OP – The Blog

May 19th, 2011

Great Tool for Nature Photographers

Posted By Rob Sheppard

I have had an iPod Touch almost since it came out, and this year, I got the newest version with a camera. I don’t have an iPhone because we are with Verizon and the iPhone was not available with that company until this year. Maybe when our contracts for our present phones run out?

Anyway, iPod Touch or iPhone, I think these are great tools for the photographer. I use mine a lot and am using the new one with the camera even more. Lots of photographers are using them now, but I know that many nature photographers think what they are doing is a bit gimmicky. While that can be true, I think these little devices are great tools. Here are some ways I find them helpful for nature photography:

1. Weather. The weather app that comes with the phone is invaluable. There are other apps available, but the weather app is simple and direct.

2. Sunrise and sunset times. I have the Sunrise & Sunset app and this is one I constantly refer to. The Golden Hour app is an interesting one, but less usable for me.

3. Photo fun. I don’t consider the iPod Touch (or iPhone) particularly good cameras, but they are fun to use because you always have them. I like using the camera to grab something quickly when I don’t have my other cameras with me. I also like using TrueHDR to create an HDR on the spot and see what it looks like. I have also started using You Gotta See This from Boinx software. I have to tell you more because “You gotta see this” (the photo above is from this program). You simply move your camera over a scene while it records video — wide scenes are great for this. Then the program creates a wonderful mosaic of the scene reminiscent of David Hockney’s work. It is not a panoramic program — you can see the mosaic. Yet, that is exactly what gives the program a unique appeal.

4. Connecting with my wife back home. I can use Skype to have a video phone connection when I am traveling.

5. Recording sound. Sometimes there are amazing sounds around you (like a chorus of spring peepers). I have a small microphone from TouchMic.com that works great with my iPod Touch. I use the FiRe recording app for recording sound.

6. Tides. Living near the ocean, I find it very helpful to be able to quickly check when tides are high and low. I use TideGraph.

7. Portable guides. It can be a pain lugging around a lot of field guides. I have found iBird Pro great for birds, Audubon Wildflowers good for flowers, and Audubon Ultimate California Nature Guide good for California nature. I just got LeafSnap, recommended by my friend, Juan Pons. LeafSnap helps you recognize trees by using software recognition capabilities on a photo of a leaf.

8. Remembering passwords. This is so important. I can’t remember all the logins and passwords, so I use mSecure. This is very helpful when I am traveling.

9. Podcasts and audio books. When I am driving across the country, I love to listen to podcasts and audio books, both easy to do with the iPod Touch or iPhone. I particularly enjoy Bob Edwards and his interviews, as well as Krista Tippett and her show, On Being.

10. Timelapse. There is an app actually called Timelapse that I find is wonderful as I do more and more timelapse photography. It helps you choose a frame rate, clip length, frames per interval, and so forth, based on how long an event (such as a sunrise) will take.

If you don’t have an iPod Touch or iPhone, check one out. I think it offers a great resource for nature photographers.

 

Please leave a comment

  1. Scott Fillmer Says:

    I have found over the years that my iPhone has become a better tool as time goes by, especially as a camera. I too shunned the puny 5mp camera but I came to find all kinds of great uses for it. You still have to use good photographic techniques to get good shots but it’s hard to put my DSLR in my back pocket.

    I couldn’t even imagine having the apps I now have on my phone 5-10 years ago. So much information I would be looking for out in the field is now instantly delivered on a device smaller than most everything else I carry in my camera bag.

  2. Tom Barnwell Says:

    Jack Dykinga turned me on to The Photogpapher’s Ephemeris. Sunrise and sunset times and directions overlain on a Google map. Available for iPad and iPhone, it’s a must-have!!!!

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