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Recommended Apps: “TideTrac”

"TideTrac" App for iPhone and iPadApp: TideTrac
Price: On sale for $0.99, normally $2.99 (buy)

I shoot at the beach a lot. Orange County is more known for it's cookie-cutter tract housing and shopping centers than its natural scenery. It's not exactly Yosemite around here... But the beaches do offer some great photographic opportunities. With unobstructed views out to the Pacific and beautiful rock formations, all you need is a good sunset and you're ready for some primo landscapes.

But the beaches look drastically different from high tide to low tide. Those rock formations and tide pools may be un-photographable at certain times due to high tides. Some beaches aren't even accessible depending on the level of the water.

So when photographing beaches, it's invaluable to know the tide level. This information helps you plan when to go, what beach to visit, and where to plant your tripod. Tide charts can be found online, but are sometimes like sorting through a complicated spreadsheet. But luckily there are some great smartphone apps for checking the tides.

I've used a couple different apps over the course of a few years and the best one I've found yet is TideTrac by Rivolu Pte Ltd. It shows all the valuable information in one easy-to-read display. At one glance, you can view the high and low tides for the day superimposed over a traditional tide graph. You can even slide the vertical red line around to see what the tide will be at any given time. Move days, weeks, or months into the future, and then reset to present time with one click.

"TideTrac" App for iPhone

My favorite feature about this app is that sunrise, sunset, moonrise, and moonset times are overlaid on the tide graph with clear delineations for determining how the tide levels coincide with sunrise and sunset. This information is absolutely invaluable for the landscape photographer. With one quick look, I can see if my desired low tide will match up with the perfect light.

And with a swipe to the left, you'll pull up an illustrated list of the important times for the day - sunrise, sunset, high tide, low tide, etc. Swipe to the right for a quick look at the tide levels over the next 4 days. You can also see a map of the tide stations nearby to make sure you're getting the right data from the right area.

"TideTrac" App for iPhone

Overall, TideTrac is a fantastic app. It has all the information you need without any of the clutter. I highly recommend it. Plus, come on...it's only $0.99. Click here to purchase for iPhone.

Recommended Apps: “Constitution”

First off, let me start by wishing all of my American readers a 

Happy Independence Day!

Never forget that this day is to celebrate the birth of our great nation
and the courageous efforts of our forefathers to form this land.
Be grateful for all the countless Americans who have fought to protect it. 

"Constitution" App for iPhone and iPadApp: Constitution
Price: Free (download)

I normally just stick to photography matters here on my blog, but I thought I'd break the mold a bit in honor of this holiday.

Regardless of your political affiliation, your heritage, your religion, or your personal beliefs, I believe it is every American's duty and right to read the Constitution of the United States. At the very least, every American should read the Bill of Rights. The "ye olde" style of writing can make it a bit of a difficult read, but it's worth the effort to read, first hand, the most important document in the United States.

If you're anything like me, you may find it hard to fit in a designated "sit down and read the Constitution" time amongst your busy schedule. But I find that I'm more likely to get through a book or article if it just happens to be in front of me when I'm sitting down to eat or killing some time in a dental office waiting room.

This is where the app simply titled "Constitution" saves the day. It's a free app for the iPhone and iPad that contains the entire Constitution broken down by Articles and Amendments. It even has brief bios of all the signers and an interesting diagram that labels the entire cast of characters in the famous painting "Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States" by Howard Chandler Christy.

"Constitution" App for iPhone and iPad"Constitution" App for iPhone and iPad
With the Constitution in your pocket anywhere you go, you can start making your way through it anytime you need to kill a few minutes. This isn't a real flashy app and it doesn't have a ton of cool features, but it's free and it contains the Constitution. What more do you need?

So get to downloadin' and then get to readin'. See what makes this country so great. And have a happy 4th.

Recommended Apps: “Sol”

I thought I'd start a new series of blog posts showcasing my favorite smartphone/tablet apps beneficial to photographers. These apps will revolve primarily around the iOS iPhone and iPad platform but they may also be available for Android. Enjoy...

"Sol" App for iPhone and iPadApp: Sol
Price: $0.99 (buy)

For outdoor photographers, knowing the time of sunrise and sunset is vital for timing your shots. That's where "Sol" comes in.

"Sol" is a simple, clean app that shows the times of dawn, sunrise, sunset and dusk for virtually anywhere on Earth. Along with the exact times of these events, "Sol" also visually represents these times on a clock-like illustration. The hand sweeps around the clock as the day progresses with gray areas indicating daylight, light blue areas indicating dawn/dusk, and a dark blue area indicating nighttime.

"Sol" App for iPhone and iPad

It's really great having the visual representation of sunrise, sunset, and especially, the duration of dawn/dusk. This helps in quickly estimating how much time you have before the light is gone and also in gauging how quickly your daylight is fading.

The interface for adding new locations is easy and convenient. Just type in a city, then select a state or country, and click "Search". Your list of saved cities is easy to edit and scrolling from one city to the next is a simple swipe left or right. My only request here would be the ability to reorder my saved cities.

"Sol" App for iPhone and iPad

At $0.99, the price can't be beat. There are a lot of sunrise/sunset time apps out there, but the simplicity of this app and the clean interface blows the rest out of the water. When I'm out shooting, I don't need a cluttered interface to get through and I don't need any extraneous information like the azimuth or angle. "Sol" is quick, clear and convenient. I highly recommend it.