Back to 4 sisters mountain area in Sichuan China, I was there climbing mountain last year. This was a 14km trek into changping valley and we camped in Muluozi area, a flat grass grand. In December, it was very cold and windy about -10C. the mountain at back is a technical 5000+ mountain called camel peak.

PhotoPills - The Best Photography Planning App

Discover the best app for planning your landscape and astrophotography shoots - PhotoPills. Maximize your shooting time and capture stunning images.

PhotoPills - The Best Photography Planning App

Discover the best app for planning your landscape and astrophotography shoots - PhotoPills. Maximize your shooting time and capture stunning images.

Smartphones have become an invaluable tool for photographers, offering a wide range of helpful apps and features. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the right apps that fit your needs as a photographer. However, there is one app that stands out from the rest when it comes to planning landscape and astrophotography shoots - PhotoPills.

As an experienced landscape photographer, PhotoPills has become an essential app in my toolkit. Its robust set of planning features takes the guesswork out of preparing for shoots and ensures I get the perfect shot every time.

One of my favorite aspects of PhotoPills is the ability to plan shots around things like the Moon, the Milky Way, and the Sun's positioning. For example, if I'm planning to photograph the total solar eclipse coming up on April 8, 2024, which will be visible across parts of Mexico, the central United States, and eastern Canada. With PhotoPills, I can see exactly how the eclipse will align with the terrain I'll be shooting from. The app's augmented reality feature lets me preview my composition to have full confidence in my plan well ahead of this once-in-a-lifetime event.

The app also accounts for elevation, so I know exactly how the sky will look from any specific location. This makes it easy to plan shoots from new locations when I'm traveling or scouting new spots. I can determine ahead of time if the perspective and composition will work the way I envision.

The way I use the app is to calculate the exposure time for my long exposure shots based on the ND filter that I am using. Once I do my test shot, it calculates the exact amount of time I need to keep my shutter open.

No matter what type of landscape or night photography you do, PhotoPills is an invaluable planning resource. I highly recommend landscape and astro photographers download this app and take advantage of its robust features for preparing your upcoming shoots. With the ability to visualize shots before you even arrive at your destination, you can maximize your limited shooting time and come away with stunning images.

Key features of PhotoPills include:

  • Augmented reality (AR) views: Use AR to see the sun, moon, and stars in real time, and visualize how they will appear in your photos.

  • Sun and moon ephemeris: Get detailed information about the sun and moon's position, including sunrise and sunset times, moonrise and moonset times, and lunar phase.

  • Milky Way planner: Plan your Milky Way shoots with the help of a detailed planner that shows you when and where the Milky Way will be visible.

  • Star trails planner: Plan your star trail shoots with the help of a planner that shows you the best times and locations for capturing star trails.

  • Exposure calculator: Calculate the correct exposure for your photos based on your camera settings, ISO, and aperture.

  • Depth of field calculator: Calculate the depth of field for your photos based on your camera settings, lens, and subject distance.

  • Time-lapse calculator: Calculate the settings for your time-lapse sequences based on the desired length of the sequence and the time interval between frames.

  • Location scouting: Scout potential photo locations using the app's map and POI (point of interest) features.

  • Tide tables: Plan your coastal photography shoots with the help of the app's tide tables.

Give PhotoPills a try, and you'll quickly see why it's become my go-to app for planning my landscape and long-exposure photography adventures. You can download it on your app store. For more info -