My December 2014 Photo of the Month is Heartbreak and Hope, a photograph taken in Joshua Tree National Park at the Heartbreak Rock formation. Continue reading
Skyfire – A Review of the App
As a user of the app, I thought I would include a few notes about the app and what value it brings to the landscape photographer.
Weather is complicated, and I am often faced with making value judgments on the locations to choose for sunrises and sunsets. Some I have accurately selected, but what sticks with me are the times I got it wrong.
Living in the San Diego area, the majority of the days are sunny, which do not necessarily make for the most engaging photographs. The right type of clouds entering or leaving the area are rare. In addition, for a good portion of the year, the onshore flow produces a marine layer that are usually death for the light needed in the morning and evening. Sometimes I head to the coast for what I think will be a great image, only to find the marine is just a couple miles inland and ready to kill the light.
Skyfire is the first app to attempt the incredible challenge of using weather predictions to forecast the right type of light. The interface is simple. With a login, you are taken to the member interface. The first you will see is the prediction for the nearest sunrise or sunset. A Google Map and a static map are included. Visually, it works as a heat map. Dark blues are complete cloud cover with little light, light blues are clear skies with no clouds, and the colors warm from there until you may have light and dark reds when the landscape is really going to light up.
The first question everyone asks is: Is it accurate? My experience has been that the app has been extremely accurate. I have spoken to Matt the few times the app was off, and most of the time, it ended up being an inaccurate weather forecast. We know what they say about predicting the weather.
There have been a couple occasions recently that not only did the app give me a good indication that I should be out shooting at the right time, but gave me good insight into where in the area I should go. For an app that is attempting to forecast light in the entire United States, this is excellent.
So, would I recommend this app? If you are a landscape photographer, who wants the best images at the far margins of every day, before sunrise and after sunset, then I highly recommend this app. For $25.00 a year, you will gain insight that will help you pick the right days and the best areas to photograph. Just one image that you wouldn’t have shot without the app makes the price easily worth it.
The app is currently html-based with plans to eventually be available on iOs and Android. Visit Skyfire at www.skyfireapp.com.
My November 2014 Photo of the Month is Wildwood, a photograph made on Old Highway 80 near Descanso. Continue reading
The Photographer’s Guide To Joshua Tree National Park will be coming out next month! It is a delight to be able to create a Joshua Tree Photo Guide for the public to use. On behalf of my co-author, Jeremy Long, I am very excited for the first edition release. The Guide will be available in multiple formats, Ibooks, Kindle, Nook, and a PDF edition. All should be readable on the device of your choice. Continue reading
I wanted to take a moment and recommend you subscribe to my friend’s website at Mandatory Tech. The website is available at www.mandatory-tech.com. My friend’s name is William Murphy and he covers technology, gadgets, and various issues in the industry.
His latest post concerns Smart Automation at home, a field that is going to become even more important in the future as the Internet of Things becomes a reality. This technology is going to be about a lot more than digital thermostats. Imagine having total control over your home’s energy usage, even when you are not at home. As energy remains the most important issue facing a 21st century world, efficiently using the energy you have is paramount.
He posts new updates in the fast-changing smartphone industry as well, and his annual buyer’s guides are extremely popular.
The pace of change in technology continues unabated, and this is another source for you to keep up! I am not as much of a gadget guy as he is, so if you want to read about the things that matter to early adopters, mandatory-tech is a site for you to follow regularly.
When you have a moment, take a look and let him know what you think about his site!
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The Hundred Billion Dollar Boondoggle
Right now, Californians are well on their way to making a huge mistake. The Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed rail line indeeds sounds great on paper. The idea that in just a few hours, you can head from the South to the Bay Area with stops in the Central Valley, sounds appealing. Yet, time after time, history shows us that this expensive mass-transit project will not work.
The Big Dig:
Originally supposed to be a $5 billion dollar project and ended up over $20 billion dollars. If you think California has an accurate idea on the final costs of building this project, then I have some beachfront land to sell you in Bakersfield.
Will there be enough people using high speed rail to pay it’s own way, or will taxpayers indefinitely be subsidizing it similar to Amtrak? Will the rates be affordable enough to justify a train ride and eliminating one vehicle on the road?
Mass Transit Only Works In Certain Areas:
Only in regions where travel by car is irrefutably difficult does mass transit truly work. Communities like New York and Chicago are examples where it has worked. But larger regions with more urban sprawl such as Southern California have made mass transit practical for only a small subset of the driving population.
High Speed Rail is not without environmental concerns, including one of the canyons they wish to build to bypass the freeway in the Bay Area.
My September 2014 Photo of the Month is Washington Park Sunset, an image made near the City of Anacortes, North of Seattle. Continue reading
My August 2014 Photo of the Month is Birthday Storm, a photograph made near Oceanside Pier north of San Diego. Continue reading
My July 2014 Photo of the Month is Desert Monsoon, a photograph made in the Cholla Garden of Joshua Tree National Park during a monsoonal lightning storm. Continue reading