Essential Apps for Landscape Photography Adventures
As a dedicated landscape photographer, you know that the key to capturing breathtaking shots lies not just in your artistic eye, but also in the precision of your planning. Thankfully, in this digital age, a variety of specialized apps can elevate your landscape photography game by assisting you in every aspect of your journey, from scouting locations to working with the forecasted weather to post-processing. Here's a comprehensive look at each of the apps that I use as trusted companions on my landscape photography expeditions:
Google Earth: Exploring Locations Virtually
Scouting locations is an essential aspect of landscape photography. Google Earth's detailed satellite imagery and 3D mapping allow you to explore potential shooting spots remotely. Familiarize yourself with terrain, landmarks, and angles before you even step foot on site.
Google Maps Street View: A First Person View of Your Locations
It isn’t just for navigational directions. If you location is near a road, you can use Street View to navigate around the area. I often use it to figure out some of the best angels for a scene well in advance so I can fine tune when I get there rather than running around.
500px: Community and Inspiration
Need inspiration and ideas … 500px is a great place to start. Connect with fellow photographers on 500px, a platform for sharing and discovering stunning visual stories. Showcase your work, gain inspiration, and receive feedback from a vibrant photography community.
PhotoPills: The Swiss Army Knife of Photography Planning
This is one of my favorites. It is a versatile app that combines a plethora of planning tools. One of my favorite uses is to the predict sun and moon paths over my location. It also has AR mode which overlays the sun path, moon path and the milky way in your image. The overlays are not always accurate but they are in the ballpark. It also allows you to adjust the time so it will be during your shooting time. This app truly is your photography assistant, helping you transform creative visions into reality. An alternative version of this tool is The Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE).
PLANNING FOR THE WEATHER, TIDES, MILKY WAY, STARS, AURORA
ClearOutside: Looking for the High Clouds
Some of the best sunsets are when the clouds light up. And most often that is when the clouds are at a high elevation. ClearOutside provides detailed insights into cloud cover, cloud elevation, visibility and precipitation. It is one of the best apps I use to figure out what the clouds are doing before I head out to my photo shoot. Note that it always defaults to the United Kingdom for its location, but it is easy to adjust to your current location.
MoonCalendar: Harnessing Lunar Beauty
The moon's presence can transform landscapes into otherworldly scenes. MoonCalendar is an easy app that keeps you in tune with lunar phases, enabling you to work around the moon’s cycles whether you want it in your photos or not.
SkyGuide: Stargazing and Night Photography Companion
Immerse yourself in the universe with SkyGuide, an app designed for stargazing and night photography. The interactive star map guides you through the milky way, constellations, planets, and celestial events.
TideTrac: Navigating the Tides
For photographers drawn to the allure of coastal landscapes, TideTrac offers accurate tide predictions and information, allowing you to plan your shooting times around the rhythmic ebb and flow of the tides. Note that it only tracks tides in the United States.
Aurora Pro: Capturing Nature's Light Show
Witnessing the dance of the Northern and Southern Lights is a privilege for landscape photographers. Aurora Pro aids in predicting and tracking auroral activity (as best you can), ensuring you're at the right place and time to capture this phenomenon in all its splendor. It can also send notifications when the lights are kicking off.
Lightroom: Post-Processing Excellence
Once your shots are captured, Adobe Lightroom steps in. This post-processing powerhouse offers a range of editing tools to enhance and refine your images. Personally I prefer to do all my editing on my computer but occasionally I need to edit it on the fly and that is when the iphone app steps in.
PHOTO ARCHIVE / DATABASE
SmugMug: Showcasing Your Masterpieces
At one time I used SmugMug as my main website. Today, I use Wix as my platform but my Wix website just has my best work on it. I still use SmugMug but rather to archive all my my finalized work whether personal or professional. And the app is great. I love being able to pull up all my past photos whenever I need to. So whether you use Smugmug as your front facing website or as an archive, the app is a great tool to have.
These apps are your comprehensive toolkit for planning, shooting, and presenting your landscape photography. With their assistance, you can refine your craft, capture extraordinary shots, and share your visual stories with the world.