Friday, August 8, 2014

A New App for Landscape, and Nighttime Photography PhotoPills

For those of you who like to photograph the nights sky and get excellent pictures of the Milky Way, I learned about a new app that is available for the iPhone and can be used on the iPad.  The app is called PhotoPills, which is available at the Apple App Store for $9.99.  Part of the app in some ways looks like The Photographer's Ephemeris, but has additional applications which help you plan a Milky Way shoot and with the Augmented Reality portion will show you exactly where the Milky Way will be so you can set up your camera to capture the scene the way you want.  There are many other features that you can read about at their website http://www.photopills.com/.

I purchased the app and decided the other evening, since the skies cleared after the storms, to go down to my favorite place for photographing the nights sky, Allens Pond Stone Barn Farm.  From my previous experience, I I knew where approximately the Milky Way would be.  But, utilizing my iPad, the 2D Milky Way module and the Nighttime Augmented Reality, I located exactly where the Milky Way would show up when it got dark.

I did have one major problem, a very bright waxing gibbous moon, which was in the sky at the exact place where the Milky Way should be.  I did not get any Milky Way pictures, but I did get the moon and stars in the location that the Milky Way should've been seen if the moon was not there.

Waxing gibbous moon in the clouds
The moon and stars, this is where the Milky Way should have been able to be seen


The night was an entirely a loss, I obtained some nice pictures of the moon in the clouds, which did leave, possibly did see the space station, passing by, and a picture of the Big Dipper and Polaris.

Big Dipper and Polaris
The reason I thought it may be the space station was this object in the sky moving fast, brightly shining and did not have any flashing lights which a plane would have.  I took a number of photos and stack them together to show what I had seen.  Since the some of the pictures represented a few minutes, the stars were starting to form trails.

Possible space station
So for the price, PhotoPills is a great investment to help you plan your photography and location setups.


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