500 Rule Calculator App – Download on the App Store

My second photography app, 500 Rule Calculator, is now available. To download, click this link.

I haven’t yet gotten too far into really complicated photography projects, but one thing I’ve wanted to try is star trail photography and also shooting the Milky Way. To do this, knowing how to calculate exposure times using the 500 Rule is essential, because you either want star trails in your shot, or be able to keep the stars sharp, with no trails.

But it can be a pain to do calculations, especially when it’s cold and dark, and you’re worried about your gear and getting the shot. It’s easy to make mistakes in the calculations, even if the 500 Rule formula isn’t too hard. But you have to remember it, and also how to take into account crop sensor factor (and what the factor is!) if you’re not shooting full frame.

500 Rule Calculator is the result.

 

This app is useful for photographers wanting to know what exposure time to set for star photography (or astrophotography) using the 500 Rule formula.

The app also takes into account whether or not the user is shooting full frame, general APS-C (1.5 crop factor), or Canon APS-C (1.6 crop factor), and standard focal lengths. The 500 Rule Calculator gives the exposure time in seconds.

The calculator built into the app is easy to use and has 2 input factors needed from the user – focal length and crop factor.

only 2 inputs needed – focal length & crop factor

Then if you’d like, switch to the timer screen and set the calculated time if you’d like to countdown, or you can use the timer screen if setting really long exposures. This timer counts down in seconds from 900 seconds (15 minutes), or any time between 0 and 15 minutes.

If you’ve ever been out taking photographs and set a long exposure, and wondered how much time you have left until the exposure will end, this is for you.

For example, if you’ve setup your camera and tripod and figured the correct shutter speed, but need to compensate for increased shutter speed due to Neutral Density filters or other changes, you may have struggled to keep track of the exact time before hitting the shutter release or remote button again. Or you may be standing in the dark, freezing, and wondering what exact exposure time to set, and once it’s set, how much time is remaining.

swipe to set the timer, then hit the green button to run.

This app does the calculation for you, and counts down based on the time you select. Or you can just use the 500 Rule calculator function.

 

Download on the App Store by going to iTunes and searching for 500 Rule Calculator, or click the links on this page. Hopefully one day I’ll develop a version to run on Android devices.

500 Rule Calculator

If you get it, please let me know what you think, and send suggestions for other apps!

 

Fun apps

Not sure about you, but we do a countdown to exciting family trips. It’s fun to countdown the days to starting a vacation or going somewhere fun.

As much fun as it is, sometimes I lose track of countdown details and have to start over. I thought I’d do a couple of screen recordings of apps I’ve done (not submitted to Apple) for fun countdowns.

One is the countdown to closing at the Universe of Energy attraction at EPCOT. Yes, I know it’s closed, but wanted to show the neat “snowing logo” effect demonstrated by a guy named Mark Moeykens. The app has a nice Spaceship Earth background, and falling Universe of Energy icons.

Here’s a screenshot of the EPCOT Universe of Energy app:

EPCOT Energy 6 launchscreen

The other is a countdown to the 2018 Chicago Cubs regular season opener against the Marlins. The app has the Fly The W background (hopefully we’ll see a lot of W’s next year) and the 1984 Chicago Cubs logo as the “snowing logo”.

Cubs 1984 logo

 

Here are the YouTube links to both videos on my channel:

WDWeather & Trip Countdown App – Download on the App Store

My second app, WDWeather & Trip Countdown, is now available. The app does two things: it counts down the time in days, hours, minutes, and seconds to your trip to Walt Disney World, and also gives the extended weather forecast for the Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Just set your departure date and time, then hit start to get the countdown going. If you’re family is like ours, you’re asked many times how long until your trip starts. With WDWeather & Trip Countdown, you can give the countdown to your Walt Disney World trip any time you’d like. We always have fun counting down the days, and now, instead of having to keep a manual countdown, WDWeather & Trip Countdown does it for you.

Another cool feature is the timer background automatically switches between four watercolor images of the park icons:

  1. Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom
  2. Spaceship Earth in EPCOT
  3. Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios
  4. Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

It’s also useful to know the weather forecast, and in this case, WDWeather & Trip Countdown gives you the weather forecast for the next nine days. Most people think it’s only hot and humid at Walt Disney World, but it does get cold. And on some days the temperatures can change greatly during the day, or from one day to the next. WDWeather & Trip Countdown gives the day’s forecast high and low temperatures.

I put WDWeather & Trip Countdown together hoping to help you plan for any weather surprises, and also be able to pack any extra layers you’d need. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for rain and different temperature ranges when you go to Walt Disney World.

To download, click here.

iTunesArtwork@3x

 

This is the countdown set screen:

iPhone 8 plus countdown set screen

The Magic Kingdom countdown screen:

iPhone 8 plus MK countdown screen

The EPCOT countdown screen:

iPhone 8 plus EP countdown screen

The Hollywood Studios countdown screen:

iPhone 8 plus HS countdown screen

The Animal Kingdom countdown screen:

iPhone 8 plus AK countdown screen

Last, but not least, the weather forecast screen:

iPhone 8 plus weather screen

Download on the App Store by going to iTunes and searching for WDWeather & Trip Countdown, or click the links on this page. Hopefully one day I’ll develop a version to run on Android devices.

To download, click here.

If you get it, please let me know what you think, and send suggestions for other apps!

Shutter Timer & Shutter Speed Calculator App – Download on the App Store

It took a while! My first app, Shutter Timer and Shutter Speed Calculator, is now available. To download, click this link.

I don’t have that many posts up yet, but if you’ve followed this site, or looked at (most) of my Tweets, you can tell photography is something I’ve really started to enjoy. Experienced photographers seem to “know” many things, like converting f-stop differences into different shutter speeds. I don’t, and couldn’t find an app that did it for me. So I decided to make one.

 

 

Shutter Timer and Shutter Speed Calculator is the result.

Icon-App-83.5x83.5@2x

This app is useful for photographers wanting to know how much time is remaining while they’re capturing long exposure images. This timer counts down in seconds from 900 seconds (15 minutes), or any time between 0 and 15 minutes.

shutterTimer&Calculator7plus timer screen

The calculator built into the app calculates adjusted shutter speeds based on a benchmark shutter speed and user selected f-stop compensation, say for using Neutral Density filters.

shutterCalculatorscreen7plus

If you’ve ever been out taking photographs and set a long exposure, and wondered how much time you have left until the exposure will end, this is for you.

For example, if you’ve setup your camera and tripod and figured the correct shutter speed, but need to compensate for increased shutter speed due to Neutral Density filters or other changes, you may have struggled to perform the calculation. The formula isn’t the easiest to remember, and certainly not easy to do on a standard calculator. This app does it for you.

Download on the App Store by going to iTunes and searching for Shutter Timer and Shutter Speed Calculator, or click the links on this page. Hopefully one day I’ll develop a version to run on Android devices.

Shutter Timer & Shutter Speed Calculator

If you get it, please let me know what you think, and send suggestions for other apps!

 

Happy Labor Day

I know – it’s been a while. This summer has been interesting, to say the least. I thought once we got past June it would slow down a bit. Nope.

It’s been one thing after another, just as I’m sure you deal with. And now we’re back to school. This time last year we were dealing with a disaster here in our area, and now our fellow citizens are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. It’s going to be a long, difficult path to recovery, but I’m confident that most people can forget (for a little while) about the things that divide us and focus on helping people.

demolition site

No matter where you are, or what you’re focus is right now, that you can stop for a little while today and enjoy friends and family. There’s plenty of work waiting – hopefully it can wait until tomorrow.

Reconnect This Summer

Well, not much to report, other than I’ve tried my best to disconnect (one of the reasons not many posts lately) and focus on my family. Some days I’m more successful than others, but I’ve been trying to detach from work, my devices, and other distractions.

Our recent trip sure helped. We had some great family time, and I actually got to spend some time working on my photography skills. Win-win.

One thing I tried was some daytime long exposure photography (using a homemade 10 stop neutral density filter). It made for interesting post processing challenges, but other than color correction problems, I’m pretty happy. Pretty neat how the long exposure allowed the ghostlike effect. This was during the recent tropical storm, so we weren’t able to get in the water as much as we’d like, but the photography experiments made up for it.

beach ghosts

I hope you’re having a great summer, and if you have a hobby, you can share it with your family. Lots of things, like photography, sports, fishing – whatever, offer great opportunities for you to spend time with your family.

Happy Father’s Day!

I hope you’re all off to a great start to your Father’s Day. And whether it’s a necktie or fishing rod, or new putter, enjoy this day.

My kids know I love coffee, so they got me this. And it’s true. My favorite people are my family.

IMG_2966

At the end of the day, this is what I am, and the most important part of my identity. Being a husband and father is far and away the most important thing I’ll ever do.

I hope you all have a great Father’s Day today. Enjoy it. Then tomorrow let’s get back to working hard to being the best fathers we can.

What Are Your Treasures?

I’m trying hard to detach myself from stuff. Possessions, mental clutter, you name it. Yesterday my daughter wrote me a note that reinforces what I’m trying to do and what kind of Dad I’m trying to be.

note to me

Obviously, this is something I’ll never earn at work or be able to buy.

The sleepless nights taking care of sick kids, the long hours at work, giving up whatever you’d rather do, all worth it. Notes like this keep me going. It’s so easy to get worn down.

I hope you get things like this from your kids. I’ve been fortunate enough to get notes and drawings and little things from my kids over the years. And I cherish every one of them. I have a desk drawer full of these treasures, and have some all over my office.

I have to remind myself to look at these more often, and focus on what’s most important – being the best husband and dad I can be. It’s the most important vocation I’ll ever have.