128 Smart Watches for Photographers

We are taking a look at two smart watches and how they are useful for the travel outdoor photographer. This is Latitude Photography Podcast, Episode 128 for October 5, 2021

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Smart Watches for Photographers

Today I have Liam Douglas joining me once again and we’re talking about a two smartwatch options for photographers. Liam, welcome to the show!

Garmin Instinct Solar

  1. Battery life is amazing for a smart watch.
    1. Standard watch mode: Up to 24 days / 54 with solar
    2. Battery Saver Mode: Up to 56 days / Unlimited with solar (three hours in 50K lux conditions or “not so sunny overcast day”)
    3. GPS: Up to 30 hours / 38 with solar
    4. Max Battery GPS: Up to 70 hours / 145 with solar
    5. Expedition GPS: Up to 28 days / 68 with solar
  2. 16 MB of memory which is a TON for a watch with the features it has.
  3. Shows Sunrise/Sunset right on the main face
  4. GPS Time Sync
  5. Health Monitoring
    1. Heart rate (very accurate) 
    2. Daily resting rate
    3. Abnormal heart rate alerts
    4. Plux Ox. When you want it or can check as you sleep as well. Very accurate
    5. Body Battery
    6. All day stress levels
    7. Sleep monitoring (fairly accurate)
    8. Hydration (manually tracked in the smartphone app)
  6. Sensors (just the ones I’m interested in)
    1. GPS
    2. GLONASS (the Russian version of GPS)
    3. Galileo (EU version of GPS)
    4. Barometric Altimeter
    5. Compass
    6. Accelerometer
    7. Thermometer
  7. Smart Features
    1. Notifications from the phone (optional)
    2. Calendar
    3. Weather
    4. Controls Smartphone Music
  8. Activity Tracking
    1. Step Counting
    2. Auto Goal for steps etc
    3. Calories burned
    4. Floors climbed
    5. Distance traveled
    6. Intensity Minutes
  9. Types of workouts tracked
    1. Running
    2. Walking
    3. Hiking
    4. And a WHOLE bunch more
  10. Special Features
    1. Trackback feature to take you back to your starting place.
    2. Distance to destination (if you set a plan before hand and sync it to the watch)
  11. Things I don’t like about it
    1. The watch won’t sync to the app without the app being connected to the internet. This is a HUGE flaw in my opinion.
  12. One thing I really do like
    1. When using Garmin Explore Map app, the watch will communicate my position live on the map in real time. Just have to download the maps beforehand if you’re leaving cell service.

Apple Watch

I use my Apple Watch quite frequently for photography and especially in conjunction with an app called Lumy. Lumy has some of the same functions as Photo Pills, but not as much to it as it is primarily for landscape and travel photography. It contains the following items for use doing these styles of photography. 

A. Tracking Blue Hour and Golden Hour with the time for each based on your GPS location.

B. Sunset and Sunrise tracking again based on GPS location 

C. Morning and Evening nautical twilight 

D. Morning and Evening Astronomical Twilight 

E. Total hours and minutes of daylight and night 

F. Live digital compass 

G. It also will tell you the track for the sun in the sky and the arc it follows. 

H. Lumy also has a few great Apple Watch faces that you can add to your Apple Watch. 

I. The Watch Face I use allows quick access to not only the time, but standard Apple Compass as a complication, a Sun tracking compass complication, temperature, and weather conditions at a glance. 

J. I additionally can use the app as a remote shutter for my iPhone camera to take photos if I am using my iPhone to capture landscapes while mounted on a tripod. 

K. In addition to Lumy I use the standard Apple Activity app to track my workout when hiking as Apple added Hiking as a workout that tracks your heart rate, calorie burn, altitude, climb, etc. 


L. The third app I use with my Apple Watch related to landscape, travel photography is called Viewranger. Viewrander will show you trails and hiking areas based on your GPS location and also allow you to record your GPS track and export it later for use in other programs such as Lightroom.

(Now called “Outdoor Active”) https://viewranger.com/visit-outdooractive/?lang=en-gb

M. I also use the built in compass app quit a bit especially when out hiking to easily keep track of where I am going or directions back to my vehicle or base camp if out camping. 

N. I recently purchased the WristCam for Apple Watch. This is a nice bit of kit as it allows you to shoot 8MP stills and record HD video as well. Unit also has a 2MP selfie camera that could use some work, seemed to be grainy to me.


O. WristCam is handy for times when you want to snap some photos or video but don’t want to lug your camera gear around or smartphone. Also handy for very discrete street photography. 

P. WristCam also charges via a magnetic charging cable similar to how the Apple Watch charges, which makes things quick and easy. 

Q. WristCam is also planning on releasing bands in other colors since it’s a modular system and will even at some point offer holiday and limited edition bands.

Resources and Links

Find Liam Online: @Liamphotoatl (facebook, instagram and twitter)

Liam on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/LiamPhotography

Forgotten Pieces of Georgia: https://www.youtube.com/c/ForgottenPiecesofGeorgia

Forgotten Pieces of Pennsylvania: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrHilkv1ved3By-Alu5bpMA

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