Am I the only one that finds some of the most popular apps used for landscape photography a bit overwhelming? Don’t get me wrong: these apps are tremendously powerful tools and I own many of them, but I find that I rarely use them anymore. I prefer apps that have a simple user interface that enables me to obtain the details I’m looking for quickly and without having to dig through mountains of other information.
1. Clear Outside
Besides the location itself, weather, specifically cloud cover is the most important element for me. Being able to accurately predict fog and mist or high clouds versus low clouds is wildly beneficial and Clear Outside is a great app to help you do just that. Having the ability to identify when high clouds are forecasted is a huge help in determining the likelihood of a long burning and colorful sunrise or sunset.
This is a great app to see the layers of cloud cover in motion and best of all it enables you to segment out high, medium and low clouds. It’s a tremendous benefit to see how the predicted clouds are expected to move in and out of a specific location. MeteoEarth in conjunction with Clear Outside is an immensely powerful combination for predicting if the cloud cover will be conducive for an outstanding sunrise or sunset.
This is my favorite app of the lot due to its clean and superbly simple user interface. I prefer this app because within a matter of seconds I can determine exactly when and where the sun or moon will rise and set in any location in the world during any day of the year. No frills with this app just the pertinent information you need that can be easily accessed within seconds.
This is one of the more popular weather apps available and rightfully so. Great user experience and quite straightforward to use. I find the hourly forecast to be a huge benefit and pretty reliable – it also has a slick lightning locator feature as well. This is great if you’re into storm chasing and looking to capture those intense and dramatic stormy skies.
5. Google Earth
One of the most powerful apps available and one that I never go on-location without first consulting. I prefer to shoot sunrise over sunset and find that most of the time I’m in complete darkness when composing my images and Google Earth helps me to easily research the surrounding area of a location before I ever even arrive.
I’ve been using these apps for quite a while now and find myself relying on them more and more. They’ve become a necessary part of my photography workflow and are worth their weight in gold – especially since most of them are FREE!
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About the author: Mark Denney is a landscape photographer based in North Carolina. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.