What are your favourite apps?
I’m not sure how I ever lived without GPS. I have it in my car, I have it in my camera, and I have it on my phone. At any given time, I can open up a map and get an aerial view of my location and find my way around. It’s a very exciting time for geography related tools which has direct benefits for photographers.
There are an unlimited number of apps available for photographers but one of the lesser known options in the classic desktop app Google Earth, is light simulation. Sure, there are apps like The Photographer’s Ephemeris that can provide fantastic data for where and when the sun will rise and set – but what if you could actually see it? Google Earth can do that for many locations.
This is most useful for large landscapes and would have little use in the prairies.
My first example is Horsehoe Bend in Arizona. Before my first trip to this location, I was able to set the date I would arrive, and animate the passing time to see the light direction.
With an upcoming trip to Alberta, I was surfing around the Rockies in Google Earth. Using Lake Louise as a familiar place to everyone – here is another example showing the difference between seasons.
Understand that the colour of light can’t be shown in Google Earth and if the light fades to darkness at 3:45pm like in this first example, it’s not necessarily a sunset. Just take note on actual sunset times so you don’t confuse that with the sun passing behind the mountain peaks.
If we compare the images above to The Photographer’s Ephemeris on the same dates, we can see why different seasons can look very different. The yellow line represents the line of sight for sunrise and the darker orange represents the line of sunset.
For the edge of day light, Lake Louise clearly benefits from morning shooting and apparently, Darwin knows what he’s talking about. Here is an excerpt I grabbed from his Banff National Park eBook:
Where: A well-marked interchange off the Trans Canada Highway will take you into the village of Lake Louise. From the off-ramp, turn left and then follow the main road for 4.3 kilometres (2.7 miles) where you will be deposited into a vast parking lot near the shores of Lake Louise.
GPS 51 24′ 59.8″N 116 12′ 50.9″W for the parking lot
When: Lake Louise is usually ice free from late May until well into October or November. The best light is from sunrise to mid-day. Winter photography is also good here because there is open water at the outlet of Lake Louise that is perfect for reflections.
What are your suggestions?
Let me know what your favourite apps are and what digital tools you can’t live without? I will create a new post listing the iPhone/iPad apps I depend on but would also love to include your suggestions.