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Plan Your Outdoor Shoot with the Golden Hour Calculator App for Android

Johan Kok's picture
June 9, 2016 - 9:00pm

I am a keen nature photographer, shooting mainly wildlife, landscapes and time-lapses while frequently traveling to new locations. When shooting outdoors using available light I try to shoot during those magic times around sunrise and sunset, referred to as the golden hour. Traversing great distances to new spots means different sunrise and sunset times, making it hard to know when to be out shooting without first taking some amount of time and effort to scout the location. In pursuit of an easy way to find accurate times for sunrise and sunset at new locations, I came across an Android app called Golden Hour Calculator. Golden Hour Calculator provides me with information on the best times to shoot. The app provides a bunch of handy information, including the start and end times of the blue and golden hours, sunrise and sunset as well as the direction light is coming from on any given day, at any location on earth.

Golden Hour Calculator for Android interface and info panel layoutThe Golden Hour Calculator app interface and the details of the info panel taken from the app’s help menu

I use the Golden Hour Calculator app to plan shoots at new locations or when I haven’t been back to a favorite spot for a while. I can simply select the location from a Google Maps style interface and the app will calculate the times for the current date while automatically detecting the time zone. If you want to change the date to plan ahead, you can do so in the date change panel in the preferences menu. As an example, I used the Golden Hour Calculator app to plan a sunset shoot of Table Mountain in Cape Town at a location I had never been. Using the app meant I was on location and in the right position to catch that magic hour at sunset.

Golden hour sunset over table mountain in Cape Town, South AfricaGolden hour sunset over table mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. This shoot was planned with the aid of the Golden Hour Calculator app for Android. © Johan Kok

Another great feature of the app is the different map modes. Like Google Maps and Google Earth you can change between NORMAL, SATELLITE, HYBRID and TERRAIN modes. I find the terrain mode especially handy to check for any large mountains or hills that will affect the light in the location I am planning to shoot at. As the Golden Hour Calculator is not the only app out there that will help you plan your outdoor shoot, let’s look at its pros, cons and alternatives.


  • It’s free
  • It’s simple
  • It gives you all the important information you need!


  • The banner ads at the top are annoying
  • It’s only available for Android
  • Moon rise and set are not included
  • The maps may not work in remote locations without a data connection (not tested)


The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) is a well-known and comprehensive free desktop solution with lots of detail, but both the iOS and Android apps come at a cost. I find that the Golden Hour Calculator gives me all the information I need in a simple, free to use app.

Check out Golden Hour Calculator on the Google Play Store


Golden Hour Calculator
Johan Kok
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