There are quite a few nice apps for figuring out ‘magic hour’ or ‘golden time’ for iOS. As our readers know, ‘golden time” is that sliver of time around sunset and sunrise where the colors are warm and your photos will have a satisfying glow. Professional movie makers know this well, and most movies today have key scenes shot around those times of favorable illumination.
Lumy, ($3.99) does a nice job of doing the calculations for you, and adds some nice features like weather forecasts for where you are shooting, notifications, and Apple Watch support.
I gave the app a test on a recent trip up to Lake Powell in Utah, and appreciated the information the app provided.
The GUI is well thought out and very clean. When you launch Lumy you’ll get the times of morning magic hour, the actual sunrise time, evening magic hour, and then the sunset time. To the right of the display is the forecast temperatures for each time, and the sky conditions. If you swipe to the left, you’ll see how long until the next next magic hour begins, how long it will last (this can vary by your latitude), and the percent of cloudiness and your humidity, all very useful for photographers. Swiping to the right lets you set alarms to let you know when your next event will take place.
Swiping down gives you a calendar that let’s you choose a future date to check the golden times, which of course vary at different times of the year. A double tap gives you astronomical data, helpful if you are shooting things like star trails so you know when it will be really dark and not just fading twilight.
You can choose a different location, helpful for trip planning, although this is the one feature that can be a little clearer to use. If you look at the list, you may or may not find your city. There is a search box that let’s you select just about everywhere and usually the app feds the location by the name you entered. But I fear many people will look for their location, not find it, and assume they are stuck. The search windows purpose isn’t clear. Is it to quickly search the given list, or to find a new location? The latter description is how it works, and happily your location entries will be there the next time you use the app.
In settings, you can switch to 24 hour time, how soon the alerts sound, and if the weather is in Fahrenheit or Centigrade.
The app can also be configured to provide a today widget for your phone.
I really liked Lumy. It puts the information you need most on the screen as soon as it is launched. The Apple Watch features are great if you have one.
The gestures are intuitive and easily remembered. For most things except weather Lumy does not require a data connection, and I found that really helpful when I was out of cellphone range.
The app is universal and requires iOS 9 or later. It ran fine on the current beta of iOS.