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October 2008 Archives

October 1, 2008

Photo Album- Super Soap Weekend

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

It's time once again to peek inside my photo album. Although I hadn't followed a soap in years (after Ricky Martin left "General Hospital"), I thought it'd be fun to check out Super Soap Weekend at Disney's CA Adventure. Let's journey back in time to 2002 when Soap Opera Bistro still existed. All of the actors pictured are or were on "General Hospital."

One important thing I need to express is that these photos cannot be posted elsewhere, saved, printed or distributed in any manner.

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Colton Scott portrays Nikolas Cassadine

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Marissa Ramirez plays Gia Campbell

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Left to right: John Ingle (Edward Quartermaine), Wally Kurth (Ned Ashton),, Jaime Ray Newman (Kristina Cassadine), Alicia Leigh Willis (Courtney Matthews), and Billy Warlock (AJ Quartermaine).

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Rebecca Herbst as Elizabeth Webber

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Michael Saucedo co-starred as Juan Santiago

Meeting the guy who played Ricky Martin's character's son was interesting because Michael Saucedo is older than Ricky Martin. Interesting casting.

Previous Photo Album - Character Masquerade

October 2, 2008

Japan Pavilion

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer


Japan_Pavilion_in_Epcot.jpg
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 26s shutter, f8

Choosing a Pic of the Week for architecture was really hard! Walt Disney World is an amazing place to take architectural photos and I love that kind of photography. So let's just say I have more than a few photos that would have worked for this week. Narrowing it down to just one was definitely a challenge. I ended up picking this night time photo of the Japan pavilion in Epcot for no other reason than it makes me remember being there.

October 3, 2008

Finding Your Star Photos

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

After having figured out a photographic naming system, organized digital photographs on our computer systems, learned about metadata and some powerful software to manage our growing library of photos, it's now time to learn how to edit them. I'm not talking about editing like in Photoshop, I'm talking about selecting the best photos from a typical day of creating photos at a place like Walt Disney World or anytime you come back to your computer with a new batch of photographs.

This process is referred to as rating. Since rating your photos is a very personal thing, I am going to tell you how I approach it to give you some ideas on how you might. I have chosen to use the Star Rating system which many software products support. Simply put, photos are rated from Zero Stars to Five Stars. How you use those Stars is up to you.

When I get a batch of photos from the Magic Kingdom, as an example, onto my computer and start reviewing them, I only use One Star for photos I want to keep for further review. Any photos I don't give a Star to will be deleted. These Zero Star photos are easy to spot. They are technically bad (focus off, exposure too dark or too light, blurry from too slow a shutter speed, etc.), compositionally bad (no subject, subject too small or too big, unflattering people expressions, background too busy, etc.) or for some reason the photo just doesn't look good to me. Again, it's very subjective and personal. For family and vacation photos I am not as picky as I would be for a wedding or portrait work. The picture of my kids with Stitch might be a bit overexposed but it's the only one I got so I'll choose to keep it.

After discarding the Zero Star photos, I'll go back and see what's left. I'll be more keen on rating photos above One Star this time. A photo gets Two Stars if it's technically solid with focus on the subject and excellent exposure. Sometimes I will drop the Star if what I thought I saw the first time doesn't hold up. Three Stars is given to photos I feel are the best of the lot. These photos are technically solid (if not nearly perfect) and have a great subject. Most of the photos I publish here are Three Stars or better. Currently, I don't use Four Stars but maybe you do or will. Five Stars is for my computer wallpapers. They are all landscape in orientation and outstanding (in my opinion) photographs for my computer's desktop.

Below is an example of one of my Five Star photographs of the Liberty Belle Riverboat leaving dock with waving guests aboard and the Haunted Mansion in the background. The photo is nicely composed, very colorful, tack sharp focus and well exposed.

The Liberty Bell Riverboat sets off on it's trip down the Rivers of America in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Liberty Bell Riverboat sets off on it's trip down the Rivers of America.
Nikon D70/18-70G, 1/250s, f/11, 200 ISO, EV +0.3, 31mm Focal length

Star Ratings is just one way to rate your photographs. Others use colors and numbers. I first used a rating system using numbers from 1 to 10 but found that too much to keep track of in my head as to what was a 4 versus an 6 or 7. I found this useful link of a professional photographer and how he uses the Star Rating system.

What system do you use to rate your photographs? I would like to know and do a follow up article on what others have found works for them.

October 4, 2008

Norwegian Architecture

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Replica of the Stave Church in Epcot's Norway pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Replica of the Stave Church in Epcot's Norway pavilion.
Nikon Coolpix 995, 1/250s, f/5.2, 100 ISO

My entry for the Disney Pic of the Week on Architecture can be found in Epcot's Norway pavilion. The Stave Church is a replica of the Gol Stave church found in the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo, Norway. Don't forget, as the AllEars.net webpage will tell you, there's an exhibit inside where you'll learn about some very famous Vikings.

October 5, 2008

Where in the World #56

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #55:
 Where in the World #55

And here's the answer:
Casey's at the Magic Kingdom
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/160s shutter, f6.3

Getting a hot dog at Casey's Corner on Main Street USA is a "must do" whenever I am in the Magic Kingdom. You can always find this guy hanging out in front just waiting for someone to holler, "Batter up!"

Scott Price was the first to send in the correct answer this week! Congratulations to Scott and all the readers who got the answer right: Aj Perras, Alicia Henderson, Allie Reckendorf, Allison Dibiase, Allison Meredith Lowry, Amber Keen, Amy Lucas, Angela Jones, Anna Mansfield, April Ramey, Barbie Lawless, Belicia Dawson, Brenda, Brian Petras, Brian Sherwin, Brian Yesutis, Bruce Arnold, Bruce Lawson, Cameron Love, Cari-ann Smith, Carol Donoghue, Caryn Schill, Chris And Alison, Chuck Sands, Colin And Katy Christenson, Damon Carter, Dan Record, Dana Schirnhofer, Danielle Destefano, Dave Cole, Debbie Hudson, Derek Carty, Diane Furtado, Dina Grassi, Double Family, Ed Nawrocki, Elizabeth Akerley, Emma Poprock, Erin Hammer, Erin Kubicki, Glenn Meyer, Heather Coursen, Heather Mcfall, Holley Blyler, Jackie K, Jared Orth, Jeanne Cundiff, Jen & Ansley, Jen Cox, Jen Norris, Jennie Connelly, Jennifer H., Jennifer Tremley, Joanna Snow, Joy Johnston, Jude Toups , Julie Fahrner, Kameo Crea, Katarina Whitmarsh, Kate, Kathy Francis, Kathy Lutz, Katie Rich, Kellie Harpel, Ken Fischler, Ken Kleiner, Kevin Cowdell, Kevin Toomey, Kim Garabed, Kristopher Nixon, Kye Layton, Leslie Dameron, Marcie Soderlund, Marie Phillips, Mark Trigg, Matthew Waga, Merrie Tesh, Michael Gainey, Michael Nanney, Michelle Buchecker, Michelle Whalen, Neil Taylor, Noreen Rachuba, Paul Amico, Paul Ignudo Jr, Penny Urell, Richard Nussbaum, Robin Fitts, Ron Harper, Ronni, Rusty Podbelski, Ryan Stevens , Sarah Steill, Scott Cullen, Scott Junkin, Shane Stack, Sharon Dale, Sharon Leitgeb, Sharon Powers, Shelly Ranney, Stuart Hale, Tammie Sparks, Theresa Rucando, Tim Rachuba, Tim Sayler, Tom Koval, Tom Linder, Tommy Carty, Trish Babler, Vicki Vaught and Wendy Snelgrove. Each of you have been entered in the October winners' drawing.

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Challenge #56: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #56

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, October 9, 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 cool Disney book!


October 7, 2008

Disney Pic of the Week - Fireworks

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

The theme for this week's Pic of the Week is Fireworks! The fireworks shows in Disney parks are truly spectacular events. This week, Lisa, Scott and I will be sharing some of our favorite photos from the breathtaking fireworks displays that Disney produces.

Magic Kingdom Fireworks
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 2.4s shutter, f11

This photo was taken at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, during Hallowishes. I like standing right in front of the Partners statue, where the Photopass photographers set up shop, to photograph the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. The backlighting of the castle and the fireworks gives me a nice silhouette of the statue from this spot.

Here's a tip. It's usually pretty crowded there at the hub, but if you set up your tripod right next to the Photopass photographer's tripod, people will be less likely to stand right in front of you or trip on your tripod legs. Give it a try next time you are there.

How to Photograph Fireworks

October 8, 2008

Pleasure Island's Kiss Goodbye: Act One

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

I remember reading all about Pleasure Island when I was planning a trip with friends in 1995. It all sounded so exciting with its various themed clubs but we never made it there and I was sorely disappointed. During various trips that came later, mostly alone, I made an effort to explore Pleasure Island but only got as far as 8 Trax, Rock 'n Roll Beach Club, Comedy Warehouse, and the infamous Adventurer's Club. The last two clubs quickly became my favorites as I love improv, singing, and comedy.

I took my cousin Matt to the Adventurer's Club a few times between 2004 and 2007 and it just wasn't his cup of tea. Now, it wasn't the shows but some guests who freaked him out. We did make into a show in the library during a birthday trip and his friend Greg was brought up on-stage to do the Fax Machine Dance. Greg is 6'6" and at the time was 17 years old. The maid who brought him there turned red and referred to herself as Mrs. Robinson when she realized she'd just picked up a teenager. GOOD TIMES!!

Over time I came to pick out favorites at Comedy Warehouse; Mary and Lisa. I didn't have faves at the Adventurer's Club and I think it's because I never saw all of the shows but I did recognize several actors which gave me a wonderful feeling of comfort.

On Wednesday, September 24th, Barrie and I carried our tripods and cameras around Pleasure Island staying outside of the clubs. Things were spookingly quiet for a nightspot that's about to close despite letter-writing campaigns and petitions.
lkb_pi_empty.jpg The calm before the storm.
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No line, no waiting at Mannequins.

On Thursday night, I returned to PI alone in hopes of hitting the dance clubs to see their interiors at the very least but instead I opted to revisit the Adventurer's Club. My friend told me that Lou Mongello might be there and I figured he may be accompanied by his wife and friends whose company I enjoy. Once inside the Club (pronounced as if it was in Spanish), one could see the crowd downstairs filled the room. Making my way downstairs I poked my head into the Treasure Room and sure enough there was Lou and friends. YES! People I know!
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The place was at full capacity on 9/25/08.

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Emil carried the Balderdash Cup around and received many a "Congratulation".

A bit of info that is pointless but all the same quite funny to me. As you've seen, the Adventurer's Club was quite hopping and so when I made my way to the Ladies Room I feared the impending line. Much to my surprise, there was no line. Wow! OK so anyhoo, when I left the loo, I saw one of the maids and she passed right by me. I was so happy to see an actor up close that I let out a "YAY!" Well, back into the room I went and quite luckily found myself just to the side of the small platform where Yvette, the French Canadian maid took to the microphone.
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As previously stated, I didn't have a favorite actor/actress as of yet but after a few sung notes and jokes, all that changed. Too bad I didn't stay put for her entire performance but I felt like those who visit the Club far more often than myself deserved to have a better view.


October 9, 2008

Wishes

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Cinderella's Castle during a performance of Wishes in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella's Castle during a performance of Wishes .
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, ISO 200, 18mm Focal Length

In reviewing all my digital photos of fireworks at Walt Disney World, I didn't have many to go over. I keep saying I'm going to bring a tripod one of these days. On my last trip, I used a Disney furnished quadpod (you would call it a trash can) to capture this moment during a performance of Wishes as my Disney Pic of the Week for Fireworks.

October 10, 2008

Advanced Camera Holding

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When shooting in low light or after dark at Walt Disney World, I have stressed the use of a tripod to get the best results. However, I understand it is not easy to do so when traveling to and at the parks.

If you have a digital SLR camera, I have another alternative for you called Da Grip. It's explained in this video by National Geographic photographer, Joe McNally, on how to hand hold a camera to get you one or two extra stops. I can usually hand hold my camera down to about 1/30th of a second with my lenses before I learned this technique. Now, I have successfully gotten good results down to 1/8th of a second which is two extra shutter stops as Joe explains in the video. On my next trip to WDW, I'll be putting this technique to the real test!

You might remember I reviewed Joe's book, The Moment it Clicks, earlier this year. The video is 7 1/2 minutes long.

Pleasure Island's Kiss Goodbye: Act Two

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

I last left off having watched Yvette, the French Canadian maid entertain folks in the Main Salon at the Adventurer's Club. To read Act One, click here.

Once I got back to the Treasure Room, I spent time chatting some more with friends and then made my way over to the bar to try and purchase a special Kungaloosh plastic cup. During my previous visits I was under the impression that the Adventurer's Club mugs and cups were only used to serve alcoholic beverages and yours truly doesn't drink. So when I was advised that one could order soda and get the cup I was elated and made my way to the bar.

Gingerale in an AC Kungaloosh cup: $4.00
Tip: $1.00
My happiness: Priceless

The show in the library had just filled up so my pal Mark Goldhaber said this was the time to line-up for the next show which some of us thought to be the Hoopla (HOOPLA!) but turned out to be Sugar Snapp's very entertaining Maid's Sing-Along.

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Sugar Snapp mingles with guests waiting to see her show. She's quite the character.

I'd like to point out if I may that it was a very kind and (no pun intended) sweet gesture that each person found on their chair when entering the library. Inside a shear red drawstring bag was a packet of sugar and a note that read:

Sugar is just pixie dust that makes life sweeter!
THANKS for all the sweet times!
Xo,
Sugar Snapp

After learning all about grey squirrels, there wasn't a chance in...the World...of getting into the final show that night so I made my way out onto the street only to find a doorman summoning people into Comedy Warehouse. Wahoo! It was a great show as always and they kept me laughing the whole time.

Time to head back to the hotel. Awww shucks!

Saturday, the day no fan wanted to reach. The day Pleasure Island and all of it's neon lights, thumping bass, cheers, first dances, smiles, and boisterous laughter came to an end. Two friends of mine planned on getting there in the early evening as Adventurer's Club opened at 6pm. In hindsight, I should have followed suit because I didn't get into AC until Sunday morning but I'm jumping ahead of myself.

Upon arriving at PI, I grabbed some quick shots of the line at Mannequins, the band playing outside, those trying to get into 8-Trax, and as I neared the exit of Comedy Warehouse, comedian/actor Paul Vogt.
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Frankie and the West End Boys keep rockin'.

The news going around was that AC was at capacity and people were only allowed in when others left and anyone who wanted to could stay there from open to close. I feared never getting in sort of gave up, another mistake. I got in line for Comedy Warehouse and my friend Robin joined me. It was a GREAT, SUPER, FANTASTIC performance and I was happy to have witnessed all the antics and as a bonus, got to see one last show co-starring Lisa.
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With fingers crossed and wishes for a miracle, Robin and I joined the ever-growing queue to get into the Adventurer's Club. Very slowly, people would trickle out and those of us waiting to get in applauded and cheered them. A few of the actors came outside during the night to meet and greet with friends and fans. To me, that says a great deal about how much these folks love their jobs and appreciate each and every person who has ever climbed the highest of mountains, skiid polar ice caps, and proved his/her recklessness, bravery, and most certainly their loyalty.


October 11, 2008

A Few Streaks of Light

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Suffice it to say I'm not one who photographs fireworks so when the topic came up for the week I knew I had better get some shots. Barrie and I attended Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on Sept. 23rd. While she set up her tripod in a perfect location, I sat on the ground right in front of the castle with a small bendable tripod that was less than cooperative. So please be gentle as I submit this pic taken with the Canon PowerShot S5 IS on the Fireworks setting.

LKB_fireworks_hallowishes.jpg

October 12, 2008

Where in the World #57

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #56:
 Where in the World #56

And here's the answer:
Finding_Nemo_the_Musical_at_Disneys_Animal_Kingdom.jpg
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/500s shutter, f1.6, ISO 1250

This one turned out to be trickier than I thought. So many people guessed It's a Small World or the Enchanted Tiki Room, Under New Management in the Magic Kingdom. I took this photo during Finding Nemo, the Musical in Disney's Animal Kingdom. I finally had a chance to see it when I was in Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago. What a great show - I just loved it!

Sharon Dale was the first to send in the correct answer this week! Congratulations to Sharon and all the readers who got the answer right: Eli And Amy Young, Brandy White, Alicia Henderson and Bonnie Smith. Each of you have been entered in the October winners' drawing.

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Challenge #57: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #57

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, October 16, 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 cool Disney book!

October 13, 2008

December Disney World 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.


Peace on Earth. I can't think of a better sentiment to bring a close to 2008. This beautiful scene is from the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

I can hardly believe it's been nearly a year since I began posting these calendars! I've had such fun putting them together and sharing them with you that I've decided to go ahead and keep posting them into 2009. Hope that's ok with you!


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.

December 2008 8.5x11 Calendar


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

December 2008 Jewel Case Calendar


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

October 14, 2008

Disney Pic of the Week - Water

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney Imagineers use water for landscaping, entertainment and transportation and is the theme for this week's Disney Pic of the Week. The close up of the Liberty Bell's water wheel show transportation and the beauty of water use in the Magic Kingdom. Lisa and Barrie will be showing their wet visions on Thursday and Saturday.

The Liberty Belle Riverboat Water Wheel in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Liberty Belle Riverboat Water Wheel.
Nikon D70/80-200D, 1/250s, f/4.5, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 80mm Focal Length

October 15, 2008

Pleasure Island's Kiss Goodbye: Act Three

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

If you've missed my previous memoirs, you can read them here:
Act One
Act Two

There were a great number of Disney's management team going in and out of the Adventurer's Club. Why? I am not sure but I can tell you that before midnight one of them came through the line and promised that each of us would get inside the Club to take pictures one last time.

At midnight, for the last time, Pleasure Island rang in the new year with 80's pop songs, fireworks, and MCs. Also during the night they had street performers on stilts. I believe it's been a good three years since PI saw a night such as this.
purplemonkeyboy.jpg

ac_fireworks.jpg

With a television set up, we could watch the final Hoopla (HOOPLA!) while in line. The quality was a bit rough as they were probably using security cameras but we were happy to see something.

My memory of it all is possibly out of order so bear with me. We made it into the Club around 12:30pm. I grabbed some quick crowd shots then made my way downstairs in search of the restroom while everyone else in the Main Salon was watching the Hoopla (HOOPLA!) on a projection screen. I didn't want to distrurb people again so I stayed in the back hallway until the show was over. However, sitting on a couch by the elevator allowed to get quick glimpses of several actors as they ran back and forth and between floors. There were 3 or 4 of us in this area and we just smiled and said "Hello" as they passed by.
emiljunior.jpg

I recall Fletcher Hodges coming out of one door and entering into another and stating that he put Slappy away and didn't steal him.

Emil Bleehall Senior came by the most, always with his adorable smile.

I remember hearing someone who I later found out was Emil Bleehall Junior, singing a very heartfelt and sentimental rendition of "When You Go." There was no way those in the Library could see that performance and not tear up.

Once the saints went marching in, a security guard told us that the actors went into the Main Salon to greet fans. I saw no one except guests who were trying to get as many photos as possible and to stop for a moment and just take it all in until we were ushered out. We left via the back exit and went up concrete stairs that brought us back up to street level. At the top of the stairs a CM ( management I believe) asked if anyone would like a letter. My friend Ken got the first one and I very happily was given the other one.

I looked around in hopes of seeing the cast outside but they weren't there. Security was telling everyone goodnight and moving us along. I felt like I'd gone from warm and cozy to cold and empty in a matter of seconds.

Farewell, Pleasure Island. Thanks for the laughs at Comedy Warehouse..
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Brian has performed countless shows at Comedy Warehouse.

Thanks for all the fun at Adventurer's Club. Thanks to all the CMs for their energy and wit. Kungaloosh!

October 16, 2008

Schweitzer Falls

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

As discovered by Dr. Albert Falls deep in the jungles of the cruise, I give you the backside of water. Ooh, ooh! Ooh, ooh!
lkb_water_backside.jpg


October 17, 2008

Metadata Revisited

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When I was talking about adding metadata and how to use it. I seemed to have confused some people about how much work it takes to add captions and keywords. While it does take time to add them, it's not as time consuming as it sounds. Photo management software like Apple's Aperture 2, Adobe's Lightroom 2 and others let you change metadata on more than one photograph at a time. This is called batch processing as you change a whole batch of photos at once.

To return to the example I was using. When loading or ingesting from a memory card onto my computer using Aperture 2, I give pretty general captions and keywords which cover all the photos. After I go through and edit the day's photos, discarding those I do not want, I'll add more keywords. Again, I'll use Spaceship Earth as my subject. I'll select all the Spaceship Earth photos I took and then open up a metadata window. Your program may call it something else like a tab. I click on the keyword field which already has the general keywords added earlier and add more of them. You have to use a comma to separate the keywords. Then press the Change or Update button to process the batch of selected photos with the additional keywords. The same can be done for any of the metadata fields available.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Partial view of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/400s, f/10, 200 ISO, EV -0.6, 52mm Focal length

Adding keywords can be even easier. Applications like Apple's iPhoto pulls up all your defined keywords in a window and you can click on the ones you want to add to a photo or group of photos. It pays to research what your photography software can do when it comes to saving time while entering metadata information.

October 18, 2008

Epcot Water Fountain

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer


Reverse_Fountain_in_Epcot.jpg
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 0.5s shutter, f5

My Pic of the Week for water is the reverse waterfall fountain, or water-rise, in Epcot in front of the Journey into Imagination Pavilion.

October 19, 2008

Where in the World #58

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #57:
 Where in the World #57

And here's the answer:
LEGO Dad at Downtown Disney
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/400s shutter, f8

Right on! There are a lot of people really paying attention to Disney's details! This photo was taken outside of the LEGO Imagination Center in Downtown Disney. Here, LEGO Dad is videotaping the LEGO Dragon.

Everyone who guessed the LEGO store and Downtown Disney will be entered in the October winners' drawing this week - and those of you who told me the photo came from the camera will be entered in the drawing twice!

Sharon Pierce was the first to send in the correct answer this week! Congratulations to Sharon and all the readers who got the answer right: Sharon Dale, Neil Taylor, Bryan Timko, Ed Aleszczyk, Angie Young, Debbie Hudson, Lesley Strawderman, Cameron Love, Scott Cullen, Belicia Dawson, Mike M., Brianne, Laura Tarbet, Danielle Murgia, Willie Tople, Holley Blyler, Caitlin Barringer, Debra Kuklinski, Chloe Williams, Jeff Schoeling , Michael Thrash, Alex Karr, Zachary Dameron, Amanda Campbell, Jessica Reed, Amy Sooy, Eric Hoffman, Lisa Hoffman, Kelley H, April Haddock, Chris Bertelmann, Michael Gainey, Brandy White, Alicia Henderson, Joanna Snow, Kameo Crea, Tim Rachuba, Cam Lange, Teresa, Gretchen Freudenheim, Baines Family, David Uchtman, Lee Anastasi, Amy Wenzel, Zach C, Jared Orth, Jennifer Schwing, Christine Mckay, Jamie Poynton, Glenn Meyer, Nancy, Lynn Barber, Heather Stevens, Kim Garabed, Angie Winter, Mary Jo Collins, Bethany Mattiuz-king, Carinne Kight, Heather Coursen, Norma Hatfield , Ruth Cookson, Jodi Cook, Cheri Palmisano, Cheryl Costello, Noreen Rachuba, Theresa Rucando, Jen Cox, Carla Leger, Allison Lowry and Nathan Firth.

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Challenge #58: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #58

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, October 23, 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 cool Disney book!

October 21, 2008

Disney Pic of the Week: Street Performers

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Street performers not street walkers! This is a family-friendly website, people. Geez. ;-)

No matter which Disney park you visit, you'll find a vast amount of extremely gifted Cast Members who sing, dance, tell jokes, act, perform magic tricks, and improvise on the spot. Actors have character names such as Otto Von Bonn Bahn or Officer Duncan Donut and are Citizens of Hollywood over at Disney's Hollywood Studios. While at the Magic Kingdom you'll find the Dapper Dans and the Main Street Philharmonic filling the air with music.

EPCOT is home to the World Showcase Players who can be found in the UK and Italy. No matter where in the World you go, you'll enjoy endless talent. Disneyland, too, has Dapper Dans harmonizing on Main Street along with jazz musicians in New Orleans Square.

I stumbled across two most hilarious ladies at Disney's Hollywood Studios last month. Having only caught half of their act, it seemed as though each took turns writing a script for the other which had to be acted out on the spot. Dressed in shades of blue is Tallulah (Tuitti) Fruiti and donning a bright red ensemble is Minerva Limpwhistle. With luck, I'll catch their writing skills in action again at MouseFest.

lkb_streetperf_minveralimpwhistle2.jpg
This is when I found their show. I've no idea what's going on here.

lkb_streetperf_minervalimpwhistle.jpg
Tallulah is on the left behind the car. She's limping her way into the street per Minerva's direction.

Stay tuned for Barrie and Scott's entries this week as well.


October 22, 2008

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Action shots are especially hard to get with most point and shoot camera because they simply can't take photos fast enough to freeze movement. There are however high-end point and shoots which allow the owner to use manual settings which open up a stream of possibilities.

Once again, I picked up the Canon Powershot S5 IS which has a 10x optical zoom, Image Stabilization, and manual modes that allow me to control the camera. I opted to use Program (P on the dial) to see what the camera could do without being given any direction.

This is a tricky show to shoot because the opening is pretty dark and then the actors are in the shadows with bright sunlight behind them while running around the market.

Your location also matters a great deal as to how good your photos will come out. I found a single seat in the second row in the center section. Not too shabby considering I walked up just a few minutes before the adventure began.

lkb_indy.jpg
f3.5, 1/400, ISO 400

lkb_indy2.jpg
f3.5, 1/320, ISO 500
lkb_indy3.jpg
f8, 1/500, ISO 400
lkb_indy4.jpg
f8, 1/1600, ISO 320

As you can see, the camera made lots of changes according to the lighting situation and where the camera was focused. Certainly the blazing flames in bright sunlight upped the shutter speed and as Indy and his friend ran into the covered part of the stage, they became near-silhouettes.

In the Program mode, you can change your f-stop, shutter speed and ISO. That's what separates it from Auto, as well as more custom controls in the Menu. Give it a try.

Da da da daaaa, da da daa da da.

October 23, 2008

Tam Tams of Congo

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer


Tam Tams of Congo at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/400s shutter, f5

Here's my Pic of the Week for street performers. I always love watching the drummers from Tam Tams of Congo, a percussion and dance group who perform in Disney's Animal Kingdom. You'll find them next to the Dawa Bar in Africa several times throughout the day.

October 24, 2008

Spirit of Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I recently read a wonderful book on travel photography. Since most of us travel to Walt Disney World, I found lots of great information which can be used there, elsewhere and at home. It talks about finding the spirit of where you are. This is how I approached all my photography before I even knew this was how many others also described their vision. The book, Spirit of Place: The Art of the Traveling Photographer, was written by Bob Krist, who's a contributing editor at both National Geographic Traveler and Outdoor Photographer, back in 2000. The year it was written is important as digital photography was in it's infancy then. Most of the equipment he talks about in the book is still SLR equipment but is not digital. However, it all has equivalents to today's digital SLR and advanced Point and Shoot world of today. Digital photography has come a long way in just 8 short years. So, keep that in mind if you decide to read the book.

The first part of the book goes in depth as to the equipment Bob uses, composition of a good travel photograph and how to get the best technical photo possible. Very good for a beginning photographer and an excellent review for those who have been shooting for awhile. All this information is geared towards a working travel photographer which we all are when visiting Walt Disney World with our cameras. Right?

The part I most enjoyed was Bob giving tips on how to photograph people all over the world. Walt Disney World is unique in you can do that all in one day at Epcot. It's a bit easier in WDW but still takes a little effort to ask non-character cast members for their picture. If you are traveling without children, remember characters will pose for your camera, too. I have seen many great character portraits on message forums and photo sharing sites like flickr.

Bob talks about how to capture the essence of a city. Written before the advent of Yahoo or Google, it is much easier today to research a location then his advice. No need to write to a travel bureau when you can "google" it in seconds on our computers. Still, what to look for is very relevant and Bob tells you the best kind of things like festivals, parades, holidays, historical events and other cultural happenings. Researching a trip to Walt Disney World is the same. When you go, there are different things going on depending on the time of year and you need to know what they are and when they happen. One advantage for us is there's usually a schedule online for us to find out these things.

There's even a chapter on photographing in the tropics. Great tips on how to get good photographs even at midday on a bright, sandy beach. While he is referring to Caribbean Islands, central Florida poses the same challenges.

Throughout the book, Bob goes over how to create stories with photographs. Many of us do produce these in trip reports to our friends, family and Internet communities. Bob shows how to do it like an editor would. Giving ideas and examples on how to wrap up all those hundreds of images into interesting essays using all the techniques and equipment he introduces us to in each chapter.

The book is filled with Bob Krist's exquisite photographs taken on his many assignments for National Geographic Traveler, Outdoor Photographer, Smithsonian, Travel/Holiday and many other publications. Yes, the book is a little dated when it comes to the equipment he talks about but the rest is timeless information for us who enjoy photographing the places we travel to and live in.

How do I capture the spirit of Walt Disney World in a photograph? For me, Walt Disney's spirit lives on in the parks and some of it rubs off on all of us who visit. Of course, there are many kinds of spirits, below is one of magic. A man's vision of two dimensional characters brought to life and giving a family's children and their parents a gift in a photograph to cherish for the rest of their lives. You can find Donald and Daisy Duck (and other lovable Disney characters) on Mickey Avenue in front of their On-Location Hollywood Star trailers in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The spirit of Walt Disney can been seen in the faces of these children posing for their parents with Donald and Daisy Duck in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The spirit of Walt Disney can been seen in the faces of these children posing for their parents with Donald and Daisy Duck.
Nikon Coolpix 995, 1/100s, f/3.6, ISO 100, EV 0

October 25, 2008

The Dating Game

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Streetmosphere performance of The Dating Game in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Streetmosphere performance of The Dating Game in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon Coolpix 995, 1/137s, f/4.2, ISO 100, 0 EV

When I am walking around Hollywood or Sunset Boulevards in Disney's Hollywood Studios, I keep my eye out for those lovable characters Disney calls Streetmosphere entertainers. Back in 2003, I came upon them doing their version of the The Dating Game. The lady acting as the host gave me a look of "Do you believe he said that!" to an answer given by one of the eligible bachelors. It makes for a humorous entry for my Disney Pic of the Week on Street Performers.

October 26, 2008

Where in the World #59

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #58:
 Where in the World #58

And here's the answer:
Universe of Energy at Epcot
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/800s shutter, f7.1

This cool tile wall is in front of the Universe of Energy in Epcot's Future World. It's a great place to take some really fun pictures.

Angie Young was the first to send in the correct answer this week! Congratulations to Angie and all the readers who got the answer right: Sharon Dale, Deb Ragno, Darlene Harmon, Allison Lowry, Maryann Eckenrode, Jodi Cook, Brittany Irish, John Dupre, Brandy White, Steve And Kala Bieniek, Jennifer Chartier, Austin O'blenis, Ken Jackson, Chris Bertelmann, Scott Cullen, Belicia Dawson, Bryan Timko, Nancy Ahlsen, Linda Mac, Richard Uhler, Amanda Campbell, Neil Taylor, Elizabeth Akerley, Jennifer Tremley, Dale Knight, Brianne F, Ben Dameron, Sherry Klinefelter, Evelyn Cowdell, Debbie Hudson, Jen Campbell, Alicia Henderson, Bonnie Smith, Becky Terjung, Cam Lange, Tim Rachuba, Carrie Kenney, Sabrina Bogart, Karen Schlumpf, Diane Cripps, Elizabeth Scarborough, Hollie Hinton, Kendra Hettel, Jen Cox, Dave Cole, Jaime Thomson, Kellie Carter, Russell Hickerson, Pollyanna Buff, Kim Garabed, Hayley Lawson, Betsey, Suzanne Brown, Carla Leger, Kevin Toomey, Cheri Palmisano, Jamie Poynton, Lauren Seymour, Amy Wenzel, Brian Haas, Cheryl Costello, Bruce Arnold, Jerry Marceau, Karen Pizzuta, Jennifer Bogdan, Danielle Destefano, Patti Sturgis, Roye Ann Morris, Liz Moreau, Chris Kotcamp, Mike Kaczanowski, Jen Norris, Bruce Dormuth, Allison Dibiase, Maria Root, Matt Naldzin, Tammy Persons, Cheri Palmisano, Jen, Kathy Lowe, Robin Mcconnell, Jen Harrelson, Eric Bouchet and Noreen Rachuba. Each of you were entered in the October winners' drawing.

It's monthly drawing time again! I'm happy to announce this month's winner is Sharon Dale! Sharon's name may look familiar to you. She's been the first one to get the answer in the weekly contest more than once. Congratulations Sharon, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars schwag!

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #59: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #59

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, October 30, 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 cool Disney book!

October 28, 2008

Disney Pic of the Week - Halloween

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Happy Halloween! Guess what the theme is for this week's Pic of the Week! That's right" Halloween!

post500DSC_7780.jpg
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 50mm, 1/6s shutter, f1.4, ISO 1250

During Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, you'll find that one of the ghosts from the Haunted Mansion has made her way outside to taunt and haunt the guests arriving at the mansion. Be sure not to miss her - she has a lot of attitude!

As always, Lisa and Scott will be sharing their Pics of the Week on Thursday and Saturday. The three of us love sharing our photos with you each week, but we've decided it's just not enough. We think it would be great fun to see your photos too! So beginning this week, we'd like to invite you all to join in on Disney Pic of the Week. If you'd like to play along, you can share your favorite Halloween photos here.

October 29, 2008

Understanding White Balance

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Lisa here, ready to bring you another installment of Light Meter! (echo, echo, echo) Today we are going to turn our attention to a little something that most moms and dads aren't too familiar with, white balance. Rest assured, this has nothing to do with how many potatoes or how much cauliflower (Blech! TM Lisa) you eat. No, no, it is all about your digital camera, the heat it records, and the lighting in the image you're framing.

My camera records heat? Yes, digital cameras differ from film cameras in that they are made up of computer parts, one of them being a sensor. Sensors capture the heat or "color temperature" (in Kelvin) where as film captured color.

Wait, wait, what IS white balance? The technical answer can be found on www.dpreview.com. The not-so-technical answer is that in order to record colors properly given the lighting conditions, the camera looks for white within the image to adjust off of. If there isn't any white then the image can look dull and flat.

A large variety of point and shoot cameras allow you, the user, to adjust the white balance by selecting one of these options: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, and Fluorescent.

Let's look at some examples. First we begin with a colorfully painted building. If you're unfamiliar with it, it can be found in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Stand in front of the main entrance to Stage 1 Complany Store. On your left will be what looks like an alley. Head down the alley and look up on your left. Here you'll find Miss Piggy holding Kermy ever so tenderly.

The day I shot this was overcast. I have not made any adjustments to these photos whatsoever.

wb_muppets_auto.jpg
Here the white balance was set to Auto.

wb_muppets_daylight.jpg
White balance was set to Daylight here.

wb_muppets_cloudy.jpg
White balance was on Cloudy.

wb_muppets_tungsten.jpg
Tungsten

wb_muppets_florescent.jpg
And finally, fluorescent.

The camera's Auto White Balance did a terrific job of recording color, and not blowing out the white clouds. It's remarkably similiar to what the Daylight mode captured. However, the Cloudy setting picked up bolder colors, adjusting for the lack of direct sunlight. Neither Tungsten or Fluorescent would be able to recreate natural light.

What most people have in their homes is tungsten lighting. These bulbs look yellow/orange in print and aren't all that flattering to skin tones. To provide you with samples, I got some models who were just laying around underneath tungsten lights. Sure, they were in a smaller room than you or I would venture into but you get the idea.

wb_dwarfs_auto.jpg
Auto Dwarf

wb_dwarfs_daylight.jpg
Daylight Dwarf

wb_dwarfs_cloudy.jpg
Cloudy Dwarf

wb_dwarfs_tungsten.jpg
Tungsten Dwarf

wb_dwarfs_florescent.jpg
Fluorescent Dwarf

While Auto did a good job of eliminating most of the yellow/orange tint, some yellow still remains. Tungsten did the best job of color correcting.

Looking for a Dwarf? These guys are waiting for you to take them home from Toy Story Pizza Planet, first floor.

Want to get even more technical? Check out this webpage.
Scott's previous piece about white balance can be found here.

October 30, 2008

Spooky Pirates

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Some spooky pirates found in the Pirates Bazaar, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spooky pirates found in the Pirates Bazaar.
Nikon Coolpix 995, 1/30s, f/2.6, ISO 400, 0 EV

What could say Halloween more than those cursed pirates from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies that I found in the Pirates Bazaar gift shop you walk through when exiting the ride in the Magic Kingdom. I added a line from the song using Picnik.com to add some fun because at Walt Disney World, Halloween is all about the fun. Hope you enjoyed my Disney Pic of the Week for Halloween.

October 31, 2008

Sunny 16 Rule

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Over the years, some general rules of thumb have been applied to photography. We've talked about the Rule of Thirds in the past. The Sunny 16 Rule gives you the best results when used on a bright sunny day. I know that's silly of me to state it but I wanted to be absolutely clear on the sunny part. Luckily for us, Orlando averages 233 sunny days per year (SOURCE).

Here is the rule: Set aperture to f/16 and shutter speed (in reciprocal seconds) to the ISO setting.

You will need to switch to manual mode to use this rule correctly. Something this rule fails to mention is the sun position. The sun should be behind you and frontlight your subject. The photograph I took below of the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom on a bright, sunny day uses the Sunny 16 Rule. I put my Nikon D70 in manual mode, checked the ISO setting which was at 200 and set my aperture to f/16 and shutter speed to 1/200th of a second (1/ISO).

The Haunted Mansion in bright sun in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Haunted Mansion in bright sun.
Nikon D70/80-200D, 1/200s, f/16, 200 ISO, 155mm Focal length

Sometimes, the 1/ISO comes out with a funny shutter speed. In that case, use the closest one to it. Digital SLRs and advanced Point and Shoot cameras have more shutter speeds than the old film cameras the Sunny 16 Rule was first used with. Making it much easier to match up the 1/ISO with a shutter speed.

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About October 2008

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

September 2008 is the previous archive.

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