the escaype faq
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What is Escaype?
Escaype is the world's first comprehensive weather service for photographers, and a proud Bay Area local business. We offer a complete package of golden hour, fog, clear night sky, and other weather forecasts; extensive real-time reports, meteorological expertise and instruction, and a social network of many of the area's best photographers. We are real human beings who live to make your dream shots happen.
What areas does Escaype cover?
Escaype provides comprehensive daily service to the greater Bay Area and Santa Cruz, including regional destinations like Big Sur, Point Reyes, Sonoma Coast, and Mendocino Coast. Unlike most weather sites, where weather stations are placed in the major cities, Escaype's virtual weather stations are located in the places you care about and shoot the most.
For your convenience, we have also included a handful of stations throughout the West Coast; namely, Southern California, Death Valley, the Eastern Sierra, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and Mt. Shasta, though we do not officially maintain these forecasts at this time. Forecasts from the Escaype model for the next three golden hour events in these areas will be available on your copy of the Escaype app, but our signature comprehensive service is not yet available. (If you live near one of these unmaintained stations, we recommend waiting to sign up for Escaype until we officially support your area.)
What do you forecast?
We officially forecast golden hour conditions, fog, and clear night skies, but we also do our best to give you a heads-up for excellent "blue hour" conditions, lightning and rainbow opportunities, snow and monsoon storms in the Sierra, pretty clouds and dramatic light, and just about anything else that a photographer might enjoy chasing.
How accurate are your forecasts?
At Escaype, we begin with high-quality raw public model data (up to 3km resolution), and feed it to our in-house, patent-pending golden hour prediction model. Our models have been running for over two years in several states, and every report we receive helps us make them even stronger. Escaype's sunrise and sunset predictions have quickly become the most trusted and sought after in the industry.
That said, no weather forecast can ever be 100% accurate. And sunset forecasts require different treatment from rain and other weather forecasts. If a forecast calls for rain, for instance, you'll bring an umbrella. If it doesn't rain, well, no big deal -- at least you were prepared. On the other hand, if we predict a stunning sunset, you might invest valuable time and burn some gas -- and if we're wrong, you'll feel the blow.
At Escaype, we know the pain of getting skunked or missing an epic show (though it rarely happens to us nowadays). We raise the bar far higher by having a local, full-time meteorologist follow through with every forecast and issue any necessary updates and notes. If we know you're heading out, we may even follow up with a personal text to assure you that everything is on track. When we spot the rare false alarm, we'll give you that last-minute heads up so you have time to abort. In other words... unlike any other weather service, we're here for you.
As of now, we do not perform quantitative analysis of our models' accuracy. No two skies are the same, and some skies can be forecasted two days in advance, while others just a few hours, so establishing truly objective criteria is extremely difficult, and often of very limited scope and usefulness. We do have plans to pursue some approaches in the future.
For more information on the Escaype story and why things must be this way, click here.
What can't you do?
One important thing to keep in mind is that weather models provide us with guidance, but there is no model that can forecast a future weather event with 100% accuracy. And sometimes, different models will produce vastly different solutions for a given time. This is why real-time updates and forecaster verification are such an important part of Escaype.
We are aware and mindful of the limitations of the models we work with, and we establish confidence levels with our forecasts. No weather model will be able to resolve a situation with a single pink low cloud hugging the side of a mountain (that's called "luck"), and no model can forecast the details of sunsets several days out with any reasonable accuracy. We are often able to share generalized statements about the sky potential several days out, though, to help you pencil in your plans.
Escaype can successfully forecast many sunsets 1-2 days in advance, especially ones with large, widespread cloud decks. There are others that are products of very complex weather systems, and may involve higher uncertainty, and we may only be able to make a final call a couple hours before the event. Fortunately, we have observed that the majority of the most spectacular light shows fall into the categories that the models handle best, and when the curveballs do come, we remain on your side to guide you to the best shots.
Is the Escaype app available as a standalone product?
This option is currently not available.
(In fact, it's more than possible to use Escaype without our app; we just provide it as a companion product for a convenient way to access our model forecasts.)
I don't live in your current forecast area. What can I do?
If Escaype isn't available in your area yet, but you'd like to support our mission, you can also make a donation to help us get to your area more quickly. (Rumor has it that places with the most donations may see Escaype sooner...)
Is there a free trial?
Free trials are for things that might not work. Instead, we offer the all-mighty guarantee: if you are not fully content with Escaype's service for any reason, and we are unable to resolve the issue to your satisfaction, we will immediately refund your subscription for the remainder of the month or year you have subscribed. It's that simple -- we stand behind our service, and we're here to make sure you love it.
I just joined. How do I get started?
You can expect a welcome email from Jeff in the next several hours, containing setup instructions. Because our service is run by two real human beings, please allow a few hours after signing up! We often get strongly worded emails from new clients who assume we are just another automated corporation and haven't received notifications within 10 minutes of signing up. We are real people around here, and we value real human interaction -- that's what makes us Escaype. We build a couple days of setup time into all of our plans, so you don't have to worry about being billed before you're all squared away.
Why is Escaype expensive?
No app is worth $39-49/month. We're right there with you on that.
Our fees cover your opportunity to work closely with local professionals who live and breathe weather and photography. We're here to work with you nail your dream shots, from start to finish. Escaype fees don't fund any third vacation homes, rake in huge profit margins, or please any shareholders -- they pay our rent and put food on our table. We're proud to say we do not outsource our labor, nor are we willing to sacrifice personal, face-to-face interaction to save a few dollars, because we believe such practices come with huge costs to you. Give Escaype a try -- we wouldn't offer the all-mighty guarantee on our service if we didn't truly believe you'll love it.
Why do I never see my questions in these stupid FAQs?!
We're here for you. Contact us.