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  • Writer's pictureC. K. August

Four Great Apps for Travel Photography

Several years ago, I witnessed the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire continental United States since 1918. Yes, it was cool. Magical. However, my attempts to photograph it with my nifty i-Phone resulted in washed out photos until I switched to an app called Snapseed, which produced the featured photo with very little input from me.

There are four apps installed on my iPhone, which I recommend for creative photography while traveling. All can be purchased for less than five dollars from an app store.


Snapseed is powerful editing as well as photographing app. Snapseed 2.17 is available for iOS and Android. It includes a remarkable new Face Pose tool that can modify the orientation of a face, actually tilting and panning the face in an alternate direction. Its Soft Glow feature is my favorite for instantly giving a photo a slightly dreamy look.


The perfectly named Hipstamatic app (for iPhone and Android) plays into a retro trend in photography in which photographers use cheap and technically obsolete analog cameras to create “vintage” photos. The New York Times photographer, Damon Winter, used it in 2010 to illustrate a prize winning front-page story. It is very hip indeed. Fun just to look at as well as use.


Camera+ (for iPhone and Android) is particularly loved by iPhone users for achieving state of the art photography. Constantly updated, it keeps up with new camera model features. Everybody loves it for 6X digital zoom close-up shots and a stabilizer that automatically takes the shot when your hand is most stable.

Vivid HDR

Vivid HDR is a highly regarded HDR camera app with a simple user interface. HDR stands for high dynamic range. It combines multiple exposures of the same image to create more vivid photographs. My iPhone comes with HDR as one of the built-in choices, but this app creates even more vivid photos.

There is plenty of time to experiment with these apps before the next solar eclipse in the USA—October 14, 2023. It will be annular solar eclipse not a total solar eclipse. In a total solar eclipse, the new Moon comes between the Sun and Earth and casts the darkest part of its shadow (called the umbra) on Earth changing day into night for a brief time. In an annular solar eclipse, the Moon blocks only a part of the Sun, leaving the Sun’s visible outer edges to form a ring-of-fire (called an annulus) around the Moon. The ring-of-fire will be visible only from certain vantage points; other vantage points will see a partial eclipse.

The 2023 eclipse will cross Oregon, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. Santa Fe, New Mexico will be in the path of the Moon’s shadow during the 2023 eclipse. I can hardly envision a more dramatic and suitable place to view an eclipse than the Sangre de Cristo foothills surrounding the city. Founded in 1610 as a Spanish colony, Santa Fe’s squared-off Pueblo-style structures actually resemble Moon viewing platforms complete with rustic ladders for reaching the roofs. And the Native American culture that infuses the city has a proper spiritual edge for Moon viewing, which to my mind is more a connecting with nature event for most of us than a scientific one.

Note to self: make reservations well in advance of 2023.



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