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How My iPhone Saves My Time-lapse Shoots

I have an app for my iPhone and iPad that saves my bacon time after time.
I pressent to you, the essential and indispensible Sun Seeker: 3D Augmented Reality Viewer By ozPDA
You see, I often find it difficult to know exactly where the sun is going to be when shooting time-lapse.  When will it rise and even more importantly… WHERE!?!


This app does several things that let you know a lot of detail about the sun and its position.
1. You can use the GPS and magnetometer to find your location and determine sun data based on your position.
2. You can see a compass view that shows solar position, angle, and elevation for both day & night.
3. A map shows you elevation information for each hour in the day.
4. You can see details about sunrise, sunset, dusk, and twilight
5. You can compensate for time shift and enter a future date to use the app while scouting but see into the future
But the COOLEST feature is by far is the 3D Augmented reality view.  You can open the camera on your iPhone or iPad and actually see the horizon with an interactive display.  You’ll see a helpful arrow to shot you where the sun is (even if its hidden).  You also get a rich overlay which shows you where the sun is moving with times called out.  This makes it much easier to frame your shots for time-lapse as well as now where and when the sun will rise or set.
The App sells for $5.99, but is an absolute steal. This hands down makes my time-lapse shooting better as I know how to frame my shots as well as when I need to be in position.  Check out the app hereto buy or read more reviews. It is currently available for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, an iPad.

How to Shoot Panoramic Photos on an iPhone

The need for panoramic photos is on the rise, so much in fact that even phones are getting in on the action. Whether it’s real-estate tours or just wider snapshots to capture the memories, panos are seeing much more play.

If you search the term pano in the App Store, you’ll get many hits… but the first result is often the best.

One of my favorite iPhone apps is simply called Pano.  Made by Debacle Software ( it is both easy and elegant.

Simply fire up the app and take your first picture. The user interface is very simple and easy to understand.

(Please note… taking screenshots on an iPhone involves ninja thumb-work of pushing all the physical buttons at once.  Hence a little shake in the “demo” photos).

Next the application shows you a sliver of the previous image as a ghosted overlay.  This helps you align the image and take the next photo. If you get interrupted by a phone call or bad button push, you can relaunch the app and resume shooting from where you left.

Keep panning and snapping until you have all of the photos you want. You can take up to 360˚ photos with sixteen source images.

Click the check mark button when done and choose merge.

Pano quickly merges the photo.  In my own tests I found it very good at dealing with motion as well as exposure tone.  The app can fix color variations and makes a believable merge.

Yes…  it’s a lame test shot…  but it has lots of clutter, shadows, and even a moving subject.  

Here’s a tough shot where the distance to subject was simply across the table.  The merge point was down the middle of the subject (3 exposures were used).  The blend is quite good even for a lowlight shot.

You probably won’t go printing on canvas, but they make great images for web and multimedia uses.  The final images produced are up to 6800×800 pixels.

Even has built in tips to get better results.

The app is currently on sale in the iTunes app store for $1.99

This post sponsored by Adorama – More than a camera store

Pro HDR for iPhone and iPod Touch

Why have HDR on an iPhone? Because you can! Sometimes an iPhone is the only camera I have on me, and I want the ability to go a little deeper. I see HDR as a great tool that can help get the shot in tough conditions. Sure, the iPhone has a built-in HDR ability that works well, but its just not tweakable. What’s really nice is the ability to actual take control and develop an image so you can handle tough situations like backlight or lowlight.

Enter Pro HDR from EyeApps LLC. At $1.99 in the App Store, it’s a steal. The app is very full-featured and gives the discerning photographer more control when on the go.

Here’s how it works.

1. Launch the Application. Tap the Auto HDR button. You can go into manual mode if you want to pick your shadows and highlights.

2. Compose the shot then tap the screen. The app then analyzes the scene and find the lightest and darkest point.

3. Tap the Screen Again and hold still (and your subject too). This is not an app for action shots.

4. The app aligns the images and presents you with an option to tone the images.

5. Adjust the sliders to taste. You can also tap the thumbnail to view the image full-screen.

6. Click Save to store a full resolution image.

Be sure to visit the Settings button on the launch screen where you can choose to save high-quality or optimized images, as well as the original shots.

Here’s another example of shooting in real low-light (yes, its an ugly shot… but it shows the capacity nicely).

Here’s one more taken just after sunrise and a long redeye from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.

You can find out more about the application here or pick it up at the App Store.


This post sponsored by Peachpit Press