Some More Planning Tips for Summer Travel

From our recent blogs you can tell that Efcubed has travel on the brain. Sarah and I are headed to the South West this summer and I am already planning the photographs I intend to shoot.  We are going to see some of the most scenic and iconic parts of the U.S, including the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.  We have sketched out a pretty leisurely route so we won’t have to spend all day in the car and should have plenty of time to sightsee.  I’m doing a lot of the planning for the trip on my iPad.   As a kid growing up, I can recall the excitement of getting the AAA TripTik before our multiple long cross-country moves.  As a AAA member, I was very pleased to see that they have converted the hard books into a very smart digital app set and that you can do quite detailed route planning along the way.  You can also download the area books onto your digital bookcase as well.  They have always provided good insights into the local places of interest that might not make it when you use other apps.  Additionally, the National Park Service has created specific .pdf documents and even cooperated on specialized applications for places like the Grand Canyon. For figuring out where to stay I have become a huge fan of Trip Advisor, they seem to provide a pretty objective set of reviews on places and provide links to compare the best possible rates.   Another travel app that I love is TripIT.  Once you set it up, it automatically puts all the reservations into one easy to manage location.  Airplanes, car rentals and all the hotel reservations in a easy to find calendar arrangement.  You can confirm your flights, download boarding passes and update/change reservations all without leaving the app.

This is not a travel app blog, it’s a photography blog… I know, I’m getting there.  There are some very useful apps to help you plan where, what and when to shoot.   Stuck on Earth shows you where other photographers have taken pictures in the places you are going.  There is a link to their blog and it is a gateway to ask questions and get recommendations.

Knowing where the light is going to be is critical for making photographs and not just snapping pictures.  I have a couple of apps I like that help me plan.  Magic hour shows you the great times before sunrise and just after sunset.  A newer app, called the Photographers Ephemeris provides an adjustable map with great visualization as well.  A weather app is also recommended. Lastly, hauling around all your manuals is a pain in the butt, but forgetting how to adjust or troubleshoot something is worse.  We talked about it a year ago, but Nikon has their Nikon Manual Viewer which allows you to take along .pdf versions of the manuals for all your equipment. 

We can’t wait to see all the photos you guys shoot this summer as well.   There might even be a contest….  Happy traveling.

iPad Mania

Roger and I have both fallen victim to the addiction sweeping the nation and now have iPads. They really are great tools and the display can really show off your portfolio.  It can also induce mind-numbing brain death if you have every photo you ever took and insist on showing them.  As a photographer, it is very important to self-edit.  With the ease of use in most cameras and the instant availability of the cameras in phones and in the iPad itself, there is the temptation to share way too much. There are an increasing number of really useful apps available to work with the pictures.  It is important to remember that the iPad is not nearly powerful enough to do serious photo editing, but Photoshop Express will let you perform basic adjustments and has some special effects features. 

Looking at other photographers’ work can help improve your own skills.  Both Flickr and 500Px have apps which let you browse and even upload.  For those not familiar with 500px, it is a site by photographers for photographers.  You can get it from the iTunes store here.

Flickr is more “Hey I got a camera for Xmas too”, even if there is a lot of really good stuff there.

There are lots more apps out there and we would love to hear what you are using.