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January 2009 Archives

January 1, 2009

Beast of a Show

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Belle kicks her way through a musical number in the Beauty and the Beast Stage Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Belle kicks her way through a musical number in the Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/6.3, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 35mm Focal Length

Disney Hollywood Studios offers three stage shows and two stunt shows and by far my favorite is the Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage based on the popular Disney animated classic. Disney helped to resurrect the Broadway musical when they brought this story to New York City in 1994 and later with traveling shows throughout the world. This is my Disney Pic of the Week for Stage Shows.

January 2, 2009

Scott's Disney Photography Top 10

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When Lisa first proposed doing an end of year Top 10 list on what each of us liked to photograph at a Disney resort, I was worried I could not come up with one. Turns out I could have done a few Top 10 lists but I'll start with this one. To be honest, except for number 1, the rest could have fallen in any position. However, that wouldn't make a very good list now would it?

10. Disney Cast Members. Lisa really encouraged me to take more Cast Member photos on my last trip and I had fun doing so. This is CM Steve who lead the Keys to the Kingdom tour I took at Mousefest.

Cast Member leader of the Keys to the Kingdom tour in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.


9. Disney Hollywood Studio Shows. Particularly the Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage, which allows you to relive the magic of the movie's famous scenes and music in a live presentation.

Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.


8. Epcot's Spaceship Earth icon has captivated my camera's lens almost as much as Cinderella Castle has since I began visiting Walt Disney World in 1983. Here I was fortunate enough to ride in the front of a monorail and took this before orbiting Spaceship Earth.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.


7. My college degree is in Wildlife Biology and when Animal Kingdom opened I was thrilled. Since then, I have taken more photos in Animal Kingdom then the other parks combined. On my last trip, I brought along the Nikon 80-400 VR lens and got this photo of a resting tiger on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

Tiger resting on the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

6. In Disney's Hollywood Studios looms a ride taken directly from my TV Land youth. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror dominates the end of Sunset Blvd. and looks as menacing during the day as it does at night.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

5. I've taken photos of my daughters at Walt Disney World for the past 20 years. It's gotten so, when they are not with me, I still take some photographs of other guest's kids.

A girl sitting in Minnie Mouse's lap in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

4. I enjoy doing night photography at Walt Disney World. It has been frustrating in the past. Thankfully, technology like Image Stabilization in cameras and lenses is making it less so. Of course, to really get good, sharp night photos anywhere, you have to use a tripod which I did for this photo of the Mexico pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase.

Mexico pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

3. Due to the nature of my personal Disney website, PSCalculator.Net, I take a lot of photographs of restaurants at Walt Disney World for the reviews I write. Like this one of Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian resort.

Narcoossee's restaurant at the Grand Floridian resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

2. Like a lot of WDW photographers, Cinderella Castle seems to have some sort of gravitational pull on my camera when ever I am in the Magic Kingdom. Disney Imagineers find all kinds of ways to make Cinderella Castle even more photogenic each time I visit. Also, like a lot of other WDW photographers, I am always trying to find a new way to photograph it. I took this from the Contemporary Resort.

Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

1. I know you are all a bit bored with this photo since I first posted it earlier this year. However, my number 1 favorite kind of Disney photography is of my family and, especially, my daughters which I shared with you a couple of weeks ago.

Riding Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

January 3, 2009

Yes, I'm a Natural Blue

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

When they took my Tarzan (aka Tarzan Rocks, a musical with muscle, uhhh) away and sent him and his rollerblading monkey friends to Japan, it hurt my...soul.

Things constantly change at Walt Disney World and so arrived Finding Nemo: The Musical and do you know what? I liked it. It is completely different from any other stage production I've ever seen, anywhere. In other theatrical productions with puppeteers, you aren't suppose to see them, however, here the actors are the puppeteers. Actually, they're triple threats because some of them also sing and do stunts. Quadruple threats?

It's a shortened version of the movie, "Finding Nemo" with new music, a colorful set, fantastic lighting (two thumbs up from this photog), and a few surprises. I've only seen it twice and I can't wait to see it again.

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Dory and friend will make you laugh and smile as they just keep swimming.

Catch the show at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Shows are daily.

January 4, 2009

Where in the World #67

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #66:
 Where in the World #66

And here's the answer:
Emerald City at Disney's Hollywood Studios
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR, 1/30s shutter, f4.8, ISO 3200

We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz! You can follow the yellow brick road on the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios. That's where you'll find the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Dorothy and ToTo too as they cross the poppy fields to the Emerald City.

Angie Young was the first to send in the correct answer for this challenge! Congratulations to Angie and all the readers who got the answer right: Sharon Dale, Vicki Vaught, Chris And Alison, Michelle Morrow, Dave Carriere, Tim Rachuba, Cheri Palmisano, Trish Babler, Jamie Poynton, Noreen Rachuba, Tim Wingfield, Paula Massarelli, Courtney Crowe and Lisa Doerr. Each of you have been entered in the January winners' drawing.
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Challenge #67: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #67

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 8, by clicking HERE!
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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!

January 6, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Restaurants

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This week's Disney Pic of the Week is on Restaurants (and not food). Walt Disney World has a feast (pun intended) of places for you to eat at to meet anyone's culinary tastes. Disney puts in as much imagineering into their restaurants as they do their parks. Such that you can be in Downtown Disney or a Disney Resort and still feel the magic and taste the difference.

Flying Fish restaurant on Disney's Boardwalk, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Flying Fish restaurant on Disney's Boardwalk.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 2s, f/16, 200 ISO, +1.0 EV, 18mm Focal Length

The Flying Fish is an elegant restaurant fitting the theming of Disney's Boardwalk area. If you have your camera with you, be sure to ask the chefs to stoke up the fires for a great photo.

Barrie and Lisa will be strolling in with their own restaurant favorites on Thursday and Saturday.

January 7, 2009

How I Spent My MouseFest - An Epic Tale

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

(Lisa clears her throat)

How I Spent My MouseFest by Lisa K. Berton

(Lisa looks around the room and sees Jack Marshall sticking out his tongue. She rolls her eyes and looks back down at her report.)

Wednesday

I packed up my car with my suitcase, a carry-on bag, and my camera bag and headed to work. For the next five hours, I became fidgety and kept looking at the clock so that I could break free and head to the airport on time. Finally, the clock struck 2:30 and I put on my coat, grabbed my bags, headed out the door and straight to Panera Bread which was less than a minute away. I got a grilled cheese sandwich to go, piled everything back into my car and headed down the highway while eating lunch.

I arrived at the airport with an excessive amount of time to spare so I played a few games of Ms. Pac Man and Gallaga in the airport arcade. Due to storms South and West of Rhode Island, our plane coming from Philly was delayed. Long story short, we left and landed more than an hour late in Orlando.

I'm going to skip ahead to the search for my Owner's Locker.

(Lisa looks up at Erin Blackwell who is bouncing up and down in her seat with her hand in the air.)

Yes, Erin?

What resort did you stay at?

All-Star Movies.

Do you like dogs?

(A puzzled look comes over Lisa's face)

Suuuuure. Anyhoo, as I was saying, I'm going to tell you about the search for my Owner's Locker. Since my flight was delayed, by the time I checked in it was roughly 11pm and the luggage service was closed. The very kind people at the front desk tried to locate my purple container but after making several treks to the back and a few phone calls, they came up empty.

Thursday

In the early morning hours, I called for luggage services and was told they didn't have it nor did Music or Sports and that I should call Owner's Locker. I texted John who got back to me immediately, promising that he had not only delivered it but placed it on the shelf himself. I called the front desk, was placed on hold and many minutes later told it could not be located and a manager would call me. Thirty minutes went by and I called back down, talked to the manager in that department, Jennifer, who in a rather unprofessional manner, informed me that they had delivered my container Wednesday morning to the room my friend was originally assigned to prior to her checking in. Reservations changed the room assignment BEFORE she checked in. The box was delivered BEFORE she checked in. I've never had anything delivered to my room without calling down for it and having to be in the room upon delivery. Have you?

(She looks up and sees everyone shaking their heads "No.")

In the end, my container was deIivered to me as we were leaving to check out. I spoke to Rodney at the front desk, who must be a manager or supervisor. He apologized several times, deducted one night's stay at Music from my bill (I switched resorts in the morning) and gave each of us 2 special FastPasses. He's a good employee; very professional, courteous, honest, and engaging.

With all of that behind me, my BFF Tracy, her son Zach, and I headed out into the pouring rain and drove to the Beach Club for our breakfast reservation at Cape May. The food was terrific, the character interaction was swell, and we were seated an entire minute after we checked in. Awesome!

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With the weather being promiscuous, we decided to see if we could catch anyone at the Contemporary after the MF kickoff event. We found some of our friends, hugged them, then headed to the gift shop. Zach and my BFF Tracy went off on their own and I headed to the Magic Kingdom via monorail with Byron, Melanie, and Noah.

I'll go through this quickly. I popped over to the Dole Whip meet where I located my Pop and more friends. Michelle Scribner-MacLean very kindly offered to carry my poncho and packet of pins & lanyards for me. I almost tossed in my car keys but held back. This would later prove to be a wise decision. Then it was off to enjoy Carousel of Progress, the People Mover or whatever you want to call it with some online pals. We split up into another group and ventured off to the Haunted Mansion, Big Thunder Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean. While they were railroading, I called Michelle. She was back at her hotel room and not returning to the Magic Kingdom for a little while. See, this is why it's a good thing I didn't toss my car keys in the bag. Phew!

I was invited to join the girls; Susan, Karen, BetsyAnn, Kristen, Pam, Lynne, Gloria, and my BFF Amy for dinner at Kona Cafe but before that we checked out the decorations and gingerbread house in the Grand Floridian. While we waited for the monorail, my pal Lynne and I talked to Jack Marshall, Laura Gilbreath, and Deb Koma who were tossing paper airplanes off the balcony or so I suspected.

Any questions?

(Mike Scopa stands up and places his hand over his heart)

Lisa, did you partake of the glory that is the Dole Whip?

No, I did not.

(Mike places his hands on his hips)

Why not?

I really wasn't in the mood.

(Mike shakes his head in disbelief, sits down and begins to sob. Deb Wills comforts him by singing a lullabye about a pineapple plantation in Hawai'i owned by Belle)

Friday

Up early, my BFF Tracy, Zach, and I got ready and drove over to Animal Kingdom. They went to another meet while I joined my fellow AllEarsers for our event at Harambe Fort. The weather held off while people went in search of items to photograph in a scavenger hunt-like game.

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My job was to stand on a chair and take photos of peoples' heads. The place was filled with Disneyphiles who stood rather close together. If only I'd thought ahead, I could have played ring toss.

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At one point Linda and I snuck off to have our picture taken with Baloo and King Louie. Ha! Ha! We didn't even clock out.

(Deb Koma squints and gives Linda and then Lisa the evil eye. Linda just laughs at her.)

Time to head over to Hollywood Studios. My friend Mary and I had lunch at the Sci-Fi. We sat in the front of the car with a bunch of strangers behind us. When the parking ticket arrived I asked for a new license. I didn't even know they handed out licenses! I overheard the server asking a kid if she wanted one. Now you know, too, and knowing is half the battle.

As soon as we left the drive-in, we ran into Mary's hubby, Mike, and his sidekick, Len. Maybe we ran into Len and his sidekick, Mike. Well, no matter, I ran off to Toy Story Mania where about 60 of my closest friends were getting ready to take over the attraction. We could have been in line for 4 hours and I wouldn't have noticed because we were having so much fun chatting and taking crazy photos of each other.

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I rode with my BFF John but something went terribly wrong and we passed the first game all together. Then we stopped just short of the second game. The third game didn't work at all so by the time we were back at the loading dock we'd missed most of the games. Some others had experienced the same problem so we all got to ride again. It worked perfectly this time except that my BFF John won again.

A little while later I went in search of Citizens of Hollywood. Rumor had it that some Adventurers might have moved. Although I didn't "recognize" anyone, I was left laughing and with many thanks for being able to record such special and gifted Citizens.

melvin_macheezmo.jpgpaige_turner.jpg

My BFF Rental Car and I made our way to see what was left of Pleasure Island. While a few clubs like Soundstage, Comedy Warehouse and the holy grail - the Adventurer's Club looked to be in tact from the outside, other structures seem to have been demolished or I've lost my mind. Signs were up regarding an International food court of some type being built. Very few people were wandering about. I talked to an employee at Harley Davidson who told me that sales have dropped drastically since Sept. 27th.

pi_future_market.jpg

Then Erin Blackwell called to take me up on my offer to drive her to the AllEars Team party that night. She had good timing because my BFF Rental Car and I were just about to leave. We got Erin at Hollywood Studios and headed back to All-Star Music so I could change and wrap presents for another meet later that night.

Meanwhile, back at the ranchero*, I had a fashion emergency. My plum colored silk pants had been ruined. I don't know what, who, how, when or why but they had stains and so they met their fate in the trash can. I wound up in all black except for some neon green socks. I simply can't wear all black, I'm not Johnny Cash.

The party was very classy and set in a Spanish fort at Gaylord Palms. I wanted to be sure that plenty of photos were taken to capture all that went on so I grabbed Deb Koma's camera and took some shots. Then I got ahold of Deb Wills' camera but the batteries were kaput. I also took over another camera. My memory is foggy but it may have been Scott's.

(Scott Thomas waves)

I have a Nikon.

I know, dear.

It's a D-SLR.

That's correct.

(Barrie Brewer jumps up)

Me, too! Me, too!

(Lisa slap her forehead and mumbles to herself about Nikon users being crazy)

I left the party as everyone headed to Ice. I had another meet to attend, a gift exchange. In order to not appear overdressed I threw on a hooded sweatshirt. Strangely enough, no one commented on the fact that I was wearing makeup, something I rarely do.

Saturday

I was up at 5:15am, 15 minutes before the alarm clock was set to explode. After getting showered and dressed, I gathered everything I needed for the day including but not limited to: a long sleeve shirt, Photowalk pins, 2 bags of candy, the door prizes from Scott, Barrie, and I, tape, scissors, gift wrap, bottled water, and other things I can no longer recall.

My BFF Rental Car and I parked at Beach Club and found other early risers attending the photowalk in the lobby. I was the first one to arrive at our gathering place, the wedding pavillion, Sea Breeze Point. Barrie, Scott, and I welcomed about 23 folks to our first ever Picture This! Photowalk.

photowalker.jpg

Over the next 2 hours we slowly made our way all the way around Crescent Lake, ending at Boardwalk Bakery all the while stopping to take photos.

bakers.jpg

All I could think was, Dang! It is cold! But we had fun and I know I got a stellar photograph because Barrie told me, "You suck. That's awesome!"

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Next up was the Mega Mouse Meet. If you were there then you already know that lots of people stopped by, I bought a copy of Orlando Attractons magazine, Erin did an infomercial on first aid kits, Scott jumped into my shot of Dave Marx, and Jack Spence has the coolest nametag ever.

(Jack nods in agreement)

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My BFF John, his wife Cathy, and I played a round of mini-golf at Winter Summerland. We opted for the Winter course. We had lots of fun at each other's expense. If you ever play with me, wear a helmet and a wetsuit cuz the ball is either going to ricochet off something or land in a body of water.

john_golfing.jpg

I hadn't eaten lunch yet, I was tired, and I needed something that I forgot then and forget again now. As luck would have it, my roomies arrived at the hotel room just a few minutes after me. I had called my BFF Tracy to find out where they were just a few minutes prior. Turned out that her son was sick. We left him in the room to sleep while we had a late lunch/early dinner in the food court. It was a much needed long break and meal for both of us.

He felt better so we headed to EPCOT for a private party. I've never partied so much in my life, wow. Two nights in a row, I just set a new record. The three of us rode Spaceship Earth and Gran Fiesta Tour before hooking up with the other party maniacs. I made an effort to teach Zach how to say "caballeros" because he's taking Spanish in school and I'm good with pronunciations. The festivities ended after Illuminations and so we called it a night and went back to our room.

Sunday

My BFF Tracy and her son Zach left early that morning and took the bus to the airport. I tried to go back to sleep but didn't. My first event for the day wasn't until 1pm so since sleep wasn't happening, I got a lot of packing done and put myself together and went to the Magic Kingdom.

Wandering through Fantasyland I kept looking to my right in hopes that the Matterhorn would suddenly appear.

(Laura gives Lisa the "I know how you feel" look)

I bravely took on Peter Pan's Flight, Snow White's Scary Adventures, Philharmagic, and it's a small world by myself. Then I ran into more online friends: Margaret, Sheryl, Alicia, Tina, and Fran at Haunted Mansion.

At 1pm Team AllEars gathered in the Rose Garden to set on the most funnest, silly, timed adventure known to man, Capture the Magic. It's a photographic scavenger hunt hosted by www.Tagrel.com. The Team consisted of Laura, Andrea, Linda, Gloria, Deb, and me. I was the photog and Linda was the clue reader.

allearscowgirls.jpg

(Gloria raises her hand)

They tried to drag me on Splash Mountain.

It was part of the game.

I know, deary. I was making a joke.

Oh. I knew that.

(Andrea stands up)

My Team shirt came with a stain on it.

(Everyone points and laughs except Linda who didn't inspect shirts upon arrival)

Afterwards we all had lunch at the Plaza Restaurant not the Plaza Inn. Those are two very different eateries. It was nice to sit, talk, and especially fill up after all that running or in my case, walking around. We had a delightful time together even though Deb Wills kept trying to make me much older than I am.

I joined up with my BFF Karen later that night. We left MK after a few rides and headed to Celebration. As it turned out they were having a street party. That makes 3 parties in a row. We wandered about, bought chocolate covered pretzels, poked around gift shops, visited Celebration Hotel and then collapsed at Market Street Cafe. The service was extremely poor as my dinner and my BFF Karen's dinner both arrived cold. Our server checked to see if I could have the turkey and veggies because I can't have pepper. They were fine but the plate was covered in gravy that contained a large amount of black pepper. We were delighted to leave even though we were still hungry.

Monday

My bags were packed, I cleaned up the room, and headed to the front desk to check out. I met up with 7 friends at Kona Cafe for lunch. Erin, her hubby Johnny, Sid, Carol & her hubby Gary, my BFF John & his wife Cathy shared lots of laughs that afternoon.

I spent the rest of my day in EPCOT with my BFF Karen. We saw the new show, What's Your Problem? at Innoventions, tested out cars at Test Track, and soared over Cali. The next few hours were spent wandering World Showcase. It was a nice leisurely stroll and just as we started walking we ran across Mike Scopa, Mike Newell, Fred Block, Jeanine, Beci, Michelle, and International superstar, Masayo in Mexico.

My trip came to an end after an early dinner at Yakitori House and some pin shopping. My BFF Rental Car and I stopped at the gas station and filled the tank before returning to the airport for an evening flight home.

The End.

*"Meanwhile, back at the ranchero" is a line I stole from my co-worker, Paul. He's a ninja so I'd better give him credit.

Did you really read the whole blog? My goodness, you deserve a pat on the back.

January 8, 2009

Over the Bay

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Way over yonder in Disney's California Adventure, a restaurant sits on columns above the man-made body of water, Paradise Bay and beside a pier, which coincidentally is named Paradise Pier. In this dining establishment you will find oceanic theming and princesses. Here at Ariel's Grotto, guests select an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert from a fixed price menu.

I've been several times prior to the Grotto being taken over by princesses. Back in my day, Chip and Dale, Minnie Mouse, and Goofy dressed in nautical attire and mingled with diners when not leading a conga line. Ariel hung out in the lobby until Eric came and whisked her away. She is a mermaid, afterall.

Once you step inside the restaurant you either take the staircase or elevator downstairs. Dining is available indoors and outdoors.

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January 9, 2009

Wide World of Disney

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A wide angle lens for a digital SLR camera is usually considered a lens of focal length 24mm lens or less (for full frame SLR it's about 1.5 times more or 35mm). Wide angle lenses can take in a wider field of view then normal, telephoto or telephoto zoom lenses. On my last trip to Walt Disney World, I brought an Ultra Wide Angle zoom lens made by Tokina with a range of 11 to 16mm. This lens comes in Nikon and Canon flavors and work only on digital camera bodies. These lenses are a lot of fun to use and give new ways to photograph familiar subjects.

The best way to get the most ouf of a wide angle lens is to put something of interest in the foreground, middle area and background so a viewer's eye can be lead into the photo. In this photo I took from the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad queue (you can see the roof in the upper left hand corner) at 11mm in the Magic Kingdom, the rock shelf is in the foreground, the train and mountain is in the middle area and the trees and sky is in the background.

A train returns from it's wild ride on Big Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A train returns from it's wild ride on Big Thunder Mountain.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/400s, f/10, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 11mm Focal length

Ultra wide angle lenses are great for sweeping landscapes. I know at Walt Disney World there's not a lot of places for landscapes in the parks. I found the resorts and waterways a better choice. I took this of the Grand Floridian while riding the resort monorail (you can see the monorail's windows being reflected in the sky) for a kind of photo you normally do not see of a Disney resort.

The Grand Floridian from the resort monorail on the way to the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Grand Floridian from the resort monorail on the way to the Magic Kingdom .
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/125s, f/11, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 11mm Focal length

Again, notice the three elements used. The water in the foreground, the Grand Floridian resort in the middle area with the clouds and sky in the background. Also notice the location of the horizon in the bottom third of the photo to give emphasis to the sky.

I know you hear a lot about how third party lenses (lenses not made by a camera manufacturer like Nikon or Canon) are not as good. However, I have used two Tokina wide angle lenses (and own the 11-16mm) and have no reservations about recommending them to you.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot at 11mm, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

January 11, 2009

Where in the World #68

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #67:
 Where in the World #67

And here's the answer:
Carousel of Progress in the Magic Kingdom
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR, 1/100s shutter, f5, ISO 2500

There's a great big, beautiful tomorrow"

I think we might have set a record with this one! More than two hundred and fifty people knew that jack-o-lantern is part of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress, located in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. What I found really interesting was, with the exception of one person, everyone else guessed 50's Prime Time Café.

Once again, Angie Young was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Angie and all the readers who got the answer right: Debbie Hudson, Sharon Pierce, Kathy Lowe, Ken Kleiner, Maryann Eckenrode, Dawn Radke, Sharon Martinez, Chris Masse, Amy Lucas, Renee Drainville, Tim Wingfield, Vicki Vaught, Sharon Dale, Tom Linder, Kerry Finnamore, Sherry Klinefelter, Sarah Biggs, Dawn Bach, Kirk Hardy, D.owem, Erika Loboda, Christina Cella, Charles Wrightq, Melody Salemi, Stephanie Visco, Holley Blyler, Joyanne Johnston, Danielle Murgia, John Lacasse, Brianne F, Steve Bieniek, Cindy Hershey, Kala Bieniek, Brandon Emerson, Kirsty Butler, Mary Beth Tarbet, Erica Sipich, Al Desimone, Caryn Schill, Jane Rochefort, Jennifer Chartier, Hayley Lawson, Kristen Baustert, Brittany Irish, Travis Grim, Daria Hagemeyer, Sarah Smee, Ed Hogan, Will Bennett, Cindy Motta, Cindy Motta, Louise Barton, William Wangerien, Robin Fitts, Kelley H, Kris Nixon , Steven Long, Brandy White, Loretta Reed, Marie Wolfe, Erin G, Kimberly Kusser, Susan Pitts, Christine Dagney, Melissa Schipper, Leslie Dameron, Marie Phillips, Len Sodrosky, Len Sodrosky, Jen Cerce, Patty Lue Roosa, Elisa Dillon, Christine Holzman, Heather Stevens, Carrie Kenney, Melissa Littman, Kathy Love, Geri Neemidge, Jamie Gregg, Tom Armstrong, Jacquelyn Law, Jennifer Tremley, Jessica Persinger, Jessica Persinger, Chris And Alison, Devin Wisman, Debby Webber, Olivia Lobaugh, Scott Price, Joseph Tortorici, Dale Knight, Zachary Walzer, Drew Deapo, Penny Urell, Jill Linton, Trish Babler, April Tucker, Kelly Montgomery, Wendy Shain, Lee Anastasi, Lori Posey, Shannon Garms, Andrew Weed, Dave Cole, Ed Aleszczyk, Renee Engel, Karen Hotchkiss, Tom Koval, Emily Wilburn, Tyler Benson, Elizabeth Scarborough, Diane Furtado, Carol Pranis, Sharon, Ed Nawrocki, Jackie Purcell, Richard Uhler, Jeremy Hardy, Maureen O'hare, Maureen O'hare, Jeanine Yamanaka, Kelly Jean Clarkson, Daniel Meagher, Morgan Stalker, Sharon Lee, Len Beebe, Ken Fischler, Liz Patterson, Deb Koma, Cam Lange, Becky, Sarah Haas, Scott Junkin, Stephanie Servaites, Dana Schirnhofer, Paul Ignudo Jr, Robin Kennard, Susan Hunter, Carol Cox, Amanda Brand, Greg Gallo, Pat W., Jaron Goldberg, Jennifer Schwing, Tina Santacroce, David Singer, Jen Norris, Jennifer Rupert, Bill Mckim, Kim Steiner, Gregg Mcglasson, Marc Lorenzo, Becky Terjung, Wendy Snelgrove, Mark T. Franklin, Jody Erdfarb, Tim Rachuba, Jen Schultz, Susan Thompson, Emily Rennie, Julie Rider, Chloe', Amanda Diresta, Merrie Tesh, Dina Grassi, Amanda Diresta, Chris Ridgeway, Lisa Doerr, Melesia Love, Linda Mac, Rebecca Bean, Kelly Scott, Kelly Scott, Layne Morrison, Kathy Berry, Lisa Lisa Bo Bisa Bananafanan Mo Misa Me My Mo Lisa, Holly Cruz, Jennifer Campora, Ellie Argaluza, Bryan Timko, Daniel Record, Callie Conrad, Chris Joyce, Alicia Henderson, Marian Sargent, John Arena, Mark Beauregard, Marie Bertini, Carla Leger, Mikki Bunt, Kimberly Monahan, Cheri Palmisano, John Blackwell, Maria Root, Mary Dannahey, Carri Marotto, Shane Stack, Katie W., Tim White, Vickie Scioneaux, Double Family, Laney Wood, Jamie Kelly, Jeanne Kiraly, Mary Brennan, Danielle Destefano, Deb Mcdonald, Sharon Leitgeb, Mickey Eckert, Liz Moreau, Emily Nussbaum, Shellie Mathias, Jennifer Bogdan, Bill Sosebee, Susan Jackson, Emily Jackson, Scott Baxter, Andrew Bentz, Jeffrey Dunne, Bonnie Smith, Tammra Daugherty, Peter Tucker, Melissa, Dan Potts, Bruce Dormuth, Nancy Bennett, Heather Coursen, Nicole Amidon, Jane Kurtz , Carinne Kight, Kelli Vancil, Kristi Morgan, Matt Hanlon, John Carlo, Michael Nanney, Dennis Purton, Tessie Theriot, Cindy Oliver, Phyllis Masse, Kelli Olthoff, Caitlin Barringer, Karen Nelson, Noreen Rachuba, Ashley Deitchler, John Dupre, Lynn Barber, Melissa Rebelo, Amy, Sarah Connors, Jamie Poynton, Kim Ahlers, Sherri Pell, Jessica Thompson and Valerie Gugala. Each of you have been entered in the January winners' drawing.
_______________________________________________________________________
Challenge #68: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #68

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 15, 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!

January 12, 2009

March Disney World Calendar

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Here's your Disney World calendar for March 2009. Feel free to print it out and share it with your friends. I love night time photos of Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom. The colors and lighting are amazing. I took this from Main Street just before crossing over the bridge towards the castle. By increasing my ISO to 2500, I was able to get a pretty decent shot without using my tripod.

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.

March 2009 8.5x11 Calendar


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

March 2009 Jewel Case Calendar

January 13, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week - Musicians/Singers

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Good evening (insert city here)! Are you ready to rock? I can't hear you! The people upstairs, are you ready to rock? Right on! (guitar riff)

Disney parks are known for having first class entertainment and the musicians and singers who perform there year-round are top-notch. During various special events like Food & Wine at EPCOT you'll also find famous performers like David Cassidy, Sheena Easton, and Jon Secada.

This week Barrie, Scott, and I would like to share with all of you, a few images of these outstanding artists.

The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps perform at American Adventure in EPCOT.
lkb_musicians_fifeanddrum.jpg
Canon 30D, Canon 75-300mm USM, ISO 200, f10, 1/250

January 14, 2009

Where Pirates All Are Well-To-Do

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

There's a fun interactive show that may not appear on the entertainment schedule you pick at the Magic Kingdom, Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial. Performed every day to the left of Pirates of the Caribbean you'll learn from Captain Jack Sparrow just what it takes to be a pirate, and you'll discover what it's like to be a firstmate like Mack. The show is a lot of fun to watch and kids may be chosen to battle Mack and become pirates themselves.

Now that you know, you'll want to get some photos. This is a fairly easy show to capture and if you plan ahead, you'll be in the "front row" before anyone else even knows what's going on.

My new camera (for me anyway) is a Canon PowerShot SX100 IS. My settings were ISO 200, f4, 1/200.

Now, let's concentrate on lighting. This particular day was partially sunny. With clouds diffusing sunlight, there's a softer tone to everything. Shadows are minimal and highlights can make make flat lighting pop. This type of lighting is great for days in theme parks when most of your photos are of people, there are no raccoon eyes to worry about.

jacksparrow_mack_wagon.jpg
If you look under the wheelbarrow, you'll see weak shadows underneath as well as short shadows under the wheels.

jacksparrow_mack.jpg
Another nice thing about overcast days is you can see more detail in your subject. Take a good look at Mack's face. Now take a gander at the rope and his ear. See those highlights? There's some sun poking through the clouds.

jacksparrow_leaning.jpg
Jack Sparrow is resting amongt his treasures, which places him in the lighting seen in the first photo. I'd prefer if some sunlight was coming in from the right, it would have opened up his eyes a bit and created more separation between Jack and the backgroud.

jacksparrow_kids.jpg
Now you can really see the difference between where the sun is poking through (where the kids are) even though it's not intense sunlight and where Jack Sparrow is once again, taking it easy.

Want to check out Captain Jack Sparrow's schedule before you sail off to WDW? Visit Steve Soares' website and you'll uncover even more hidden treasures.

January 15, 2009

My bad!

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer


The Wave at Contemporary Resort
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR, 0.8s shutter, f3.5

Technically, my Pic of the Week photo is of a lounge, but it's a lounge in a restaurant so I'm hoping it counts. Actually, if you really want to get technical, this photo should have been posted on Saturday, during the week we were doing restaurants! I hope you'll forgive me while I catch up!

This groovy blue cove is in The Wave, the Contemporary Resort's new upscale dining establishment. Looks cozy, doesn't it?

Now for my Pic of the Week photo for musicians...

A Village Beatnik at Disney's Animal Kingdom
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/500s shutter, f5.6

My musician Pic of the Week is a photo of one of the Village Beatniks from Disney's Animal Kingdom. He is playing a Zendrum which is a unique, handcrafted MIDI drum controller.

I have one more post to catch up with Lisa and Scott. Still to come... my Top 10 favorite things to photograph in Walt Disney World.

January 16, 2009

Super Zoom on Safari

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In 1998, a wannabe wildlife photographer's dream came true when Disney's Animal Kingdom opened. I've always wanted to bring a super zoom telephoto lens to this park and I did just that during Mousefest 2008. There were three specific locations at Animal Kingdom I wanted to try my super zoom lens, Nikon's 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED Autofocus VR Zoom Nikkor Lens, on. They were the Kilimanjaro Safari, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek.

Kilimanjaro Safari is a ride on large vehicles, called jeeps, which are designed to give a very bumpy ride. In the past, I've used 200mm zoom lenses with much success. The Nikon 80-400VR is much heavier at 3 pounds than those shorter lenses. I was a little worried about being able to steady it even with Nikon's Vibration Reduction (VR) technology. This proved to be a problem and, when the ride vehicle was in motion, I found it nearly impossible to get any non-blurred photos at 400mm.

I was more successful using lesser focal lengths like with this lumbering White Rhino taken at the shortest focal length of the lens at 80mm.

A White Rhino lumbers past a safari jeep in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A White Rhino lumbers past a safari jeep on the Kilimanjaro Safari.
Nikon D70/80-400VR, 1/400s, f/4.5, 560 ISO, -0.3 EV, 80mm Focal Length

The lens did allow me to get a photo I've never been able to get on all my previous safari trips. The Cheetahs are very far from the road the safari jeeps use and, being cats, are either not in view or lying down sleeping. On this day, they were in full view and posing! Using the lens at its full 400mm focal length (which is 600mm on my Nikon D70 1.5x cropped body), I was able to get the following photo which has been further cropped from the original.

Pair of Cheetahs seen on the Kilimanjaro Safari adventure in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Pair of Cheetahs seen on the Kilimanjaro Safari adventure.
Nikon D70/80-400VR, 1/400s, f/5.6, 1600 ISO, -0.3 EV, 400mm Focal Length

The Pangani Forest Exploration Trail is a walking trail featuring African wildlife from Naked Mole Rats to the mighty Silverback Gorillas. One of the highlights for me on the trail is the colony of Meerkats. Like North America's Prairie Dogs, Meerkats have a sentinel member keeping watch of the surroundings when other members are out of their protective burrows. This Meerkat portrait shows the nice bokeh (out of focus background) of the Nikon 80-400VR lens shooting wide open at f/5.6 and 400mm focal length.

Meerkat sentinel on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Meerkat sentinel on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Nikon D70/80-400VR, 1/400s, f/5.6, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 400mm Focal Length

The trail features a family troop of gorillas in a large compound with great viewing locations for people to see and photograph these magnificent animals. Here is a picture of the leader who reminds me of the gorilla, Kerchak, in Disney's Tarzan animated movie. Normally, I would discard a photo like this but his eyes make this one a keeper.

Male Gorilla on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Male Gorilla on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Nikon D70/80-400VR, 1/400s, f/5.6, 1000 ISO, +0.3 EV, 400mm Focal Length

Another walking trail, the Maharajah Jungle Trek features wildlife from the continent of Asia. I was fortunate to catch the Komodo Dragon alert and the Nikon 80-400VR gave me the reach to capture this portrait of a species you wouldn't want to be this close to in the wild.

Portrait of the Komodo Dragon on the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Portrait of the Komodo Dragon on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Nikon D70/80-400VR, 1/400s, f/5.6, 1000 ISO, -0.3 EV, 400mm Focal Length

The Asian Tigers are in a compound themed as ruins of a jungle palace. The residents act as royalty often lounging and sleeping as big cats often do. I try to be there in the late afternoon when they are more likely to be active as they are feed about a half hour before park closing. I have gotten many sleeping and resting tiger photos in the past so I was thrilled to get a few on this trip as they moved about their lair.

Asian Tiger on the prowl on the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Asian Tiger on the prowl as seen from the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Nikon D70/80-400VR, 1/640s, f/5.3, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 200mm Focal Length

After the Maharajah Jungle Trek, I was ready to put the large 80-400VR lens back into my camera bag. I got some great photos I would not have been able to get with shorter lenses. Though it is not something I think I'd take to Animal Kingdom again in the near future unless I have a need to get some really close up photos of animals I can't find elsewhere.

For more on Animal Kingdom photography, check out my previous articles on Kilimanjaro Safari Photo Tips and Maharajah Jungle Trek Photo Tips.

January 17, 2009

Those Colorful Dapper Dans

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Dapper Dans barbershop quartet entertain guests along Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Dapper Dans barbershop quartet entertain guests along Main Street USA.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/40s, f/13, 200 ISO, +1.0 EV, 11mm Focal Length

If you are walking down Main Street USA, keep an ear out for the Dapper Dans Barbershop Quartet. Performing since Walt Disney World's opening in 1971, you'll find them sometimes dressed all the same or, as I photographed them, in their very colorful candy-striped attire and singing turn of the 19th century songs. Hope you enjoyed my Disney Pic of the Week for Musicians/Singers.

January 18, 2009

Where in the World #69

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #68:
 Where in the World #68

And here's the answer:
Queue sign from the Seas with Nemo and Friends at Epcot
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 50mm f/1.4, 1/30s shutter, f2.8, ISO 3200

The Seas with Nemo and Friends has a great queue. Near the beginning of the queue you'll find this sign letting you know that you are at the Coral Caves Beach area. Be sure to bring your snorkel because before you know it, you'll find yourself underwater looking for Nemo.

For the third week in a row, Angie Young was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Angie and all the readers who got the answer right: Evelyn Wilson, Cara Richards, Bryan Timko, Sarah Smee, James Greene, Belicia Dawson, Belicia Dawson, Jacquelyn Law, Heather Young, Jaclyn Koller, Deb Ragno, Holley Blyler, Steven Long, Pollyanna Buff, Dylan Weidner, Tim Rachuba, Sharon Dale, Sarah Biggs, Ann Fowler, Ray Kastner, Barbie Lawless, Elisa Dillon, Sherry Klinefelter, Erica Andrews, Danielle Murgia, Jonathan Walker, Linda Mac, Debbie Hudson, Doug Zuccollo, Jennifer Lalli, Stephanie Visco, Will Bennett, Carol Ray, Hayley Lawson, Chris And Alison, Steve Bieniek, Sharon Lee, Christie Condit, Kala Bieniek, Charles Wright, Tim Wingfield, Claissa K, Chris Masse, Brandon Emerson, Tom Carty, Diane Ramos, Alicia Henderson, Jill Fogg, Kris Nixon, Dave Wang, Ramona, Cindy Dore', Baines Family, Susan Pitts, Chloe', Peggy Saeger, Amanda Campbell, Emma Poprock, Lee Anastasi, Joseph Tortorici, Daniel Record, Michael Pyle, April Tucker, Jen Cerce, Kathy Berry, Tyler Benson, Jackie Purcell, Amy Sooy, Lisa Graham, Kelly Jean Clarkson, Kelly Montgomery, Jennifer Rupert, Ed Nawrocki, Marie Phillips, Chris Connors, Lisa Hoffman, Eric Hoffman, Caitlin Barringer, Maureen O'hare, Scott Price, Neil Van Dyke, Shannon Milair, Jeffrey Dunne, Jeffrey Dunne, Bonnie Smith, Vicki Hayes, Ken Fischler, Bob Patterson, Dana Schirnhofer, John Dupre, Elizabeth Scarborough, Joann Albrecht, Brenda, Amy Miller, Marie Bertini, Kim Riley, Nathaniel Powe "the Disney Fanatic", Greg Gallo, Cheri Palmisano, Angela Youngblood, Tim Tosten, Noreen Rachuba, Deanna Simmons, Jody Erdfarb, Kendra Hettel, Jim Thompson, Melissa Nute, Jamie Poynton, Angela Miller, Amanda Brand, Jen Norris, Andrew Webber, Michael Gainey, Morgan Stalker, Lisa Berton, Stacey Van Dyke, Brian Yesutis, Paul Cooper, Jamie Kelly, Joe Franceschino, Suzen Woolley, Ellie Argaluza, Anjanette Tournillon, Becky Terjung, Vickie Scioneaux, Kelly Christine Delaney, Trish Babler, Sarah Connors, Jennifer Schwing, Bill Mckim, Gregg Mcglasson, Zachary Walzer, Mike Venere, Jennifer Tremley, Jeremy Coto, Liz Moreau, Danielle Destefano, Carinne Kight, Karyn Christenson, Jennifer Bogdan, Luis Rodriguez, Suzanne Sevier, Walter N Clark, Angela Haire, Bruce Dormuth, Heather Coursen, Hope Schiemer, Tricia Noble, Barclay Bakkum, Barclay Bakkum, Patty Lue Roosa, Patti Sturgis, Jack Danger, H. Michael Miley and Mary. Each of you have been entered in the January winners' drawing.
_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #69: Where in the world is this?

Be careful, this one is tricky. It's probably not the first thing that comes to mind.

 Where in the World #69

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 22, 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!

January 20, 2009

Disney Pics of the Week - World Showcase Cast Members

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This week Lisa, Scott and I will be sharing photos of Cast Members who work in the countries of the World Showcase.

Shoko from Osaka, Japan
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 50.0mm f/1.4 lens, 1/40s shutter, f1.4

I'd like to introduce you to Shoko. She is from Osaka, Japan and works in the gift shop in the Japan pavilion at Epcot. She was very sweet to let me take her photo even though I could tell that she thought it was very odd.

I really liked the background she was standing in front of as she worked the cash register. Having someone stand in front of a patterned background is a good way to make a portrait "pop". Using an aperture setting of f1.4 blurred the background a fair bit, making Shoko stand out even more.

My Top Ten

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer


When Lisa suggested that we do a post of our top ten favorite things to photograph in Walt Disney World, I panicked. I knew I would have a terrible time trying to come up with my ten and I wasn't wrong. The truth is I love to photograph everything in Disney World. I can't imagine ever running out of interesting subjects there. And I have thousands of photos to prove it! Now, they aren't all good mind you, but still, it takes awhile to go through them all. So, I apologize for being late with my entry and without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my top ten favorite things to photograph in Walt Disney World.


Animals

Lioness on Kilimanjaro Safari
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/250s shutter, f8
This lioness photo was taken on the Kilimanjaro Safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Entertainers

Sergio
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/55-200
This is Sergio. He can be found performing in Italy at the World Showcase in Epcot.


Props

Bike
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR, 1/13s shutter, f5, ISO 640
This bike is one of the props that decorates Asia in Disney's Animal Kingdom.


Architecture

Discovery Island Rooftop
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/800s shutter, f5.6
Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom has some of the most colorful and creative architecture on property.


Flowers

Mexican Orchid
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200, 1/1000s shutter, f4.8
I snapped a photo of this orchid on my way out of the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot.


World Showcase Pavilions

Canada Pavilion
Copyright © 2003 Barrie Brewer, Nikon E3100, 18-200, 1/32s shutter, f5.6
This picture is from the Canada Pavilion. It's one of the earliest photos I have of Disney World, when I first got interested in photography.


Parades

Buzz Lightyear
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/500s shutter, f16
The parades are perfect for getting great shots of the characters. I took this one of Buzz Lightyear during the Stars and Motorcars parade at Disney's Hollywood Studios.


Fireworks

Hallowishes at the Magic Kingdom
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1s shutter, f8
This is a picture of Wishes, the fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom.


Resorts

Disney's Yacht Club Resort
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/250s shutter, f5.6
One of my most favorite spots to take pictures is in the Epcot Resort area, around Crescent Lake. This is the Yacht Club Resort at sunrise.


Night Photos

Disney's Yacht Club Resort
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 4.1s shutter, f8, ISO 800
I love taking photos at night, especially at Disney World. This, of course, is the Sorcerer's Hat at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

January 21, 2009

Ahoy, Landlubbers!

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

If you're like me then you're always trying to find new ways to photograph things, especially in the parks. Although countless others have done what I'm about to suggest, you might not have, yet.

One way of getting a different perspective of Frontierland is to shoot from the Liberty Belle steamboat. Not only will your view change of Big Thunder Mountain, but you'll pass Splash Mountain, Tom Sawyer's Island and the Haunted Mansion as well. I have to warn you that if your camera has a short zoom of 3x or 5x optical then you might not be as impressed with the results but, it's worth trying something new.

If your camera doesn't offer manual settings which allow you to adjust the shutterspeed and aperature, then use the Sports Mode. icon_sports.jpg

For this project I used the Canon PowerShot S5 IS (10x optical zoom) and set the camera to Manual. The ISO was 200, f7, 1/250. This kept the camera from washing out highlights from being confused by the partially cloudy skies. The shutterspeed was fast enough to catch still and moving objects while we sailed past. The aperature was closed down enough to help keep things sharp even at great distances.

Let's take a look at my results and keep in mind, at most I took 2 shots of the same thing and I stood in the 2nd row of people.

lkb_btmr.jpg
A nice clean shot of Splash Mountain, very simple and colorful.

lkb_btmr_fulltrain.jpg
Here comes a train. I enlarged this and it's still pretty darn sharp.

lkb_sawyer_bridge.jpg
I was just amazed with the fact that no one was on the bridge so I grabbed the shot before someone came along.

lkb_sawyer_wilsonscave.jpg
This is my favorite shot from my cruise. I can see lots of detail, it's framed just right (my only shot) and is something that I think is only visible if you sail the Liberty Belle.

lkb_indianshome.jpg
A family of Native Americans was visited by a turtle. I don't know if you can make him out in this picture.

lkb_hm_sunroom.jpg
Being able to zoom in on different sections of the Haunted Mansion was really cool.

lkb_hm_steamed.jpg
When I disembarked, my view of Haunted Mansion was "fogged" by all the steam coming from the boat. I took a few shots and waited for the boat to release more steam. It would have been even spookier around sundown with some purple highlights, I'm just saying.

January 22, 2009

Norwegian Cast Member

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Norwegian Cast Member pours some spirited beverages at Epcot's Norway Pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Norwegian Cast Member pours some spirited beverages at Epcot's Norway Pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/4.8, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 52mm Focal Length

While waiting for Illuminations to start, I noticed this cart with a nice Norwegian Cast Member serving bear and other drinks in the Norway pavilion. He makes a rather good addition to this week's Disney Pic of the Week on World Showcase Cast Members. It was a cool December night in Orlando but he was all smiles. The carts lighting nicely highlighted his face and colorful costume. World Showcase cast members are very far from their home and appreciate guests inquiring about them and their countries.

January 23, 2009

Case for Using a Polarizer Filter

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In this age when photo software can duplicate almost any effect film photographers used filters for, I still find one filter very useful. The Polarizing filter does just what polarizer sunglasses do, they cut down on the glare from the sun. Most people use a circular polarizing filter which means the filter moves once it is mounted on your lens in a circular motion. This gives you various amounts of polarization which you can see in your viewfinder.

In the photos below of the Dolphin resort in Disney's Boardwalk area, I used a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens with a 52mm circular polarizing filter by Hoya. The top image is with the polarizer in it's weakest position with no affect on the light. The bottom image is after I rotated the filter to it's strongest position giving the very deep blue sky color. Notice the loss of light hitting the camera's sensor. In this case, the shutter speed and aperture both decreased for a combined loss of 1 stop (see Exif data in the caption).

Dolphin Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Polarizing Filter Effect.
Top Image: Nikon D70/50mm, 1/80s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3
Bottom Image: Nikon D70/50mm, 1/60s, f/10, ISO 200, EV +0.3

I know what you are thinking. Even the most rudimentary photo program can deepen a blue sky. True, but I didn't have to take the time. It takes a second or two to move the filter into the position I wanted. Besides, that's not the only thing a polarizer filter can do.

Reflections can be greatly cut down and even eliminated using a polarizing filter. Check out the photos below where Spaceship Earth is reflected in one of the water pools near The Land pavilion in Epcot. The one on the left is with the polarizer filter at it's weakest position. The one on the right is at it's strongest position. In this case, only a half stop of light was lost thanks to a very bright Florida sun. You will notice how the reflection is diminished so you can see the rocks on the pool's bottom. This works on reflections through glass, too.

Spaceship Earth reflection in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Water reflection Polarizing Filter Effect.
Left Image: Nikon D70/50mm, 1/60s, f/13, ISO 200, EV +0.3
Right Image: Nikon D70/50mm, 1/60s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3

Reflections are a bit harder to get rid of in software. At least in the time it took me to rotate the polarizing filter.

Like any filter, circular polarizing filters come in various sizes to fit over many different lenses. Some are cheap, while others are more expensive. Other alternatives is to check a local photography shop to see if they have any used ones or on eBay. Make sure you know the size, in millimeters, of the lens you are buying for.

January 24, 2009

Smiles Are the Same in Any Language

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

This week's series is about Cast Members who work at EPCOT's World Showcase and it is one of my very favorite subjects. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with the kids (of all ages) who absolutely love telling you about their home country and answering any questions you have regarding customs, food, clothing, anything that peaks your interest. A few of the boys in France have taught me phrases in French and I always try to talk to someone in Mexico to practice my Spanish.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to

Badr from Morocco
lkb_cm_morocco.jpg

Ann-Helen and Linda from Norway
lkb_cm_norway.jpg

Andrea, Salvatore, and Alessandro from Italy
lkb_cm_italy.jpg

January 25, 2009

Where in the World #70

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #69:
 Where in the World #69

And here's the answer:
Carved Wooden Totem Pole in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 55-200mm, 1/320s shutter, f4.8

Although it looks similar, this is not one of the Tree of Life carvings, which is what most people guessed. This is one of the beautiful carved wooden totem poles that can be found on Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom. What I wouldn't give to have one of these in my garden at home.

Denise Owen was the first of only 4 people to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Denise and all the readers who got the answer right: Sharon Dale, Anjanette Tournillon and Paula Munson. Each of you were entered in the January winners' drawing.

And speaking of that monthly drawing" this month's big winner is Rebecca Bean! Congratulations Rebecca, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars schwag!
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Challenge #70: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #70

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 29, by clicking HERE!
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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!

January 27, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Pin Crazy!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Latest pins from the movie, Bolt, found in an Epcot Pin Station, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Pins from the movie, Bolt, hanging in the Epcot Future World Pin Station.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 50mm Focal Length

Don't you wish you could have been given credit for the idea of Disney pins? Pin trading is an extremely popular hobby for fans. Disney creates pins about everything and anything related to, well, Disney. I felt a photo featuring some pins would make a great kick off to our Disney Pic of the Week featuring Merchandise.
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Look for Barrie and Lisa to share thier favorite Disney merchandise on Thursday and Saturday.

January 28, 2009

Photography Vocabulary 103

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

It's time once again to expand our knowledge of photography terms. If you haven't familiarized yourself with my previous blog entries on this subject, I've provided the links for you.

Photography Vocabulary 101

Photography Vocabulary 102

Today we will steer our attention to words and phrases commonly used in photo labs.

Glossy - A photographic paper finish that is reflective and shiny. Glossy paper shows fingerprints.

Matte - A photographic paper finish that is dull and flat. Matte paper rarely shows fingerprints and is commonly used for enlargements being framed.

Enlargement - A photographic print that measures 5x7 or larger.

Full-bleed - An image printed edge to edge, also referred to as borderless.

Develop - The act of film going through a series of chemicals in order to make the latent images visible.

Negative - Film that has been developed

Cropping - Adjusting the proportions of an image (in a darkroom or with software) so as to eilimante part of it for printing purposes.

Index Print - Thumbnail size images from a roll of film, memory card or CD shown as a set.

January 29, 2009

Will that be Cash or Credit?

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

One sound you will hear everywhere you venture off to is that of a cash register. It might be the bell tone of a drawer opening up and the clinking of coins or the sound of dial-up as your credit card number is sent through cyberspace awaiting approval. No matter the sound, the fact is people buy souvenirs constantly. A friend of mine and I collect pins and popcorn buckets while others get themselves a new T-shirt on every visit to Walt Disney World and/or Disneyland.

My addition to our display of merchandise photos is this crystal Minnie Mouse I saw in Kunstarbeit In Kristall in Germany's pavillion.

lkb_merchandise_crystalminnie.jpg

January 30, 2009

Advanced Composition

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Before taking a closer look at the photo below. I would like you to review a couple of past Picture This! articles. The first is Barrie talking about Leading Lines. Isn't that a great photo? The second article is the one I did on the Rule of Thirds. Off Kilter is one of my favorite entertainers at Walt Disney World and are fun to photograph.

For the photo below of the Yacht Club Resort, I had my back to the lighthouse you see in Barrie's photo. As you can see I used her tip on leading lines. I know what you are thinking, unlike Barrie's photo, I have the dock right in the center of the frame. Could I be breaking the Rule of Thirds I urged you to use in my article? If you follow the dock to the resort notice the roof line of the Yacht Club. Yes, it's about 1/3 down from the top of the frame and makes for a nice balanced photo. I'm sure after a long day at the parks, this is a welcome sight for returning guests.

Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Dock leading to the Yacht Club Resort.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 25s, f/22, 200 ISO, 0 EV, 18mm Focal length, Tripod

Don't be afraid to experiment with your compositions. Either when you are taking photos or by cropping in post-processing.

January 31, 2009

Pretty in Pink

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Princess Dresses
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR lens, 0.1666s shutter, f5

Here's my Pic of the Week for merchandise. It's easy to be a Princess for a day - just make your way to one of the many gift shops at Walt Disney World. My attention was caught by the color and dreamy look of these sparkly dresses at the Grand Floridian.

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About January 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Picture This! in January 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2008 is the previous archive.

February 2009 is the next archive.

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