Monday, December 3, 2018

Let's Talk Apps...

From time to time, I'll be talking about cell phone apps as I find good ones. Let's face it, it's almost impossible to get through your day without using them. Well, if you travel, there are some very definite apps you should download to help make your photographic life on the great big open road a little easier. So, in no particular order or importance, here ya' go:

R.G.P.S. - R.G.P.S. stands for "Really Good Photo Spots". This is a great app for when you find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings and you're not sure what's around that might make for a nice photo op. It utilizes your phone's GPS function to find sites of interest. You can even add sites in case you find something that's not already in their database (which is pretty damn extensive). The best part? It's totally free. If you like it, you can do what I did and elect to pay $9.99 a year (or less than three cents a day!) to upgrade the app. The upgrade not only kills all of the pop-up ads which are so common with free apps, but it also allows you to save locations for offline access, create trips and do advanced searches. I've been using this app more and more lately and I like it a lot.

Magic Hour - The magic hour, also known as the golden hour, is when your natural light source, the sun, is givin' you the goods in spades. When you want nice, warm colors in your photos, you want to shoot just after sunrise and just before sunset. This app counts down the hours, minutes and seconds to the magic hour, so you'll know if you have time to stop for coffee on your way to shoot the sunrise. This app is also free and can prove to be indispensable.

Accu-Weather - Now, this should probably go without saying, but have a weather app on your phone. I have the Accu-Weather app, but there are a myriad of them out there and there are plenty of them that are free. Make sure you get one which has a predictive radar. After all, there's no sense in packing up your ride with a ton of photo gear and driving an hour only to get to your destination to find that you're being rained out.

Pocket Light Meter - As cameras have improved with regards to their technology, so has the need for "support gear" decreased. For instance, when I was shooting film a light meter was a must-have in the camera bag. For those who wish to meter their shots, this app is excellent. This app allows you to nail the exposure, and allows for you to adjust the shutter speed, your aperture and your ISO. I don't use it that often but, when I do, it's been pretty spot on.

Waze - This is, without question, the best GPS app I've found. Not only does it give you the most time efficient route, it reroutes you on the fly as other Waze users report traffic jams, construction, accidents, etc. Oh, yeah, it also allows users to report the location of police who are out looking for those of us (yeah, I'm guilty from time to time) of pushing the limits of the law with regards to speed.

Of all the GPS apps I've found (and downloaded and then deleted), this one has proven to be the most beneficial and easiest to use. Why? Well, with a traditional GPS unit, I have to enter an address. If I don't have that, though (and I often don't), I'm pretty well screwed. With Waze, though, I can enter something like "Big Talbot Boneyard" and it will instantly provide me the route to Big Talbot Island State Park, complete with a very clear visual depiction of the route. Waze also has voice prompts for which you can change both the voice and the language. I have a British gal calling the shots on mine.

I've named her Lola.

There are, of course, countless apps for the countless things you want to do while you're traveling. What I've included here are the ones that I've been using more and more, and which I think could be beneficial for you. Naturally, I look at almost everything with a photographer's eye, but there's no denying that many of these can help the on-photographer, as well...

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