Introducing Aspen

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An image showing the three primary screens of the Aspen iOS App

As I have grown as a photographer, especially as a film photographer, I have consistently found myself looking for a centralized tool for tracking the data that goes into each exposure. Whether that be reciprocity, bellows extension, or just understanding how different film stocks brought their own unique characteristics to each image. For the majority of my time as a photographer, this process has been completely manual. For each emulsion I would have to read the data sheet and look at the reciprocity failure curve to understand how to compensate for light fall-off on longer exposures. Calculations and formulas would then live in a small notebook that I kept in my photography bag.

This is not a unique system. It's proven and it works, but I wanted something better. I wanted something in my pocket that would have the ability to make the calculations I needed, save the data, and act as a universal notebook for me to put that data to understand it better and grow as a photographer.

As I've written about on this blog already, I decided to build myself a little utility to solve this problem. For a long time it was a buggy, fickle app that would crash if the inputs weren't 100% right. That was fine for me, because I knew the edge cases, but as I continued to add functionality it seemed more and more clear to me that this could be a useful tool for other photographers as well.

That's when I started to share my idea with other photographers. I started to get feedback on the kinds of tools that they'd want to use in the field. That's when this app turned from a pocket companion for myself into what it is now. And as of the time of this writing, Aspen is available on the iOS App Store for devices running iOS 16 or newer.

There's still a lot that I want to put into the app. There's a Sekonic-inspired spot metering function on its way, but that undertaking was cut from the original release. I'll continue to write about my progress as the app gains features and feedback from its users.