« January 2009 | Main | March 2009 »

February 2009 Archives

February 1, 2009

Where in the World #71

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #70:
 Where in the World #70

And here's the answer:
Doorplate at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
Copyright © 2005 Barrie Brewer, Fuji Finepix S5000, 1/20s shutter, f2.8

This is one of the doorplates at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. Saratoga Springs is one of the Disney Vacation Club properties. If you mentioned Saratoga Springs in your answer this week, even if you said it was the elevator, I put you on the winners list. I'm feeling generous, but don't get used to it! I'm going back to being a tough cookie on this new challenge.

Paul Cooper was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Paul and all the readers who got the answer right: Michelle Thompson, Elisa Dillon, Kevin Toomey, Lee Anastasi, Tim Wingfield, Sharon Lee, Jackie Purcell, Hillary W, Curtis Bille, Leslie Dameron, Tommy Carty, Densie Owen, Lynn Barber, Derek Carty, Margie Thomas, Krista Penno, Dave Cole, Nick Straka, Elizabeth Kormesser, Tim Johansen, Amanda Campbell, Jen Cerce, Stephen Wilson, Diane Cripps, Jennifer Tremley, Maryann Eckenrode, Kye Layton, Bob Paterson, Denise Cayz, Bryan Timko, Hayley Lawson, Lisa Berton, Suzanne Kennedy, Sharon Dale, Theresa Rucando, Kris Nixon, Anjanette Tournillon, Bryan Fencl, Tim Rachuba, Jeffrey Dunne, Sherry Klinefelter, Daniel Record, Sarah Smee, Joyanne Johnston, Dan Mangini, Laura Pranaitis, Brian Haas, Laura Barnes, Blake Schmidt, Sue Mcdonald, Paul Ignudo, Jr, Tricia Noble, Bethany Mattiuz-king, Katarina Whitmarsh, Gary E Genteman, Willie Tople, Melissa Schipper, David Coates, Debra Moscara, Bill Mckim, Dan Mcdonald, Bonnie Smith, Diane Ramos, Marie Phillips, Noreen Rachuba, Christi Ison, Anne Hainsworth, Karen Schlumpf, Amy Miller, Heather Stevens, Robin Mcconnell, Nicole Cyr, Tom Koval, Joseph Tempel, Al Desimone, Karen Dresser-smith, Danielle Berkovitz, Liz Moreau, Cathy Adams, Kathy Lowe, Laura Miller, Jacquelyn Law, Robert Flaherty, Melissa Kuehnle, Jacque Schmidt, Hollie Hinton, Baines Family, Jeffrey Kontur, Sherri Pell, Paul Amico, Cheri Palmisano, Aruna, Kathy Berry, David And Melissa Lizewski, Dylan Weidner, Steven Long and Travis Grim. Each of you will be entered in the February winners' drawing.
_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #71: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #71

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 5, 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!

February 3, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week - Motion

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Motion is this week's theme.

lkb_motion.jpg
This club closed down on Sept. 27, 2008 along with the rest of Pleasure Island's nightlife.
Canon 30D, Canon 17-40mm L IS, ISO 250, f14, 1.3 seconds

Do you think I am being too literal?

OK, OK all or some joking aside, there are several ways to both capture and show motion in still photos. What I did is I set my camera up on a tripod and slowed down the shutter allowing light in for a longer period of time but also leaving it possible for people walking by to create a blur. If I'd left the shutter open longer, let's say for 3 seconds, the partygoers would have looked like faint streaks but the neon may have bled. Do you see how in the bottom right side of the image, it looks like there's a faint tan/yellow cast? That's the effect of a woman who walked by in a beige tank top. She was closer to the camera than the people in line.

There's plenty of room to play with digital cameras and all you have to do is keep trying. I know you can do it.

Next up, Barrie and Scott give the subject a spin.


February 4, 2009

Photo Album: Disney Wonder

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

As of this very moment my home sits in a Winter Wonderland surrounded by snow and ice with freezing rain falling from the dark skies above. It is unlike Alice's Wonderland, although today is my unbirthday. There's no Mad Hatter in sight nor the White Rabbit zipping by with or without a watch in hand. There are, however, two cats who "meow" at me from time to time and tap me on the leg while I sit at the computer desk. Undetermined what to write for my blog and chilled by the storm outside, I decided that a nice stroll down memory lane (vs the plank) would warm me up. I hope you enjoy these photos from my very first cruise.

Disney Wonder, December 2007

lkb_wonder_highfive.jpg
Before departing the stage, Captain Mickey high-fives Goofy.

lkb_wonder_chandelier.jpg
On the walking tour of Nassau, we stopped into a church. I found this chandelier to be the most interesting item.

lkb_wonder_golfcart.jpg

Disney's private island is Castaway Cay. This reminded me of Cape Cod.

lkb_wonder_raydeevah.jpg
My friend Ray got a surprise smackeroo from Ms. Dee Vah.

lkb_wonder_tarzan.jpg
I loved the musical productions. Tarzan had very little lighting and most of it was green and blue. It certainly made you feel like you were watching him in the jungle.

February 5, 2009

Liberty Belle

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Liberty Belle Paddlewheel
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR lens, 2.5s shutter, f5, ISO 800

My Pic of the Week for motion is a shot of the Liberty Belle's paddlewheel in the Magic Kingdom. Capturing motion in your picture can completely change the look and feel of the photo. I could have used a much faster shutter speed to show the movement of the wheel, but I'm drawn to the slightly abstract look that comes with this longer exposure. It's a fun way to let the camera show me something that my eyes don't see.

February 6, 2009

Auto White Balance Adjustment

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have my camera set up to enhance colors. Most of the time it captures what I want and gives me bright, vibrant colors. Then there are those times the photos have a color cast to them I don't like. Take for instance the photo I took at Beaches and Cream of Cast Member Kristen serving me up a delicious cheeseburger and fries. The original photo on the left has a warm yellowish color cast to it. Really not fitting for the brightly colored restaurant or Kristen's skin tones.

In most photo editing software, you'll find a way to fix the white balance or the color of light in a photo. See your software's manual for specific instructions. In Apple's Aperture 2 software, which I use, there is an eye-dropper white balance tool which I can select and drag to something in the photo I know is white and click. The software will then take the color information from the spot I clicked on and adjust the rest of the photo's white balance.

In this photo, I used the Walt Disney World napkin you see towards the bottom of the frame. The photo on the right has been white balanced adjusted using the eye-dropper technique. The colors are now more true to life, especially Kristen's skin color. The white colors have lost the yellowish hue as seen in the Before photo. The photo still needs a few more adjustments but this was the biggest one and made much easier by using Aperture's white balance eye-dropper tool.

Getting served a juicy cheeseburger at Beaches & Cream at the Beach Club Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Auto White Balance Adjustment.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/30s, f/3.5, ISO 450, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length

Beaches and Cream is an old fashioned soda fountain tucked away at the Beach Club resort. Beaches and Cream is just few minutes walk or short boat ride from Epcot's International Gateway. It serves, in my opinion, the best burgers at Walt Disney World and is home to the Kitchen Sink dessert with 24 scoops of ice cream and every topping they have. It's a small dining venue and does not take reservations. For the least amount of wait time, try to get there for an early or late lunch or early dinner. Beaches and Cream is mobbed after an Illuminations performance as it also has ice cream counter service.

February 7, 2009

At Speed & Young

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Racing along Tomorrowland Indy Speedway in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Racing along Tomorrowland Indy Speedway.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/20s, f/18, 200 ISO, 0 EV, 95mm Focal Length

Racing along Tomorrowland Indy Speedway in the Magic Kingdom, this young driver is taking his Mom for the ride of her life. Can you tell how fast this car is going? Tomorrowland Indy cars can only reach a maximum speed of 7.5 mph.

To blur the background but still keep the car and occupants sharp, I panned the camera and is great way to show this week's Disney Pic of the Week on Motion. I'll be going into more detail on how to use panning to show motion in an upcoming blog entry.

February 8, 2009

Where in the World #72

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #71:
 Where in the World #71

And here's the answer:
Miniature Train, Germany, Epcot
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 55-200mm, 1/6s shutter, f/8

This miniature train is in the display just outside of the Germany pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase. If you've been following this blog for awhile, you actually had an advantage this week because this photo has been recycled. It made its debut way back in August of 2007. I didn't realize that until after I had posted it. Don't get any ideas though, this week's challenge photo is a brand new one.

Jodi Cook was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Jodi and all the readers who got the answer right: Alan Law, Alicia Henderson, Alison Ripley, Allison Dibiase, Amy Miller, Amy Sooy, Andrea Mayo, Angie Young, Anne Hainsworth, Aruna, Ashley, Austin O'blenis, Baines Family, Barbie Lawless, Barclay Bakkum, Becky Terjung, Ben Campbell, Bethany Cybak, Bob Hendrix, Bob Patterson, Bob Sertic, Bonnie Smith, Boris Beckert, Brandon Emerson, Brian Gallant, Brittany Irish, Bruce Arnold, Bruce Lawson, Bryan Fencl, Bryan Timko, Cara Richards, Carinne Kight, Charles Ingle, Cheryl Costello, Chip Vermette, Chris Freeman, Chris J, Chris Moore, Christine Dagney, Clare C, Curtis Bille, Daniel Record, Danielle Aston, Danielle Destefano, Darlene Harmon, Dave Cole, David Coates, David Uchtman, Dawn Radke, Deb Ragno, Debbie Hudson, Dennis Dunkman, Diane Cripps, Diane Furtado, Dick Nussbaum, Dina Grassi, Dylan Weidner, Ed Nawrocki, Elisa Dillon, Elizabeth Kormesser, Emma Poprock, Eric Jones, Erin Hammer, Erin Kubicki, Erin Savoie, Evelyn Wilson, Gabe Widmer, Gary E Genteman, Gary Sooy, Gayle Myrick, Glenn Meyer, Harry Wilson, Heather Coursen, Heather Young, Heidi Goodhue, Holley Blyler, Jaclyn Kelch, Jacquelyn Law, Jarcewski Family, Jeanine Yamanaka, Jeff Blank, Jeffrey Dunne, Jen Cerce, Jennifer , Jennifer Bogdan, Jennifer Horst, Jennifer S., Jennifer Schwing, Jennifer Tremley, Jeremy Coto, Jeremy Hardy, Jill Linton, Jim Thompson, Joan Salem, Joanna Snow, John Dupre, Jorge Caso, Karen Dresser-smith, Karen Pizzuta, Karen Schlumpf, Katarina Whitmarsh, Kate Fanning, Katelyn P., Kathy Berry, Kathy Lutz, Kelli Vancil, Kellie Carter, Kelly Scott, Ken Fischler, Kim Watson, Kimberly Vega, Kris Kline, Kristi Rose, Kurt K , Kye Layton, Larry Sams, Laura Pranaitis, Lee Anastasi, Leslie Dameron, Lin Fales, Linda Kasych, Linda Mac, Lisa Berton, Lisa Graham, Lisa H, Lisa Lee, Liz Moreau, Lori Posey, Lou Baker, Lynn Barber, Marie Wolfe, Mary Dannahey, Matt Cofone, Matthew Naldzin, Megan Krainski, Melissa Littman, Michael Cortese, Michelle Wilinski, Mike Thomson, Nicole Lassiter, Patrick Albrecht, Paul Cooper, Paula Munson, Penny Urell, Renee Engel, Rich Kacprowicz, Rob Speed, Rob Stewart, Rochelle, Ron Renz, Russell Wurr, Sandra Miller, Sarah Biggs, Sarah Haas, Sarah Smee, Scott Bauer, Scott Junkin, Scott Price, Shane Stack, Sharon Dale, Sharon Martinez, Sheila Saey, Sherri Pell, Sherry Trapp, Stacey Nellis, Stacey Van Dyke, Stephanie Chambers, Stephanie Servaites, Stephen Hafke, Steve Benson, Steve Knapp, Steven Long, Susan Linder, Suzanne Brown, Suzanne Kennedy, Terri Thornton, Theresa Rucando, Tim Rachuba, Tim Wingfield, Tom Koval, Tom Linder, Tommy Montgomery, Trish Babler, Vicki Hayes, Vicki Vaught, Vincent Maltese, Virginia Mackenzie and Walter Fletcher. Each of you will be entered in the February winners' drawing.
_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #72: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #72

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

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a cool Disney book!

February 10, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week - Cast Members

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

It's Cast Members who make the Disney parks magical. They go above and beyond everyday to make sure our experience is one to be remembered. Disney's Cast Members really are something special. This week we'll be paying homage to them in our Pics of the Week.

stan.jpg
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR lens, 1/50s shutter, f4.5

This is Stan, a Photopass photographer at Epcot. He takes his job very seriously and has a good time doing it. I know, because I had an opportunity to watch him work when I was taking a little breather in Italy in the World Showcase. He was fabulous! He really went all out to make sure the people he photographed were going to love their vacation photos when they got home. This was just one of the many creative shots I saw him set up. Hats off to Stan!

It hadn't occurred to me that I'd be using this photo online so I didn't think to ask this family for permission to post the children's photos. Rather than lose the shot altogether, I turned it into a puzzle with a few key pieces missing.

February 11, 2009

Don't Try This at Home

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

I find that there's an epidemic happening with digital camera users, people placing their fingers or thumbs in front of the lens. Certainly this has to do with the shape and design of cameras, most commonly those with internal zooms. For example, the Sony DSC-T77.
sony_T77.jpg

Since the lens is very small and in the upper corner vs the center of the camera's face, it leads to incorrect and even uncomfortable handling. There are also folks who place their finger or thumb in front of a normal lens. This is due to incorrect handling and the fact that the lens is not quite centered, either, such as Nikon's S610.
Nikon-Coolpix-S610.jpg

Pictoral examples:

Here we have your average run-of-the-mill pixie, Katrina, holding her cameras incorrectly.

holding_bad_nikon.jpg

holding_sony_bad.jpg

That little finger of hers is over the lens. Sadly, this is the photo she wound up with.

lkb_gorilla_thumb.jpg

Now, she's moved her finger and is holding the cameras the right way.

holding_good_nikon.jpg

holding_sony_good.jpg

Take a look at this shot. You can clearly see the gorilla. Hooray!

lkb_gorilla_nothumb.jpg

Remeber, keep your fingers and thumbs away from the lens at all times.

Sony DSC-T77 image ©Sony. Nikon Coolpix S610 ©Nikon. Used with permission for educational purposes.

No animals or humans were harmed in the making of these images.

February 12, 2009

Guest Services Cast Member

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Guest Services Cast Member outside of Epcot's International Gateway, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guest Services Cast Member processes an Annual Pass for a guest.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/30s, f/4.5, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 36mm Focal Length

Cast Members, or CMs for short, make the magic come alive at Disney themeparks. From entertainers to street sweepers to guest services CMs, they all contribute to make our stay (the Guests) like no other found in the world. The Guest Services Cast Member pictured here outside of Epcot's International Gateway processed my very first Annual Pass (AP) and is my contribution to this week's Disney Pic of the Week on Cast Members.

February 13, 2009

Rule Breaking with Symmetry

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Symmetry in it's purest sense is an object which, if cut directly down the middle, would be mirror images of each other. It's one of the ways to break the Rule of Thirds correctly. Hope that doesn't confuse you. It's easy to find a symmetrical object but the images I've chosen to show you here are symmetrical but not mirror images. They are close enough to show you how to use symmetry in your photography.

The first is of the Swan Resort taken from a room in the Dolphin Resort. Like a lot of buildings, the Swan, itself, is symmetrical as is the landscaping and walkways leading up to and away from it. I think the surrounding foreground and background of the buildings and the Friendship boat dock add to the photo.

Swan Resort in the Boardwalk Resort area, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 20mm Focal length

The next one is from the Pop Century resort. The large Mickey Mouse phone is symmetrically placed between the resort buildings and the Fooseball men. This is not close to being perfectly symmetrical, yet a pleasing composition with the main subject in the center of the photo.

Mickey Mouse Phone icon at the Pop Century Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D70/18-70D, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal length

The last example was taken during the 2007 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The Prince and Cinderella topiary was placed in the center of a sea of flowers flanked by trimmed flowering and green bushes and trees.

Prince and Cinderella topiary in Epcot during the 2007 International Flower & Garden Festival, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D70/18-2000VR, 1/160s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 18mm Focal length

When taking these photographs, I kept telling myself I was breaking a photography "rule". That is the something I want you to take away from this article. It's okay to break rules in photography when it works (as in the above photos) and you know you are doing it. Just putting something in the middle of your viewfinder does not make it symmetrical.

February 14, 2009

My Name is Brian and I Sell Balloons

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

One of the delights on Main Street is seeing bunches of balloons being carried (and sold) by Cast Members. They colorfully bounce about and sway in the breeze. Balloons have been photographed trillions (I counted) of times just for the simple reason that they make us happy.

Before hurling myself to the ground for this shot, I asked Brian if he minded my taking some photos of him. He was cool with the idea. I will say that my angle caused me to become lightheaded and dizzy and so this shot is a smidge off from what I wanted but ya know what, I can try again another day.

lkb_cm_balloons.jpg
Canon EOS 30D, Canon 17-40mm L IS

February 15, 2009

Where in the World #73

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #72:
 Where in the World #72

And here's the answer:
Frontierland Shootin' Arcade
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1s shutter, f/4.5

This is the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade in the Magic Kingdom. I knew this one would be a little tough, that's why I included just a tiny bit of the target as a clue. You'll have a better chance of getting a shot with this nice orange sky if you stop in to the arcade after dark. Don't use your flash. Instead, use a longer shutter speed (this was 1 second) and make sure your camera is very steady. You can tell I didn't use my tripod. If you look closely at the gravestones you'll notice they are a little blurry. Just one more reason to make another trip!

Rick Shea was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Rick and all the readers who got the answer right: Jodi Cook, Lou Baker, Dylan Weidner, Mike Haeberle, Caroline Dupre, Brittany Irish, John Dupre, Andrew J Weed, Rochelle, Cori Lehman, Amy Schweizer, Paul Cooper, Bill Androckitis Jr., Louis Podbelski, Jeffrey Dunne, Dan Hawkins, Chris Connors, Dave Cole, Bonnie Smith, Jen Cox, Brian Gallant, Marc Lorenzo, Joseph Tempel, Glenn Meyer, Jamie Kelly, Brandon Boffin, Gary E Genteman, Katarina Whitmarsh, Jamie Poynton, Emily Nussbaum, Matthew Waga, Kathy Berry and James Berry. Each of you will be entered in the February winners' drawing.
_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #73: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #73

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

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a cool Disney book!

February 16, 2009

April Disney World Calendar

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer


Here's your calendar for April. Most everyone will recognize this guy as the pirate on the Pirates of the Caribbean sign in the Magic Kingdom. I think he's looking for spring - I know I sure am!


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.

April 2009 8.5x11 Calendar


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

April 2009 Jewel Case Calendar

February 17, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: MouseGear

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Let's see, I introduced Restaurants, Merchandise and now Shops for the Disney Pic of the Week. I'm sensing another kind of theme myself here. Barrie? Lisa? Care to comment? Well, since I used the Epcot Pin Station for Merchandise, I'll stay in Epcot with a photo of the neon lighted MouseGear store which is the second largest shop on Walt Disney World property.

MouseGear is located in Epcot's Innoventions East, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
MouseGear is located in Epcot's Innoventions East.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/4.2, 900 ISO, +0.3 EV, 29mm Focal Length

Barrie and Lisa will be showing you their favorite Shops at Disney this Thursday and Saturday.

February 18, 2009

Quick Tips for Quick Portraits

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Who wouldn't want to be able to pull off a quick nice portrait while vacationing? Scott, that was rhetorical. There are those moments when you and your friends and family have stopped moving and you think, ooh, time for pictures!

Let's examine this photograph closely. I'll point out what you want to avoid and what can be approved upon. Today's model is mild mannered reporter Clark Kent, oh wait, no, he was busy. Today's model is well-mannered Disney fan Deb Wills*.

lkb_background_bad.jpg

1. Always look to see if there are other humans, animals, polls, street lamps, etc... behind your subject. This woman is sticking out of Deb's shoulder. That can't be comfortable.

1 1/2. Part of a person doesn't help either.

2. Lighting is extremely important. Racoon eyes and squiting isn't attractive, unless you're a racoon with glaucoma. Look out for harsh shadows.

3. Posing is another super duper important part of a great portrait or headshot. Facing straight on is OK but less desireable.

4. The background should be simple without much going on as to not distract from the subject. Snacks huts aren't exactly picturesque even if they're themed.

lkb_background_good.jpg

I moved Deb (not literally, she walked herself) several feet to the right of where we were and turned her back so that the sun was behind her left shoulder. The only background is the wall and the plantlife. This allows Deb to stand out without having distractive people and things behind her. The lighting is now more even and the sun is diffused by clouds, which I had no control over, try as I might. By turning Deb's shoulders at an angle, it creates a more pleasant and complimentary look.

See, with just a few simple steps, you too can create portraits on the go and once you have that, you can have all sorts of fun with photo editing software.

lkb_background_grndfl.jpg


lkb_backgrounds_fireworks.jpg
Deb gets darker at night.


*For the purpose of these photos I had to ask Deb to remove her x-ray vision glasses.


February 19, 2009

Five and Dime

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

The good olde days are back in Mickey's Toontown where you can shop at the Five & Dime. Merchandise may change but generally you'll find household items, candy, snacks, and stationery. Mickey's Toontown is full of vibrant primary colors which give it a sunshine day kind of feeling.

lkb_shop_fivedime.jpg
Disneyland, Anaheim, California

February 20, 2009

Panning for Gold

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The technique of panning to convey a sense of motion is one that takes practice. Instead of worrying about depth of field as you would for a landscape or a portrait, slow shutter speeds and steady hands are what is needed to get a good panned photo. For unlike most photography, panning means you move your camera instead of keeping it still. Walt Disney World is full of opportunities for panning images. Rides, running children, shows, parades, moving parts of attractions, transportation vehicles and most anything which moves in and around the parks and resorts.


The diagram shown here gives the setup for taking a panning photo. In the diagram, the subject is moving from left to right. The subject could be moving in the other direction or up or down. As long as you can follow it evenly throughout the time it takes to capture the image. How fast and how close the moving subject is will determine the shutter speed to use. I start at 1/60th of a second for people sporting events. For auto racing events, I use 1/125 which often freezes the cars but shows movement in the wheels. For your son or daughter on a bicycle, 1/30 or slower may be in order. I've even experimented at 1/15, 1/8 and as low as 1/4 of a second.

The slower the shutter speed, the more pronounced the sense of movement and the harder it will be to keep your camera steady. Using an image stabilized (IS) lens can help. Most of today's IS lenses detect a panning motion. Nikon's version of IS called vibration reduction or VR for short, is what was used in the example photos for this article.

You still need to do the following to give yourself the best possible panning results. Plant your feet, tuck your arms into your body, hold the camera firmly and rotate the top half of your body as you track your subject. You want to pan as fast as the subject moves keeping it in the same position in your viewfinder as much as possible. Press the shutter down as you continue your motion and follow through even after the shutter has closed. You can use continuous shooting modes if you have time for more than one exposure.

Watching the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad trains from the observation area, I put my panning skills to the test. Of the many photos I took, this was the best one. Be prepared for a low percentage of images you'll find acceptable when trying this technique. Panning at places with lots of opportunities, like a themepark ride, will give you a better chance of getting a few good panned photos.

A runaway train on Big Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Panning for Gold on Big Thunder Mountain.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/50s, f/22, ISO 200, -0.6 EV, 95mm Focal length

Next I went over to the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway. Can you tell how fast this car is going? Tomorrowland Indy cars can only reach a maximum speed of 7.5 mph. If this photo looks familiar I used it for the Disney Pic of the Week on Motion a couple of weeks back.

An Indy Car at speed in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Panning shows how fast 7.5 miles per hour can look.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/20s, f/18, ISO 200, 0 EV, 95mm Focal length

Panning is a worthwhile technique to learn. All you need is to find a place to practice. A local park where people like to roller blade or bicycle is ideal. I went to a local drag strip and, after a couple of visits, became very comfortable with panning the cars going down the quarter mile strip of asphalt. You'll have to take a lot of photos to get a few great panning ones but the results are often stunning and grab a viewer's attention right away.

Next week I'll be at Walt Disney World and will be taking a break from blogging. If you have any questions regarding photography at Walt Disney World, leave a comment and I'll try and cover some of them when I get back. Aloha!

NOTE: Comments have now been activated for the Picture This! blog. The comments will appear at the bottom of our posts and Barrie, Lisa and myself would like to encourage you to ask questions and leave comments by clicking the link below each post. Thank you and we hope this will further increase your enjoyment of the AllEars.net Picture This! blog. The Comment link to use is the one on the far right with a number in parenthesis.

February 21, 2009

Aargh!!

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

World of Disney
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR lens, 1/40s shutter, f3.8, ISO 500

I know it might not seem like it, but this be my Pic of the Week for shops, Matey! This gruesome trio will greet you as you enter the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney. They are in the pirate section of the store - imagine that!

February 22, 2009

Where in the World #74

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #73:
 Where in the World #73

And here's the answer:
Enchanted Tiki Room column
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/80s shutter, f/5.6

This is one of the columns on the outside of the building that houses the Enchanted Tiki Room "Under New Management!" in the Magic Kingdom. It's just amazing to me how much incredible artwork there is in Disney World. It's everywhere you turn, which makes it easy to miss such a huge sculpture in such an obvious place.

Emily Dagney was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Emily and all the readers who got the answer right: Paula Munson, Jonathan Walker, Sharon Dale, Sharon Lee, Chris Connors, Alicia Henderson, Tricia Noble, Karen, Brandon Emerson, Tracy Discher, Blake Schmidt, Tim Rachuba, Jamie Poynton, Kelly Montgomery, Terri Thornton, Debra Moscara and Bob Ruer. Each of you will be entered in the February winners' drawing.
_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #74: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #74

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

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a cool Disney book!


February 24, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week - Reflections

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

This week, Barrie, Scott, and I bring you photos that reflect...Disney...stuff. Reflections abound at the parks whether it's glass, water, or a mirror that depicts where 7 dwarfs are at the moment. So sit back and relax as we present Reflections of Disney! (cue the fireworks)

Taken while riding the Liberty Belle steamboat in Liberty Square. This scene is designed specifically to show a boy looking at his reflection in the river. The turtle on the left is a freeloader who didn't pay park admission.

lkb_reflection_indian.jpg
Canon PowerShot S5 IS, ISO 200, f5.6, 1/200


February 25, 2009

Carousel of Progress

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Did you ever imagine a time when a photo could be taken without film? I sure didn't. Walt would call it progress. Our friend John and his family have been around a long time and their Cast Member friends will tell you that flash photography is not allowed in their theatre. That's not a problem because with a digital camera, you can see on the LCD screen just how good or bad your photo will be before you even depress the shutter release button.

The lighting for Carousel of Progress is excellent with the exception of when the kids and Mother are behind mesh screens. Since camera features vary slightly, some might do a better job than others when it comes to shooting indoors without a flash. Try using a Scene mode such as Candlelight or Museum. You might also be able to use Auto and turn off the flash. Refer to your user's manual for step-by-step instructions on how to override the flash. If you're comfortable manually controling your f-stop and shutterspeed, you're more likely to get better shots.

For these photos I used my Canon PowerShot SX100 IS and controled all of the settings myself. I began with an ISO (film speed) of 800, a shutterspeed of 1/80 and the aperature f4. I am content with how well ISO 800 held up. The CM that day was booming all kinds of no-no's over the microphone so I put my camera away after a few shots.

lkb_carousel_dad40s.jpg
Here's an overall shot of the first scene.


lkb_carousel_dadpipe.jpg
I zoomed in for a much closer look at Father. He looks fantastic for his age, gotta love cosmetic surgery.

By the time the final scene rolled around, uhh, we rolled around the final scene...I decided to take more photos. I hadn't broken any rules and the CM seemed to have mellowed out a bit, so why not.

I had changed my settings to ISO 400, a shutterspeed of 1/50 and f4 prior to putting my camera away. Although the final scene didn't seem as brightly lit, I decided to leave things alone. They came out a smidge underexposed but nothing to cry over.

lkb_carousel_dad2000.jpg
Dad's made it into the new millenium or the early 90's, I'm not really sure.


lkb_carousel_grandma.jpg
Grandma kicked butt on a virtual video game, good for her.

For more advice on photographing animatronics, check out our Disney Pic of the Week beginning on March 17th. Oooh I just remembered an arcade that has Pac-Man. See ya!

February 26, 2009

Reflections of Earth

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Spaceship Earth at Epcot
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR lens, 5s shutter, f8

Visit Epcot at night and you'll see Spaceship Earth reflecting its brilliant color in the World Showcase Lagoon. You can see Mexico's Cantina de San Angel in the foreground. I took this photo from the left side of the America Gardens Theater across the lagoon.

February 28, 2009

Dream Reflection

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Cinderella Castle in Dream Lights over the Christmas holidays in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Racing along Tomorrowland Indy Speedway.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, 1100 ISO, 0 EV, 18mm Focal Length

I had to wait until my last night before leaving to come home for this photo of Cinderella Castle being reflected in the moat. The days before were so windy there was too much water movement for the photograph I had in mind. The added bonus being the Dream Lights the castle is decorated in for the Christmas holidays which makes for a beautiful Disney Pic of the Week on Reflections.

Return to Blog Central

About February 2009

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

January 2009 is the previous archive.

March 2009 is the next archive.

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