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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. 
Do You Make or Take Your Photos

Do You Make or Take Your Photos

The following article was originally published on my website BlueBeyond.com.au. I’ve decided to move it over here for reference.

Recently I read a great book called The Inner Game of Outdoor Photography by Galen Rowell , a renowned outdoor photographer from the US. This book is one of the best photography books I have read, even though it hardly even touches on technical aspects – there are no explanations of apertures and shutter speeds, except in discussing how to capture a particular image.

Instead, this is a book that delves deeply into the “inner process" of photography, and the important philosophical approaches that differentiate the snapshooter from the serious photographer. Irrespective of whether you shoot underwater or topside, outdoors or inside, close-up or wide-angle, your thought processes help you to identify potential subjects, backgrounds, compositional opportunities, lighting approaches and technical requirements to express your vision through a photograph.

One of the things that struck me on reading this book, and set my mind thinking, was that the essence of the language used by Rowell expresses his philosophy. Rowell never uses the phrase “taking a photo“ – instead he contemplates “making a photo”.

From our earliest introductions to photography, we are exposed to the phrase “take a photo", and indeed the common vernacular enshrines this expression as the standard amongst all of us. But if we stop for a minute to consider the expression, we note very quickly that it suggests a passive approach to photography – one of recording the moment.

It is no secret that the vast majority of photographers are snapshooters – people who are simply recording the moment. These “momentary records" have an important place – they show family, friends and scenes that are important to the individuals. They have a context and value to the snapshooter and those close to them. In many cases, however, these momentary records are otherwise unremarkable.

Early Light

Likewise, many underwater photographers are snapshooters, and again, their photos have a meaning to them that is also implied and contextual. They take good photos that trigger a memory for them.

In an effort to move beyond the simple snapshot, we invest time, money and effort into the process of photography. We get better equipment, we study composition and lighting, and we try to take control of the photographic situation. We are no longer passive “takers of photos" – we are looking for more than the momentary record.

We are now actively “making" our photos, not taking them.

To be active in the process of photography, whatever the setting, we need good technical skills, and good equipment. We also need a thorough understanding of our environment, the behaviour of our subjects, and how we can interact responsibly with them. We then need the mental approach to put all that together to make great photos.

Do you take or make photos?