Photo Apps: The Photographer’s Ephemeris

Today, I discovered an app that is extremely useful for photography, specifically outdoor photography that involves the sun or the moon. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is basically a map-centric sun and moon calculator, it’s main function is to compute exactly where the sun and/or moon will rise in relation to your geographic location and give you a clear idea on how the light will fall on the land.

Some of the basic features include:

  • Time and direction of sunrise and sunset
  • Time and direction of moonrise and moonset
  • Phase of the moon and % illumination
  • Times of civil, nautical and astronomical twilight
  • Graphical display on a map (Standard, Satellite, Hybrid, Terrain)
  • Plus MANY more!

I have not been able to download/test it out personally, but as soon as I’m able to, I will definitely return to this article and write a more in-depth review. Judging by the website and what others say about it in the Play store, I trust that this is a worthy app for anyone who needs help planning out their next expedition.

To learn more, you can visit the developer’s website, or download it at:

Google Play – $4.99

iTunes – $8.99

Desktop – Free

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Things To Do (Another Bucket List)

A while ago, I posted a bucket list of sorts of places I want to go. I thought why not do another bucket list themed post, but with things I want to do in life rather than places I want to go, because there’s a lot, and traveling the world will open up a lot of opportunities to do many of them. Some of these tasks are honestly things that scare the crap out of me, while others are just things I figure I’d be really good at.

So, here’s my top 10 list, in no particular order.

  • Learn how to scuba dive! This is definitely on the top of the list.
  • Parasailing. This is one of the things that scares the crap out of me, but ever since I went on the Soarin’ Over California ride at California Adventures, I just really want to try it for real.
  • Learn to surf. Possibly not so high on my list, because I am certain I would not succeed. Not being a downer on myself or anything, it’s just that I have the balance of a baby giraffe that hasn’t walked yet. Or Bambi on ice.
  • Get published in National Geographic.
  • Go on a safari.
  • Also pet a lion. I’m guessing just getting up close via safari would be the closest I’ll get though. You never know, though!
  • Swim with dolphins.
  • Also swim with sharks and live to tell the tale.
  • See the Northern Lights.
  • Hike the El Camino Del Rey in Spain. It was a lot more appealing before they rebuilt it, but it still has a view I am excited to see.

Stuck In Perpetual Uncertainty

I feel like this is a place we’ve all been. A place in which you’re absolutely sure about nothing and there’s a sense of uncertainty about pretty much everything, regarding your future, your career, and sometimes on things far beyond that, that your mind just can’t even comprehend at the time. It wasn’t that long ago when I was in this place.

Now, one of my closest friends is in this place. Seeing the steps I’m taking to build my future was kind of inspiring to her, so much so that she quit her job so she can focus more on her art on a professional level. Thing about the arts, jobs aren’t really a guaranteed thing and everything is either selling your own work or freelance/commission based. Given her situation, and what she’s wanting to do, I can definitely not blame her for feeling as lost as she currently does.

It got me thinking. While I am definitely out of that place, I know not only what I want and I’ve laid out several goals and how I plan to get from this point in my life to where I want to be, and I have a number of people helping me out any way they can, whether it be advice or something completely different. I feel like part of me is perpetually stuck in that place of uncertainty, just because it’s still so early in the process and I plan on spending the next three years in school, learning and preparing for the journey I hope will last my whole life, ultimately.

So, what is the secret to getting out of that state of uncertainty? I have a few theories. Part of me feels like it’s all dependent on time and place and how ready you are for what’s to come. Maybe meeting the right people and letting them inspire you. People change people, meeting the right person at the right time and just learning from them, about their lives, can really do so much.

What Others Think and Why I Don’t Care

It feels like this last week or so has been a slow one, partially because my inspiration has been in a million other places. There’s been some research, lots of writing, along with work.

Last week when I was at the school to register, I also had to go talk to a counselor. We talked about my change in major along with my after-college plans and a few things she had said really got me thinking. She had asked what my family thought about me going off into the world and building my own career, since I’d mentioned my grandma earlier on in the conversation. She was curious because she has a granddaughter in her late teens who is planning to do something kind of similar.

The reason this got me thinking is because before that, I really didn’t stop to think about what my family thought. Not really. I mean, I’ve often stopped to wonder what they thought, if they really approved, but really… I feel unstoppable right now. I feel like the invincible feeling I have, the feeling that I can do anything, is partially because I’ve put so little thought into what they thought. I mean, I know my mom supports me 100% and she’s proud of me for going after what I want, and so is my best friend – even though it changed plans we had made before I decided to go after all these dreams I’ve had locked away since I was a kid.

Some people might think it’s selfish to not think about what I’m doing and how it affects those closest to me, but lately I find it oddly empowering, especially after realizing one of my aunts might be under the impression that this is all just a phase, that I’ll change my mind and the money I’m wanting to put into it won’t be worth it, even though it’s so clear how important this is to me. All the steps I’m taking aren’t steps I’d be taking if it wasn’t something I was 110% sure about. Everything I’m going now involve real decisions to ensure my future is everything I imagine it to be and more. Every dollar going into savings, every new friend I’m making, all the little pieces of advice I’m seeking from people who are where I hope to be in 5-10 years.

Just because this venture is new to them, something they never noticed I had interest in in the past, doesn’t mean it’s not real or that it’s just a phase, and it honestly kind of bothers me that the people closest to me think of it like that, rather than trusting my decisions and my instincts when it comes to my future and the things I want for it. I think that’s why I have just grown to not really care what others think. I’ve got a small handful of people who fully believe in me, including myself, and that’s all I really need to make everything possible. Not everyone is going to be as supportive as I’d like, I’ve accepted that hard truth months ago. In a way, that just makes it easier because it’s gonna be so awesome when I can finally prove them wrong.

Today’s Lesson: Always Be Open.

Today, I was out dealing with school stuff, I met a really nice guy. We got to talking about school and I mentioned I was majoring in photography, and it just so happens that he is a photographer and he has in own business. More than that, he basically offered me a part time job to get professional experience under my belt while I am in school, basically helping him run events and stuff. It’s a small opportunity, and it probably won’t pay much, but it’s a start and I am honestly grateful for these kind of opportunities. It shows that there is kindness in others, and that it really is an industry where people help out one another and that is exactly the kind of industry I want to be apart of.

Never be afraid to talk to complete strangers about your hopes and dreams, because you never know if they will be someone who can offer a helping hand.

Freelance Writing Opportunities

Today’s post is going to be a short one partially because my mind is blocked from other ideas, partially because I think this might be of some use to others.

I recently learned about multiple writing platforms for freelance writers to find opportunities. I have actually signed up with Scripted to write about lifestyle & travel, along with art & design, and I plan to get qualified to write about business in the future! I also plan on trying out a few of the other sites as well, namely Demand Media and Writer Access. All of these sites are legit and this is a really good way to make money, if you’re looking for something extra.

To read more about these platforms, you can find read the reviews on Freedom With Writing. Additionally, I will be adding all of the sites they mention in the Resources page.

My Influences Part V: My Niece

This influence is by far the shortest. Mostly because she’s only two years old. It really goes to show that the smallest things can make the biggest differences.

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I am pretty sure I briefly mentioned my little sister in a previous post, I can’t really remember which one. Not going into that much detail, she isn’t really the most reliable person and she has a tendency to make questionable life choices.

It’s no secret that I am like Sophie’s favorite person in the world, everybody tends to comment on how much she loves and adores me, and it’s clear to see. Sophie is like my youngest best friend that I would do anything for and being her aunt is like one of my favorite things in the world.

Being someone Sophie clearly looks up to so much inspires me to want to make something of my future, something impossibly big, to show her that anything is possible if you make the right choices and don’t get mixed with the wrong crowd. I want to be the one who teaches her she can be anything, in the best way possible… by showing her.

Of course, I do have some worries, like the fact that I won’t physically be here for her for the most part of all of this, but at the same time, I know I’ll always come back for her. Also, it helps that this is the 21st century, so there is always a way to see her via the internet, seeing her via skype or family showing her what I’m up to via whatever I happen to post from wherever I happen to be at the time.

In my life, I want to inspire her to do something great in hers. I want her to dream big and to never stop believing in something bigger and better. Honestly, the same goes for all the kids in my life, I don’t ever want them to outgrow their curiosities about the world around them or to ever stop exploring.

The Struggle

I have this habit of torturing myself with things I want and actually need but can’t have right now, and it kinda sucks. I am pretty sure most people have this habit or something similar.

I know it won’t be for a couple years at least until I am able to afford photography equipment that will not only carry me through college but at least the start of my career. I wish I had the willpower to not go to all these online stores and actively seek out equipment I would like to have, just to start out, because I end up finding these crazy good deals on bundles that I just can’t invest in at this moment. I think this is more frustrating than anything, just because I want so badly to be able to have something, to be able to practice and develop my style before I start working on my photo degree, learn my strengths and weaknesses. And not to mention, it’s not even like it’s something I don’t need that I just want because it’s cool to have… it’s stuff I know I need for my career and stuff I know I could use now to be even better when the time comes that the quality of my photography would matter the most.

One of the most frustrating parts, I think, is just knowing that this has a small opportunity of opening up some job opportunities for me, really getting my foot in the door and being able to build a professional portfolio while in college and saving up for traveling. Not only would it be a job that I actually like, but it would be a step in the right direction toward my career.

How does one manage to not actively seek out what they do feel they need but cannot currently afford? Also, why must the struggle be oh, so real?

Sorry for today’s post being more ranty than anything. Like I said, I am just frustrated with a lot right now and my habits certainly do not help.

My Influences Part IV: Chris Colfer

In high school, I didn’t really have a lot of friends, so it’s just so crazy of me to think that one of my best friends became as famous as he did. New York Times Bestselling author, Golden Globe winning actor… at the same age as me (actually like 5 months younger), he’s done it all and plus some, and one of my earliest memories with him is as simple as discussing the literary magazine we were working on in the Writer’s Block Club, which is actually where we became friends for life.

His fame, though, is not why I consider him to be such a huge influence. It’s simply where he started, and where he is now.

In high school, he was bullied a lot, and not just by the kids. He spent a lot of time hanging out with the lunch ladies because it was a safe place. He was always the quiet kid who kept to himself. He always had something funny to say, and he was, and still is, one of the best friends I could ask for.

Today, he is basically the same guy he was back then. He may have won a dozen awards for his acting and and his writing… he may be earning more than he ever thought he would, he may have a million plus people who know his name… but he is not a different person. The guy you see in the interviews is literally the guy I was friends with in high school. I feel like with most people, when they get that famous, that quickly, the fame just goes to their head and they think their better than the everyone else or something. For Chris, he just got lucky and that’s it.

He started literally in the same place I did. Same school, same town, some of the same struggles. We had different home lives, different dreams. Neither of us really knew what the future held. Okay, that’s a lie… I always knew he was gonna make it big, and I told him that many times… he just laughed it off and was like, “Well, at least one person thinks so.”

Of course, as everyone knows, he became successful much earlier than I did, directly after high school. I spent about seven years flip flopping between passions and goals before I found the means to commit to what I wanted from the beginning. Just knowing exactly where he started and knowing he made it, inspires me even more to keep on working toward my career goals, because I know I can make it, like he did. I can make something of myself and get out of this town, like he did. There’s no excuse as to why I can’t get out into the world and be extraordinary.

So thank you, Chris, for being an example. For not forgetting about me or our friendship after you got famous and for never letting the fame go to your head, but rather using it as a resource to do even more with your life. I love you! ❤

Me and Chris in hair and makeup for Struck My Lightning in 2011. (I look so different now. Also, this is the only time I have ever worn makeup.)

Me and Chris in hair and makeup for Struck By Lightning in 2011. (I look so different now. Also, this is the only time I have ever worn makeup.)

Travel Friendly Social Media: timeBlend!

For part of my research, I have been looking high and low for social media sites geared for travelers, to find travel buddies and maybe get some advice from other travelers. I mean, I know it’s not for at least 3 years that I will be able to leave home, but it’s never too early for finding new friends who are doing what I plan to do.

I recently learned about timeBlend! from a friend of mine. Right now, it’s in Beta mode, so you actually need an invite to join, but it doesn’t take long to get the invite. Once you’re in, you can connect with other travelers around the world, make lists of places you’ve been and places you want to go, offer tips, plan trips… and even more! I am actually still learning about this Social Media platform, so far, I am loving it!

The only downside is that they don’t have apps available for Android (or Apple, for that matter…) and that would be a major plus. I have a feeling (or at least really hope) they will at some point in the future, since it seems like something that would be super mobile app friendly.

If you want to request an invite and join the fun, just Click Here to sign up! If you have any other suggestions for travel-friendly SM sites I should check out, let me know in the comments, I am always open to suggestions!