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June 2008 Archives

June 4, 2008

Nikon's Composite Function

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Taking photos is fun but it's exhilirating when you're trying to capture all the excitement you're feeling while traveling 25 mph on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Armed once again with the Nikon Coolpix 7600 point and shoot camera, I toyed with the Sports Composite feature. This can be found by turning the mode dial to the Sports icon. icon_sports.jpg Press the Menu button then scroll down to what looks like a horizontal waffle. In the top right hand corner of the LCD screen, it'll say Sports Composite. Press the OK button.

This feature works in the following manner:
1. It lowers the quality level down to 2 million megapixels per shot yet retains 7 MP for the entire image.
2. It turns the flash off.
3. The camera takes 16 shots in rapid succession and then saves the file to the SD card or internal memory, according to your settings.

New Nikon Coolpix cameras such as the S210 refer to this function as Multi-shot 16. To get to this setting you must first press the Mode button, select Shooting (camera icon) then OK. Press the Menu button then scroll down to where it says Continuous. On the directional pad, press the right side and select Multi-shot 16. You got all that? Sheesh. It's not exactly easy to get to.

The S210 is an 8 MP camera and when I tested it out (not at Walt Disney World, sadly) I found that it shoots each quick frame at 5 MP and saves the entire file as 8 MP. This is a nice increase in quality should you want to crop out part of the composite.

What does this Sports Composite/Multi-shot 16 look like? Drum roll please!
Click on the photo to view it larger.
I made several attempts during one roundtrip train ride to get a composite I was happy with. I'm a rather fussy photog, go figure. Being jostled around while photographing the back of some stranger's head is all in a day's work. At one point I uncontrollably slid from one end of the seat to the other. I should have listened to Gramps cuz it was the wildest ride in the wilderness!

June 6, 2008

Cloning Around

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A couple of months ago I started using Apple's Aperture 2 photo application. The photo editor in Aperture is much better than anything I've ever used. While not a true graphics editor like Photoshop, Aperture does have some tools which are helping me make great photographs from not-so-great ones.

Like this photo of a performer in Disney's Animal Kingdom's Festival of the Lion King show. I caught her just before she was about to blow a kiss to the audience at the end of the show. I really loved this photo except for the object on the right hand side. I believe it's a hand or part of a costume from another performer passing out of the frame.

Festival of the Lion King Goodbye Kiss in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Festival of the Lion King Goodbye Kiss before cloning.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, 1600 ISO, -0.3 EV, 200mm Focal Length

I could crop the object out but, with such a high ISO, the image would get even grainer than it already is. Aperture, like other photo editors, has a clone repair tool. What a clone repair tool does is allow you to take a part of a photo and then "paint" over another area duplicating that part. You do this with a "brush". In Aperture's case, it's a circle.

To go about fixing this photo, I selected the cloning tool and adjusted it's size. The area just above the object is what I used to clone. I moved the brush there and clicked the mouse to select it. Then, I moved my mouse with the left button held down over the area and carefully replaced the object with the selected area. Below is the final result after a few tries. Many editors let you start over if you don't like the initial results. If your photo editor doesn't, be sure to save a backup before starting. To see if your photo editor is capable of cloning, look through it's manual or support website.

Festival of the Lion King Goodbye Kiss in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Festival of the Lion King Goodbye Kiss after cloning.

June 8, 2008

Where in the World? #41

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #40:
 Where in the World #40

And here's the answer:
Pirates of the Caribbean sign at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/500s shutter, f5.6

I'm back! Thanks for putting up with me taking a vacation. I had a wonderful time on my Adventures by Disney tours of Italy and France. I'll be sharing some photos from my trip with you soon.

Several people thought that challenge #40 might have been part of the shipwreck of the Albatross at Stormalong Bay. I thought that was a pretty good guess but it wasn't quite right. Austin O'Blenis was the first to tell me that this scrawny pirate can be found in the Magic Kingdom, keeping watch from the crow's nest above the Pirates of the Caribbean sign.

Congratulations to Austin and all the readers who got the answer right: Nancy Bennett, Marissa D'Ambrosio, Walter N. Clark, Candace Dadswell, Bruce Lawson, Willie Tople, Lisa Pompa, Joey Roggenbeck, Robert Mcclean, Gary Burke, Mary Williams, Nan Newton, Don Williams, Chip Vermette, Jill Strand, April Haddock, Nora Beirne, Susan Mcdonald, Evelyn Cowdell, Debra Kuklinski, Dawn Bach, Jessie Romano, Marissa D'Ambrosio, Jennifer Tremley, Tabatha Lawson, Stacey Van Dyke, Juliet, Karen Dresser-Smith, Nancy Bennett, Dawn Suarez, Liz Moreau, Tom Linder, Theresa Peake, Nora Zajac, Christine Rotella, Laurie Parr, Heather Coursen, Heather Stevens, Becky Myers, Beth Dickerson, Nancy Crossman, Kate Fanning, Kelli Vancil, Beth Dye, Kim Phillips, Margaret West, Marisa Sanderson, Brian Haas, Jeremy Hardy, Carrie Gardner, JJ, Jamie Hammond, Janet Theriault, Lisa Battaglia, Jane Treppa, Tina Panzarella, Heidi Leshko, Sheila Saey, Heidi Summers, Debbie Hudson, Tim Sayler, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Alan Lichtman, Mark Carty, Brian Gallant, Noreen Rachuba, Christi Ison, Jennifer Schwing, Carinne Kight, Jen Campbell, Kimberly Kusser, Ashley Salters, Amy Cole, Mary Williams, Stacey Barboza, Marie H., Sherry Klinefelter, Kellie Carter, Ann Carr, Betsey Pickard, Chris Connors, Debra Moscara, Heather Timko, Sharon Powers, Dina Grassi, Dana Schirnhofer, Chad Ryan, Melesia Love, Robin Fitts, Emily Rennie, Wendy Snelgrove, Jesse Kline, Mike Venere, Paula Potts, Tim Rachuba, Sharon Pierces, Robin Mcconnell, Karen Schlumpf, Maryann Eckenrode, Michael Mclucas, Marie Bertini, Jaime Thomson, Ed Nawrocki, Josh Rohrbach, Christina Cella, Sharon Dale, Theresa Rucando, Amy Schweizer, Patty Carty, Hillary W, Kim Davis, Kevin Toomey, Louis And Susanpassauer, Deb Ragno, Brad Weaver, Erica Adkins, Sarah Bajek, Lynn Barber, Joseph Tortorici, Sara Lewis, Katarina Whitmarsh, Ann Fowler, Chris Bertelmann, Kelley H, Anne Hainsworth, Diane Ramos, Lisa Allison, Chloe' C., John Dupre, Garland Cox, Ed Aleszczyk, Jacquelyn Law, Kelli Olthoff, Stephanie Visco, Chris Thomas, Trygve Cumpston, Anthony Dearman, Belicia Dawson, Patty Sindone and Brandy White. Each of you were entered in the May winners' drawing.

Jennifer Tremley's name was randomly chosen as the winner of this month's drawing. Congratulations Jennifer! You are now the proud owner of some special AllEars® goodies and a copy of PassPorter's Walt Disney World by Jennifer Marx, Dave Marx, Allison Cerel Marx.


Challenge #41: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #41

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 12, by clicking HERE!

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a copy of PassPorter's Walt Disney World by Jennifer Marx, Dave Marx, Allison Cerel Marx!

June 9, 2008

Camera Safety and Comfort Tips

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

The past two years of lugging my dslr and related equipment around the resorts and parks have taught me a few things. Here are a few tips I have compiled for travelling safely and more comfortably with your camera while vacationing at Walt Disney World. They aren't in any particular order - just random thoughts I put into a list. Maybe there will be something here that is helpful to you.

My Top 10 Tips for Camera Safety and Comfort in Walt Disney World

1. I use a Tamrac Adventure 6 backpack to carry my camera, flash attachment, extra lens and batteries, etc. It is the perfect size - just big enough to hold everything I need, but still small enough to be comfortable all day long. I used to use a shoulder bag but after 3 days of carrying it around I found that my back really started to ache. I haven't had that problem at all since I switched to a backpack.

2. Inside my backpack I carry a small kitchen size garbage bag just in case of downpours. It takes up very little space and I've only ever needed it once, but boy was I glad I had it when I did. It made a perfect raincoat for my backpack. I got totally drenched running from the awning at the International Gateway entrance of Epcot to the Friendship loading area just a few feet away - seriously, it was raining that hard. But my backpack and all my gear stayed perfectly dry. That bag is also handy for wet rides like Kali River Rapids.

3. On rides where it doesn't fit well into the holder they provide for personal items, I just put my backpack on the floor with one of my feet through one of the straps. For instance, this works well on Expedition Everest.

4. Be aware when standing in lines with a backpack. I've never had any problems but it is possible for someone to get into your pack without you knowing it. It's not something I would fret about, just don't be a space cadet either. If you're in a situation that doesn't feel comfortable, take the pack off and carry it in front of you. A trick I discovered while travelling in Europe is to weave the strings attached to the zipper pulls through each other. It's a pain if you have to get in and out of your bag a lot but there's no way someone can easily open your pack without you knowing it either.

5. Keep in mind that when you're using your camera there is a lot happening around you that you can't see or might not notice. Be aware of your environment so that you don't trip over small children or get run down by an ECV. Try to get in the habit of keeping both eyes open when you are looking through your viewfinder.

6. If you're not carrying your camera on your neck, be sure to wrap the strap around your wrist for added protection, especially if you are taking photos on rides.

7. When it is on your neck, remember to hold onto it when you bend over (like to tie your shoe or look at merchandise) or you may bang it into something.

8. Another major improvement in my comfort level was when I switched to an Op/Tech camera strap - wow, was that ever a good find. Your camera will feel much lighter with this cushioned strap.

9. Be careful when using the viewfinder if you are taking pictures on bumpy rides (like on the Kilimanjaro Safari). Getting bumped in the face with a 3-4 pound weight doesn't feel that good, this I know from experience!

10. Don't ever let your camera out of your site. For instance, don't leave it in your stroller while you go on a ride or leave it on the table when you go to get more napkins. Just always be aware of your camera - it's easy to get distracted.

My best advice is to think of your camera as you would a newborn and you'll be fine. Well, I might not put a newborn on the floor of my Expedition Everest car but you know what I mean! What tips can you think of to share? Send them in and I'll put together another list.

June 10, 2008

Disney Pic of the Week: Butterfly Topiary

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Barrie, Lisa and myself would like to welcome you to a new feature here on the Picture This! Photo Blog. One of the things you told us you wanted to see in the survey we conducted back in April was more theme park photography. In response, we are going to post three Disney Pic of the Week entries, one from each of us, every week. To add even more interest (we hope!), each week will have a theme for us to follow and subjects will not be limited to just Walt Disney World but any Disney property or event in the world.

I get the honor of introducing the first Disney Pic of the Week theme which is (drum roll, please)...Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival

Butterfly topiary at Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Butterfly topiary at Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

This butterfly topiary was just outside the entrance to Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden during Epcot's Flower & Garden Festival in 2007. It was very late in the day and I used my camera's onboard flash to add just a bit more light to bring out the colors of the topiary's flowers.

Oh, I almost forget. Disney Pic of the Week's will be published on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

June 11, 2008

LLVL at F&G (Livin' la Vida Loca at Flower & Garden)

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. We are coming to you live (this show is pre-recorded) from the 15th Annual EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival. Today's broadcast will not only be viewed around the World The stars have come out to be a part of it all: Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Tinker Bell, and Nick Lachey! Settle back into your chairs as we get this lesson started! applause2.jpg

Please welcome to the stage out teacher/hostess for today, Lisa!

Thank you, thank you. (waving) It's an honor to be here at Walt Disney World. I don't want to stand around wasting time when we have lots to learn today but before we get started, a quick show of hands. How many of you are horticulturists? That's wonderful. How many of you remember Culture Club? Yeah! What was with that make-up and those outfits? (looking at the producer). OK, well let's get back on track here.

Please give a warm welcome to everyone's favorite Disneyland blogger, Laura Gilbreath!

Hello, hello. AllEars rocks! Whooooo!

Lisa: Let's walk down towards World Showcase. Oh hey, there are the Donald Duck and Daisy Duck topiaries. Why don't you go ahead and shoot and I'll see what you do and help you out.

Laura: Alright, I will do that. Lisa, here, take a look.

Lisa: I see you are going for the entire beach scene.


You may want to get a closer look at Donald because you'll be able to see more detail.


Laura: So instead of looking at the big picture, look at things from a different angle, and focus on one subject. Also, use the manual settings in the camera (my camera, Canon's A720 IS, in manual mode, will give you a preview of the exposure when you push the shutter button partway).

Lisa: Another thing to watch are the eyes. Be sure you can see both pupils if shooting from in front. If you're getting a profile shot, make sure the eye closest to you is clearly visible. Getting a body part or random item in front of the eye takes away the power and personality of your subject.

Let's see, here we have a pair of white cockatoos. What shots have you taken?

f8, 1/250, with fill-flash

f8, 1/100, with fill-flash

Laura: In the cockatoos, we played with the white balance and the manual exposure
and the flash. Both photos have the same aperture, but there's a faster
shutter speed in the first.

Lisa: You're doing swell, Laura. What do you say we head on over to Peter Pan's Neverland Garden?

Laura: Here we goooooo!

Voiceover: There are 4 different topiaries in Neverland: Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, Captain Hook, and the crocodile. The easiest one to access is Tinker Bell.

Lisa: Tinker Bell's face is unevenly lit because the sun is coming from behind her and her pixie coif is casting a shadow.


Lisa: Try zooming in on her face and I'll even out the light.


Voiceover: You may wonder what kind of magic happened to change the lighting. Did the sun move? No, it did not. Did Tinker Bell move? No, she did not. Was it magic?

Laura: What is that?


Lisa: It's a diffuser. It comes packed 1/3 of it's full size in a zippered pouch. Once unfolded, you place it between the direct sunlight and your subject and it literally diffuses the amount of light hitting your subject. This cuts out harsh shadows and high contrast. What did you learn, Laura?

Laura: This set is about getting close to your subject, and avoiding a washed-out
subject in bright sunlight - and it helps if you have an assistant with
the right equipment.

Lisa: Thank you all for joining us for Light Meter Live! Before we go, here's a quick peek at why you should always have a camera with you. Nick Lachey was filming "High School Musical - Get in the Picture." You just never know you might run into.


Looking for a diffuser? Try our Amazon Store or your local pro camera shop.

Goodnight everyone. Happy shooting!

June 12, 2008

Portrait of a Pirate

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Shiver me timbers, it's Captain Hook and he's trying to take over Peter Pan's Never Land Garden. A new addition to this year's festivities, the garden was located in the Imagination Walkway and features not only Captain Hook but Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and his worst nightmare, a crocodile. Tick tock. Tick tock.

Canon Powershot S5 IS, f8, 1/125, ISO 100

Read more about Epcot's yearly Flower and Garden Festival.

June 14, 2008

Year of the Monkey

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Chinese Topiary
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/400s shutter, f5.3

The China Pavilion in Epcot celebrates the Flower and Garden Festival with a display of Chinese Zodiac topiaries. My Pic of the Week is a topiary depicting the year of the monkey. If you were born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 or 2004 you're a monkey person!

June 15, 2008

Where in the World? #42

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #41:
 Where in the World #41

And here's the answer:
Chandelier at Disney's Boardwalk Inn
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/60s shutter, f5.6

This amazing chandelier is located in the lobby of Disney's Boardwalk Inn. It's breathtaking the first time you see it. This photo only shows one quarter of the massive fixture. There are actually four giant hippocamps* and four angels holding candelabras. It really is an incredible piece of art.

*Creatures with the head and foreparts of a horse and the serpentine tail of a fish are known as hippocamps in Greek mythology. Believed to be the adult form of a seahorse, they were ridden by Poseidon. (I learn the most interesting things when I write this blog!)

Dawn Bach was the first to send in the correct answer this week! Congratulations to Dawn and all the readers who got the answer right: Kim, Nora Beirne, Michael G, Nicole Cyr, Poopymail, Eric, Heather Coursen, Jeremy Hardy, Amy, Damon Carter, Jamie Poynton, Kellie Carter, Noreen Rachuba, Tim Rachuba, Maryann Eckenrode, Ed Aleszczyk, Hillary W, Josh Rohrbach, Katelyn P, Jennifer Horst, Susan Pitts, Heather, Ed Nawrocki, Jacquelyn Law, Austin O'Blenis and Garland Cox. Each of you will be entered in the June winners' drawing.

Challenge #42: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #42

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 19, by clicking HERE!

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a copy of PassPorter's Walt Disney World by Jennifer Marx, Dave Marx, Allison Cerel Marx!

June 16, 2008

August Disney Calendar

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

If you read my December 25, 2007 blog, you know that my holiday gift to you is that each month I will post a photo calendar page that you can print out and use at home or work during 2008.

I thought a photo from the Mexico pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase was a good fit for August, usually the hottest month of the year here in the states. Can't you just feel the balmy breeze of a warm summer evening when you look at this scene? Hmm... margarita anyone?

You will need to have Adobe Reader on your computer to download the calendar(s). Just click on the photo to download the calendar you want.

This one prints out at 8.5" x 11". It's handy if you need a calendar that you can write on.

July 2008 8.5x11 Calendar

This one prints out at 4.75" x 4.75", the perfect size for a CD Jewel Case frame.

July 2008 Jewel Case Calendar

Click here to see all of the calendars from past months.

June 17, 2008

Disney Pic of the Week: Horseplay

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

This week's pictorial theme is Rides.

An intriguing and famous image we've all seen is that of Walt Disney walking through Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Disneyland. What you see off in the distance behind him is King Arthur Carrousel, one of the park's original attractions. Sitting in the center of Fantasyland, it draws kids and adults alike with its beautiful handcarved horses, lustrous royal colors and enchanting music.
Canon EOS A2, Canon 75-300 USM, Fujicolor Pro 400H

Be sure to check out both Barrie's and Scott's Disney Pic of the Week this Thursday and Saturday.

June 18, 2008

Canon's Color Accent

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

I dedicate this blog to all my fellow Canon peeps. :secret handshake:

Camera companies are always competing in the sense that one brand's cameras can do something that another's doesn't. One of Canon's specialties is Color Accent. You'll find it in the SD750, SD890 IS, SD 1100 IS, S5 IS, and the G9 just to name a few.

I borrowed my neighbors' Canon Powershot S5 IS (the same camera that Deb Wills shoots with) for my latest Walt Disney World adventure. I can tell you that I already knew I wanted this camera before I even borrowed it. The S5 IS is in high demand everywhere, actually, so if you can find one, buy it.

What Color Accent does it it lets you pick out a single color from those in your picture, before you take it. The remainder of the image will turn black and white with the possible exception of green, which is the default color.

Here's how it works on the Canon Powershot S5 IS.

1. Turn the Mode Dial to SCN (Scene).

2. Press the control pad's right side until you see the icon for Color Accent. icon_color_accent.gif

3. Press the button for ISO.

4. The liquid crystal display (LCD) will show you a bar at the bottom and inside a box, the selected color to retain. The featured color will be the last one you used or it'll be green by default if you haven't used this setting before.

5. Point your camera at the color you want the camera to keep. Make sure that color is in the center of your frame. Now press the left side of the control pad.

6. Press the ISO button again to lock in your selected color.

7. Now take your picture.

Important note: Let's say you aim your camera at a blue shirt in hopes of using blue as your accent color but when you take your photo, it's of something that doesn't have any blue in it, like a chicken. Your image will be black and white without any blue. In order for the Color Aceent to work, the color you select has to be in the image you shoot.

I started off by aiming my camera at this yellow flower.

I set the camera to pick up the bold yellow and then recomposed my shot and took this picture.
It not only picked up the yellow in the chateua but it retained green, the default color as well.

I then took this shot and you can see a pale yellow in the stones.

Shop AllEars Net's Amazon store for the Canon Powershot S5 IS.

June 19, 2008

Dumbo's Night Flight

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Dumbo ride in Disney's Magic Kingdom
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 7secs shutter, f10, ISO 200

My ride Pic of the Week was taken while whirling high above the Fantasyland crowds on Dumbo the Flying Elephant. I used an extra long shutter speed to blur the lights of Cinderella's Carrousel as I passed by.

June 20, 2008

Cleaning a DSLR Sensor

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A couple of weeks ago I decided to clean the sensor in my Nikon D70 dSLR camera after taking hours cleaning up sensor dust spots on over a hundred images using software. Hopefully, you haven't seen sensor dust too much. The images I had were shot with apertures of f/16 and f/22 with a lot of clear blue sky. They revealed a lot of dust on the sensor. So, off I went to my local camera shop. They recommended a sensor cleaning kit which consisted of six sterile swabs and a vial of cleaning solution. Take note that the cleaning solution must be for your camera.

If you discover sensor dust while you are away from home, Barrie's tip on how to avoid sensor dust will hold you over until you can blow it off or clean the sensor.

Mirror Lock-Up Option
Getting back to physically cleaning the sensor, here is what you need to know and do to clean your camera's sensor successfully: find out how to set Mirror Lockup on your camera, tripod, air blower like a Giottos Rocket Blaster and purchase a sensor cleaning kit. I've listed a few reference links at the bottom to help you locate the kits for any dSLR camera.

Blowing out sensor cavity
After I got everything together and put my camera on the tripod, I aimed it downward, removed the lens, set the Mirror Lock-Up and clicked the shutter. This flips up the mirror and reveals the sensor. Well, it sort of reveals the sensor as all sensors are protected with a coating over them. It is the coating which gets the sensor dust on it and needs to be cleaned. I start out by using the Giottos Rocket Blaster to blow out any loose material on and around the sensor. Once that is complete, I aim the camera back up so I can see the sensor.

Following the directions with the sensor cleaning kit I have (yours might have be different), I put two drops of cleaning solution on the sterile swab. Applying pressure, I put the swab on my side. It's the right size to cover the sensor from top to bottom as I sweep it across in one direction, flip the swab over and repeat the sweep in the other direction. I wish I could say it was cleaned after the first swipe. It took all six of the swabs to get the sensor cleaned to my satisfaction. I had some welded on dust on the sensor which even required a little back and forth scrubbing. I still have plenty of cleaning solution left over so will get some more swabs to have around for future cleanings.

Nikon D70 Camera Sensor
Nikon D70 dSLR camera with mirror locked up. The greenish rectangle is the sensor.

It wasn't hard to do and if you take your time and use the proper tools, I don't think you have to worry about damaging your sensor. I intend to clean mine more often now that I see how easy it was to do.

Reference Links:

Demystifying D-SLR Sensor Cleaning

How To Clean Your Camera's Sensor

June 21, 2008

Test Track High Banks

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

At speed on Test Track's high banked turns in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
At speed on Test Track's high banked turns in Epcot.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/40s, f/8, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

I'm a big NASCAR fan. I even did Richard Petty's Driving Experience once at Walt Disney World. For my Disney Pic of the Week featuring a Ride, I picked the next best thing to feeling like you are on a big track which is riding the high banks on Test Track in Epcot's Future World. In this picture I sat in the back seat to get more of the car, slowed the camera's shutter speed down to capture the motion of the car on the track and rode it late in the day for better lighting. I secured the camera with the strap around my neck and looped around my wrists.

June 22, 2008

Where in the World? #43

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #42:
 Where in the World #42

And here's the answer:
Hollywood and Vine sign at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/10s shutter, f5.3, ISO 800

Only a few people recognized this as the sign from Hollywood & Vine, a full-service buffet restaurant in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Hollywood & Vine is home to a character breakfast and lunch featuring the Little Einsteins and JoJo and Goliath. Dinner is a non-character buffet.

Susan McDonald was the first to send in the correct answer this week! Congratulations to Susan and all the readers who got the answer right: Heather Coursen, Linda, Jamie Poynton, Cameron Lange, Tim Rachuba, Wendy Snelgrove, Bob Kowalski, Kyle, Pollyanna Buff and Dan McDonald. Each of you will be entered in the June winners' drawing.

Challenge #43: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #43

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 26, by clicking HERE!

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a copy of PassPorter's Walt Disney World by Jennifer Marx, Dave Marx, Allison Cerel Marx!

June 24, 2008

Disney Pics of the Week: Night Photos

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This week Lisa, Scott and I will be sharing night photos in our Pic of the Week series. One of the most common questions I hear is, "When is the best time to visit Walt Disney World?" My favorite answer to that question is "After dark!" It's less crowded, cooler and absolutely beautiful! There's no better place to take night photos than Walt Disney World.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1.2 second shutter, f8

My Pic of the Week is from Disney's Hollywood Studios. This is Grauman's Chinese Theatre which houses the Great Movie Ride. I love how dramatic the lighting makes this building look against the dark sky.

Be sure to check back on Thursday and Saturday to see Scott and Lisa's night photo picks.

June 25, 2008

Panorama-a oh oh oh oh

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Looking for more funtastic things to do with your camera? How about creating a panorama by stitching together several photos. Not to worry, you don't need a needle and thread.

This was my first attempt EVER at shooting in Panorama Assist mode so be gentle with me.

Reading is Fundamental
I read online about using Panorama Assist specifically on the Nikon Coolpix 7600. When you take your first shot, the camera automatically determines the f-stop (how much light is allowed through the lens) and the shutter speed (how fast the camera takes the photo) for the subsequential shots. This means if you take your first shot of something in the shade and then shoot in bright sunlight, your panorama will look like...THIS! (think of Large Marge in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure")

Getting the Shots
I climbed up the stairs that take you to the Walt Disney World Railroad station on Main Street. This is an excellent vantage point for taking in all that happens in Town Square from character greetings to people watching to listening to all the cheery sounds and smelling the sweet and sugary snacks. Just the thought of it makes you feel good, doesn't it?

I stood at the railing aligning myself as best I could to the center of the shot. By turning only my upper body, I was fairly able to keep my shots in line with one another. Also, this gave me a chance to practice being animatronic. The Nikon Coolpix 7600 has a Panorama Assist program under the SCENE mode. After I took my first shot, starting at the left side of Town Square, the LCD showed me where my picture left off (faintly on the left) to help me compose the next one. It does this for each picture you take and is very handy.

After taking four shots, I was done. I made sure to reset the SCENE program to something else like Party/Indoor so as not to mistakingly shoot in the wrong setting.

These are my 4 shots and the order they were taken in starting with City Hall and moving all the way over to Exposition Hall.
pano1.jpg pano2.jpg pano3.jpg pano4.jpg

A Stitch in Time
Now comes the part where you leave all the work to someone or rather something else. If your camera offers this function and most of them do, then the software that came with your camera is what you'll use to create the actual panorama. I used Arcsoft Panorama Maker 4. You can download a free trial run from their website.

Once you've downloaded the photos to your computer, open the panorama software you have. Most likely it will find the photos you shot in Panorama Assist or Stitch Assist as the name changes from manufacturer to manufacturer. Arcsoft grabbed my 4 shots and after the press of a button, merged them together and created...
...a very strange morph. Click on the panoramas to view them larger.

I decided I'd attempt stitching them together with Adobe Photoshop CS3. It decided it only liked 2 of my photos but did a great job of stitiching them together.

Well, now what? I tried to create a panorama by hand in Adobe Photoshop CS3. By hand I mean I shrunk down all 4 shots and created a blank page and dropped each one in, tried my darndest to make all of the lines connect, cropped out the excess and was left with this.

What did I learn? Well, it's a bit difficult or perhaps impossible to line up these particular images because:

a. these shots weren't taken in a straight line as #1 and #4 are both to the side
b. there are lots of curves
c. the area isn't a flat surface but rather builds up a small incline
d. everything moved when I wasn't looking

Well, there you have, I'm practically perfect in every way. "Practically" being the operative word. Live and learn. I shall try this again next time.

June 26, 2008

Epcot's Morocco at Night

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Morocco pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Morocco pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase at night.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/10s, f/3.5, 1600 ISO, -0.6 EV, 18mm Focal Length

The Koutoubia Minaret (prayer tower) in Epcot's Morocco pavilion is beautifully lighted every night and makes an excellent Disney Pic of the Week for our Night theme.

June 27, 2008


Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Almost as important as the amount of light for a photograph is the direction the light is coming from. In the next three weeks, I'll show you how the direction of light effects your photographs. It doesn't matter what kind of camera you use, light properties and direction remain the same.

Frontlighting is light illuminating the front of a subject. The best kind of outdoor frontlighting is shown below when I captured the Resort Monorail heading to the Magic Kingdom while some anglers fished in the Seven Seas Lagoon. The sun was still low enough not to cast too much of a shadow below the monorail and evenly illuminated it and the fishing boat.

Resort monorail heading to the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Resort Monorail is frontlighted by the morning sun as it heads to the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/800s, f/8, 200 ISO, EV -0.3, 200mm Focal length

A variation of the sunny frontlight is the Overcast Frontlight. This is very nice, soft, even light and brings out colors and textures hard to see in bright sun. The ostrich on Disney's Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safari is a nice example. This was taken on one of the first morning safaris so the sun was behind me when I took this.

Ostrich seen on Disney's Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safari, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Overcast frontlighting as shown by this ostrich on Disney's Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safari.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/8, 200 ISO, EV 0, 65mm Focal length

Something you have to be careful of when shooting with overcast skies is to try and keep the sky out of the image as much as possible. The overcast sky acts like a huge light diffuser but is very bright. In the above photo, I wanted the jeep following mine in the picture or I would have framed it with only the ostrich and without the sky.

June 28, 2008

Night Scenes - The Future's so Bright

This building in Disneyland formerly housed Carousel of Progress. Personally, I wish it were still there.

Inside Innoventions you'll find video games, trivia contests, a glance into electronics that are coming our way and opening any day now, Dream Home. I haven't seen it but the images I have seen of the previous Home of the Future makes me think of those old cartoons where Goofy carried his house around in a briefcase. I love those cartoons.

Canon EOS A2, Canon 28-90mm, Fujicolor NPS 160.

June 29, 2008

Where in the World? #44

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #43:
 Where in the World #43

And here's the answer:
Anandapur Bus at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/160s shutter, f6.3

This highly decorated and colorful bus is actually a refreshment stand found in Disney's Animal Kingdom. It is located on the path to Asia as you are heading towards Expedition Everest. There were many guesses but only a handful of people got it right. I'll try to go easier on you with this week's challenge!

Darlene Harmon was the first to send in the correct answer this week! Congratulations to Darlene and all the readers who got the answer right: Karen Dresser-Smith, Karen Schlumpf, Aruna, Becky Hartness, Jen Cox, Anne-Lise Hagevig, Katt Stanley, Sharon Dale, Neil Taylor, Melissa Blackwell, Marie H., Kevin Toomey, Cameron Lange and Evelyn Cowdell. Each of you will be entered in the June winners' drawing.

Challenge #44: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #44

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 4, by clicking HERE!

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a copy of PassPorter's Walt Disney World by Jennifer Marx, Dave Marx, Allison Cerel Marx!

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About June 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Picture This! in June 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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