Author Archive

Photography Apps – iOS

Most of us now have a smartphone in our pocket, we sometimes even use it to take photos. We can also use it to make our life a bit easier when using a dedicated camera. I’m going to take you through a few apps that I use on my iPhone when out taking photos, all are either free or low cost, and presented in no particular order.

1. Field Tools – Free

This app calculates depth of field and hyperfocal distance for you. Just choose your camera type, set up your lenses and you’re good to go.

IMG_0767 IMG_0765 IMG_0765

By setting aperture you will be shown the hyperfocal distance or by also entering the distance to your subject you can also see your near and far points of acceptable focus.

All in a good app but the need to set up lenses is a bit of a bind – you can get round this by setting up a single lens to cover your entire available focal length and aperture ranges. It’s been updated recently so makes use of the full screen with iPhone 5. Can also be used on iPad and iPod Touch.

2. Longtime Exposure Calculator – free

This is an invaluable app, especially if you use filters on a regular basis. I tend to use this alongside my 10 Stop ND filter.


Simply meter your scene without the filter in the way that you would normally. Then select the metered exposure time in the app and dial in the strength of filter and the app will then give you the exposure time to use with your filter.

Long Time Exposure Calculator


The calculator is quick and easy to use but doesn’t yet make full use of the iPhone 5 screen size, but does work on iPad and iPod Touch. The only other omission is that there isn’t a timer built into the app, which would come in handy for those times when an exposure longer than the camera’s timer (30s in most cases) is recommended. The stopwatch built in to iOS can be used if your camera doesn’t have a Bulb timer display.

3. Golden Lite – free

Golden Lite is the cut down, ad supported but free version of a more fully featured app Golden Hour, which at £3.99 falls foul of the very low cost qualifier for inclusion here.

This app allows you to see where and when the sun will set or rise for any location. To select a different date for planning trips in advance you’ll need the full version.

The app also details times for twilight, golden hour and astronomical darkness

Golden Lite Golden Lite Golden Lite Golden Lite

Orienting your device in landscape gives an easy to read access to the key data

Golden Lite


As you can see Golden Lite hasn’t yet been updated to take advantage of the iPhone 5’s larger screen but it will work on iPad and iPod Touch.

4. Sunrise Photography Compass – £0.69

Another app that shows where the sun will set and rise. This one does let you change the date but unfortunately only gives the data for your current location. On the plus side the app presents weather conditions so you can make a decision whether to return later for sunset. The app also has a grey card (exposure) and white card (white balance) and a torch function – handy when out in the dark.

Sunrise Photography Compass Sunrise Photography Compass Sunrise Photography Compass Sunrise Photography Compass


No update for iPhone 5 yet, but works on iPod Touch and iPad.


If you are aware of any other apps that assist your photography then let me know and I’ll review them here.

I’ll do Android apps shortly.

Electric Glen

14/2/2013 – 17/2/3013 Rouken Glen Park, Giffnock


A chance to catch a spectacular light show in a beautiful setting.

This event is now sold out – details at


A selection of shots from this event

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Tilt Shift – Faking It

Guest Artilce – by Smiler

There are a few ways of getting that Tilt-Shift look. This is the way I do.

Here’s how the original image looks:


1. Usually a photo from a higher vantage point works best (photos from eye level or lower can also work but i guess it
depends on the subject you photograph)

2. Once you’ve opened the photo in Photoshop click on “quick mask mode” (‘Q’)

3. Click on the gradient tool. Make sure you use the horizontal gradient.

4. Now draw a line up wards to mark the area you want in focus this may take a bit of trial and error to get a good result. You’ll now have a red band across your image like this,

5. Click on “Edit in standard mode” (‘Q’)
The red band will disappear and you`ll now have “marching ants” round your image.

6. Next click Filter>Blur>Lens blur.
Use the following settings. You should adjust the Radius to get the most pleasing result.

When you happy with what you’ve got hit OK.

7. To give it a more model painted feel hit “Ctrl+u” and boost the saturation to what ever works well with your image
and that’s you done really.

The final image,

Model House 2 by Mister Smiler, on Flickr

As you can see I’ve given mine a wee crop and added my border and signature just to tidy it up.

Harris Shutter Effect

Harris Effect Tutorial:

1. Select 3 images, ideally taken from exactly the same position and open them in Photoshop



2. In the 1st image select the Channels palette and then select one of the channels. It doesn’t matter which channel at this point as you’ll probably try it with different combinations to get a different look Select and Copy the channel (ctrl +A then Ctrl +C)


3. Create a new file, use preset clipboard so the file is the same size as the photos your working from and make sure the mode is RGB color (Image -> Mode -> RGB color) Select the Channels palette, highlight the same channel as you copied from the original image (If you chose Red previously choose Red again here) and paste the channel (ctrl+V)

4. Now go to the next image of the 3 you initially loaded and select the channels palette. This time select one of the other channels. I picked Green and copy the channel (Ctrl+A then Ctrl+C) Go to your destination file and paste the channel into the appropriate channel as above


5. Repeat for the third image. Once the third channel has been copied and pasted view all 3 channels together by clicking on RGB in the channels palette. If the results aren’t quite what you expected try changing which channels you choose from each of the images until you get a more pleasing effect

Now all that’s left to do is to adjust the levels and saturation to achieve your final image.