Tip of the Week

How to estimate remaining daylight


As you get towards the end of the day it can often be helpful to know how much daylight you have left. Whether you need to know how much light you have to get off the mountain, how long you have to set up camp or simply want to know when to get the camera to catch the sunset.

This is a simple way to estimate how long it will be before the sun disappears behind the horizon.

Hold out your hand at arms length with your palm facing you and use it to count how many fingers you can fit between the sun and the horizon.

As a general rule there is 15 minutes until sundown for every finger. Remember to take into account mountains etc in the foreground and try and measure to where the horizon should be.


This method has many huge flaws – people’s fingers are different sizes, people’s arms are different lengths, it varies depending on where in the world you are. It is not an exact science, merely a method for making an educated guess.

Obviously when doing this you should avoid looking directly at the sun as it can cause permanent eye damage.

– Graham

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