Helios Sun Calculator by Chemical Wedding

July 25th, 2009

Back in January I did a post on a sweet little iPhone application to help you find out where the sun or moon is at any given time in any geographic location.

Well here’s another iPhone app that takes sun calculation to a completely new level. Unfortunately the price is a whole new level too. This app is $30, which is pricey for an iPhone app. But, not all that bad when you consider this applications features:

  1. Gives graphical representation of the sun’s position on a compass dial (azimuth) for any time of day, showing the sun’s elevation and proportional length of shadow an object would cast.
  2. Shows a SkyView which is an overall view of the sun’s path in the sky through the day.
  3. Gives a Inclinometer view that predicts the sun’s height at any given time in the day. Essentially an electronic inclinometer that reads in both time and angle.
  4. Has an internal database of over 30,000 locations around the world, providing longitude, latitude, timezone and daylight savings information. There is an ability to save favorite locations and add the current location from GPS data (where a signal is available).

This application brings to mind the home-seller client that we had in 2002 that insisted that get a front-shot of his home with the sun at the perfect angle so there were no shadows from the tall Douglas firs around the home. If I’d had an iPhone and this app, I could have used the inclinometer part of this app on the front porch and predicted the times in the next few days that the sun would be at the correct angle. As it was, it took me about 4 trips back to get a shot that made him happy. I was happy to do whatever it took to make this client happy because we were getting a listing commision, but if you are charging for return trips you need a way to figure out how to get the shot in one trip. This app will help you do that.

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6 Responses to “Helios Sun Calculator by Chemical Wedding”

  • Wonder why they don’t port these apps to PCs, which would seem to be a larger market…?

  • Same here. Is there a verison that works on Blackberry’s?


  • These kind of applications are fast becoming the primary reason to own an iPhone. The indication of this trend is that Apple has sold 1 Billion iPhone applications in the first nine months. This whole phenomena is a part of why Apple had it’s biggest quarter ever in the first quarter of 2009 and in the second quarter their revenues increased 15%. This in now more than a phone, it’s a computing platform.

  • […] and Read More: SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “Helios Sun Calculator by Chemical Wedding – Larry Lohrman (Photography […]

  • Check out the new sunlight feature in Google Earth 4.3

  • Thanks so much for this review. Helios is our first application and we are very proud of the result and the reactions. We designed Helios as a tool primarily for Cinematographers and photographers dealing in natural light. It pleases us greatly that professionals in other fields see the worth of applications aimed at the sophisticated user. Our closest competition is a desktop application that costs $100 and needs a $250 combination compass and inclinometer to make sense of the data. We think that at $30 Helios is a bit of a bargain.

    As for porting this app to the blackberry, the RIM operating system simply would not allow this level of application, the blackberry has no inclinometer or magnetometer which makes Helios work so well. As for PC applications, there are a number out there to choose from. Ultimately the iPhone was the only device available to us that could reflect the level of functionality we were trying to offer.

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