During my Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop, I was talking about some the apps I use on my iPhone that help me with my photography. For me, knowing where and when the sun is going to rise or set is invaluable. I use a program on the computer and iPhone app The Photographer’s Ephemeris to help me (http://photoephemeris.com/). It shows you where and how the light will fall on scenes, when the sun or moon will appear over a hill, shows shadow lengths to scale on the map and doesn’t require a network connection when you are in the field and want the sun/moon position or rise/set times.
When feeling like I need exact depth of field calculations, I use DOFMaster (http://www.dofmaster.com/). On the computer or the mobile app, you put in your camera, f/stop, lens and subject distance and it will calculate the exact amount of depth of field. If you change any settings, it will quickly show you the DOF change. It is a bit geeky, but powerful.
In the good old days, I used to say that my apps helped me find locations or make better pictures but it couldn’t fire the camera. Well, now I have an app for that. TriggerTrap (https://triggertrap.com/) is probably the most amazing app I have. It doesn’t almost everything any remote I’ve ever heard of can do: normal cable release firing, programmable timelaspse, fire the camera when it hears a loud noise, feels a strong vibration, detects motion or even when the camera has moved a pre-determined distance. So I could shoot a photo every 50 feet as I’m riding my bicycle. It will do timing for HDR sets and lots of other amazing things.
The app is free and will do most of these things with your iPhone (or Android) camera. To work with your DSLR, you need to buy a cable and dongle for $30.00.
To figure out the weather, I use a few different apps. My Radar Pro gives a live radar, I upgraded to the paid version to get rid of the ads. Dark Sky shows cloud cover, which is pretty cool. Lightning Finder tells me where there are nearby lightning strikes, it costs $6 per year but is great if you want to shoot lightning or avoid it. Living Earth is a fun way to get current weather conditions and forecasts around the globe.
There are several reference apps I use. I have the complete suite of seven Audobon apps that help me identify everything in the woods. I got them all on Arbor Day when they were selling for $1 each. iBird Pro is also good for getting IDs of birds.
I don’t know my stars, so I use Sky Map to point the way when I want to do star trails or shoot the Milky Way. Sky 3D is also good, but a bit less easy to use.
Probably the best app I have is from ASMP – the American Society of Media Photographers (http://asmp.org). They have created a free app that makes it easy to get model or property releases. They have several different release templates you can use or you can customize them. It sure beats keeping track of paper.
If you have an app that I don’t have listed, please let me know. I love playing with new apps.