Golden time is that magical time when the near sunset and sunrise where shadows are long and the light is warm. I’ve looked at some golden time and magic hour calculators in the past. They exist to help you decide when the lighting is best for outdoor photography, landscape or portraits.

Rizon ($1.99) goes beyond most of the other apps out there, in that you can plan for dates well in advance, and at locations you aren’t at yet. You can save the locations, so no internet connection is needed, and the app will offer you reminders of when it’s time to get out of that chair and over to that perfect photo location.

IMG_8214Another unique aspect of the app is that it lets you know when moonlight will be a factor, something important to many photographers, using either an iPhone or a more elaborate DSLR.

The user interface is also quite unique. You get a circular 24 hour clock face. There are markings on the edge that show daylight, twilight and moonlight. It’s really easy to see when the best times for photography are.

It’s a clean design, and while different is not always better, I think it is a really solid approach.

Using Rizon

I tried the app on a quick photo jaunt up to Roosevelt Lake in central Arizona. Before I made the drive, I checked the best times for lighting, and got the information I needed from Rizon. These calculations vary from day to day, and location to location, so it’s not a simple matter of golden time always appearing, for example, 45 minutes before sunset.

The reminder panel is quite well thought out. For a quick alarm, there are buttons for ‘this evening’ or tomorrow morning’. Beyond that you get to pick a custom date.

For my use on the trip, everything worked well. The calculations were spot on, the golden time markers for the evening helped me get into a good spot in plenty of time to exploit the light.


A similar app I’m very enthusiastic about is Sun Scout, which is $7.99. It uses augmented reality to superimpose the sun over your current location so you can see when it will clear buildings or canyons. It’s clever, and useful, but it doesn’t have the flexibility of setting any date or location the way Rizon does.

How to improve Rizon

One thing I thought was confusing is the bottom display. Rather than giving you a straight start and end time, it basically, as you rotate the clock, updates to the segment that the arrow is pointing to. I talked to the developers about that, and they say what the app is displaying is obvious to some people, not obvious to others. I expect a future update will make the display a little more clear.

The Bottom Line

Having said that, I really like Rizon, and will use it for my future photo planning. I like the user interface, and the thought that went into making the graphical display. It’s an app that is reasonably priced, and will only get even better over time.


Download Rizon

iphoneography, iphone photo, mobile photo, photo app, free download

App Store link:
Rizon – Your Golden Hour Companion – Sam King


Rizon 1.0

User Interface

Rizon goes beyond most of the other apps out there. We like the user interface, and the thought that went into making the graphical display.

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