I’ve never been a nature photographer. I shoot cityscapes from time to time, maybe a nice sunset, but by and large I can safely say that I’m a people photographer. The thing is, I like nature. I like pristine mountain views, and rushing rivers, I’ve just never been able to make a good frame of any of them. I’ll take the credit for the failure. It’s not the camera, not the location, not the subject; it’s definitely the photographer. Being not so good at nature photographs, I take any help I can get, be it a friendly word of advice (as in “stick to people”), or a piece of technology that gives me a slightly better chance at coming away with something worth keeping. The iFotoGuide for the iPhone is one of those pieces of technology. Packed into this one little App is everything you need to know about the location you are about to shoot, right down to the best place to grab some food after the light gets bad.
Location, Location, Location
When I say this “one” little App, what I actually mean is these three little Apps. You see, for each of the three locations available (more to come soon according to the developer) there are separate Apps. Currently you have your choice of Arches National Park, Yosemite Valley, and the one that I currently have, The Grand Canyon. The developer is hard at work on multiple other locations for 2011. You can view the coming locations, as well as suggest a location of your own at their website here (http://ifotoguide.com/?page_id=64) .
For a photographer, when it’s time to plan a trip to a picturesque destination there are many, many different things to consider outside of what one would normally think of when planning a regular vacation. The first thing to consider is the location. “The Grand Canyon” is not the location, it is the destination; the location is more defined than that. Yaki Point inside of the Grand Canyon is a location. Whether this is your first time, or you’ve visited hundreds of times, you probably don’t know all of the locations. This App can help. Before iFotoGuide it was up to the photographer to research great locations to shoot, the rules of the area, access points, best times to shoot, and so on. While it’s still probably a good idea to do some research on your own, iFotoGuide gets you going in the right direction. This App is loaded with great locations, as well as sample images from each spot. These locations are organized into the sub categories Sunrise Locations, Sunset Locations, and All Day locations. This is especially useful when planning your day inside of a massive area like the Grand Canyon. Not content with stopping there, clicking on the location shows not only a beautiful sample image, but also gives info about that specific spot including how to get there, photo advice for that particular location, and need to know information. Next to the INFO tab inside of the sample image is a map of the area including lodging, food, and camping. The map is static meaning it can’t be clicked on or used to pick a spot for your GPS to guide you to, but it’s still clear and precise none the less. For an interactive map, you have to back out two screens to the main menu where a “live” map has its own tab.
Full of features
This App has more than just pretty pictures and a map. On the main page you get Area Information, Park Information, Interactive Map, of course Photo Locations, a Photo Gallery, Sunrise/Sunset times, and an Additional Resources tab. Most of those tabs have sub menus including things like airport, transportation, lodging, shopping, campgrounds, restaurant, and weather information. Also included is a list of important phone numbers.
One especially interesting menu was Park Information. Under this tab you can find some great general info about the park, what wildlife you are likely to encounter (this might be helpful when choosing lenses to take), wildflowers, specifics on Day Hikes and Backpacking, available webcams, the current conditions, and most importantly Safety Concerns. You can never be to safe, especially when visiting an unfamiliar place.
A nice touch
An included tab that I was surprised by was Partner Discounts. Not only do you get a great App for the price, but you also get 20% off of Artistic Photo Canvas, and 15% off of Nik Software. I can’t say enough about the latter of the two. I thoroughly enjoy and use their Photoshop plugins on daily basis.
No better way to plan
If you’re going to one of the three available locations, I can’t think of a better way to plan. They have included everything that you could want, or need for a photo trip to these locations in one compact, easy to use App. Most likely your spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars to take the trip, make sure you get the most out of it by downloading iFotoGuide.