PhotoPills is one of theose rare pieces of software – available for iOS and Android – that anyone interested in landscape, sunset, sunrise, timelapse or astro photography / videography should have.
As I have written over the last few weeks I am investigating (again) the fascinating world of astrophotography and videography. My MSM Star Tracker unit turned up last week and I am going through all its documentation and a myriad of online tutorials to come to grips with that.
A major issue is that to get those glorious shots you see of the Milky Way, star clusters and so on, you have to align the MSM and your camera to a polar location. In the Northern hemisphere they have the star Polaris, which as the name suggests, is directly (near as dammit anyway) at the North Pole, but here in the Southern Hemisphere it is not that simple.
Which leads me neatly on to an amazing app I have found that is not only a major bonus – nay necessity – for those star chasers among us, but will also be a huge boon for landscape, timelapse, sunset, sunrise and other photographers / videographers.
Available for both iOS and Android, PhotoPills is a glorious and elegant piece of software that lets you plan your shoot ahead of time.
For example, let’s say you are on the coast and there is a rocky outcrop offshore that has a tunnel running through it allowing you to see the horizon on the other side through the hole. Now on the west coast where I am, the sun sets over the sea, so theoretically it is possible to get a shot / video of that moment when the sun is visible through the “tunnel” as it sets in the Golden Hour of light at sunset.
With PhotoPills you can calculate exactly when this will happen and more importantly, where you need to be to get the perfect shot!
Using a combination of widgets and apps within the app, you can plan all sorts of shoots of the sun, moon, stars, galaxies, the Milky Way and more, calculate exposure times with various filters in differing light, work out optimum depth of field settings, calculate parameters for timelapse shots and much, much more.
My initial use was employing PhotoPills Augmented Reality system to overlay the star positions at any point in time to correctly calculate the south pole to align the MSM Star Tracker, and it was while doing this I discovered all these other major benefits.
PhotoPills costs around USD$10 and is available in the APP store or on Google Play.
For more information, go to www.photopills.com
Watch the video below for an example of PhotoPills in action.