For a newbie who has just got their first drone, recently bought a DSLR or even just started looking at photography, it can be a bit overwhelming. Learning what the golden hour is and how to best use it, what magnetic interference is and its strength and what ND filters are and when they should be used is critical. In this article, we will help you understand the Polarpro app, one of the most useful tools that we, as drone photographers, have found to date.
But before we look at the app, lets quickly touch on who Polarpro are…
Polarpro is a company that creates premium accessories for photographers and videographers. Their accessories include ND filters, cables, microphones, cases and more.
Using the Polarpro app
In their own words, Polarpro describe and introduce their app below…
The PolarPro App is a convenient tool designed to help pilots find the correct filter for getting shutter speed as close to double the frame rate as possible. The latest update also features live wind and weather forecasts, Kp index and programmable alerts for golden hour. The PolarPro App was designed for use with drone pilots in mind, but can be also be used with any other camera and filter combination to capture the smoothest cinematic quality video possible. It’s available for free on both Apple and Android devices.
As it says above, the Polarpro app is a life saver for drone pilots who are not familiar with what ND filter to use at what setting. In this article, we will explore the app and look at its features. This includes:
- Tracking the golden hour
- Understanding the Kp index
- Picking ND filters
If you want to download the app to use whilst you read this article, you can find it on the links below:
Polarpro App Home screen
Once you install and first load up the app, you will be greeted with the screen below…
From the app’s main menu, you can quickly determine:
- When the golden hour is (top left square),
- What the temperature and weather is like at your location (top right square),
- How strong the wind it and it’s direction (bottom right square), and
- What the Kp index currently is.
The home screen also allows you to access the shutter speed calculator for video and the long exposure calculator for photographs.
Finally, you have the menu icon in the top left hand side of the screen.
Click it brings up the menu below…
We would recommend ensuring the local is correct each time you use the app.
Once you click on the location tab, you will see the following screen.
Here you can auto select current location or search and add new locations.
The settings tab in the menu allows you to change key features and indicators of the app. These include:
- Changing the temperature – either Celsius of Fahrenheit ,
- Change windspeed unit – either mph, km/h, m/s or knots,
- Change clock between 12 and 24 hour displays,
- Enable notifications for high winds, extreme weather and sunsets & sunrises,
- Set timers, and
- Enable filer guides.
Going back to the main menu, we will now explore what each section includes:
Golden Hour timer
Clicking on the golden hour tab opens the screen above.
Here you can determine:
- When the golden hour starts with a countdown timer,
- The exact time the golden hour is,
- How long the golden hour lasts for today, and
- The time it finishes.
This screen also lets you know what time the next day’s sunrise is so you can plan accordingly.
The weather tab brings up the screen above.
Here you can determine:
- Current weather conditions and temperature in your current location,
- Conditions for the rest of the day, and
- The forecast for the next 7 days.
Windspeed and direction
Click on the windspeed tab will bring up the screen above.
Here you can quickly and easily see:
- Current windspeed and direction in your current location,
- Wind speed and direction for the rest of the day, and
- The 7 day windspeed and direction forecast.
Once you click on the Kp Index tab, you will see the screen above.
Here you can easily determine what the Kp index currently is and what it will likely be over the next 7 days.
What is the Kp index and how does it affect drones?
The Kp Index is a measurement of global geomagnetic activity.
The index is expressed by a measurement the ranges from 1 (weakest) to 9 (strongest). Generally, anything below 4 is known as ‘quiet’, if the index is at 4 is is ‘disturbed’ and anything above 4 indicated a magnetic storm.
The geomagnetic activity is influences by factors such as solar activity.
The geomagnetic activity can affect your drone and it’s GPS in 2 ways:
- It decreases the signal-to-noise ratio and affects carrier frequency. This will cause the receiver to loose lock on some satellites. Instead of 9 satellites, you might lock only 6, or the number might fluctuate from second to second. This can make your GPS less accurate.
- It changes the propagation delay through the ionosphere, making GPS positioning inaccurate even if the receiver has all satellites locked.
Choosing the right ND filters for your drone
Now we will look at how the Polarpro app helps you pick the right ND filter for your drone.
Before we jump in, lets determine what an ND filter is and what it does.
What is an ND filter?
In photography and optics, a neutral-density filter (ND filter) is a filter that reduces or modifies the intensity of all wavelengths, or colours of light equally but does not cause any changes in hue of colour rendition.
In essence, an ND filer acts like a sunglasses lens for your camera. Why would you want to do this?
If you block some of the light coming into the lens, you will have the expose the camera for longer, ie, open the shutter for a longer period of time to allow the correct amount of light to enter.
Video speed calculator for ND Filters
In this section of the app, you can move the sliders and select the options specific to the setting you want to set your camera to. ie. You can determine the target shutter speed/frames per second, the current shutter and if you have and filters attached.
The video shutter ND filter calculator will make a recommendation as to which ND filter to attach to your drone’s camera.
Long exposure calculator for ND filter
In this section, you can determine what settings you need to capture perfect long exposure shots with your drone. As mentioned in the ND filter description above, by reducing the amount of light coming into the camera, you can set longer exposure times.
We want your views on the Polarpro App!
Do you find the PolarPro app useful?
Let us know in the comment box below!
Join the Drone Photography Bible community on Instagram
Do you love drone photography? Click through and follow us on Instagram for drone photographs from some of the best drone pilots at the moment.
As always, if you want to have your drone photography featured on the Drone Photography Bible Instagram feed, tag @dronephotographybible and hashtag #dronephotographybible. Your photos will feature on our Instagram as well as on the drone photography galley on our website.
Want your images to feature on our articles? We dont pay for images but do give shout outs, promotion and praise. Reach out to us on our Instagram to show us the photo you want to feature!
Finally… Do you want write for Drone Photography Bible? We are accepting guest and featured writers now. Check out the write for us page for more details.