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November 2011 Archives

November 1, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week: Birds

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Birds are found throughout the Walt Disney World resort. Most are indigenous species found in Florida like the snowy egrets, herons, ibis, ducks, sparrows and the like. They have become used to begging for food from the guests. Please, you should not feed them as people food is not good for them.

In Disney's Animal Kingdom, there are two trails which feature aviaries of birds. The Maharajah Jungle Trek features birds from Asia and the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail has birds from Africa. As you enter each aviary, you will see a large bird identification chart of the birds you may see. Take the time to photograph both sides of the chart so you can identify the birds later.

Below is a bird called the Hamerkop from Africa. It gets its name from the shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back which is reminiscent of a hammer. It is a wading bird found in wetlands. Their diet consists of amphibians, fish, shrimp and insects.

Hammerkop on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Hammerkop on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Nikon D70/70-200VR, 1/640s, f/6.3, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 200mm Focal Length.

Barrie and Lisa will be here on Thursday and Saturday to share Bird photos for their Disney Pic of Week.

November 2, 2011

Trip Report: Final Musings/Dining Plan

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Ladies and gentlemen, my Labor Day weekend visit to Walt Disney World came to an end. My friend Terri and I had a great albeit, far too short of a vacation. I'm lucky if I see her once a year as we live on opposite ends of the US. This was the first time I ever booked a package deal and for this particular trip, it made sense but it'll probably be another year or so before another package will work to my advantage.

Included was the Disney Dining Plan, for free, consisting of 1 snack credit, 1 counter service, and 1 sit down restaurant per person, per night. Here's a breakdown of what we had and additional commentary. Oh, and beverages might not be listed because we either had a bottle of water, soda or iced tea.

Snack credit - Club Cool
Terri - Bag of multicolor candied popcorn. Estimated value $3.99

Snack credit - Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery
Lisa - One zebra cupcake consisting of white cake, buttercream frosting, and black and white chocolate shavings. Don't eat in the hut next door unless you enjoy saunas. Estimated value: $3.99

Snack credit - Sleepy Hollow
Terri - Ice cream cookie sandwich. Best item of the whole trip. So delish! Value: $4.19

Lisa - I wanted the Mickey-shaped waffle (retail price $4.59) but it wasn't on the Disney Dining Plan. I wound up with the funnel cake covered in cinammon and powdered sugar. This was both my first and last funnel cake. Hello...the waffle was cheaper, why it wasn't accepted on the plan I'll never understand. Value: $4.99

Snack credit - The Writer's Stop
Terri - Some kind of baked good but I cannot remember what the heck it was. Estimated value: $2.95

Lisa - An enormous carrot cake cookie. It consisted of two layers of carrot cake with cream cheese frosting inbetween. Next time, I'll have to share. Value: $2.95

Quick service - Sunshine Seasons Food Court
Terri - Ginger mongolian beef with broccoli and white rice. Tasty but miniscule portion. I had a large but tasteless chocolate chip cookie for dessert. Value: $9.99 and $1.99

Quick service - Yakatori House was closed. A stand temporarily carried some of the menu.
Lisa - I got the chicken teriyaki meal which comes with vegetables and rice. No traditional Japanese desserts were available. I was given a chocolate chip cookie which I gave to a kid. Plus a bottle of water. Value: $8.99, $2.50 and probably $1.99 for the cookie

Quick service - Columbia Harbor House
Terri - Chicken tenders and fries, chocolate cake for dessert. You should probably mention that the man gave us samples of the lobster salad and I totally would have ordered it if I wasn't jonsing for french fries and nuggets at the time. Value: $8.19 and $3.59

Lisa - Shrimp basket with broccoli fries. It's a nice new edition to what I can eat at Magic Kingdom quick service locations. I had the apple crisp for dessert and a bottle of water. Value: $9.99, $3.59, and $2.50 I'm supposed to mention that the Cast Member aka "the man" gave us (I gave mine to Terri) samples of the lobster salad and Terri would have like totally ordered it if she wasn't like jonsing for fries and chicken nuggets.

Quick service - Pop Century food court
Terri - Grab and go turkey sub sandwich from cooler and a chocolate chip muffin for dessert. Value: Unknown

Lisa - Custom made salad by a chef along with pre cut watermelon and a bottle of Vitamin Water. Value: Unknown

Sit-down restaurant - Raglan Road
Terri - Best meal of the trip by far for me. Serious Steak, 10 oz sirloin topped with Irish whiskey marmalade glaze, with fresh basil oil, mashed potatoes, and topped with crispy fried onion strings. Dessert was Trifle Sinful - kitchen baked Swiss roll, Gran Marnier, berries, custard and cream and if you can recall from my face, it was awful. Value: $27.00 and $8.00

Lisa - Also, my favorite and most fantastically yummy meal of the trip. Chef James wasn't too bad either. I'll be good. My entree was the Salmon of Knowledge with a tweak here and there. Dessert was the oh-so-decadent Ger's Bread & Butter Pudding. I went to town and had a ginger ale, too. Value: $25.00 and $8.00 Terri's dessert had some dense white tasteless concoction which caused the facial reaction. If only I had taken a photo.

Sit-down restaurant/Character meal - 1900 Park Fare
Terri - A lil bit of this, a lil bit of that. Nothing really good. Definitely more about the experience than the food. Value: $42.59

Lisa - As buffets are pre-prepared (just go along), the chef wound up making my meal. I had an assortment of vegetables, potatoes, chicken, and steak. Desserts from the buffet were varied but not worth sneaking into a ziploc bag for later, if you catch my drift. Character interaction was great with Anastasia and Drizella. Cinderella and Prince Charming are dull. Value: $42.59

Sit-down restaurant - Restaurant Marrakesh
Terri - I ordered and paid $8.99 for the chicken bastilla appetizer. It was delish! For my entrée I had couscous with beef which was also very good. I am fuzzy on dessert. I think I remember chocolate ice-cream drenched with cinnamon or something that was too strong for me to eat. (Bastilla with chocolate ice cream) Value: $27.99 and $7.99

Lisa - Here, too, the chef accomodated my dietary restrictions. I had the shish kebab of filet minion, vegetables, and potato. The menu said mint ice cream as an option for the bastilla but it was actually mint chocolate chip and you-know-who is not supposed to have milk chocolate. I ate some of it and enjoyed the cinammon topping. Value: $28.99 ad $7.99

Listen into our conversations.

Lisa: What was the worst thing about the trip?

Terri: The hot! That's the only complaint, that it was really, really hot but shame on us, we went in September. How can you be surprised? No, I lie. The worst part of the trip was finding out the monorail was closed - it does not have extra Magic Hours. Then the hike from the dock through the Grand Floridian out past valet parking (or special people, not us) and across the street to guest parking. There wasn't a lot to buy even in Japan. Nothing new or gotta have or that you can't get at home.

Lisa: That's true. So much is imported now.

Terri: The wait at Marrakesh of all places.

Lisa: That was insane.

Lisa: What was the best thing?

Terri: We were at Walt Disney World. Let me think, what was...spectacular. What was new since we were there? What were the magical moments...hmmm. Oh my gosh, the free upgrade to the pirate room!! That room was great.

Lisa: I love everything from the fridge inside a barrel to the crate-looking drawers and the imprint in the shower. I don't think any attractions were new.

Terri: The wood plank-looking carpet!

Lisa: What do you remember that was funny?

Terri: The girl wearing the shorts that were too small.

Lisa: A lot of clothes were too small.

Lisa: What didn't we get to do?

Terri: I did not do American Adventure and you didn't get to do American Idol (Experience) or that Star Wars thing (Star Tours). No Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse or Magic Carpet Ride with Aladdin.

Lisa: I didn't ride with Aladdin.

Terri: We didn't do Buzz Lightyear or The Laugh Floor.

Lisa: Hey, I still have FastPasses in my wallet!

Terri: The hot air balloon (Characters in Flight) at Downtown Disney. We didn't see Ariel or Beauty and the Beast.

Lisa: What did we learn?

Terri: How to draw the Toy Story alien, again! The Tiki Room was a highlight, seeing the original show again.

Lisa: And that September is too hot and humid.


Keep up with my freelance writing and photography via my Facebook page.

November 3, 2011

Animal Kingdom's Silent Owl

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


Birds with gorgeous, colorful feathers can be found at Disney's Animal Kingdom. They star in the show Flights of Wonder, they fly and waddle through the Maharajah Jungle Trek aviary, and sit atop branches and man-made perches along the Discovery Island Trails and The Oasis.

As we salute Donald's distant cousins, I'd like to point out one very well-behaved owl who never "who"s or picks up rodents. Behold...

lkb-Birds-OwlCarvingTreeLife.jpg

Carved into the Tree of Life by Disney artisans, this enormous ode to Eurasian Eagle Owls, is a majestic site to see.

Disney Pic of the Week - Birds

Keep up with my freelance writing and photography via my Facebook page.

November 4, 2011

Flights of Wonder Photo Op

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Back in August, we featured a Disney Pic of the Week theme called Lucky Shot. I received an email from a regular reader and commenter Steve Knapp about his unlucky shot. Here is his story.

I tried posting a comment to your blog about "lucky shots" but something with my office system wouldn't permit me to post it. Then I got busy and totally forgot about it. But I wanted to make sure to let you know my experience with an "unlucky" shot.

I had the chance to take a photo of a lifetime and totally blew it. I was selected for this opportunity during the Flights of Wonder show in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Seated on stage, they released a bird from the back of the seating area and he flew right over me and another tourist. Before the release, the host told us to both focus on a spot at the end of the stage. Using my Nikon D5000 with the 55-200mm lens, I set my dial to "action" and focused on that spot. What I wasn't told was this bird had over a 6 foot wing span and I wasn't prepared for the speed of the bird as it flew. Needless to say, my autofocus shifted to the audience and, well, let's just say it was a nice photo of the audience as the bird flew quickly through my set spot. The other tourist missed the shot, too. As we were being led on stage, I almost shifted my settings to the multiple framed (ie., continuous or burst mode) setting. I should have also switched to using my 18-55mm lens and started shooting as soon as the bird left the handlers hand, tracking it all the way over my head. Attached is a picture of the bird, an Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, on its perch, which was my consolation picture! I did switch to the multiple frames setting for the rest of the show, capturing a few good shots of birds in mid-flight.

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill in the Flights of Wonder at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida.
Abyssinian Ground Hornbill photographed by Steve Knapp at the Flights of Wonder.

Steve went on to say there really is no such thing as an "unlucky" photo at Walt Disney World and he did come home with lots of good photos.

I want to thank Steve for passing on his experience on stage during the Flights of Wonder show. Now I (and all of you) have a good idea what to expect if any of us are selected for such a photo opportunity.

November 5, 2011

New Guinea Masked Plover at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

 New Guinea Masked Plover
Copyright © 2011 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/500s shutter, f2.8, ISO 800

This very interesting looking bird is a New Guinea Masked Plover. You can usually spot him or her (the male and female look alike) foraging for food on the ground in the aviary of the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Do you want to join in on the fun and share your bird pictures too? We'd love to see them. Head on over to Google+ and post your photo(s), adding the hashtag of #disneypics-birds. Then share it publicly so we can all see it. Search for #disneypics-birds in Google+ to see everyone's pictures.

November 6, 2011

Where in the World #202

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Players, we're going no further until we applaud one of our own: Claire Gregory. Awhile ago, we wondered if the Norway Giant Troll had a name and I told Claire she had to find out because she was going to Disney soon. Well, she's in Walt Disney World right now and strolled right into the Norway Pavilion and asked the cast members! Claire, you ROCK! I can't believe you remembered that! I'll be smiling over this for days. (And the answer is: no, the Troll isn't officially named. :) )

Thanks to all of you who answered Challenge #1 last week like Sharon Dale and Steve Jordan! I had to look it up. :)

Could someone send some Disney sunshine to The Perras Family? They got a bunch of snow. Too early for that!

Hello, Hunter Armstrong! Thank you for your great note! And the same to Luis Rodriguez (glad you're back this week, Luis) and Susie Howard: thank you!

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #201

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2006 Erin Blackwell FinePix S5200, 5mm, 1/320s shutter, f/2.8

Chris Stockton, you got your wish! The Carousel of Progress! One of Walt's 1964 World's Fair attractions! (Kenny, you really saw it at the Fair? That is so cool!) Many people said this is the favorite attraction in Disney World and how your spouses & kids now love it too! And here's the moms and grandmoms who first shared they love of it with us. Right, Kelly Mager and Robert Anderson?

(Toni G., really? He's wearing 2 left shoes in that scene where he sits on the backwards chair? I have to check that out! Guess what? Paul Dickson saw a cat there. Cool, huh?)

Lots of us sang the song, so now that's in my head! So I'm sharing the joy! Evanna Huda, Jennifer Harmon, Steve Jordan, Caroline Burmester, Patti Mccaffrey, Mike Timmer, Steve Knapp, Meredith Downey, and Vincent Maltese, will you lead us please?

There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day
There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow's just a dream away!

Man has a dream and that's the start
He follows his dream with mind and heart
And when it becomes a reality
It's a dream come true for you and me

So there's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day
There's a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Just a dream away!

I hope I see some of you guys this December for "It's a Great Big Beautiful Meet!" It really is going to be a "December to Remember", isn't it?!

The Kahle Family were the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to The Kahle's and to all the readers who got the answer right: Austin O'blenis, Paul Dickson, Lee Anastasi, Clare C, Kirsty Butler, Larissa Huda, Rich Kacprowicz, Theresa Rucando, Vicki Aponte, Beth Mcmeekin, Julie Wickware, Sharon Pierce, Mary Beth Tarbet, Kenny, Debbie Desimone, Al Desimone, Maryann Eckenrode, Michael Gainey, Hoekzema Family, Edward Elder, Virginia Pierce, Leslie Stewart, Dee Dee Kenney, Kye Layton, Rob Blundin, Kristy Schalk, Leigh Mertz, Charles Wright, Kelly Mager, Dale Knight, Ed Hogan, Nicole Ruzinski, The Perras Family, Walter Fletcher, Lorine Landon, John Sheridan, Tom Armstrong, Jill Hauth, Donnie, Hunter Armstrong, Sharon Dale, Kris Nixon, Sharon Dale, Evanna Huda, Amanda Laplante, Pollyanna Buff, Jennifer Harmon, Deb Ragno, Katy Robinson, Steve Jordan, Joy Johnston, Angie Young, Robert Anderson, Wendy Barney, Melody Salemi, Bill Mckim, Cara Richards, Linda Scrivano, Jonathan Thomas, Lauren Thomas, Tracy Discher, Craig, Mike M., Jen Snapp, Linda College, K.l. Beasley, Diane Furado, Hannah Couture, Caryn Schill, Bruce Jones, Scott Stubbs, Andy Hickey, Erin Dagney, Christine Dagney, Luis Rodriguez, Kerri Coggins, Troy Parker, Jen Cerce, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Vicki And Elizabeth, William Edwards , Karen Schlumpf, Chris, Bridgette Gallagher, Adam Mcfarland, Stephanie Newell, Megan Krainski, Paul Knott, Jason Wright, Ellie Argaluza, Melina Anne Hillis, Mike Walter, Quincy Delcolletti, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Bob Hendrix, Phil Vickers, Pam Tees, Ken Eberhardt, Caroline Burmester, Mackenzie D., Dayna Guay, Jacki Honig, Lorraine Burmester, Analisa And Danny, Jonathan Ward, Millie Tenreiro, Barbara Ajak, David, Scott Otis, Michelle White, Ansley, Victor Gonzalez, Toni G., Kelly, Matt Holley, John Hout, Kirk Hardy, Ryan And Kerry A., Katie Bowling, Tina Santacroce, The O'meara Family, Erica Sipich, Olivia, Brandon Emerson, Kathy Berry, James Berry, Katie Bray, Jason Albucker, Sammi Jo, Diana Fitzgerald, Jodi Cook, Erin Rix, Allison Daubert, Andrea Kruszewski, Brian Haas, Karen Ramirez, Kelli Olthoff, Patti Mccaffrey, Scott Greenbaum, Jennifer Rupert , The Moore Family, Karen Hotchkiss, Hailey Gill, Clay Anthony, Maureen Handy, Jeremy Hardy, Jeff Blank, Amanda Campbell, Heather Boyle , Carrie Henderson, Betsy Silvestri , Ron Renz, Fran Wenhold, Becky Hosinger, Debra, Cameron Lange, Scott Junkin, Carri Marotto, Brittany &Jesse Siminitz, Blake Schmidt, Anastasia Macneil, Carla C., Alison Rosenberger, Karrie Duffey, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Alan Mize, Jimi Mac, Antoinette Leblanc, Hannah M, Chris Bauman, Heather Hynes, Kristin Dormuth, Nancy Daniele, Denise Cayz, Karen Aguiar, Davida Kosa, Kerry Finnamore, Nicole Duddy, Mike Timmer, Kerrie Hogan, Ashley Wilson, Andrew Schumacher, Mary Greger, Alan P, John P, Elyssa H, Doug Buchheit, Andrew Pettit, Jamie Poynton, Tricia Petty, Jason Skow, Matthew Jadro, Brian Sheets, Kelly Zanauskas, Steve Knapp, Wendy Mowery, Patrick Sullivan, Anne-marie Crabtree, Andrew, Marc Fumo, Jeff Finger, Jennifer Bourg, Jeffrey Dunne, Josh Weiss, John Arena Jr, Chloe Mayhew, J Brizzle, Michelle M. Mackey, Mike Berryhill, Mike Haeberle, Jamie K, Michael Campe, Peggy Saeger, Wade A. Williams, Sam Fritz, Wendy Kemp, Ken , Melissa Littman, Danielle Aston, Meredith Downey, Mitchell Holmes, Christopher Barnes, Natalie Baron, Matt Degrandis, Evan Rapone, Nick Bentz, Will Gates, Linda Mac, Colin Buchanan, Chris Masse, Kelly Kobiela, Melesia Love, Karen Smith, Christopher Hall, George Mundy Jr, Kelly Smith, Elizabeth Scarborough, Jenn Steele, Hillary Waldroop, Jennifer Schwing, Megan E., Sarah Holodick, Mike Kaczanowski, The Hicks Family, Jeremy Reichelt, Paula Massarelli, Kristen Carde, Tina, Ros, Evelyn Wilson, Paula B, Amy Park, Timothy Hutchinson, Mike Hill, Jessica Iglesias, Deb Mangini, Patti Deluca, Daniel Record, Karen Pizzuta, Melissa Dye, Tom, Heather Pedulla, Liz Moreau, Tom Linder , Tom Buck, Sarah Gallagher, Jennifer Bogdan, Amy Freeman, Debbie Poole, Rebecca Keenan, Tom Higbee, John And Tracey Roerty, Vincent Maltese, Howie T., Claire Gregory, Claire Gregory, Sherri Pell, Dan Owens, John Pasqueralli, Gary Bracknell, Amy Schweizer, Duskin Henard, Seth Walker, Amy Filliben, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Melanie Dickson, Amanda Houston, Kelly Montgomery, Jo Ann Bailey, Jonah Rigby, Precious Balsewicz, Paula Kertes, Theresa Maradei, Elaine Johnson, Cheri Palmisano, Chris Stockton, Carol Donoghue, Barrie Brewer, Wesley Lollar, Virginia Dastugue, Carolyn Conway, Erika F, Rob Vanderpool, Derek Carty, Ashley P., Scott Price, Christopher Tweedle, and Jennifer Tremley. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Look at the calendar! It's time to announce October's winner! And it is....

Congratulations to Heather Young You have won some cool AllEars swag! Booyah!
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Challenge #202: Where in the world is this?
I'm calling this week is a toughie. Unless you're a big Hidden Mickey hunter.... or heading for Steve Barrett's site right now. ;) We're still in one of the 4 parks!

 Where in the World #202

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, November 10th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

See you next week, Players! (It's a great big beautiful tomorrow.... still stuck in my head!)

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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!

November 7, 2011

January Disney Calendar

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

We haven't had a resort calendar for awhile so this month we'll be enjoying a taste of Africa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. There's nothing like waking up to a giraffe outside your window!

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. When printing CD Jewel Case size, make sure "Page Scaling" in your print dialogue box is set to "None" to ensure that the calendar prints out at the correct size.


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

January 2012 8.5x11 Calendar


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

January 2012 Jewel Case Calendar

And finally, this desktop wallpaper is for your monitor screen.

1-12_wallpaper_sm.jpg
1024 x 768
1280 x 800
1280 x 1024
1440 x 900
1600 x 1200

November 8, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week - Liberty Square

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


"Give me liberty or give me a bran muffin." Those are the wise words of famed Scottish-born Candian comic, Colin Mochrie. While the odds of finding a bran muffin in Liberty Square are slim to none, you will find oodles of historic influence and patriotism.

Good times abound at the Haunted Mansion, adventure awaits onboard the Liberty Square Riverboat, and presidents will provide kids with extra credit knowledge for their school reports. There are shops, a few restaurants, a compfy place to hang your head, and most importantly, restrooms.

Join Scott, Barrie, and I as we explore Liberty Square at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

lkb-LibertySq-HMStatue.jpg
Get up close and personal with permanent residents of the Haunted Mansion.

Hurry baaaack. Hurry baaaack. Be sure to look for more photos on Thursday and Saturdaaaaay.

Keep up with my freelance writing and photography via my Facebook page.

November 9, 2011

Create Abstract Photos Thru Glass

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


Bored with taking the same old photos on every vacation? Change your viewpoint and try something new. Put your creativity to work.

As I was standing by the entrance/exit to the restrooms behind The American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios, a thought came to mind. What sort of effect would I get if I shot thru the rippled glass wall? The answer is, neato abstract photos. Using my new Canon PowerShot SX30 IS, I set the camera to Macro (the flower symbol) allowing me to place the lens as close to the glass as possible. I allowed the camera to focus as best it could and while the images are misshapen, they're still in focus.

I took 3 shots to show you the difference in how positioning the camera matters.

The first photo was taken with some distance between me and the wall. You can see the block of glass as it is. This is not exciting.
lkb-AbstractGlass1.jpg

Next I placed the camera up to the glass and found cool colors and shapes. If you know what you're aiming at, you can identify it for others. My camera was aimed at the side entrance to The American Idol Experience. Look carefully, and you'll see the walkway, silver guard rails, and the top of the building modeled after the Pan Pacific Auditorium, which the park entrance also mimics.
lkb-AbstractGlass2.jpg

With this final shot, I changed the glass block I shot through. This slightly varied angle makes a big difference. There's more color, more going on, and it's a bit more of a challenge to decipher shapes.
lkb-AbstractGlass3.jpg

A whole new World (get it?) of images await. Just take a look around.


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November 10, 2011

Cruising on the Liberty Belle

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Liberty Belle
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/2500s shutter, f3.5, ISO 200

For a relaxing break from the crowds, take a cruise down the Rivers of America on the Liberty Belle, my Pic of the Week for Liberty Square. The Liberty Square Riverboat is located in Liberty Square across from the Hall of Presidents, in the Magic Kingdom. You can get some great pictures of Tom Sawyer Island, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the Haunted Mansion from the top deck of this authentic steam-powered sternwheeler.

Do you want to join in on the fun and share your Liberty Square pictures too? We'd love to see them. Head on over to Google+ and post your photo(s), adding the hashtag of #disneypics-libertysquare. Then share it publicly so we can all see it. Search for #disneypics-libertysquare in Google+ to see everyone's pictures.

November 11, 2011

Jim Korkis' Mysteries of the Wilderness Lodge Tour

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last month I attended Pixelmania 2011 hosted by TheMagicInPixels.com. Pixelmanaia was four days of fun with some of the best and soon-to-be best Disney fan photographers around the Internet. One of the meets was hosted by Jim Korkis, a former Disney historian and author of The Vault of Walt, called Mysteries of the Wilderness Lodge. For those who do not know Mr. Korkis, he is a character worthy of Disney. Being an actor, he is very animated when he speaks and is extremely entertaining to listen to. Like the title of his book, Jim is a vault of information about everything Disney. The Wilderness Lodge was no exception.

The group of thirty people meet up with Jim outside of Roaring Forks restaurant in the courtyard. After being introduced by Tim Devine, head photographer of TheMagicInPixels.com, Jim remarked, as photographers, all of us need to document the Disney parks and resorts during each of our visits. He talked about how things change overtime. Details originally designed into parks and resorts by Imagineers get removed or replaced by managers over the years who were not aware of their significance. Our photos help keep the magic alive for years to come.

Jim Korkis outside of Roaring Forks restaurant at Disney's Wilderness Lodge resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Jim Korkis outside of Roaring Forks restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/9, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 100mm focal length, fill flash.

As the group moved from the courtyard up the hallway next to Artist Point restaurant, Jim continued to point out the reasons why the lanterns looked to be oriental and how the color red, rug and stones where patterned as a nod to the Chinese immigrants who were a big part in creating the railroads which opened up the western United States back in the 1800's.

Upon convening in the huge lobby of the Wilderness Lodge Resort, Jim told us the story of the north positioned totem pole. I do not remember the entire story but the frog again won the heart of the princess. A tale known to the native people's of the Pacific Northwest.

Jim Korkis telling the story of the totem pole at Disney's Wilderness Lodge resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Jim Korkis telling the story of the totem pole.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 6400, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Did you know, the entire lobby floor has meaning in Native American lore? The center of the lobby is the Center of the Universe and the design of the floor is like one large rug. Each side depicting one of the Four Directions: North, South, East and West. Jim told us of an annual ceremony held about this time of year called the Blessing of the Four Directions which cleanses the resort.

The Lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge resort tells a story of the Four Directions.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/3.5, ISO 6400, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

On the balcony overlooking the Wilderness Lodge's stream, pool and geyser, Jim told us about the resort's mascot, Humphrey the Bear. You may remember Humphrey from old Disney animated shorts made back in the 1950's. For your information, no other Disney resort has a mascot. Jim is pointing out the locations where you can see Humphrey the Bear at night as he ran out of time to take us outside to view it.

Jim Korkis making a point on a balcony at Disney's Wilderness Lodge resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Jim Korkis making a point on a balcony.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV 0, 50mm focal length, fill flash.

Our last stop on the tour was the Carolwood Pacific Room in the Villas of Wilderness Lodge next to the main resort. Jim told us stories of Walt Disney's personal trains he kept in his home's backyard in California. Something a train buff in the group made sure he caught Jim's every word about (see photo below). The room itself is a marvel and had two of Walt's train cars on display.

Jim Korkis talking in the Carolwood Pacific Room in the Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Jim Korkis talking in the Carolwood Pacific Room.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/40s, f/4, ISO 6400, EV -0.3, 42mm focal length.

Jim Korkis could have talked for hours about the Wilderness Lodge. For those of you who will be attending his SOLD OUT talk on the Carousel of Progress next month during the AllEars.net A December to Remember events, you are in for a treat. Be prepared for the talk to run long as Jim enthusiastically will have a lot of great information and trivia for us.

November 12, 2011

Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
US Presidents on stage during the Hall of Presidents show.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/30s, f/2.8, ISO 2200, EV -2.0, 15mm focal length.

For my Disney Pic of Week on Liberty Square, I wanted to share this photo of the Hall of Presidents stage with all the United States Presidents and give a little technical information on how I took it. To be able to photograph the entire stage, I sat back 6 rows and got a seat in the middle. The show had lots of room so I did not bother anyone (this time). I used my ultra wide angle lens, the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, and set it to 15mm focal length. If you have a DX sensor, you would use 11mm for this lens. I spot metered on the brightly lit stage and needed to set my camera's EV to -2 so as not to blow out the faces of the Audio-Animatronic Presidents. How did I know this? I took a few photos before this and kept dialing down the EV until the blow out areas on my camera's LCD stopped blinking.

November 13, 2011

Where in the World #203

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Spring Smith, you are SO welcome for me putting "It's a great big beautiful tomorrow" in your head all week! How about something for this week, hmmm?

Everybody's got a laughing place
A laughing place to go
Take a frown, turn it upside down
And you'll find yours we know!

That's enough to make me sing that all day!

Jennifer Harmon and Zachary Ott, thanks for your wonderful notes! I'm so glad you enjoy playing each week!

Mike Timmer, Google Image is our friend. It's certainly mine. We've known each other since the seventh grade. LOL!

And welcome to Gordon Edwards who joins his family in playing "Where in the World"! He's one of us now. (I'm holding back on the evil laugh... ok, maybe a tiny one: muwahahahaha!)

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #202

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2006 Erin Blackwell FinePix S3000, 36mm, 1/200s shutter, f/2.8, ISO 100

As The Patterson Family and so many of you perfectly put it: This statue is of King Philip I, or Philip the Handsome, that adorns the outside of the Das Kaufhaus store in the Germany pavilion of World Showcase. Or, as Chris Stockton puts it, "That is the crown of King Philip I of Castile. Or it is at least the one he wears while he is staying with his friends Chuck and Ferd at Epcot. They 'hang around' the Germany Pavilion pretty much everyday." :-D

I didn't know it when I made up last week's challenge but... I mean, I so totally knew Jack Spence did a blog tour of the German Pavilion a couple weeks ago, and set this up to coincide with it! That is my story and I'm sticking with it. ;)

Tiffany Gibb, aren't you glad you don't have to be mad at yourself? Me too. :)

Ken Eberhardt, I can't get Disney World 3D to work in Google Earth. I think I need to try my newer netbook. Ol' Faithful may not have the memory for it. Mmmmm, Google Earth....

I thought this was going to be very tough, but you guys surprised me again! We had 142 winners!

Craig was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Craig and to all the readers who got the answer right: The O'meara Family, Sharon Pierce, Chris Masse, Bob Patterson, Matt Holley, Mary Virginia Clause, Sammi Jo, Betsy Silvestri, Kathy Berry, James Berry, Nick Smathers, Tiffany Gibb, Larissa Huda, Deb Ragno, Paul Dickson, Heather Pedulla, Mary Beth Tarbet, Virginia Dastugue, Kerri Coggins, Bruce Hinterleitner, The Henkel Family, Phil Vickers, Pam Tees, Maureen Handy, Wendy Barney, Robert Anderson, Kye Layton, Linda Scrivano, Kathryn Perkins , Evan Rapone, Debbie Desimone, Debbie Desimone, Gabriella And Matthieu Bruxelle, The Perras Family, Cara Richards, Kevin Miller, Audra Miller, Spring Smith, Karen Hughes, The Kahle Family, K.l. Beasley, Rob Blundin, Jennifer Tremley, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Jennifer Harmon, Evanna Huda, Double Family, Paul Knott, Mike Hill, Hannah Couture, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Toni G., Jason Wright, Dan Johnston, Linda College , Kendall Huffman, Steve Jordan, Nicole Ruzinski, Tom Koval, Julie Wilmot, Jodi Cook, Michael Kertes, Amy Martel, Jennifer Horst, Mike Timmer, Zachary Ott, Mary Jo Gallion, Dee Dee Kenney, Laura Vaughn, Amanda Campbell, Hillary Waldroop, Kerry |mccaffrey, Jennifer Bourg, Steven Bowling, Patti Mccaffrey, John Crabtree, Tom Hermes, Kim Meyer, Clay, Claire Gregory, Jeremy Hardy, Melina Anne Hillis, Julie Wickware, Dallas Hamilton, Emma Marrow, Paul Ignudo Jr., Christopher Hall, Nancy Daniele, Tom Buck, Leslie Stewart, Patterson Family, Melissa Dye, Sarah Holodick, Robert Mccoy, Nicole Duddy, Alison Rosenberger, Andrew Schumacher, Nancy Ahlsen, Susan, Scott Sangston, Mike Haeberle, Alan Mize, Andrea Kruszewski, Karen Robertson , Caroline Burmester, Leigh Mertz, Theresa Maradei, Lorraine Burmester, Ken Eberhardt, Sharon Dale, Matt Degrandis, Heidi Goodhue, Troy Parker, Danielle Aston, Linda Mac, Ros, Karen Bellamy, Todd Ritter, Elyssa H, Tracy Discher, Vicki, Gordon, Elizabeth, William And Thomas Edwards, Liz Peniston, Patti Deluca, Lisa Cash, Barclay Bakkum, Tom Higbee, Gary Bracknell, Barrie Brewer, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Seth Walker, Rob Vanderpool, Jon Solomonson, Chris Stockton, Agnes Ciotti, Mickey Eckert, Jonah Rigby, Kerry A., Maryann Eckenrode, Katherine Gast, Bryan Timko, Russ Morgan, and Nick Smathers. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________________________________________________

Challenge #203: Where in the world is this?

Stay with me in one of the parks for this week.

 Where in the World #203

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, November 17th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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!

November 15, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week - Aladdin

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Aladdin
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D500, 18-200mm VR, 1/2000s shutter, f5.6, ISO 400

Our Pics of the Week this week are inspired by the movie Aladdin. Watch for glimpses of the cast as we share some of our photos of the stars of the show. I'll start us out with this one of Aladdin and Genie in the Disney's Dreams Come True Parade at the Magic Kingdom.

Three pictures just do not do this movie justice. Check out Google+ to see what other Aladdin images are being shared. We'd love to see yours too. Head on over to Google+ and post your photo(s), adding the hashtag of #disneypics-aladdin. Then share it publicly so we can all see it. Search for #disneypics-aladdin in Google+ to see everyone's pictures.


November 16, 2011

Munchkin Cam

Raise your hand if you've experienced The Great Movie Ride and found your entourage stuck behind another group in The Wizard of Oz room. Yeah, that's not supposed to happen but it did and I took full advantage of it.

Seated on the far right hand side of the bench, I had the perfect opportunity to grab some photos with my Canon PowerShot SX30 IS. Keeping the bottom of the camera flat along the edge of the vehicle door and holding it firmly in place, I let the camera make use of its night mode. Why the night mode? While things might look bright to us, they don't to digital camera sensors. The low lighting and inability to use the flash calls for specific settings such as a wide aperture and slow shutter.

The results are:

lkb-MunchkinCam-1.jpg
Uh oh! Here comes the wicked witch!

lkb-MunchkinCam-2.jpg
There she is! Hide!

lkb-MunchkinCam-3.jpg
Is it safe to come out?

lkb-MunchkinCam-4.jpg
Hey everyone, the wicked witch is gone! Who are all these people staring at us?

lkb-MunchkinCam-5.jpg
Who cares! Let's all sing together.

lkb-MunchkinCam-7.jpg
It's a small world afterall.

The photos were adjusted for color. The lighting in the room makes for very yellow and red photos. In fact, while I was tinkering with the colors I came to realize that more than likely, all of the "homes" are painted white.

November 17, 2011

Aladdin with his Princess at Morocco

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Aladdin with Jasmine in front of Morocco at Epcot's World Showcase,Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Aladdin with Jasmine in front of Morocco greeting guests.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/20, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 120mm focal length.

I had a hard time coming up with a photo for the Disney Pic of Week about Aladdin (the movie). I found plenty of photos of Jasmine. I must not have an eye for the Princes of Disney. I did find this one of Aladdin with Jasmine meeting and greeting guests in front of Morocco in Epcot's World Showcase. I guess if there is a princess around, the prince will get in the photo.

November 18, 2011

An Aperture Mantra in the All American Rose Garden

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Aperture is a strange concept when learning photography. Aperture is defined as the size of the opening in the lens that light passes through before it hits the photographic medium which, these days, is an electronic sensor at the back of the camera. Aperture is also measured in some strange language called f-stops. F-stop numbers look to defy logic as the larger they are, the smaller the size of the aperture and the larger the focus area. Consequently, the smaller the f-stop number, the larger the size of the aperture and the smaller the focus area. Confused?

A fellow blogger, Karen of Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog, came up with what she calls a mantra about aperture so she can remember what the f-stop numbers mean. I found the mantra brilliantly simple. You know, one of those "I could have had a V-8?" slap to the forehead brilliant. Here it is:

Big number, big focus area, little number, little focus area.

To demonstrate, I photographed a pink rose in the popular All American Rose Garden located outside Cinderella Castle (between the Castle and Tomorrowland), down near the old Swan Boat dock. I used a big and little aperture (see photo below) to show you the difference. With a big aperture number of f/29, the range of focused objects is big and goes from the rose to the castle. The little number aperture of f/4 had a little focus area with the rose being the only object in focus.

Aperture examples in the All American Rose Garden in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Aperture Mantra comparison in the All American Rose Garden.

When you are out doing photography, practice this mantra by using both big and little aperture numbers. Then, when faced with a scene, you can ask if you want a big or little focus area and know how to set your camera's aperture to achieve it.

November 19, 2011

Prince Ali

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


There's not much to say about this week's theme other than I love and adore Aladdin. Thanks for selecting it, Barrie. Without any further Abu, here's my entry for our Disney Pic of the Week - Aladdin.

lkb-Aladdin-PrinceAli-n-Me.jpg

Keep up with my freelance writing and photography via my Facebook page.

November 20, 2011

Where in the World #204

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Spring Smith, you have a Zip A Dee Doo Dah week too! The same for Allison Burgess, Mary Greger, and Lily-pierre Couet for their wonderful messages! (So it's YOUR world, is it Lily-pierre? I hope you don't mind me borrowing it in December. ;) )

Kathy Berry, you'll be there in two weeks? Me too! I hope I see you at some of the AllEars December to Remember events!

Mike Venere, life down my way of the BHP is fine. As long as I remember those new light cameras. LOL!

To all those celebrating in America, Happy Thanksgiving! And I shouldn't have missed the Canadian Thanksgiving in October.... I hope you had a great one!

Hey, good question: do we have anyone playing Where in the World from other countries besides USA and Canada? Let me know and I will happily fly all the flags of our players next week!

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #203

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2006 Erin Blackwell FinePix S3000, 6mm, 1/450s shutter, f/8.2, ISO 100

It's the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in Disney's Hollywood Studios!

I thought I was going to stump people with this one, and I clearly didn't since we had 264 winners. LOL! Many of you wrote this is your favorite ride as well as Aerosmith being so popular! Plenty of you recognized even the whammy bar picture in the photo, Ed Suscreba even knew which knob it was, Curtis Bille knew it's a Les Paul, and Mackenzie D. even knew the technical term for them: "dial thingies". Way to go, Mackenzie! :)

Here's to all the guardians of the Coaster courtyard people like Patti Mccaffrey and Kathy Berry. Say hi to my husband; he'll be there too. :-)

Kudos to Herb Miller and John & Tracey Roerty for their Spinal Tap "Shame it doesn't go up to 11" reference! High five on that one, but let's be sure we don't trample on Stonehenge as we do it. ;)

The Kahle Family were the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to The Kahles and to all the readers who got the answer right: Chris Masse, Charles Wright , Kerry A, Nicole Ruzinski, Larissa Huda, Bill Mckim, Linda Mac, Ed Hogan, Linda Scrivano, Sharon Dale, Ed Elder, Mike Kaczanowski, Sharon Pierce, Steve Jordan, Kelly Mager, Izzy Johansen, Kye Layton, Mackenzie D., Mike Haeberle, Julie Wickware, Erica Courville, Vicki Aponte, Zachary Ott, Erin Hammer, Phil Vickers, Cara Richards, Al Ganter, Doug Olson, Nikki Parker, Kerry Fox, Derek Carty, Boris Beckert, Dave Wang, Chandler And Maryann Eckenrode, The Henkel Family, K.l. Beasley, Paul Dickson, Chris Kelly, Deb Ragno, Hannah Couture, Mary Beth Tarbet, Angie Young, Diane Ramos, Mike Hill, Josh Weiss, Madison Reynolds, Evanna Huda, Christopher Bourassa, Angela And David Blevins, Spring Smith, Double Family, Ken Jackson, Karen Schlumpf, Daniel Mills, Patti Mccaffrey, Maureen Handy, Pam Tees, Cathy Skiba, Daniel Record, The Moore Family, Curtis Bille, Jerry Felder, Renee E, Mary Virginia Clause, Alex Ferreira, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Charlie Scheer, Claire Gregory, Caryn Schill, Amy Filliben, Melea Broekers, Bruce Jones, Bridgette Gallagher, The Perras Family, Gabriella And Matthieu, Vicki Elizabeth Edwards, Antoinette Leblanc, Tim Jeltes, Scott Greenbaum, Allison Burgess, Thomas And William Edwards, Ken Eberhardt, Austin Oblenis, Joann Albrecht, James Berry, Kathy Berry, Brian Haas, Krystal Pound, Jennifer Chartier, Christopher Barnes, Mike Walter, Belicia Cullen, Elizabeth Macgregor & Andrew, Michael Pyle, The O'meara Family, Ed Suscreba, Jeremy Hardy, Rob Blundin, John Hout, Scott Otis, Morgan M., Clare C, Debbie Desimone, Michael Malampy, Nick Bentz, Diane Furtado, Steve Bieniek, Doug Buchheit, Sam Fritz, Blake Schmidt, Bruce Arnold, Anique Pietrzycki, Kristy Schalk, Jason Wright, Lily-pierre Couet, Mckenzie Donald, Kerry Mccaffrey, Clay Anthony, Sandy Miller, Sammi Jo, Shannon Milair, Mike Timmer, Alan P, Jeffrey Dunne, Louise Maxwell, Susan Stanley, Carrie Henderson, Doug Reichl, Brian Gallant, Leslie Stewart, Wendy T Faler, Cameron Lange, Brian Yesutis, Kevin, John Dupre, Jeremy Reichelt, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Jennifer Horst, Elizabeth Scarborough, The Montgomery Family, Alan Mize, Chris Bauman, Kelly Smith, Danielle Fitzgerald, Kristin Dormuth, The Lollar Family, Brian Grabowski, Kate Fischer, Christopher Hall, Jim Finley, Herb Miller, Dallas Hamilton, Kelly Zanauskas, Brian Sheets, Jonathan Thomas, Andrew Schumacher, Carol Bolger, Tiffany Gibb, Carri Marotto, Joey Price, J Brizzle, Tricia Petty, Kurt Knappman, Anastasia Macneil, Virginia Dastugue, Maja Kodani, Jennifer Tremley, Andrew, Dana, Matthew Jadro, Harrison Grasso, Adam Grun, Heather Ludwig, Chuck Everson, Jennifer Bourg, Christopher Gallagher, Samantha French, Ashley Wilson, Kevin Miller, Audra Miller, Scott Sangston, Kelly Taylor, Steve Smith, Robert Anderson, Kevin Geiger, Danny And Lynxy, Mary Greger, Miguel Gonzalez, Karen Robertson , Heidi Goodhue, Dee Dee Kenney, Jenn Steele, Michael Kertes, Luis Rodriguez, Nick Straka, Paul Knott, Shaun Leake, Carla Nale, Matt Holley, Melissa Dye, Gennaro Rosato, Alicia Littleton, Mike Pennington, Bob Campbell, Mike Cerce, Carolyn R. Conway, The Patterson Family, Tina, Sandra Edwards, Lori Netti, Emily Hudson, Evelyn Wilson, Ashley Baker, Stephanie Visco, Hailey Gill, Deb Gallo, Chloe Mayhew, Jeremy Mccaffrey, John Torre, John Foggo, Shannon Lamott, Robert P. Flaherty, Joseph M Zafia, Laney, Tammy Kallenbach, Liz Moreau, Jeannine Reid, Mark Wright, Jeff Blank, Amanda Campbell, Cathy Coleman, Mike M., Kaye O'neill, Stuart Hale, Tom Higbee, Lynn Torre, Jon Solomonson, Ashley Elizabeth, Mike Gillardi, Gary Bracknell, Tom Susan Linder, Tom Susan Linder, Kristin Trendel, Jonah Rigby, Mark Sarna, Jared Orth, Richard And Lisa Palmer, Rob Vanderpool, Mike Venere, Karen Smith, Sarah Holodick, Sherri Pell, Nina Pietrobono, Allison Caputa, John And Tracey Roerty, Howie T., Marie Phillips, Elyssa H, Robert Speed, Carrie Kenney, Laura Vaughn, Dan Johnston, and Stephen Taylor. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________________________________________________

Challenge #204: Where in the world is this?

So, where in the World are we? Why, we're here!
 Where in the World #204

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, November 24th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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!

November 21, 2011

2012 Disney Calendar to Benefit Deb's Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

2012 Focus on Disney World Calendar

It's that time again - time to buy your 2012 Focus on Disney World Calendar! For those of you who don't know, I produce a yearly calendar with photos from Walt Disney World. In 2010 and 2011, I donated the proceeds to Deb Wills' Avon Walk for Breast Cancer fund and raised a total of $2748!

Once again, I'll be donating the proceeds from this year's calendar to Deb's Walk, so the more I sell the better. With your help, we could easily add another $1500 to the total this year. I've kept the price the same as last year, hoping to encourage everyone to stock up - they make a great gift for all your Disney loving friends and family. At the very least, everyone needs two - one for home and one for work!

Not only that - if you order them soon you can even save some money and still help out a great cause. Enter coupon code STUDIOVIP305 at checkout and receive 35% off - that works out to be just $10.89 per calendar! The maximum savings for this offer is $100. You can only use this code once per account, and unfortunately you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer expires on November 30, 2011 at 11:59 PM, so don't miss out!


November 22, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week: Trees

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I remember when I first visited EPCOT Center (as it was known as in 1983) all the landscaping was perfect and the trees where from 8 to 15 feet high. As the years have gone by, many of the trees have grown very tall. In searching out a photo for this week's theme, I really noticed these palm trees near Mission: Space. It is unlikely these trees where here back in 1983 when this location was welcoming guest to ride in Horizons but I am sure some of the other ones nearby were.

I tried to recall a quote from Walt Disney about trees. It wasn't until I got home and searched for it that I found it:

I've always wanted to work on something alive, something that keeps growing. I've got that in Disneyland, even the trees will grow and be more beautiful every year. -- Walt Disney
Tall palm trees near the entrance to Mission Space in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Tall palm trees near the entrance to Mission Space.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 1000, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length.

The same can be said for Walt Disney World, Walt!

Barrie and Lisa will be here on Thursday and Saturday with their Disney Pic of the Week photos of Trees in the Disney parks.

You too can now join in the fun of our Disney Pic of the Week themes on Google+. Add the hashtag of #disneypic-trees to the text of your post. Then share it publicly so we can all see it. Search for #disneypics-trees in Google+ to see everyone's pictures.

November 24, 2011

Give Thanks for Bananas

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


I would like to wish my fellow Americans a Happy Thanksgiving. I would like to wish those of you across the pond and other bodies of water a Happy Thursday. I'm up to my chin in cleaning supplies trying to get this place in order and unfortunately didn't have time to write my weekly blog. Lo siento.

One of my photo pals suggested trees as our Disney Pic of the Week theme. I thought perhaps I'll just go in my backyard, take a photo and call it a day. However, that darn little version of me who pops up on my shoulder gave me a guilt trip.

Cruising through the green house portion of Living with the Land, one can view fruits and vegetables (both echy and edible) growing out of pods, sand, and out of thin air. One such popular internationally recognized star of the fruit world (I'm going to copyright that intro) is the banana. It's so popular, (How popular is it?) that is spawned Bananaman, Bananas in Pajamas, Chiquita Banana, and my favorite, the banana phone.

Here we see a banana tree stacked with banana after banana because a banana tree growing figs would be screwy.

lkb-Trees.jpg

See how they're all green? They need to ripen before they're perfect for devouring and then throwing on the ground in hopes of your arch nemesis coming along and slipping on it. Not that I've given it any thought or picked the smoothest part of the floor.

The easiest way to speed up the maturing process (this is nothing like waiting for cheese to stop telling bad jokes) is a trade secret. Turn the banana tree horizontal.

lkb-Trees2.jpg

What a difference!

Catch my shenanigans on Facebook.

November 25, 2011

Zooming down the Yacht Club Dock

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

While waiting for a Friendship boat to take me to Disney's Hollywood Studios from the Yacht Club dock, I walked around and photographed the scene below. Technically this photo is fine. Good focus, depth of field and color. When I was using film, I would have taken the photo and moved on. With a digital camera, I was able to view the photo on the camera's LCD screen and noticed the large shadowed area in the lower left. I knew I could do better.

Yacht Club dock with shadow, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Yacht Club dock with shadow.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/14, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

While I did have a zoom lens on my camera, there was nothing to stop me from walking a few feet forward thereby putting the shadow behind me and giving me a far more pleasing photo. Remember, when possible, there is nothing wrong with zooming with your feet.

Yacht Club dock with no shadow, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Yacht Club dock with no shadow.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/14, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

November 27, 2011

Where in the World #205

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Wait a minute, Players, we have a cast member amongst us! John from Animal Kingdom.

That's a good lead-in for me saying: when we talk the next time, peeps, I will be in Walt Disney World! Staying at my home away from home, Fort Wilderness! Maybe I will see some of you there.

While we're talking about the World, Betsy Silvestri, you are NOT weird for missing Snow White's Scary Adventures! I still miss Mr. Toad. And for the first princess to lose her attraction? It's something special.

Susie Howard, when you say you'll be at the Macy's parade with Mickey, do you mean you're a balloon handler? I SO want to do that! I called to volunteer to do it this year and found out you have to be an employee. Wow, how fantastic would it be to volunteer and find yourself working with Mickey?!

I didn't hear from other nations, so here's to the counties that we know play Where in the World Photo Fun! It's a glorious "Salute to All Nations, but mostly America!"� Actually, it's USA and Canada!

Smiley from millan.net Smiley from millan.net

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #204

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2004 Erin Blackwell Canon ZR65 MC, 14mm, 1/120s shutter, f/3.2

It's one of the castle/houses at the Germany miniature railroad in Epcot! See, Brian Gallant, you were right. There was a figure there! Like Sharon Dale, this was one of my favorite Hidden Mickeys.

Tim Johansen was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Tim and to all the readers who got the answer right: Kye Layton, Austin Oblenis, Matt Holley, Nicole Parker, Theresa Rucando, Dave Wang, Kathryn Perkins, Jacquelyn Law, Craig, John Hout, Lee Anastasi, Steve Smith, Amanda Campbell, Susie Howard, Gabriella And Matthieu Bruxelle, Sharon Pierce, Will Gallagher, Brian Gallant, Stephanie Newell, Karrie Duffey, Andrew Schumacher, Terry Fleming, Jennifer Mercier, Sharon Dale, Alan Mize, Mike Haeberle, Matt Degrandis, Barrie Brewer, Cheryl Costello, Robert Mccoy, Kelly Zanauskas, Betsy Moquin, Karen Smith, Emily Hudson, Jason Skow, Greg Burke, Kyler Scott, Christopher Barnes, Gretchen Barnes, Robert P. Flaherty, The O'meara Family, Jon Solomonson, Barclay Bakkum, Robert Bostic, and Robert Duncan. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Which leads to.... (that's the drumroll) the monthly drawing! This month's big winner is Ashley Wilson! Congratulations, Ashley, you are the lucky recipient some really cool AllEars® swag from Deb Wills!
__________________________________________________________________________
Challenge #205: Where in the world is this?

Hmmmm.... Well, we're in the parks.... So what could this be?

 Where in the World #205

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, December 1st, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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!

November 28, 2011

Christmas Tree at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Grand Floridian Christmas Tree
Copyright © 2009 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/40s shutter, f3.5, ISO 2500

Now that Thanksgiving is over I can post holiday pictures - yay! For my Pic of the Week tree I choose the Christmas tree at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. I just love Walt Disney World during the holiday season.


November 29, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week - Mountains


Everyone has a favorite mountain at a Disney park even if it's just to admire it from a distance. My personal selection is the one with the little yodeler outfitted in mountain climber attire. You know the one. If he goes over the edge, the game ends. Anyway, Disney's mountains refers to: Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Space Mountain, Matterhorn, and Expedition Everest.

I love riding the Matterhorn especially at night. I loathe Space Mountain and have been dragged on two too many times. This is how close I'll come to Space Mountain.

lkb-Mountains.jpg

Repel down on Thursday and Saturday for more mountainy pics from Barrie and Scott "Hans".

November 30, 2011

Goodnight Germany Pavilion

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


It was a dark and peaceful night. Humidity was enemy number one. People were just the way I like them, scarce. A voice bellowed in my head. It was Barrie Brewer's* and she was telling me, "Take some photos, you big dork!" I reached into my camera bag and retrieved my brand new shiny blue itsy tripod. I raised it high into the air and proclaimed, "You are not the boss of me!" and then set up my shots.

I took full advantage of Manual Mode and set the ISO to 100 which makes for richer color. The aperture or f-stop was fully open at f2.7, allowing in as much light as possible and a softer focus. The only specs I changed was the shutterspeed.

This first image was shot at 1/2 second or .5 as it shows in the camera.
lkb-GoodnightGermany1.jpg

There's great detail everywhere and those people in shadow are just backlit enough to see they're there.

The second image had a longer shutterspeed of 2 seconds.
lkb-GoodnightGermany2.jpg

The longer exposure loses detail in some of the areas under bright lights. It's very difficult to try and fill in washed out images if not impossible.

For me, a happy medium would have been a 1 second exposure.

Remember, long exposures require stillness so bring a tripod with you or rest your camera somewhere flat like on a trash can or table. Gently depress the shutter button so as not to move the camera. I take it a step further and hold my breath while doing it. Another option is to look into your manual and see if a remote control is available for your camera.

*Barrie Brewer appears in this blog courtesy of her sister Zelda, although neither of them are aware or are being paid royalties.


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About November 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Picture This! in November 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

October 2011 is the previous archive.

December 2011 is the next archive.

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