Made for astronomers, this weather forecast is perfect for photographers, too

clear dark sky weather forecast photographers alpine labs pulse 7
Alpine Labs
Taking pictures outdoors in the natural light can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a photographer. Whether you shoot landscapes, portraits, or astrophotography, few things compare to nailing that perfect golden hour shot, the incredibly soft light that comes when the sun is diffused through a layer of clouds, or the glow of the Milky Way on a clear night. But being able to predict the weather is challenging. That’s where Clear Dark Sky comes in. It’s a weather service designed for astronomers that just happens to be equally useful for photographers.

As detailed in Fstoppers, Clear Dark Sky isn’t your normal forecast. It provides a 48-hour window into the future with a comprehensive breakdown not just of temperature, but of cloud cover, humidity, wind, transparency, and more. For natural light portrait photographers, being able to confirm cloud cover the day before a shoot — or even hours before — could save a lot time before actually heading out to a location. For night landscape and astrophotographers, looking at humidity, transparency, and darkness will let you know the best times and locations for getting the clearest views of the night sky. (Another measurement, called “seeing,” takes into account the stillness of the air, and indicates when fine details in planets will be visible through a telescope.)


The data is gathered from specific observing sites, with locations in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and the Bahamas. This means you can’t simply plug in your own location, but there is likely a site near you. In the state of Oregon, for example, 98 different sites are listed, while California has a whopping 444.

Clear Dark Sky may not initially look like the easiest forecast to read, but its color-coded graph is actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it. If you’re going for the clearest skies, just search out a block of dark blue. If you’d prefer some cloud cover, then look for white. More details on how to read the chart can be found here.

Movies & TV

Jason Reitman’s ‘Ghostbusters’ sequel already has a creepy teaser trailer

Jason Reitman, son of Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman, has secretly co-written a follow-up to the 1984 supernatural comedy. Filming begins this summer, but it's not clear if the original Ghostbusters will reprise their roles.

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

What to look for and what to avoid when buying a camera

Looking to buy a new camera? Our comprehensive camera guide for 2016 has answers to any camera or photography questions you might ask, whether in regards to pricing, image quality, or weatherproofing.
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.

Going somewhere? Capture more than your phone can with the best travel cams

Hitting the road or doing some globetrotting this year? Bring along the right camera to capture those once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories. Here's a list of some of our current favorites.

Authentic, holistic, retro photography is in: Here are 2019’s predicted trends

What types of imagery are we most drawn to? According to recent stock photography data from Adobe, StoryBlocks, and Shutterstock, authentic, holistic, and humanitarian content will be in high demand in 2019.

From 4K powerhouses to tiny action cams, here are the best video cameras

Although not as popular as they once were, dedicated video cameras still have their benefits. From travel vlogging to home movies to recording your kid's little league game, here are the best video cameras you can buy right now.

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.

This A.I.-powered camera follows the action to produce epic selfie videos

Want to capture more epic action selfies? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action. Using a handful of different modes, the camera works to keep the action in the frame.

Sony crams its best camera tech into the new $900 A6400

Love Sony's autofocus, but can't stomach the full-frame price? The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera uses some of the same autofocus technology and the processor of the A9 in a compact, more affordable crop-sensor camera.

GoPro bumps resolution on Fusion 360 cam to 5.6K with new firmware

Currently available in public beta, Fusion firmware version 2.0 offers a new 5.8K mode that results in 5.6K output when the 360 camera's two hemispheres are stitched together. It also adds support for 24 fps video and RAW time-lapse…

With 5-stop optical stabilization, Fujifilm GF 100-200mm is ready for adventure

Fujifilm revealed a new lens designed to deliver on the GFX system's promise of adventure-ready medium-format photography. The GF 100-200mm F5.6 R is a weather resistant, relatively lightweight, 2x telephoto with impressive stabilization.