Is there anything more important than the camera its self for photography? Sure the shutter remote, lenses, filters and every other piece of equipment in the camera bag are crucial parts for taking an image. But what about prior preparation? We know what they say about prior preparation and what it prevents!
There are times when you get your shot and it is merely a case of right time, right place. But I must admit I spend a hell of a lot of time planning shots, making lists of future locations, figuring out the best time to shoot etc.
Here are a list and of my favourite tools to plan and capture an image!
Google Maps / Weather
Satellite maps are the first port of call. This will give you a nice indication of what is in your scene and the surrounding areas. The terrain layer can give you pivotal information of the hills that you might be shooting and Google Streetview is my best friend when I am shooting cityscapes, especially when I am shooting in a new location.
The Hour by hour weather package Google offer is next to none! Sure there are many weather apps and sites but I must admit google gets it right! The thing I am looking at here is ‘Clear’ or ‘Partly Cloudy’ or extremely rare occurrence of the lightning bolt icon.
If you are like me, you need some form of certainty that you will get a nice looking sky if you are going to shoot a sunrise or sunset. Skippy is a fantastic tool that gives you a colour based indication of the percentage of cloud cover. The site even allows you to see low cloud, or high cloud. If you set the cloud setting to high and there is orange or red on the map, charge the batteries! I must note, I’ve used this site to plan Astro shoots and unfortunately, it has let me down a few times now!
If I’m planning an astro shoot, this is the first site I will look at. The UI is much nicer than Skippy Sky and I seem to have had a lot of success with this. Not only does it show cloud coverage, it will show wind speed & gusts, Thunderstorms, Snow Cover plus much more.
Sunsetwx is relatively new to me. They claim to have found the ‘model’ to forcast sunrises and sunset. I’ve got no idea what is in their ‘model’ but it just works! I’m really excited to see how this site develops over time. Fingers crossed the team develop a mobile app soon!
If you have thunderstorms on the forecast, keep a close eye on this site. You can track a storm, for free in real time. There are other weather sites available, they require a paid subscription.
Planit! For Photographers
This is without doubt, the most important tool I use. My absolute favourite genre of photography is astrophotography. Without this app I would honestly struggle! When I started off in photography, Photopils was not available on Android so I sought an alternative. That alternative is Planit!
I could sit here all day and ramble on about how amazing this really is, but I won’t! Just watch this video on how to plan your next milky way shot.
I believe a little bit of planning will improve your photography! Scouting locations and research is the key! Get out there, shoot something epic!
Do you have a favourite site or app I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!