Why?

It was last February I was out with camera. It was rather damp. I had a specific shot I was after. I had already walked 4 miles, including unnecessary detour, to get there. When I had arrived at my target, Nant hydroelectric dam, the rain which had been drizzling, really started pouring. This wasn’t the time to give up though. I had driven a fair amount on top of the walking and didn’t know when I’d get time to return. I started looking for a good vantage point. After finding somewhere I thought I was happy with, I started setting up. Conditions were really deteriorating by this point. My backpack came off my back, the tripod was setup, the Hasselblad was brought out and under the protection of the trees I changed to the lens I thought I needed. By the time it was on the tripod, rain cover attached and I had managed to frame a shot everything was already sodden. I took possibly two other shots, hurriedly framed and packed the camera away. None of the shots from that trip ended up being usable. The lighting conditions weren’t great, but the shots were poorly composed and rushed.

This got me thinking there has got to be an easier way to do this. The process of getting everything out of the backpack to check a composition is time consuming. In inclement weather it becomes quite frustrating. If I could be certain a composition was worthwhile before getting the camera out that would help a great deal. I thought a phone app could be a possible solution here. Looking through the iPhone App Store the nearest app I could find that supported my needs was expensive and did not really cover everything I wanted. This is where my former experience in software engineering came in. The result is the Viewfinder Preview iPhone app. The app allows you to preview the framing of a shot given a film format size and a focal length. Instead of spending all that time getting my camera out in the pouring rain for a shot I wasn’t particularly happy with, I could have been scouting the area looking for the shot I actually wanted with just my iPhone. After finding the shot, that would be the point I bring the big camera out.

Since creating Viewfinder Preview, it has become an integral part of my photographic process. Over time I have extended it to include a light meter and a photo gallery to keep a record of all the shots I’ve taken.