Musings on Photography

iPhone wishes

Posted in software by Paul Butzi on July 22, 2008

When the very first very Palm Pilot came out, I bought one. I’m a big believer in ubiquitous, easily portable computing.

So it’s probably no surprise that I have an iPhone. Not the new, gee-whizzy iPhone 3G, at least not yet. Just a plain old iPhone, which suits me fine. It’s a nice, convenient portable computer, especially since I upgraded the software to version 2.0. I got a lot of free software for it from the iTunes store. I bought some software for it from the iTunes store, too, including a clever app that turns the iPhone into a guitar tuner. Who’d have thunk it?

So, just in case someone is sitting around and asking herself “I wonder what software I should write for the iPhone. I wish I knew what that clever Butzi fellow was wanting, because if I knew, I’d write that!” I’ll list my desires.

First, I’d like a solar calculator. No, not solar-powered calculator. I want one that will tell me where, on any given date and at any given time, the sun will appear in the sky. Or, conversely, if I ask it “On what days will the Sun be near this position in the sky?” it would give me dates and times. Same thing, perhaps, for the moon.

Second, I’d like a tide calculator – just a version of the tide software I’ve used in the past. On Windows, I used “Tides and Currents”, which was expensive and slow but pretty much worked. I have a similar app for the Mac, the name of which I don’t recall, which doesn’t do the current calculations. I’m not a sailor so I don’t care about currents, but for photography on the beach, it’s important to know where the tides will be at any given time.

Simple, eh?

7 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Martin Doonan said, on July 22, 2008 at 9:49 am

    On the solar calculator, I’m pretty sure Michael Reichmann advertised a couple last week. I didn’t pay it much attention, being a Palm man, myself.

  2. Markus Spring said, on July 22, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    For sunrise/sunset calculations I followed Tom Hogans’s recommendation on and got a Casio Forester. Not the most beautiful watch, but here form has to follow function.
    Exact tidal calculation has is more dependent on local factors, so a software package with a set of tables or an internet connection of course will be best. So let’s see how long it will take until the first geek comes out with a tidecalc for the iphone.

  3. Dan L said, on July 23, 2008 at 7:41 am

    Paul, there is a nice sunrise/sunset app at iTunes called simply Chronometer that gives the rise and set times graphically and includes the same info for the moon. The app somewhat duplicates the features and look of the Yes Watch. I love it. As a photographer, it let’s me know when local sunset will be so I can plan for the golden light! I know it’s not exactly what you asked for, but for just $5 it’s very close and very useful.

  4. Dan L said, on July 23, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Sorry, the full name of the program is actually … Emerald Chronometer.

  5. Paul Butzi said, on July 23, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Markus, I’m not opposed to buying a separate device for this. But having software on a device I already carry everywhere, all the time – that’s what I want.

    Dan, Martin – yes, there are currently several iPhone apps that do SOME of what I want. But they don’t give the sun/moon position – just sunrise and set. And I want the whole enchilada.

  6. Charles Dunton said, on July 23, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Check out Astromo in the iTunes App store ($9.99). This is one of the programs Michael Reichmann mentioned. I believe it gives the additional info you are looking for – RA, Dec, Alt, and Az for sun and moon. But there may be a problem-I’m not sure you can enter Lat/Long at this time. It uses the gps in the 3G phone to give you data for your location. But hey, you knew you were going to upgrade your phone at some point, right?

    You can also enter date/time to see the past or future.


  7. latoga said, on August 17, 2008 at 11:28 am


    I recently stumbled across Photocalc which has the feature of Sunset/Rise as well as a lot more (see Wired Review). I haven’t checked it out myself yet but will in the near future just for the sunrise/set feature. Maybe you can contact the author and suggest to him to add the tide table…

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: