Get the Perfect Shot with Smartphone Apps

Don’t let the sun go down on you.  At least not without knowing exactly where and when it’s going down.  If you can integrate naturally occurring events, such as the rising and setting of the sun and moon, storms, fog, and the tides into your photography, you’re going to get shots that will make you proud.

If you’re going to get up before sunrise to get a shot, you sure don’t want to waste the effort by being in the wrong place, at the wrong time.  So, take a little time beforehand and invest in a couple of Smartphone apps.SONY DSC

Our favorite app is called the Photographer’s Ephemeris.  You can use it to find out exactly where you should be to capture a beautiful sunset or maybe a rising moon over your favorite landmark.  You can project out to future dates and to anyplace on a map.  It will take a bit of effort to master, (Rochelle is much better at it than I am) but it will pay off quickly.  You can buy a version for your Apple or Android device, or try it out for free on your desktop computer._DSC9854_HDR

An easier program for tracking the Sun is called Mr. Sun.  Like Photographer’s Ephemeris, you can use it to track the route of the sun, but you’ll have to be standing in the spot where you’re going to take a photograph for it to work.  There’s a free version, so there’s no reason not to try it out.

If you’re looking for information about the tides, just download a copy of US Tides.  It’s free as well.  US Tides is a pretty smart program, as it knows where you are, so it can tell you about the tides in your vicinity. _DSC0654

There are too many weather apps to list here, but it’s hard to go wrong with the National Weather Service’s web site.  It’s not an app, but you can save it to your home screen.  To change the display so it works with your mobile phone, just click on “Mobile Weather” on the right side of the display under “Current Conditions”.  It is a couple of extra steps, but it’s very accurate and free.

A little more specific than the other apps, Yosemite photographer Michael Frye has an app that covers everything about shooting in Yosemite National Park. The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite isKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA  full of locations, advice and tools and it’s a must have for any photographer planning a trip to Yosemite.  Currently it’s only available for the iPhone, but at $6.99 it’s a bargain.  Another nice thing about this app, is it works perfectly off-line.  Cell reception in Yosemite is pretty spotty.

Chasing weather, and astronomical events can be tiring, and often uncomfortable.  It’s usually pretty chilly waiting for the sun to rise, or standing out in the rain with only your rain jacket and Tribella to keep you dry.  Aren’t you glad you have a Class B motorhome, like our Charley, to keep you warm?  We love being able to wait inside Charley with the heater going and a hot cup of coffee.  I bet you do too.

There are so many apps geared for photographs, I know I’m missing a lot.  So, it’s your turn.  Tell us which are your favorite apps for getting those one-of-a-kind shots.





5 Responses

  1. I like using Skyview (free) as you can follow and predict the arc of the sun or the moon at a current location for some time in the future.
    Remember? That’s how we lined up the Supermoon with a tree at Olmstead Point. I’m sure you’ll get to that story someday.

  2. Thanks for filtering out the worthwhile apps! There are so many lemon apps out there I don’t scan randomly anymore. I just wait for some other sucker –oops! — I mean diligent and patient person to sift through them all then give me advice. Sweet stuff.

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