being the highest.
When the weather forecaster promises a 50% chance of rain, it doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get soaked: there’s a 1 in 2 chance. The same applies to Skyﬁre’s forecasts: a turquoise overlay color (~50%) doesn’t guarantee color in the sky, but there’s a reasonable chance there might be _some. Equally, there might be nothing.
Uncertainty in the underlying weather forecast, and more specifically in local cloud conditions makes it impossible to predict good light with complete certainty. Additionally, the closer to the forecast time you are, the better the accuracy will be. It’s common experience that a weather forecast for tomorrow is more reliable than one for next week. The same applies to Skyﬁre.
Finally, when Skyﬁre predicts the chance of under-lit or side-lit clouds is high, the chance of intense color is also higher, as the pre-requisite conditions are likely to exist. It’s a non-linear ‘winner-takes-it-all’ type of situation.
How accurate is it?
No weather forecast is perfect, and Skyﬁre relies on weather predictions, particularly for cloud cover and height. Small differences in the forecast can lead to major changes in the sunset color.
Skyﬁre calculates a average rating for every 7 square mile area, based on projected weather conditions. Ratings represent the expected sunrise or sunset color directly overhead so the placement on the map lets you position yourself to properly align the sky with your desired composition.
Our goal is to maintain an accuracy of 80% or better. And we’re committed to keep improving that over time. In recent testing, we’ve been exceeding the 80% goal based on qualitative assessment of field reports and web-cam feeds.
Skyﬁre uses multiple weather models as its primary data sources. Over the past nine months of testing, we’ve observed that the best performing model changes at different times of the year, depending on the prevailing weather patterns. We’re continuously adjusting Skyﬁre’s algorithms, based on the feedback of users in the field, to fine tune data filtering to ensure we prefer the most reliable sources.
Additionally, local conditions can impact Skyﬁre’s predictions. In coastal areas, for example, it’s vital to account for marine layers that can obscure what might otherwise be a spectacular sunrise. During summer, it can be harder to predict how summer storms will develop in advance. Fast-changing conditions can make advance predictions tricky.
Sunrise and sunset color prediction is a new tool in the modern photographer’s bag. We believe Skyﬁre for TPE provides the best forecasts available today, and with your help, it’s only going to get better.
Skyfire is patent pending.
|Feature||Skyfire Basic||Skyfire Plus|
|Today +2 days||Yes|
|Today +4 days||Yes|
|Favorite location forecasts||Yes||Yes|
|Configurable push notifications||Yes|
Product shots with screenshots showing TPE 3.3 for iOS with Skyfire overlaid on standard Apple product imagery for press/media use
File size 8.49MB | Last modified Sun Aug 2, 2015 at 14:55 | Download count 930
Product shots showing TPE 3.3 for iOS with Skyfire running on actual devices, for press/media use.
File size 5.14MB | Last modified Wed Jul 29, 2015 at 14:42 | Download count 584
Screenshots of Skyfire for TPE on iPhone 6 and iPad.
File size 8.47MB | Last modified Thu Jul 30, 2015 at 10:13 | Download count 619
Do I need to have TPE in order to run Skyﬁre?
Yes, Skyﬁre runs exclusively on TPE.
Where is Skyﬁre available?
Skyﬁre is available exclusively through TPE for iOS. Currently coverage extends to the lower 48 States of the USA, southern parts of Canada and Europe. Please see the coverage map on above for details. We are looking to expand the service to other regions of the world soon.
How can I run Skyﬁre?
Initially Skyﬁre will run on TPE for iOS only. We will be working on adding Skyﬁre to TPE for Android in the coming months.
Is Skyﬁre a weather prediction app?
No. Skyﬁre uses a number of weather sources in its predictions of possible sunrise and sunset sky color. It is always important for landscape photographers to check a reliable weather source before venturing out on a shoot.
How do I get Skyﬁre?
In your TPE for iOS app, tap on “More” in the tab bar, then choose Skyﬁre (iPhone), or tap the Skyﬁre icon on the navigation bar (iPad). Follow the instructions to being your free trial or choose your level of subscription.
Can I try Skyﬁre for TPE before I subscribe?
Yes. There is a 30-day free trial. Follow the instructions above and select the 30-day free trial option.
Why do I have to sign up for a Crookneck Photo Apps account?
TPE is published by Crookneck Consulting LLC. In order to subscribe to the Skyﬁre service you will need to sign up for a free Crookneck Photo Apps account. Your account keeps track of your Skyﬁre subscription information. As with all iOS apps, in-app purchases are handled through your iTunes App Store account and not your Crookneck Photo Apps account.