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Apps for Photography

Apps for Photography

My iPhone, and to an extent my iPad, are really important parts of my seascape, landscape and urban photography.

PhotoMenuThe iPhone itself makes for a good scouting camera, a good camera for a sneaky pano and a tool for making images of my image making. Its true power, however, lies in its abilities to assist in planning, managing, editing and sharing photos.

I thought I’d share some of the apps I use, and how I use them in my photography adventures.

Planning

  • Modern Atlas is a wonderful app that allows you to explore an area ahead of time with a map based interface that pulls in data from Wikipedia and other sources. It also features a lot of photography of an area, so it is a good planning tool.
  • 500px and Flickr are two apps that allow you to pre-explore an area to see what other photographers have done. Its a good source of ideas for image making starting points in a destination.
    TPE
  • The Photographers Ephemeris is perhaps my most used planning tool. Once I get an idea of where I want to shoot from TPE allows me to work out optimal times for shooting, noting sun angles and elevations, as well as timings for sunrise/set, golden hour and blue hour.
  • Weather Apps are an important planning tool to know whether it is worth planning to get up early, and what you can expect as far as temperatures. At home in Australia I use WillyWeather, and when travelling internationally I tend to use the native iOS Weather app. Rain Parrot is a great tool for providing me with alerts if rain is expected.
  • Maps – While I use Apple Maps at home and when I have good 4G coverage, I really like Maps.me when travelling internationally where I might not have good data coverage, or very limited data allowance. Maps.me is a superb tool for planning and then locating a photo location, even when coverage is unavailable. I am also playing around with what3words as a very interesting concept for planning and tracking locations.
  • Bear is my place for logging my ideas for both writing and photography. It provides a cool interface on macOS and iOS for notes using a modified Markdown format.

Shooting

  • Geotag Photos Pro 2 is a tool I use to do GPS logging for my images.
  • Panasonic Image App is a remote app for shooting with Panasonic Lumix cameras.
  • MiOPS is a tool to integrate with my MiOPS smart triggers.
  • LEE Filters – Stopper Exposure – I use Lee Filters Little Stopper (6 f-stop) and Big Stopper (10 f-stop) filters for many of my images, and this app allows me to quickly calculate the shutter speed I will need for a given aperture.

Managing

  • Photos – used mainly for supporting images taken on my iPhone. Getting more and more powerful with every release.
  • Adobe Lightroom CC – I do most of my digital asset management (DAM) on my Mac, but the new version of Lightroom CC allows me to do some of this work on the go.1

Editing

  • Affinity Photo – I do most of my editing in Luminar 2018 on my Mac, but when I do need to do stuff on the go, Affinity Photo is a very capable editor on iOS.
  • Plotagraph+ Photo Animator – I love still images, but adding some movement to a still is a different way of enjoying photography. Plotagraph+ is a fun and easy tool to do just that.
  • When I am editing in Luminar 2018 on my MacBook Pro, and I don’t have a Wacom tablet with me, I use Astropad Studio on my iPad with an Apple Pencil to bring graphics tablet functionality to the table. This is very on the go.

Miscellaneous

  • Lenstag is a great tool to allow me to track my camera and lens equipment.

Sharing

  • I’ve mentioned before that I use 500px and Flickr to plan, but they remain great ways to share my best images.
  • Micro.blog is a great, relatively new, platform for owning your own content, but sharing with a social layer. I am finding this to be a great way of sharing my images and photography thoughts not only to the Micro.Blog platform, but also to Twitter and Facebook (if I want to). Find me on Micro.Blog

New Additions

  • Really Good Photo Spots is a social based photo location sharing and planning tool. It has potential, but I haven’t used it enough, yet, to incorporate it into my standard workflow.

Conclusion

The biggest challenge with much photography, particularly landscape photography, is the challenge of time. It is a limited resource, and good planning and execution makes the job of making photos simpler and more fun.

The above apps have made my life easier. I’d be interested to hear other’s experiences, and also any suggestions on other apps worth considering.


  1. I haven’t emotionally committed to Lightroom at this time – still waiting to see what the upcoming DAM features in Luminar will look like. 
App Support for iPad Centric Workflows

App Support for iPad Centric Workflows

Its been some two years since Apple announced iOS 9, complete with iPad split screen and other multitasking functionality.

My iPads Pro are a key part of my writing, productivity and increasingly, photography, workflow. This is even more the case since the announcement of iOS 11, and all the incredible new iPad Pro centric enhancements.

Most of the apps I use on a daily basis to support my workflows have embraced and support iOS multitasking, including the split screen functionality. These apps include:

  • Bear
  • Byword
  • Draftsd
  • iBooks
  • Lightroom
  • Medium
  • Micro.blog[1]
  • OmniFocus[2]
  • ProtonMail
  • Reeder
  • Slack
  • Spark Mail[3]
  • The Photographers Ephemeris
  • Timepage
  • Tweetbot
  • Ulysses
  • V for Wikipedia
  • 500px

The list of apps that have refused to provide support for iPad Pro users is, fortunately, much shorter.

  • Affinity Photo
  • Flickr
  • Kindle
  • Pocket

I can kind of forgive Affinity as its quite a new app, and in the photography editing space which kind of develops a whole screen mentality.

But Kindle and Pocket are core reading/research/writing workflow apps. To be core to these types of workflows, the apps need to support iPad Pro type functionality.

Kindle holds a near monopoly, but Pocket has competition. I can’t help but wonder whats holding them back.

Doing this personal analysis of the core apps in my workflows it is pretty pleasing to see that most apps are well positioned to support the growing importance of iPad in a mobile lifestyle. And it is pretty telling to me that at some point I will need to make a call about apps that don’t support my workflows…


  1. Which was only released today.  ↩
  2. And I am pretty sure most other Omni apps  ↩
  3. And other apps from Readdle  ↩
Favourite Productivity Applications Revisited

Favourite Productivity Applications Revisited

In May last year, I blogged about my (then) favourite productivity applications. As co-host of the Personal Productivity podcast, and a long time seeker on the journey to improve my personal productivity, I’ve studied and experimented with a lot of methodologies, tools, gadgets and software applications to assist me in my quest.
As regular readers of this blog know, my own system is based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology, with some influence from Stephen Covey, Asian and Western philosophy and life lessons I’ve learned in work, life, scuba diving and karate.

Now before I get to heavily into this discussion, I want to emphasise that it is important to focus on working with your productivity system, as opposed to on it. I see a classic trap (one that I have been guilty of falling into myself) is to procrastinate by working on the system too much, trying to change things, playing with every tool/gadget/application available. You really need to understand the techniques and principles of your system before modifying it too much. See my post on Shu-Ha-Ri and GTD for more discussion on that topic.

Last year I had a list of 5 applications that I counted as favourites.

    • MindManager
    • ActiveWords
    • Anagram
    • Copernic Desktop Search
    • Bloglines

Whats interesting is that three of the 4 still number in my new expanded list. One has been replaced by a competitor, for reasons I’ll discuss.

So without any further ado, here’s my newly updated and expanded list of Favourite Personal Productivity Applications.

    1. ActiveWords – still a big hitter. This tool allows you to control your PC from any application and in context. The addition of the InkPad for TabletPC’s has been fantastic.
    1. Anagram – an easy way to capture stuff directly into Outlook or Palm Desktop. I debated whether to leave this on the list, as I don’t use Palm anymore, and I don’t like the current iterations of Outlook. But I still use Anagram to get stuff into Outlook and then onto my O2 XDA IIi.
    1. Backpack – this is a fantastic web based tool from 37Signals. Its a place where I can collect my “stuff” online, as well as organise it. Its the repository for my Next Actions and Projects lists, and a place where I collect stuff for projects, presentations and so on. I really love the ability to be able to email stuff to my pages, the mobile version and the ability to share selected pages with selected people. It is elegant simplicity personified.
    1. Bloglines – as I maintain a blogroll of approximately 300 feeds, and use several computers, I want a good browser based tool to manage my feeds well, and keep stuff in sync. To be honest, I got fed up with Bloglines for a while (when they had lots of availability issues), and defected to NewsGator/FeedDemon. I had FeedDemon on 2 main computers, but the syncing engine from NewsGator was temperamental, and I don’t like their NewsGator Online version in a browser. Bloglines has improved heaps, and are back on my list.
    1. Firefox – what a great browser. Especially since the release of version 1.5, I love this browser, and with more of my favourite apps being browser based (e.g. Bloglines, and several AJAX/Web 2.0 apps) I love the tabbed interface, and the extensions. Some great extensions include Performancing for Firefox (blog writing tool), Xinha Here, Livelines, Foxmarks, IE View, and the cool del.icio.us extension.
    1. gmail – I’ve moved all my personal email over to gmail. I love the labelling capabilities, the archiving and the easy search functionality. I do wish they’d listen to users, and give us a delete button.
    1. Google Desktop Search – Last year I rated Copernic Desktop Search, and I still really like that program. The reason for the switch – Google Desktop Search is well integrated to gmail and MindManager, and has an easy browser interface.
    1. Lotus Notes – a perennially cool application. Email in Notes is wonderful – I really appreciate simple touches like Send and Save. The collaboration functionality is outstanding, and I believe this is the best enterprise class messaging system. I am not sure why I didn’t include Lotus Notes last time ’round.
    1. NetVibes – an outstanding homepage based on the AJAX framework. This is my dashboard – I can see a bunch of key stuff in one place. On my page, I have websearch, and then feeds from tech.memeorandum, DIGG, del.icio.us/popular and Tailrank. I also have a display of my own MyComments field. This way I can quickly view whats popular in the blogosphere and also track my most recent commenting activity on other blogs. I’d like to see a world clock on this page to track current times in other zones. I have played around with other AJAX desktops, including Google IG and Protopage, both of which I like. NetVibes is the best for me though.
    1. Skype – my IM and VoIP tool of choice.

There are a couple of other applications that are on the radar, but have not yet made the leap to be a favourite for me. These include Writely (online word processor) and AirSet (online PIM). Writely is very cool, and I think will make the grade very soon. AirSet I am less sure about. Its interface is a bit clunky, and I dislike that I have to sync through Outlook to my PDA.