Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Smartphone Apps for Photographers: iBird Explorer Pro

iBird Explorer ProOne of my photographic passions is wildlife photography, I've traveled to many locations in the world and the US to see and photograph wildlife. When home, you'll generally find me visiting the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge for a number of hours each week.

An important part of wildlife photography is properly identifying the wildlife you encounter, both flora and fauna. Sometimes, especially if you've not visited a location before, identification isn't easy. I'm often visiting wildlife locations with well studied wildlife enthusiasts, or wildlife experts, and they are very helpful in identifying wildlife, but sometimes I'm out alone and need some help.

I used to carry several books with me when out, bird guides, wildflower guides and butterfly guides, for example. These can get heavy, and sometimes you get so busy thumbing through their pages, you miss seeing and photographing some wildlife, because you're unaware they're in front of you.

Now I use a number of wildlife guides on my iPhone.

iBird Explorer Pro is one of the best bird identification apps for smartphones I've found. It's also available for Android smartphones.

Right now it's on sale at the iTunes app store.

What I really like about this app is that you don't have to guess, or know in advance which group a species you're trying to identify belongs, unlike most birding books.

iBird Explorer Pro leads you step by step toward your identification. You enter information from your observation of the bird, such as: location, shape, size, habitat, primary color, observed month, wing shape, tail shape, leg color, crown color, nape color, eye color, bill shape, bill length, etc. and the app will then list the potential birds yours might be, and will display facts and photos about them, and even play a recording of their song.

The app really helps you identify the birds you're photographing.

I'm always on the lookout for new photography apps for my iPhone and for Android apps too. If you have a good one to suggest, contact me. If I like it after testing, I'll give you credit for your suggestion in my Blog article about it. Thanks.


Suzie said...

Great new feature Ned. I have an iPhone and I'll be looking forward to future recommendations.

Do you have an iPhone app you recommend for DOF? There are so many.

Ned S. Levi said...

Suzie, I'm testing several right now to make sure the one I've been using is the best overall. I'll try to get the article out in the next few weeks.

Anonymous said...

Really great review. What is DOF?

Ned S. Levi said...

DOF stands for Depth of Field.

Depth of Field is the zone of acceptable sharpness in front of and behind the subject on which the lens is focused. It is dependent on three major factors: aperture, focal length, and focused distance. The wider the aperture, the longer the focal length, and the closer the focused distance, the less the depth of field, and vice versa. In comparison to a normal lens, wide angle lenses have inherently more depth of field at each f-number and telephoto lenses have less.

Anonymous said...

Ah so that is what DOF means - BTW today there is a good article by Pogue in the NYT on the best iPhone photo apps.

Another question....can you compare the features of the iBird app to the Audubon? Audubon is a well known name in birding but the iBird apps seems to have a bigger following.

Ned S. Levi said...

I saw the video on-line for his latest recommendations for iPhone photography apps. They aren't bad. Right now I'm writing about iPhone apps for photographers, versus iPhone photography apps. I'll be covering iPhone photography apps in the future.

The iBird Explorer Pro app and the Audubon apps for birders and wildlife photographers are significantly different with regard to the search feature which is the backbone of the iBird app. The iBird app has the best search routine period. Being able to search by colors in general, but also primary and secondary, and of crown, forehead, etc. and other detailed features is a monster feature, not duplicated by other apps including Audubon. On the other hand, the Audubon photos are superior and some other features are a bit better too.

I have the iBird Explorer Pro because of its incredible search routine. I also several Audubon Guides, but those are reviews for another day.

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