Tuesday 2 February 2010

Just a quickie

Ok folks, pretty short of time today so just a few quick thoughts to share with you.

I have done one or two posts recently on geek gear aka new phone, iFad, Netbook etc and tried to explain some of the relevance of it to photography.....or not as the case may be.

Last year I posted the link to a great little application that someone sent to me called the Photographers Ephemeris - this is great and lives on my Netbook and has seen use a few times.

Well my new phone runs on Google's Android Platform and so is well supported by many apps, in the same way that Apple do with the iPhone.

So what I hear you cry, stop boring me with techno crap.

Well once you get through a lot of the dross apps, and believe me there are plenty, there are some eral little gems that I have been using and will use when further afield.  Apps such as Sunrise and Sunset times, at any location in the world, including the location you are in via the GPS facility.  Great for knowing those keys moments for that sweet early and late light.

I also just downloaded a Tide App - which will tell you all the high and low water times and heights, again for any world location.  Another little beauty for knowing when to plan trips and when to be in location for those water bird trips.

The same goes for World weather too.

The Maps function is brilliant as it will locate you directly on the satellite map/aerial image from Google Maps.

My final recent addition is a compass which works well as a Silva compass.

Now these are all well and good, but, and you knew there was a big but coming didn't you  :-), they are only as good as your battery life and in some case the ability to get 3G signal.  Now I have looked at some of the places I have been to, and are planning to go to this year, on the network availability maps and 3G isn't going to be a lot of good to me.  So I won't quite be throwing away my plastic sun compass yet, but I know I can easily write down the numbers before the trip of the key bits of data I need to know without having to spend out money on tide tables etc.  So as long as you use it to prepare ahead of tripswhen you have signal then I think these will be great additions, all is the size of a small phone.  And if you are operating in areas with great signal then your life might just be easier.



  1. Martin

    Smart idea for bringing this widely located info together in one place. Just read the overview and am impressed by the potential to "overlay" sunrise / sunset "effects" on your chosen location. Killer app if you can do this "off-line" for planning/forecasting ahead.

    Martin, do you find/expect this to save you time and expense from being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or even assisting in you going somewhere else or on a different day. Also, pls clarify - do you have this on your phone as well as notebook, or notebook only?

    Good example of useful converging technology.
    Kind Rgds

  2. Hi Julian,

    I expect it will be convenience and time rather than money, unless you make the mistake of going to a location, when good planning would prevent it.

    For me, it is just knowing and being certain of weather, tides, sunrise, sunset etc. particularly if you are in locations that are new and unfamiliar.

    For example, if you wanted to take some landscape images of certain features and locations, it really does help to know when and where the sun will rise.

    it may be that you want it to come up in a certain location. Now unless you are familiar with the area, then you may end up going at completely the wrong time of the year, so it will help longer term planning, as well as the more immediate.

    Now you can do all this with a plastic sun compass, although they are usually only valid for one location and then generically applied.

    Tide tables are always as must if you are shooting sea birds such as waders, and useful for when I have been shooting Otters in Scotland, as it is best to work on a rising tide 2 hours before high water.

    So as and when I use these in more detailed applications, I will feedback.

    The Photographers Ephemeris is on my Netbook, all the other Apps are phone based


  3. Thanks, Martin for explaining more fully. Certainly useful app, and thanks for pointing it out. Look forward to see how you get on in due course. Myself, I could see its use maximising my chances for some evening coastal images - hopefully it will see some use when the evenings draw out - shouldn't be too long now! Thanks again.

    Kind regards