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June 6, 2010

Animal Kingdom Youngsters - Part 1

Hello. I am Sharon Sipple and have been doing photography for over 20 years. My specialties are entertainment and animals.

I am an avid Disney fan and travel to the World about 4 times each year. During each trip, I end up spending a majority of my time in Animal Kingdom. It is a fascinating place, being that every visit is different. On my most recent trip, I worked with Deb to cover the D23 Flowers and Fireworks event and the Polynesian Luau.

Sharon Sipple

Deb asked if I would be willing to share some of my animal pictures with everyone. We thought it would be fun to share pictures of some of the younger members of the Animal Kingdom family. Over the last 2 years, there have been at least 7 babies born at Animal Kingdom. So let's get started....


Black and White Colobus Monkeys

This group of monkeys are found just inside the entrance to Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Their diet consists of leaves, buds, seeds and fruit and in the wild (Kenya) are found mostly in trees. They are hunted for their fur, but today, their existence is more threatened by the destruction of forests. Unlike other monkeys, Colobus monkeys have no thumb. (You can read more in the Press Release issued when the baby was born.)

At birth, the Colobus monkey is all white and they get their black color later on. The two photographs below are the same infant, one taken March 2009, the other in August 2009.

The first photo was taken March 2009.

Black and White Colobus Monkey
Canon50D, ISO 200, 1/80 sec, F9, 300mm, +.3EV

The next photo was taken in August 2009.

Black and White Colobus Monkey
Canon 50D, ISO 1000, 1/160 sec, F5.6, 375mm, +1.7EV


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White Rhinoceros

The white rhinos can be found on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride.

These photographs are of the now, 6 month old, baby white rhino who was born Sunday, Jan. 17. The mother, Kendi, is an 11-year-old white rhino, who gave birth to her third baby after a 16-month gestation period.

The baby is the eighth white rhino born at Disney's Animal Kingdom; her mother, Kendi, was the first. (Read more in the Press Release issued when the baby was born.)


A few interesting facts (Field Guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park):
The white rhinoceros is not white at all but slate gray to yellow brown.
They can weigh between 4,000 and 4,500 pounds!
The white rhino can ward off any predator, except for humans.
They feed mainly on grasses.

These photographs are from May 2010.

white rhino
Canon 7D ISO 800, 1/400 sec, F7.1, 115mm

white rhino
Canon 7D ISO 800, 1/400 sec, F7.1, 210mm


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White-cheeked Gibbon

The white-cheeked gibbons are located in Asia, just outside the Kali River Rapids.

This endangered white-cheeked gibbon was born Feb. 2. The male and his mother, Melaka, are bonding well according to the animal experts who oversee the daily care of primates. You can see him and his baby's two sisters, Suki and Tuyen, in their habitat.

One fascinating fact about these animals are the way they change color. Adult males are black with white cheeks and adult females are a light tan/gold color with a patch of black on the top of their head. However, when both male and females are infants, they are the light tan color of the mother. Around six months, they both turn black, like the males. Then, when the female reaches maturity, she turns back to the light tan/gold color. (Read more in the Press Release issued when the baby was born.)

The first three photographs were taken March 2010.

White-cheeked Gibbon
Canon 50D, ISO 400, 1/320 sec, F7.1, 310mm, +.3EV

White-cheeked Gibbon
Canon 50D, ISO 400, 1/320 sec, F5.6, 400mm, +.7EV

White-cheeked Gibbon
Canon 50D, ISO 400, 1/320 sec, F7.1, 400mm, +.3EV

The following photos were taken in May 2010.

White-cheeked Gibbon
Canon 7D ISO 1000, 1/250 sec, F10, 400mm

White-cheeked Gibbon
Canon 7D ISO 1000, 1/250 sec, F9, 330mm

White-cheeked Gibbon
Canon 7D ISO 640, 1/200 sec, f8, 310mm

White-cheeked Gibbon
Canon 7D ISO 640, 1/200 sec, F6.3, 400mm


I hope you enjoyed this blog on Animal Kingdom Youngsters. Feel free to leave your comments below! Be sure and check back tomorrow for Part 2 of my blog, Animal Kingdom Youngsters!

Hey, see this little green button? Well, it allows you to share this blog with your family and friends quite easily. Give it a try; it's pretty neat!

June 7, 2010

Animal Kingdom Youngsters - Part 2

Sharon Sipple returns with Part 2 of her photo blog of the Animal Kingdom Youngsters.

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In this blog I will share photos of young elephants and giraffes that you can find on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride.

Reticulated Giraffe

Giraffes are the tallest animal in the world and can grow up to 20 feet tall. Although they look graceful as they move about the savanna, they can weigh as much as 2,500 pounds. Despite its length and flexibility, the neck of the giraffe is too short to reach the ground. In order to drink, the animal must awkwardly spread its legs wide so its head can reach the water. (Field Guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park)

These male giraffes were born one week apart in October 2009. Their names are Bolo and Bruehler. (You can learn more in the Press Release issued when the babies were born.)

These photos are from March 2010.

Giraffe
Canon 50D, ISO 1000, 1/500 sec, F14, 190mm

Giraffe
Canon 50D, ISO 1000, 1/500 sec, F14, 190mm

Giraffe
Canon 50D, ISO 800, 1/500 sec, F10, 300mm

Giraffe
Canon 50D, ISO 800, 1/500 sec, F10, 250mm

Giraffe
Canon 50D, ISO 1000, 1/320 sec, F20, 330mm

Giraffe
Canon 50D, ISO 1000, 1/200 sec, F20, 300mm

Giraffe
Canon 50D, ISO 1250, 1/500 sec, F14, 100mm

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I have often been asked how I can capture such great shots. The elephants and giraffes were taken while on Kilimanjaro Safari. As many of you know, it is not easy to get good pictures while on a moving vehicle. The other challenge is that some of the animals, such as the Gibbons monkeys are pretty far away. Lastly, the animals do not always cooperate. You must have patience and be willing to try multiple times, and at different times of the day. You never know what you may get on a given adventure.

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African Elephant

As you ride along the Kilimanjaro Safari and pass the Flamingo Pool, you'll soon be in Elephant country!.

Moyo gave birth to Tsavo in 2008, the fourth elephant born at Animal Kingdom. Tufani, who is Moyo's first male calf, was born in 2003; Kianga, a female, was born in 2004; and Nadirah, the youngest female, joined the herd in 2005. All remain on the savannah at Disney's Animal Kingdom. (You can learn more in the Press Release issued when the baby was born.)

African Elephant

African Elephant

African Elephant

African Elephant

African Elephant

African Elephant

I hope you enjoyed this blog on Animal Kingdom Youngsters. Feel free to leave your comments below! Be sure and check back tomorrow for Part 3 of my blog, Animal Kingdom Youngsters!

Hey, see this little green button? Well, it allows you to share this blog with your family and friends quite easily. Give it a try; it's pretty neat!


June 8, 2010

Animal Kingdom Youngsters - Part 3

Sharon Sipple returns with the 3rd and final part of her photo blog of the Animal Kingdom Youngsters.

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Western Lowland Gorilla

The gorillas are the main attraction on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Did you know that when Animal Kingdom opened in April 1998, this trail was named Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail -- it was renamed a few months later.

On February 19, 2010 a baby western lowland gorilla was born in Animal Kingdom. The baby belongs to the gorilla family group which includes first-time mother, Kashata, father Gino, and two other females, Benga and Hope. Mother and baby are generally seen in the first gorilla viewing area which is under cover and behind glass.

Most gorilla mothers keep their offspring close for several months while the baby adjusts to the environment. In addition, gorilla babies typically nurse for approximately 12 months and may be weaned between the ages of four and five. (Read more on the press release issued when the baby was born.)


These first photos were taken in March 2010.

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 50D, ISO 640, 1/250 sec, F11, 400mm

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 50D, ISO 500, 1/125 sec, f14, 400mm

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 50D, ISO 1250, 1/160 sec, F7.1, 275mm

These photographs are from May 2010.

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 7D ISO 1000, 1/160 sec, F7.1, 100mm, +.3EV

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 7D ISO 1000, 1/160 sec, F7.1, 170mm, +.3EV

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 7D ISO 1000, 1/160 sec, F6.3, 275mm, +.3EV

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 7D ISO 1000, 1/160 sec, F5.6, 400mm, +.3EV

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 7D 1250, 1/100 sec, F10, 135mm

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 7D ISO 1250, 1/100 sec, F10, 285mm

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 7D ISO 1250, 1/100 sec, F11, 190mm

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 7D ISO 1600, 1/80 sec, F5.6, 400mm

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 7D ISO 2000, 1/125, F5, 200mm

Western Lowland Gorilla
Canon 7D ISO 2000, 1/125, F5, 135mm

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In case you are wondering.....

The equipment I used to shoot the images are a Canon EOS 50D and a Canon EOS 7D camera, a Canon 100-400mm L (low dispersion) series lens, and a Canon 17-85mm IS (image stabilization) USM (ultra-sonic motor) lens.

I normally do not use a tripod or monopod to shoot.

The key to successful shooting of the animals while on safari is to be able to get shutter speeds fast enough to stop the action. I normally shoot at a minimum of 1/320 of a second. In order to do this, you often must increase your ISO settings. With the 7D, I am able to comfortably push my ISO to 4000 and get great images with very little digital noise. I will caution you that while some cameras will allow you to push the ISO to 3200 or 6400, you must be careful. Depending on your equipment, pushing the ISO too high can result in an unacceptable level of digital noise.

Prior to shooting something important, experiment with this in a low light situation either around your house or somewhere else where the images are not 'once in a lifetime' images.

I hope you enjoyed the blogs on Animal Kingdom Youngsters. Feel free to leave your comments below!

Hey, see this little green button? Well, it allows you to share this blog with your family and friends quite easily. Give it a try; it's pretty neat!

June 29, 2010

Disneyland’s “World of Color” Viewing Tips & Strategies

By Beci Mahnken, CTC-MCC

It's official. The newest addition to a long line of in-park entertainment excellence has made its debut at the Disneyland Resort in California.

World of Color


The World of Color is a 25 minute nighttime show that is a stunning blend of lights, water, animation and music. With nearly 1200 fountains that can shoot streams as high as 200 feet in the air, jaw dropping fire effects and appearances from some of your favorite Disney characters that will entertain as well as touch your heart" this is a show that must be seen in person to truly be experienced.

The show takes place at Disney California Adventure on Paradise Bay. Originally the prime viewing area was to accommodate as many as 9000 people, however that estimate has been updated to between 4000 - 5000 for the best locations that allow for some level of view of the main projection screens.

These areas are divided into several color labels sections (blue, yellow, orange, red & green) that are divided in side-by-side sections rather than front to back. One of the sections also includes the bridge that leads to Ariel's Grotto. The view is acceptable, and you get a view of the projections, however you miss the intensity of the more up close and personal experience some of the other sections provide.

Personally I found some of the best, most centered locations in the Blue & Yellow sections located right in Paradise Park.

Tip: Some parts of the show are down at water level, but the majority of effects can be seen from several levels. Rule of thumb - If you have an unobstructed view of the bottom of Mickey's chin on the Fun Wheel from a center location, you should be able to see most of the major effects.

Getting in the Game of Getting a FastPass

It's important to note the information I provide here is subject to change at any time. This process is new and my experiences were from the opening weekend. Disney will more certainly be tweaking the options and processes to improve the guest experience as they learn what works and what doesn't.

So, at the time of this writing, there are several ways to enjoy the show, but three that will help guarantee one of the better views in the house.

1) The General Admission FastPass

wocfastpass1.jpg

Aside from your Disney California Adventure park admission, there is no additional purchase required for this option. However, you will have to arrive early to get in queue at the Grizzly River Run FastPass machine to get your FastPass ticket. Once they are gone... they are gone.


Tip: If you are a Disneyland Resort guest staying at one of the three Disney Resorts you have the extra benefit of using the Grand Californian entrance to the park that spills you into the area right next to Grizzly River Run. You MUST show your valid room key for entry.

woc2.jpg

Tip: If you do miss the FastPass distribution for the first and second show, be sure to ask a cast member if a third show will or has been added. If not, try for a picnic meal - see below.


2) The Picnic Meal

World of Color

The least expensive guaranteed FastPass option is the Picnic Meal for $14.99 per person. This provides a choice of pre-packaged snack options and a guaranteed FastPass. Ours was for the Yellow section. You have the option to pre-order online that will provide a pass to the first show or you can risk it and try to purchase on a walk-up basis which will admit you to the second show.

Tip: The hands down easiest way to order is online at www.disneyland.com . Be sure to print your confirmation and have it with you when you pick up your meal between 2pm-8pm at the Sonoma Terrace.


3) The Dining Package

Disney offers a dining package at two of its restaurants, Ariels Grotto (inside seating adults $36.99/ kids $18.99) and Wine Country Trattoria (adults $39.99/ kids $18.99). They offer a Prix Fixe menu with some hearty entrée choices as well as the coveted FastPass for the preferred viewing section for the show. Ours was in the blue section and allowed us to select our spots before the other FastPass holders were let into the viewing area.

World of Color


Tip: Of the three FastPass methods this was by far the most convenient and provided the best viewing selection. To make reservations call Disneyland Dining at : 714-781-DINE. Reservations are taken up to 60 days in advance.


I have my FastPass now what?

Your FastPass will detail where you go to check in for your show. The first show usually requests that you go right to the viewing area, while the second and third will have areas where you will queue up and a cast member will lead you to your assigned viewing section. Have your Fast Passes handy and ready to show when asked. The cast members are very diligent about checking them and you will be asked to show them a few times as you reach your viewing location.

woc3.jpg

Tip: When you enter your section, find your spot quickly. Best places are where a rope or fenced divider is to avoid having someone right in front of you. Opinions vary on if closer is better, but I can tell you, the closer you are the more intense the experience. However, the closer you are, the more likely you will get wet. They do have a Splash section right in front of Yellow and other locations - and they aren't kidding. If you want to get wet, you will.


What if I don't have a FastPass at all?

You can still see the show without being in one of the assigned color sections. Anywhere you can see the water will offer some view of the show and you will certainly hear the music. However from the side or behind you will likely not see the screens that project the characters and other animation.

I will say that after you have seen the show from the front viewing area, it's a wonderful experience to view the next show from the side or behind the main viewing area. It gives you a whole new appreciation for the artistry of the fountains and color patterns that don't get as much attention when the projections are visible.

Another interesting view is from a theme park view room on a higher floor at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. The music is piped into your room through a dedicated TV channel and the overhead view of the show is a unique perspective that you do not get from the ground.

Regardless of where you view the show, you will see Disney entertainment at its best with all of its heart string-pulling, energizing excitement we have come to expect from these talented Imaginers.


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Beci Mahnken, CTC-MCC is the Founder, President and CEO of MEI-Travel & Mouse Fan Travel - An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner - Beci has over 12 years vacation planning experience, specializing in vacation packages and cruises, with a team of over 60 affiliates nationwide. Visit: www.MouseFanTravel.com - Follow Beci on Twitter @beci_MouseFan


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About June 2010

This page contains all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in June 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

May 2010 is the previous archive.

July 2010 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.