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December 13, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Favorite Holiday Resort Decoration

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have admired it from buses, ferries and monorails on previous trips. This year, I finally got off the monorail at Disney's Contemporary Resort and walked out to photograph the large Christmas tree outside the resort. The timing was perfect as the Sun had set and blue hour was coming on. I did not have a tripod with me so I used a Disney Quadpod (aka garbage can) to help steady my camera using a slow shutter speed.

Christmas Tree at the Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Christmas Tree outside the Contemporary Resort.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/25s, f/8, ISO 6400, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

Tomorrow, Deb will share her Favorite Holiday Resort Decoration.

May 25, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Wilderness Lodge Lobby

Deb's Digest Blog

One of my fondest memories of the Wilderness Lodge is from the late 1990s.

I went to sleep one night and the next morning woke up to the entire lodge being decorated for the holidays. Tears filled my eyes. It really was Disney Magic.

pow-wl-lobby.jpg

What are your fond memories of the Wilderness Lodge?

May 24, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Wilderness Lodge Lobby

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney never plans anything without a backstory. Disney's Wilderness Lodge is full of stories about the American West. Each of the two large totem poles in the lobby tell a tale from Native American lore. The one pictured below is the Raven totem.

The Raven totem pole in the lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Raven totem pole in Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/25s, f/8, ISO 6400, EV 0, 15mm Focal Length.

For more information, search for "Jim Korkis Wilderness Lodge totem pole". You will find details to the totem's stories.

Deb will here tomorrow with her view of the Wilderness Lodge Resort lobby.

May 17, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Contemporary Lobby

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Back in 1971 when Walt Disney World opened, Disney's Contemporary Resort was the signature place to stay. It was ultra-modern and futuristic. The lobby reflected its theme with the use of clean lines and a minimalist style. During the first decade of the 21st century, the resort went through some renovations including the addition of The Wave restaurant. The entrance, in which, added color and flare to the Contemporary's lobby.

Entrance to The Wave restaurant in Disney's Contemporary Resort lobby, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Wave restaurant in Disney's Contemporary Resort lobby.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/3.5, ISO 6400, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

Deb will here tomorrow with her view of the Contemporary Resort lobby.

May 11, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Grand Floridian Lobby

Deb's Digest Blog

Depending on the time of year, my senses come come alive in the lobby at the Grand Floridian. From the smell and taste of fresh gingerbread, to looking up at the beautiful ceilings, to listening to wonderful music.

If you happen by on select evenings, there is a piano player in the lobby. I always stop for a bit to listen, it's a great treat.

grand-floridian-piano.jpg

What do you think of when you imagine the lobby in the Grand Floridian?

May 10, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Grand Floridian Lobby

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When you step into Disney's Grand Floridian Resort lobby, it is like taking a step back in time to the elegance of Victorian era Florida resorts from the late 19th century. You may hear the sounds of an orchestra playing from a balcony overlooking the lobby adding to the timelessness of the resort. Details abound and the staff always has fresh flowers throughout the lobby.

Flowers in the lobby of Disney's Grand Dloridian Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Flowers in the lobby of Disney's Grand Dloridian Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/5s, f/5, ISO 200, EV 0, 32mm Focal Length.

Deb will here tomorrow with her view of the Grand Floridian Resort lobby.

May 6, 2016

Improving Your Walt Disney World Photos

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

At the end of last week's article on the Foo Dog in front of the Great Movie Ride, I posed a question on how the photo might be improved. I got a couple of answers and a correction to what the statue was. My mistake there.

The answer I was looking for was different. Let me show it to you.

First, here is a photo of the enterance to ESPN Club restaurant near Disney's Boardwalk Resort. It was taken when the restaurant was not open on a quiet Boardwalk morning.

Front entrance to the ESPN Club restaurant near Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Front entrance to the ESPN Club restaurant without people.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 36mm focal length.

It is a good reference photo. The kind you see on blogs and brochures describing the restaurant. However, if you go to the Walt Disney World website or look through brochures on dining at the resort, you will notice a difference in the photos. Most, if not all, will have people in them enjoying the location or interacting with cast members. They want you to feel the location is a good place to go, enjoy and have fun at.

That is how I like to improve on my Disney and/or Travel photography by adding the human element. Not just any human or humans but ones which add to the photo and help tell the story of the place. Like this one below.

Front entrance to the ESPN Club restaurant near Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Front entrance to the ESPN Club restaurant with people.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/125s, f/11, ISO 140, EV 0, 36mm focal length.

What do you think? Better? Sure looks like a place sport fans would like to go to.

Yes, I do know there are "people" in the first photo but I think you know what I mean. They did not add to the subject like the second one does.

A fun fact about these two photos. They were taken three years apart from close to the same location and I used the same focal length each time.


May 4, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Polynesian Lobby

Deb's Digest Blog

I was one of the many disappointed when the announcement was made the Polynesian Lobby would be totally renovated. The waterfall and the plants were so beautiful.

As I went in search of a waterfall photo, I came across this one taken during the month of December. I do like Poinsettias. Hope you do as well.

poly-lobby.jpg


May 3, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Polynesian Lobby

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When the new Polynesian Village Resort lobby was revealed it sported a more open one from the last one which was dominated by a large tropical landscape including a waterfall cascading down through beautiful flowers. A few months later, a Tiki god was added to the center of the new lobby. The Tiki god is the mascot of the resort.

Tiki god statue in the lobby of the Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Tiki god statue in the lobby of the Polynesian Village Resort.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 5000, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

Deb will show you some of the old Polynesian Resort lobby tomorrow.

April 8, 2016

More Food Compositions at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I am back with another edition about Disney Food Photography. It has been a year since a wrote that last article about phtographing the foods at Walt Disney World and beyond. This time I want to talk about how I include little extras which add interest or help to tell a story.

First, it is always a good thing to get close to your main subject. At Teppan Edo in Epcot's Japan pavilion, the food is prepared right in front of guests. Using a short zoom lens, I was able to get in close to one of the wonders of any meal there, the Onion Volcano as it was erupting. The softly focused guests in the background add a fun element.

Onion volcano erupting at Teppan Edo restaurant in Epcot's Japan pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Onion volcano erupting at Teppan Edo restaurant in Epcot's Japan pavilion.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/100s, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV 0, 52mm Focal Length.

Restaurants at Disney can have cluttered backgrounds with guests dining and tables waiting to be bussed. Using bounce flash, you can pull your subject out of the background. When I dine at Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Village Resort, I get Tonga Toast. My Son-In-Law prefers the Big Kahuna Breakfast. Using a person traveling with you adds interest and delights your family and friends.

Big Kahuna breakfast entree at the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Big Kahuna breakfast entree at the Kona Cafe.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 900, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length, Bounced Flash.

Not every time do I take a photo of food inside the location I purchased it from. Especially if it is a beautiful morning in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland. There, I got one of Gaston's Tavern's warm cinnomon rolls and a cold milk to wash it down with. I placed the food on an outside table and used a wide focal length to include the entrance to the quick service restaurant in the background.

Warm cinnamon roll and cold milk from Gaston's Tavern in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Warm cinnamon roll and cold milk from Gaston's Tavern.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 180, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

I have a lot of fun photographing the food and restaurants at all Disney venues. For one thing, people do not mind you doing it in Disney restaurants as most people are doing the same thing with their cameras and smart phones. Secondly, I enjoy people telling me how my photos help them consider eating at a particular restaurant on their trips to Disney parks and resorts. I hope you do to.


April 6, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Spring

Deb's Digest Blog

When I think of "spring", I immediately go back to my youth growing up in New Jersey. Spring ALWAYS meant Spring Training which meant Baseball! Yankees and Mets baseball.

For my pic of the week, here is the Home Run Hotel located at the All Star Sports resort:

All-star-sports-homerun-hotel-4.JPG

January 19, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: POP Century

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Every Value Resort at Walt Disney World has huge letters spelling out the resort's name in the bus transportation area. The Pop Century Resort has fun giant POP signs which are impossible to miss as you get off your bus after a day in the parks. As I waited for a bus to get to a park one morning, there was very good light and some clouds to set off a mighty POP.

Huge Pop Century Resort logo sign, Orlando, Florida
Huge Pop Century Resort logo sign in the Bus Transportation area.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length.

Deb will be here tomorrow with a POP quiz.

January 12, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Art of Animation

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Value resorts at Walt Disney World have many things in common including larger than life icons based on the themes found at each resort section. At the Art of Animation Resort, the Lion King section is overlooked by the King himself, Simba.

Statue of Simba overlooks The Lion King section of the Art of Animation Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Simba overlooks The Lion King section of the Art of Animation Resort.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 120mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow with her photo from the Art of Animation.

November 6, 2015

Reflective Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

If there is one thing most photographers can not pass up, it is a good reflection photo. Add Disney architecture in the reflection and I can not pass it up. Like the time I walked across the bridge from Discovery Island to Africa on a still morning to see the Harambe Theatre reflected in the water at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Harambe Theatre reflected in the Discovery River at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Harambe Theatre reflected in the Discovery River.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 72mm focal length, Polarizer filter.

The reflection does not have to be perfect to make an interesting photo. On another morning while I was snacking on a pastry from the Boardwalk Bakery, the light on Disney's Yacht Club Resort was beautiful and the wavy reflection added to the photo.

Disney's Yacht Club Resort in morning light at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Disney's Yacht Club Resort in morning light.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 40mm focal length.

Keep your eyes open for reflection possibilites as you photograph either at home or on holiday.

October 23, 2015

Vacation Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

While I take the time to do all types of photography when I visit Walt Disney World. My family is around often being patient as I set up a shot or look for a different angle. I want to thank them this week.

So, for those who remember them, I want you to imagine settling in on a friend's couch as she/he gets out the slide projector to show you their Walt Disney World Vacation photos. Ready? Here we go...

As a family when visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios, we are always on the lookout for members of the Citizens of Hollywood. The day after the Labor Day holiday, it seems the Streetmosphere characters were on hiatus. Walking through Pixar Place, we happened upon a group of improv entertainers who were looking for actors to star in their production of Aladdin. My daughter "volunteered" to play Jasmine and was given a stuffed tiger named (you guessed it), Rajah.

A young woman poses with an improv group after helping them with a skit at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young woman poses with an improv group after helping them with a skit at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

After the skit was done, I quickly asked the group if they would pose for a photo with my daughter. If you or a member of your touring party are ever in a show, try and ask if you can take a photo with the cast member or members after the show. Sometimes it is not possible but, as you can see, these guys were more than happy to comply with my request.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one ride I feel comfortable taking photos on. I make sure to secure my camera. For the photo below, I asked the Cast Member loading the train if my family could ride in a car behind me and I would need an empty row in that car. My request has honored because it was a slow day with little wait times. A wide angle lens is a good choice on a ride as you do not have to be as careful aiming it. I put my camera in Shutter Priority mode and set it to 1/250th of a second to cut down on camera shake on the wildest ride in the wilderness.

A family riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A family riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/250s, f/2.8, ISO 140, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length.

Having said all that the photo I liked best was during the slow climb up one of hills showing my family with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad spreading out all around them.

After visiting two parks in one day, we decided to check out the new Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort to relax with a couple of adult beverages and be entertained by the lively Cast Members who know how to serve a drink.

Mother and daughter share a laugh in Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mother and daughter sharing a laugh in Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/10s, f/2.8, ISO 10000, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length.

I captured one of those moments Disney loves to use in their advertising as my wife and daughter share a laugh with a cool drink after a hot day in the parks.

After shopping at Downtown...excuse me, Disney Springs, we returned to the Magic Kingdom the next day. While waiting for our dining reservation time, we found the Sword in the Stone in front of the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in Fantasyland all by itself. For adults, this was an opportunity we could not pass up and took turns trying to pull the sword.

A young couple tries to pull the sword from the stone in front of Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young couple tries to pull the sword from the stone in front of Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length, Cropped.

Sadly, we found out none of us were of royal blood but came away with fun photos before allowing another family a chance at the sword.

As the time of our dining time approached, we were escorted inside the Beast's Castle and the Be Our Guest restaurant. The wide angle lens gave me compositional choices as I photographed my family ahead of me.

A family enters the Beast's Castle for dinner at the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A family enters the Beast's Castle for dinner at the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/50s, f/2.8, ISO 10000, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Cropped.

We enjoyed a very good meal in the West Wing.

Two days later, we went back to Disney's Polynesian Village Resort for breakfast at Kona Café. While I ordered my usual Tonga Toast, my Son-In-Law went with the Big Kahuna platter.

A young man shows off his Big Kahuna breakfast entree at the Kona Café in Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young man shows off his Big Kahuna breakfast entree at the Kona Café in Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 900, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length, Flash.

After filling up at breakfast, my eldest daughter and I went over to Disney's Animal Kingdom while the rest of the family went back to our resort's pool. They missed out as walking down one of the Discovery Island trails near the Tree of Life, we meet up with Tarzan.

A young woman poses with Tarzan, the Ape Man, on one of the Discovery Island trails near the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young woman poses with Tarzan, the Ape Man, on one of the Discovery Island trails near the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 400, EV 0, 42mm Focal Length.

What was interesting with Tarzan was you could not see him unless you walked down the trail. I checked later and he was listed on the park's times schedule. Look for him on your next visit to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

It was a rainy, dreary morning the next day as we made our way to the Boardwalk resort area to catch NFL Sunday at the ESPN Club. While we waited for the restaurant to open we spent some time at the Beach and Yacht Club resorts. My wife had told me she wanted a photo of her with our daughters. With two of them being travel agents and another who travels a lot for her job, the large antique globe in Disney's Yacht Club Resort's lobby was a fitting place for the photo.

Mother and her daughters in Disney's Yacht Club Resort lobby, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mother and her daughters in Disney's Yacht Club Resort lobby.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 1000, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, Bounce Flash.

Looking at this photo now, I wish I had featured the globe more by either having my wife sit in a chair so she was lower or have the three of them surround the globe. The concept was sound, the execution was a bit off. Will have to re-visit this one in the future.

After spending a few hours watching football (yeah, the Green Bay Packers won!) and eating through ESPN Club's menu, I took this photo for my daughter and Son-In-Law on the much improved afternoon outside the restaurant with their favorite team's jerseys on.

A young sports-minded couple outside the ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young sports-minded couple outside the ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk Resort.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/11, ISO 140, EV 0, 36mm Focal Length.

Now, this photo I like a lot as it tied the sports theme together nicely as they are both big fans.

I hope I did not bore you. Wanted to show you while I do enjoy going the extra mile to get good travel photos at Walt Disney World, I love my family, too. Until next week...Aloha!

July 17, 2015

Monorail Resorts at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Time to take a spin on the Resort Monorail this week. The monorail stops at the Contemporary, Polynesian Village and Grand Floridian resorts.

Contemporary Resort on the Seven Seas Lagoon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Contemporary Resort on the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/14, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 58mm Focal Length, Polarizer filter.

Okay, so this photo was taken from a Motor Cruiser on the Seven Seas Lagoon, it is still a photo of the Contemporary. Here I used a Circular Polarizing Filter (CPF) to cut through the haze and enhance the clouds and colors of the scene. A CPF is something a good travel photographer should have in his/her bag of tricks.

Lobby of the Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Lobby of the Polynesian Village Resort.
Nikon D7100/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 2800, EV +0.3, 11mm Focal Length.

Our next stop is the newly named and refurbished Polynesian Village Resort lobby. The lobby seems more functional and inviting now. Still has lots of color and Polynesian tales. This is an example of looking down and finding a new perspective.

Chandelier in the lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Chandelier in the lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/8, ISO 720, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

The last stop is the beautiful and elegant Grand Floridian Resort. The grand lobby atrium is gorgeous as you enter from the Monorail station. From the floor below, be sure to look up at the chandeliers and patterns of the floors which surround them.

Hope you have enjoyed the ride and remember: Please stand clear of the doors...Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas.

July 3, 2015

Lobby Flag at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

United States of America flag hanging over the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
United States of America flag hanging over the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/13s, f/4.5, ISO 6400, EV 0, 55mm Focal Length, edited.

Tomorrow is the day America celebrates its birthday. It has been 239 years since July 4th, 1776.

One of the greatest foresight's America has had was to create its National Parks to preserve and protect unique natural places within the territories of the United States for the enjoyment of its peoples. Disney pays homage to those national parks and the great lodges found within their borders at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort.

May 26, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Sand

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

While you can not swim at the beach on Cresent Lake in front of Disney's Beach Club Resort, you can still play beach volleyball in the sand. These guests were having a ball, literally, the day I walked by.

Guests playing beach volleyball at Disney's Beach Club Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests playing volleyball in sand at Disney's Beach Club Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 720, EV +0.3, 58mm focal length.

Deb is taking us to a tropical destination with lots of sand tomorrow.


May 12, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Wood

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

For the next four weeks, Deb and I will be doing some abstract subjects. I did not go photographing specifically for these subjects but found them in my archives when they were proposed. That is the lesson I taught about adding Captions and Metadata to your photo databases and libraries.

We start off with Wood. Not surprisingly there is a lot of wood to be found at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort at Walt Disney World. The entire lobby from the floor to the ceiling is made of wood (as much as our eyes can see anyway). Here are a couple of Big Horn Sheep located on one of the pillars of the lobby. You will find other wildlife wood carvings on the other pillars.

Hand carved Big Horn Sheep in the lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hand carved wooden Big Horn Sheep in the lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/25s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV 0, 135mm focal length.

Tomorrow, Deb takes you back in time to the Vikings for her wooden post.


April 10, 2015

Disney Food Photography

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Have a question for you...do you photograph the food at Walt Disney World restaurants? You do! Then you are going to like this week's topic. Below is a set of photos from various Disney restaurants and how I took them.

Sometimes you just need spaghetti and meatballs and Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano in Disney's Hollywood Studios filled the need perfectly. To add to the sense of place, I used a menu and ambiant light. The very shallow depth of field put the background out of focus but one still can recognize the location as a restaurant.

Spaghetti and meatballs entree at Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaghetti and meatballs entree at Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/13s, f/35, ISO 6400, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

I used my elbows to steady the camera and slowly exhaled as I pressed the shutter. I let the image stabilized (vibration reduction in Nikon lingo) lens do its magic. I took several images to get a couple of good ones including the one above.

On the Disney Dream, if your cruise offers a day at sea, you can enjoy the Palo Brunch. Come hungry and eat lightly through each course to save room for the dessert bar. In this case, I did not need a menu to document the location. I did have to take the photo quickly before the location got eaten.

A plate full of desserts at the Palo Brunch on the Disney Dream cruise ship
A plate full of desserts at the Palo Brunch on the Disney Dream.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 100, EV 0, 31mm Focal Length, bounced flash.

With the bright open Caribbean water as a backdrop, the use of bounced flash balanced the light and brought out the luscious colors of the sweets.

Inside the elegant Yachtsman Steakhouse in the Yacht Club Resort the lighting is appropriately warm and low. An assistant helped me by holding up the plate above the table which had lots of stuff upon it.

Prime New York Strip Steak entree at the Yachtsman Steakhouse in the Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Prime New York Strip Steak entree at the Yachtsman Steakhouse.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, bounced flash.

To get the true colors of the food, I used bounced flash to illuminate the plate evenly.

When you have even lighting via a window or by eating outside on a patio like at the Rose & Crown Pub in Epcot's United Kingdom pavilion, I like to use the Nifty-Fifty on my camera and get eye level with the plate the food rests on.

Scotch Egg appetizer from the Rose & Crown Pub in Epcot's United Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Scotch Egg appetizer from the Rose & Crown Pub.
Nikon D7100/50mm, 1/250s, f/2.8, ISO 100, EV 0.

Shooting with a wide aperture of f/2.8, I selectively focused on the Scotch Egg appetizer throwing the background of napkins and table pieces completely out of focus. I did dodge (make lighter) the egg some to pull out its colors.

At the Yak & Yeti Restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom, my party was sat at a table with warm afternoon light coming through a window. The low angle of the light brought out the food's texture.

Chicken Tikka Masala at the Yak & Yeti Restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Chicken Tikka Masala at the Yak & Yeti Restaurant.
Nikon D7100/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/2.8, ISO 2000, EV 0, 12mm Focal Length.

Without the use of flash, a wide open aperture had me select a focus point on the bowl of Chicken Tikka Masala which did cause the front of the plate to be soft focused. I find that is not a problem here. Do you?

I realize most people quickly take photos of their food when served. If you take a little extra time, you can create very nice photos to make your friends and family envious and hungry when looking at your food photos.

January 23, 2015

Using Hyperfocus at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This is the first of three blogs about subjects being taught at the Focus on Epcot Photowalk held on Monday, February 9, 2015. Click the link for more information.

If you look at any travel magazines or websites, you will notice many of the photos showing such exotic places as tropical beaches, snowy mountain peaks or colorful cities are in focus over the entire image. I refer to it as getting everything in focus from the front (bottom) to the back (top). To get such photos, photographers employ the technique of Hyperfocal Distance or Hyperfocus. I tend to use the latter name as I think it is cooler.

If you read up on Hyperfocus, you will come across charts full of numbers and diagrams. If you are into Landscape Photography, I encourage you to learn how to use those tools. For the purpose of photographing while visiting a Disney themepark, I much prefer a simpler way.

A Friendship boat leaves the Swan/Dolphin Resorts dock, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Friendship boat leaves the Swan/Dolphin Resorts dock.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

By setting the aperture to f/16 or smaller, focusing on an object about one-third (1/3) into the lower part of the frame when looking through the camera's viewfinder, you will get everything in front of the object AND behind it in focus. It many not look like it through the viewfinder but will once you review the photo on the camera's LCD screen. That is what I did in the photo above of the Friendship boat leaving the dock in front of the Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World. I focused on the front windshield of the boat which is approximately one third into the frame.

Besides landscapes, another good use of hyperfocus at a Disney themepark or any tourist location, is photographing people in front of an interesting background. I know until I learned how to use hyperfocus, I had many photos of people in focus posing in front of Cinderella Castle or Spaceship Earth while the park icons behind them were not.

People in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/80s, f/18, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm focal length.

By placing the people's faces about one third into the frame and setting the aperture to f/18, I have them and Cinderella Castle in sharp focus. When I am looking to use Hyperfocus, I switch my camera to Aperture Priority Mode and select a small aperture. The camera will then select the shutter speed and ISO to use. Be careful of the shutter speed, if it gets to slow, you may need to use a tripod or Da Grip to hold your camera steady.

Here are more blog posts about Hyperfocus:

How to Create Travel Magazine Photos at Walt Disney World

Hyper-Hollywood

You can practice using hyperfocus at home by placing objects in the foreground with an interesting background. Review the photos on a computer screen to check the results.

January 11, 2015

Where in the World #364

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Carla C and Elaine Kleinhenz, thank you for the lovely comments!

Susie Howard, I totally understand what you're saying about the cold and damp. I dream of being down In Walt Disney World too! So does Patti Mccaffrey!

In fact, Sarah is living our dream. She is down in Disney for the marathon weekend!

Now for Challenge #363:
Where in the World #363

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © Erin Blackwell

The carriage ride at Fort Wilderness, my Disney home! I left part of the trees to identify which resort it is. They even have "sleigh" rides, the only resort to do so.

Dave Carriere, you could have been right about the Haunted Hayride since the Headless Horseman's horse lives at Fort Wilderness along with all the other Walt Disney World's horses. Disney horses even have a tribute at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch! But I took this picture in the summer.

Smitty, don't you LOVE Trails End?! It used to be this place no one knew about, now try to get in! Good food at good prices! And the cast members are just wonderful.

Megan Hayes was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Megan and to all our winners this week! Susie Howard, Maureen Handy, Phyllis, The Yorks, Jamesd (dzneynut), Janet T Thorn, Ken Savage, Smitty, Chris, Gretchen and Katie Barnes, Paul Knott , Vanessa Gordon, Tommy Montgomery, Kyra C., Team Bonnie Sue, Jeff Blank, Robert Hildebrandt, Karen Costa, Les Stewart, Terry Fleming, Ron Harper, Sarah, Annie Snodgrass, Fonda Nass, Matthew Jadro, Gallagher Family, Andrew Julow, George Mundy Jr, Hillary Waldroop, Donna Frank, Patti Mccaffrey, Jane Johnson, Kerri Coggins, Antoinette Leblanc, Jackie Graebel, Tom Higbee, Terry Runyon, Mel Odonnell, Kristan Bertelmann, Vicki Edwards, Darrell Shortt, Smitty, and Dave Carriere
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #364 Where in the world is this?

Back into the parks!
Where in the World #364

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 15th, by clicking on the blue box below.
Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you soon, 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!

January 2, 2015

ESPN Club Stadium Dining Room at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

ESPN Club Stadium dining room at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
ESPN Club Stadium dining room at Walt Disney World.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, ISO 500, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length, tripod.

The ESPN Club Stadium dining room was calm the day Scott photographed it. Yesterday, it was full of college football fans cheering on their favorite teams in New Year's Day Bowl games. Once Scott recovers from all the cheering, snacks and adult beverages, he will be back next week to begin another year of Disney Photo blogging here at All Ears Picture This!.

December 23, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Christmas at Disney

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Visiting Walt Disney World any time of the year is magical...but, and I say this having experienced it several times, visiting during the Christmas holiday season is even more magical. All the parks and resorts get decorated in festive colors. Special parties, events and entertainment occur all over the resort. Disney characters dress in their holiday finest and special treats pop up even in the resorts.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort puts a Gingerbread House in its lobby every year. I know, you can see Gingerbread house displays all over during Christmas time. Well, are those a story high? Do people work inside them? Can you buy Gingerbred goodies from the house's counter? You can at the Grand Floridian's.

Ginger Bread House in the lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Ginger Bread House in the lobby of the Grand Floridian Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/4.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 65mm focal length, Intensify Pro.

Here I used some post-processing magic using MacPhun's Intensify Pro photo editing app. If you own a Mac, I suggest you check out Intensify Pro.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her wonderful memories of Christmas.

October 21, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: The Fab Five

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

If you hang around any Disney fan, you will eventually hear the term: The Fab Five. No, a Fifth Beatle was not discovered. The Fab Five refers to the lovable Walt Disney created characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Pluto. You usually only see them all together during live stage shows in the parks. However, at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Resort, each of the Fab Five will come visit you at your table. A little photo processing magic and you can put them all together.

The Fab Five hamming it up at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Fab Five hamming it up at Chef Mickey's.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/640s, f/13, ISO 400, EV -0.3, 24mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her quacking good Disney Pic of the Week on the Fab Five.

October 3, 2014

Sleeping with the Lion King at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I know I go on and on about photographing details while at Walt Disney World. Even the resorts are full of such details. Some are subtle. Some are not.

While staying in the Lion King area of Disney's Art of Animation resort, I walked under the scene you see below taken directly from the animated move, The Lion King, of a young Simba with his pals, Timon and Pumba. What is so nice about this is the background. Instead of rows of room windows, there is a fittingly painted background.

Timon, Pumba and young Simba at Disney's Art of Animation resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Timon, Pumba and young Simba at Disney's Art of Animation resort.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 85mm focal length.

Remember to look up while staying at a Disney resort, too. If I had not, I would have missed this cute scene. You may also have noticed the use of leading lines in the composition.

July 18, 2014

Family Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

On all my trips to Walt Disney World, my family is with me. They put up with my constant clicking of my camera shutters, are very patient when I bring the tripod to the parks and very supportive of the results. Below are a few photos I took of the family on our latest trip back in May.

Family photography at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Family photography at Walt Disney World (see text below).

We brought along my Sister-In-Law who had a great time. In the upper left, she is with my eldest daughter with Donald Duck at his Safari Breakfast in Disney's Animal Kingdom's Tusker House restaurant. The upper right has the family group on the staircase to Boma restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Botton right has my youngest daughter's hair blowing in the wind provided by the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride in the Magic Kingdom. The bottom left has my wife with her sister in front of Cinderella Castle at one of the Nikon Picture Spots (yes, looks like all the Picture Spots have been updated with the new sponsor).

The family loves these photo opportunities and Walt Disney World is as photogenic with people as it is without. Hope these will give you a few ideas on photographing your family when visiting Walt Disney World in the future.

July 13, 2014

Where in the World #340

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Last week's challenge: number #339
Where in the World #339

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © Erin Blackwell

The Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort! Like Michelle Palazzo, it's my favorite moderate resort. :)

The Gunnels Family: I remember what you do about this place. Thanks for making me feel old!
"Why I remember when this was Port Orleans and the other resort was Dixie Landings!" From Millan.Net

Plenty of you asked for beignets: did you know Disneyland makes Mickey shaped beignets?
Now I'm craving them; thanks, Players. :)

Michaela O'brien was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Michaela and to all our winners this week! Mike O'brien, Daniel Record, Kristi Strembicki, Tricia Petty , Mary Beth Tarbet, Chuck Sands, Ed Elder, Christi Ison, Dee Dee Kenney, Bill Mckim, Virginia Pierce, Paula Massarelli, Nan Amor, The Parker Family, Betsy Silvestri, Diane Tredore, Sharon Pierce, Jim &Lorie Sonnen, Linda Ranatza, The Kertes Family, Carol Ney, Barbara Ajak , Linda Scrivano, Leigh Mertz, Erin, Brian Miller, Bruce Jones, Phil Vickers, Pollyanna Buff, Stephanie Peterson, Craig, Dwayne Fontenot, Janine, Kylie Durr, Jason Hocker, Kerri Coggins, Jenny Brennan, Jen Tremley, Pat Schwier, Beth Pleban, Laura Lagerstedt, Theresa Rucando, Mike Schmidling, Emily Hudson, Lisa, Sarah Francis, Ken Maikowski, Mike Haeberle, Ed Suscreba, Diane Marsden, Eric Johnson, Lisa Collymore, Michelle Darabaris, Dave Freemyer, Michelle Darabaris, Melissa Such, Kye Layton, Jennifer Rowell, Leslie Schmauder, Kristaserpi, Kellie Conway, Nick Ruber, Hillary Waldroop, Mike Mondoux, Wendy Barney, Fiona Knight, Valerie Nance, Brian Newell, Roberta Thomas, Jamesd (dzneynut), Jeffrey Howell, Tommy Montgomery, Brittany Chichester , The Gunnels Family, Ryan Mccorristin, Tyler Otts, Laura V., Sarah Orman, Gina Smith, Phyllis, Ken Clark, Shannon Savoia, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, The Emich Family, Heather Sabatino, Tracey Horan, Tom Koval, Kara Morton, Cathy Derecola, Deb Ragno, Kim Miller, Jodi Cook, Judy Simonsen, Caroline Steill, The Long Family, Stefanie Vest, Lorine Landon, Belicia Cullen, Karen Schlumpf, Darcie , Agnes Ciotti And Danielle Harsley, Sherry Debray, Christine Dagney, Scott Cullen, Joe Kmiech, Amy P, Maryann Eckenrode, Tim Johansen, Josette Gabel, Lee Deroia , Jim Thompson, Lisa Bohannonl, Marsha Waidelich, Lee Anastasi, Paul Knott, Carla C, Patti Gumiela, Hobbes And Snorky, Sandie Albrecht, Vera And Izzy Williams, Shari Sand, John Mahoney, Carol Collins, Dusty Cheatham, Karen Bortz, Matt Wildey, Jeremy Hardy, Suzanne Renfroe, Donna Frank, Sherry Tarantino, Nancy Ahlsen, Susie Howard, Kris Nixon, Herb Miller, Maureen Handy, Samantha Palmieri, Grumpy's Groupies, Lori Rienhardt, Robert Davis, Lisa Bufo, David Leonhardt, Scott Mcbride, Leigh Robillard, Carolyn Como, Wendy Markwood, Andrea Kruszewski, Rob Blundin, Chris, Gail States, Bruce Hinterleitner, Dawn Bach, Madison Hovan, Stefan Owens, Kirsten Miller, Matt Cofone, Debbie Desimone, Heather Pedulla, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Mary A., John Bickers , Demetrios Makres, Steve Morin, Michele Zowacki, Stacey Guman, Team Bonnie Sue, Antoinette Leblanc, Tiffany Gibb, Karen Costa, Les Stewart, Mike Malampy, Russ Morgan, Maggie Klotz, Stephanie Newell, Chloe Mayhew, Matt Weier, Kimberly O'reilly, Vincent Maltese, Meg Brancato, Marjie Phillips, Chris Bauman, Darci Collins, Maureen Tavrell, Elaine Kleinhenz, Jeremy Reichelt, Al Sandal, John Wolff, Matt Holley, Lisa Zitek, Terry Fleming, Elizabeth Scarborough, Anastasia Macneil, Monica Owens, Alexander Wells, A. Beaulieu, Sara Alaimo, Juliet O'hare, Emmalee Poprock, The Patterson Family, Kirk Hardy, Les Whitten, Ron Harper, Mike Cerce, Deborah Wolfe, Dave Carriere, Josh Carney, Smitty, Desiree Fremer, Stephanie Dollar, Patrick Broaddus, Alex A, Brenda Hawk, Scott Greenbaum, Scott Harrington, Julie Ob, Rebekah Schultz, Ashley Collins, Cheryl Chambers, John Foggo, Rob Hepler, Heidi Goodhue, Mickey Eckert, Cynthia Hitchcock, Tom Hermes, Shelby Watson , Claire Gregory, Jennifer Peterson, Randy Thomas, Fran Rendulic, Brad Mossbarger, Betsy Dross, Rebecca Keenan, Christopher Hall, Annie Snodgrass, Kevin Morgan, Vicki Britt, Robbyn Anglin, Jennifer Mercier, Michelle Palazzo, Elizabeth Cordes, Julia Marsh, Suzanne Denham, Arlene Vicek, Jennifer Bogdan, Jackie Graebel, Jane Johnson, Kim Howe, Karen Ramirez, Meredith Rule, Eileen Miller, Shirley Garcowski, John Dupre, Paul Dickson, The Foley Family, Teri Michalski, Amber Slifer, Carrie R, Stacy Guarracino, Tricia Noble, Melissa G, Kevin Ennis, Patti Mccaffrey, Olszak Family, Andy Hickey, Diane Furtado, Nathan York, Kyle Burdo, Deb Horvath, Carey Smith, Jeff Blank, Caroline Burmester, Kendra Hettel, and Marissa D'ambrosio.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #340 Where in the world is this?

We are in a park!
 Where in the World #340

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 17th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

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!

June 6, 2014

Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

If you have followed Photographic Innoventions long enough, you would know I am a big fan of Super Zoom Lenses. For a cropped sensor camera, the 18-200mm and 18-300mm are the ranges used. For a full frame sensor camera, the 28-300mm is the range. All are image stabilized (IS for Canon, VR for Nikon and a host of other letters depending on your camera or lens manufacturer) and have variable apertures to keep both the weight and costs down.

Over the last couple of years, I have had a need for another type of zoom lens. This one is not as large a range but has a fixed aperture throughout the zoom range. The Super Zooms start out at f/3.5 at the short end and end up being f/5.6 or f/6.3 at the long end when shooting wide open. For a fixed aperture zoom, it will keep the same wide open aperture from the short to the long end. The Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR lens is one such lens and I used it on my last trip to Walt Disney World.

To give you an idea of the range of this lens, I stood in the middle of Main Street USA and took a short (24mm) and a long (120mm) photo from the exact same position (see below) of Cinderella Castle. I did no cropping or straightening to the photos. Both taken with identical exposures except for the zoom setting.

Cinderella Castle from Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle from Main Street USA using a Nikon 24-120mm VR f/4 Lens.

Unlike the Super Zooms which only go as wide as 28mm (18mm cropped), the extra amount of angle at 24mm gives a real wide angle look. The 120mm is a very workable zoom at a Disney park. The Nikon 24-120 f/4 VR lens worked outstandingly for the Festival of Fantasy parade in the Magic Kingdom. At street level I was able to get the large floats in the frame at 24mm and zoom in for the characters on the floats and street.

Festival of Fantasy parade on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Festival of Fantasy parade on Main Street USA using a Nikon 24-120mm VR f/4 Lens.

Image stabilization (IS) or vibration reduction (VR) comes in handy when you are photographing from a moving vehicle or as day fades into night. The VR for the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens is excellent. I could hand hold down to 1/15th of a second easily. I could use even slower shutter speeds with the Da Grip Technique. Don't know about Da Grip? Click Here, you will be glad you did.

Friendship boat docking at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Friendship boat docking at Disney's Boardwalk Resort.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/11, ISO 360, EV 0, 105mm focal length, polarizer filter.

As a travel lens, I found the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR lens more than capable. The only time I missed my Super Zoom lens was on the Kilimanjaro Safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom. I still feel you need, at least, a 200mm lens to get good, frame filling results on the safari.

May 6, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Water Transportation

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

One of the most interesting forms of transportation at Walt Disney World is the various kinds of water transports used to move guests from place to place. From the large ferries going between the Ticket & Transportion Center (TTC) and the Magic Kingdom to the smaller transports which take guests to the resorts on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. The waters of the resort are always alive with moving boats full of guests either coming or going from themeparks and resorts.

The Friendship Boats are my favorites. Designed to ride over shallow waters and maneuver in tight places, the captains can turn them on a dime it seems to dock along side the different pick up locations. I wonder if they would let me take the helm?

A Friendship boat docks at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Friendship boat docks at Disney's Boardwalk Resort.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 18mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her Disney Pic of the Week on Water Transportation.

May 2, 2014

Be-Booping the 1950's at Pop Century Resort

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

All this talk about the All-Star Resorts, got me to thinking of another Walt Disney World Value resort called the Pop Century Resort. The theme for Pop Century are the Classic years of the last five decades of the 20th Century. Back in 2006, I stayed in the 1950's Buildings which featured larger than life icons from the decade (as seen below).

Pop Century Resort 1950's Classic Year area, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Pop Century Resort 1950's Classic Year area.
See Text for Details.

Starting at top left and going clock-wise: Giant Bowling Pin Stairwell, Bowling Ball Racks near the pool, 40-foot-tall Tabletop Jukebox and the popular Yo-Yo as another stairwell.

May 1, 2014

Checking in at the All-Star Sports Resort

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Checking in at the All-Star Sports Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Checking in at the All-Star Sports Resort.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/25s, f/3.5, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length.

There is nothing like checking in at a Walt Disney World owned resort. You can just feel the magic in the air as you wait your turn with a Resort Cast Member. Kids, both young and old, watch Disney cartoons on a nearby television. Music is being played in the background befitting the resort. The anticipation of starting your Walt Disney World adventure is a relief after the time planning and counting down to the day of arrival.

The All-Star Resort is one of five Value resorts which make it possible for many families to afford a stay on property while visiting the most popular vacation destination in the world and is my Disney Pic of the Week for All-Star Resorts.

February 21, 2014

Sunny Day at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Walking back from breakfast to my room at the Dolphin Resort last Fall, I stopped and watched the comings and goings of the Friendship boats. It was a typical beautiful day in central Florida filled with warm sunshine and blue skies. Something living in the northeastern United States, as I do, is still months away. I know I am a bit weary of this year's winter and wanted to remind myself it will get better or, at least, get me to start planning my next trip to Walt Disney World.

An early morning departure for guests on a Friendship boat leaving the dock of the Swan and Dolphin Resort complex at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A Friendship boat leaving the dock of the Swan and Dolphin Resort complex.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 450, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

Remember, to get sharp focus from the front to back in your photographs, use a small aperture like I did here. f/16 or f/22 is usually good enough. If you have Scenes to choose from on your camera, select the Landscape scene to get this kind of result.

February 7, 2014

Walt Disney World Special Bus Services

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have to hand it to Disney. The worst part of a trip to Walt Disney World for me in the past was having to rent a car with all the added expense and frustrations. Then Disney came up with Disney's Magical Express or DME service and made it free for guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort. For me, I have not rented a car since the DME bus service started. While not all Magical Express buses are the classic blue and tan, this one I photographed as it was bringing and/or picking up guests at Disney's Boardwalk resort was.

Disney's Magical Express Bus near Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Disney's Magical Express Bus pulling up to Disney's Boardwalk Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV 0, 32mm focal length.

The other transportation service which I have enjoyed using are the Disney Cruise Line (DCL) Buses. While this service is not free, it is extremely convenient. If you use the service from either a resort or the Orlando airport, you never have to handle your luggage once you check it in from your home airport (check with your airline) or resort. Using special tags provided by the Disney Cruise Line, your bags are picked up and transported to the ships at Port Canaveral and show up in your State Room before dinner the first night at sea. You just get on your bus and go.

Disney Cruise Line Bus waiting to take guests to Port Canaveral from Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Disney Cruise Line Bus waiting to take guests to Port Canaveral.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/500s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 45mm focal length.

You may or may not get the classic DCL bus like I photographed above. Still, they are all clean, well maintained and comfortable and make my Walt Disney World or Disney Cruise Line vacation a bit more relaxing.

January 12, 2014

Where in the World #314

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Happy Birthday, Marsha Waidelich! She turns 5 Disney years old!
From Millan.Net

AND! Annie Snodgrass also turns 5 Disney years old!
From Millan.Net

From last week: Challenge #313:
 Where in the World #313

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © Erin Blackwell

You meet the nicest people at Disney! Like this sweetheart at the entrance of 'Ohanas at the Polynesian resort.

Daniel Record was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Daniel and all our winners this week! Kris Nixon, Kristi Strembicki, Jennifer Rowell, Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Donna Frank, The Gunnels Family, Debbie Desimone, Mike Cerce, Sharon Pierce, Jen Cerce, Betsy Silvestri, Colette Stanton , Toni Florentino, Lisa Mccarthy, Dave Leleux, Kim Riley, Phyllis, Dave Freemyer, Kye Layton, Carol Ney, Amber Slifer, Linda Ranatza, Kristi Jack, Yvonne Marchione, Christie, Terry Croteau, Murr Family, Tim Keeanan, Heather Bradley, Paula Massarelli, Lindsay Coram, Barrie, Christy Lord, Al Desimone, Christina Trigiani, Jen Stevens, Deb Ragno, Bob Ruer, Melissa Such, Denise Morris, Shelly Bordley, Robert Hildebrandt , Emma Ramsey, Julie Gilliard, Dawn Miller, Kevin Orner, Denise Morris, Rex Biederman, Lee Anastasi, Pam Vanaustin, Lynette Michalos, Elaine Kleinhenz, Ruben O'meara, Kim Gray, Pat Schwier, Matt Wildey, Timberly Aymond, Joseph Rutigliano, Jim Vandenberghe, Lori Rienhardt, Maryann & Courtney Crowe, Diane Tredore, Jodi Lupp, Helen Amer, Maureen Handy, Heather Long, Jeremy Hardy, Erin Hammer, Gallagher Family, Michelle Darabaris, Hobbes And Snorky, Teala Van De Ven, Judy Simonsen, John Dickson, Emily Hudson, Vicki Edwards, Ruth Senecal, Trina Noggle, Jeff Powers, Heidi Goodhue, Rob Hepler, Cari Hoffman, Annie Niece, Vanessa Gordon, Jen Eacret, Kim Sancranti, Susie Howard, Randi Balch, Chuck Sands, Craig, Nan Amor, Chris Clayton, Robert Wescovich, The Parker Family, Grumpy's Groupies, Scott Cullen, Belicia Cullen, Katie Beth M, Josette Gabel, Brian Gallant, Tricia Noble, Gail States, Jeremy Reichelt, Josh Carney, Karrie Duffey, Claire Gregory, Ashley P., Mike Kaczanowski, Janet T Thorn, Jenn Steele, Lori Bennett, Erin Loring, Scott, Chloe Mayhew, Vicki Shearman, Annie Snodgrass, Ron Harper, Curtis Bille, Nicole Benoit, The Emich Family, Shannon Babin, Chris Nichols, Jorge, John Bickers, Patti Mccaffrey, Louise Barton, Ansley, Kevin Miller, Audra Miller, Jackie Graebel, Sharon, Vera And Izzy Williams, Joseph M. Zafia, Chris Hills, Amy Fleming, Jessica Iglesias, Jacquelyn Law, Les Stewart, Hillary Waldroop, Matt Petty, Jeff Brashear, Stacy Guarracino, Vicki Britt, Mary Kuhn, and Rob Blundin. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

I just noticed one team calls themselves Grumpy's Groupies: that's awesome!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #314 Where in the world is this?
We're back into the parks! This was put in early in 2013. But! If you know who this is looking at you, then you know where he is!

 Where in the World #314

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 9th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

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!

December 26, 2013

Art of Animation Resort Christmas Greeting

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney's Art of Animation Resort lobby Christmas tree, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Disney's Art of Animation Resort Christmas tree with Guido drawing.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 900, EV 0, 36mm focal length.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort Christmas tree is white with colorful bulbs intermixed with artist drawings of some of the characters found at the resort. Meet Guido. Luigi's sidekick at Casa Della Tires in the Pixar movie, Cars.

A bright and cheerful Disney Pic of the Week celebrating Christmas.

November 29, 2013

Kitchen Sink Stuffed at the Beach Club Resort

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Like most Americans, I am recovering from stuffing myself at yesterday's Thanksgiving Day feast with my family. For those of you not living in the United States of America (USA), I equate it to the feeling after one devours a Kitchen Sink sundae at the Beaches and Cream restaurant in the Beach Club Resort.

Remnants of a Kitchen Sink sundae on a table in the Beaches and Cream restaurant, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Remnants of a Kitchen Sink sundae left on a table at Beaches and Cream.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 1100, EV -0.3, 105mm focal length.

What's that you say? You have never heard of the Kitchen Sink sundae? Below is a picture of it.

The Kitchen Sink ice cream sundae being delivered at the Beaches and Cream restaurant, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Kitchen Sink ice cream sundae being delivered at the Beaches and Cream restaurant.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4.8, ISO 1000, EV -0.3, 55mm Focal Length.

I bet you feel stuffed just looking at it. Happy Thanksgiving from the US of A!

October 20, 2013

Where in the World #302

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Players, great news! Jason and Melinda Lenz are announcing they are expecting twins! They're already planning their children's first Disney trip in 2018! I think I speak for everyone here when I say: Send Pictures! I mean, Congratulations!
From Millan.Net From Millan.Net From Millan.Net From Millan.Net From Millan.Net

Jeremy Mccaffrey, I hear your Aunt Patti is enjoying your AllEars' prizes. ;)

From last week: Challenge #301:
 Where in the World #301

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © 2012 Erin Blackwell

The Hippocampus Electrolier Chandelier (it's a tongue twister, isn't it Bruce Hinterleitner?) in the Boardwalk resort lobby. Thankfully, Jack Spencer did a blog on the resort so I had the actual name or I would have just called it the chandelier or the " the swimmin' end of a seahorse all saddled up and ready to ride. (bring a snorkel)", right, Chris Stockton? -- or, as Wendy Snelgrove, "some weird decoration in the lobby". Some of you knew the right name. I am impressed, Players!

Dave Carriere said, "There is a crystal globe at the bottom that is a time capsule that is scheduled to be opened at WDW's 50th anniversary...hope I am around to see what is in there!" Of course you will! Just 8 more years. We'll meet up to watch it open. Who else wants to join us?

Herb Miller and his wife stayed at the Boardwalk for their honeymoon and his wife wanted to take the resort home with them. Did she take the pens and paper home, tease you that she was going to unhook the phone and bring it home because it has the logo on it? ". not that I did that, joke about it, 'cause you know, it's not nice to make your husband's veins stand out on his forehead.

We need to recognize a particular Player: Izzy Williams who answered this challenge for her grandmother Vera Williams. Thank you, Izzy!

Patty Carty, I hadn't seen the Nanny Chairs before. Oh my god, those are TERRIFYING! I'm never turning my backs on those again as I cross through the lobby! The Gunnels Family, you sit in those?! You are braver than me. This is you:
From Millan.Net

This is me:
From Millan.Net

On a positive note, you will also see a reproduction of Lucy the Elephant who still stands near my town. Because Lucy rocks! I should know because I've been inside this hotel. :)

Kristi Strembicki was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Kristi and all our winners this week! Jennifer Rowell, Heather Keenan, Pat Schwier, Patty Carty, Phyllis, Pam Vanaustin, Linda Ranatza, Julie Wickware, Robin Ward, Mary Beth Tarbet, Carol Ney, Phil Vickers, Axel Beer, Betsy Silvestri, Chris Kelly, Bethany Angermaier, Ed Suscreba, Nick Cristea, Melissa Such, Stuart Hale, John And Annette Melcher, Chris Schrider, Claire Gregory, Pat Morin, Paul Dickson, Colette Stanton , Keirsten Sangster, Joyce Selby, Lori Rienhardt, Cindy Strachan, Lindsay Coram, Morag Lemon, Darlene Harmon, Kye Layton, Judy Simonsen, The Emich Family, Deb Ragno, The Gunnels Family, Tricia Petty , Tim Johansen, Wendy Mowery, Elaine Kleinhenz, K Beasley, Team Hill, Mary Ann Eckenrode, The Kertes Family, Rebecca Smith, Karen Schlumpf, Shelly Metcalfe, Maggie Klotz, Barbara, Dee Dee Kenney, Ashley P. , Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Kathy Morris, Donna Frank, Craig, Karen Adamakis, Audra Miller, Kevin Miller, Susie Howard, Louise Barton, Barbara, Jeremy Hardy, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Kevin Carter, Andrew And Carolyn Poirier, Sheryl Hicks, Hunter B Cantrell, Christine Rowlands, Kristen Mccoy, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Wendy Barney, Paul Moore, Daniel Record, Karen Buckingham, Stephanie Newell, Steve Morin, Dawn Bach, Cindy Carrigan, Roxann B Burke, Olivia Giambalvo, Sharon Pierce, Jacquelyn Law, Maureen Handy, Herb Miller, Lori Bennett, Hillary Waldroop, Megan Krainski, Darlene Haven, Tammy Kennedy, Taryn Dewald, Bruce Hinterleitner, John Mahoney, Kris Nixon, Izzy and Vera Williams, Nathaniel Clements, Wendy Snelgrove, Katrina Wanner, Hulse Family, Rick R., Shelly Borella, Matt Holley, Schuyler Stewart, Terry Fleming, Sara Alaimo, Ron Harper, Larry Sprenkle, Joanna, Teresa Cole, Tom Hermes, Jared Orth, Matthew Jadro, Deb Patterson, Jim Finley , Anastasia Macneil, Carri Marotto, Josh Carney, Mike Haven, Maureen, Stephanie Visco, Dave Carriere, Matt Cofone, Ellie Argaluza, Patti Mccaffrey, Paul Sankey, Carolyn Como, Theresa Rucando, Sandra Edwards, Andrew Pettit, Rob Blundin, Elizabeth Scarborough, Gail States, Terry Watt, Ken Rhinehart, Kate Kozlowski, Nicole Benoit, Caroline Williams, Jane Johnson, Paul Knott, Les Stewart, Team Bonnie Sue, Agnes Ciotti, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Tricia Noble, Barclay Bakkum, Vicki Britt, Melissa Littman, Chris Rooney, Vicki Shearman, Betsy Dross, Chris Stockton, Diane Butler, Peggy Saeger, Theresa Maradei, John Dupre, Patrick Broaddus, Matt Kocher, Dwayne Fontenot, Tjg, Dave Kanigowski, and Sandy Kanigowski. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #302 Where in the world is this?

Back into the parks, Players!
 Where in the World #302

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on
Thursday, October 24th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

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!

September 10, 2013

Disney Pic of the Week: Food

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When people are planning a Disney vacation, they concentrate on where they are going to stay, which parks to visit and when and what to eat. That last one is the reason the All Ears Menu Section is so popular. I remember sending restaurant menus to my youngest daughter to see if she approved. The next best thing was finding photos of the meals online.

Photographing food at Disney is very popular judging by the Tweets and FaceBook postings I see daily. I know it is something Lisa and I do on every trip and in (almost) every restaurant. So, this week, that is our subject: Food. Like these sweet treats I found at the Trail's End Restaurant Buffet in Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground & Resort for breakfast.

Breakfast pastries at Trail's End Buffet in Fort Wilderncess Resort & Campground, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Yummy breakfast pastries at Trail's End Buffet.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 48mm focal length, rear-sync flash.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her mouth watering Disney Pic of the Week on Food.

August 16, 2013

Progressing through the Walt Disney World Resorts

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I post a lot of photos of the parks at Walt Disney World. This week I want to share a few from the wonderful resorts.

Value resorts are how I could afford trips when I first discovered the convenience and joy of staying right on Walt Disney World property. My girls loved the food courts at the Disney's All-Star Resorts with the large variety of family oriented meals and snacks. Over the years we stayed at Movies, Music and, my favorite, Sports. The over sized icons on the buildings and around each of the resorts always a treat for the kids and for their parent's cameras.

For those who have stayed at the All-Stars, the bus transportation area photo below will look very familiar to you. I never have had problems with the Disney Transportation system besides a long wait once in awhile. It saved me from car rental fees which would add a day or two to my vacation time. I liked that.

Bus transportation stops at the All-Star Sports resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Bus transportation area at the All-Star Sports resort.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length.

As the years went by my two daughters became teenagers and we got better at saving for trips, the larger moderate resort rooms helped a lot during a long stay. Our favorite was Dixie Landings which is now known as Disney's French Quarter - Riverside for its charming Mansions and Bayou lodges.

Over the past few years, themed rooms at the moderate resorts have opened for guests. Curious, we checked out a Pirate Room in Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort.

Pirate Room in the Caribbean Beach Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Argh! Smooth sailing and good sleeping in a Pirate Room.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/40s, f/5, ISO 200, EV -1.0, 16mm focal length.

When my daughters went off on their own, my wife and I have gotten to splurging on ourselves by trying out the Deluxe resorts. We plan on spending a day or two at the resort to really soak up the atmosphere, enjoy a meal at the sit-down restaurant and relax.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge speaks to the spirit of the great National Park lodges of the American West as soon as you walk into the lobby.

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort lobby, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/15s, f/5, ISO 800, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length, tripod.

I believe many families progress through the Walt Disney World resorts as we have done. Depending on our plans, we stay at either level these days. Our daughters still like to come with us, too. We are a true Disney family.

June 27, 2013

Motor Cruising on Bay Lake

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Motor Cruiser coming into the Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort dock, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Motor Cruiser coming into the Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort dock.
Nikon D700/28/300VR, 1/400s, f/10, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

Motor Cruisers travel between the Bay Lake Resorts and the Magic Kingdom daily. Larger than Motor Launches, Cruisers are a comfortable way to enjoy the ride as they pass over the water bridge between Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon.

My contribution to our Disney Pic of the Week on Boats.

May 31, 2013

Photographing Walt Disney World Resorts from the Water

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Of all the forms of transportation at Walt Disney World, I enjoy the water transportation the most. You can choose to be in open air or inside comfort, they do not move too fast and there is something about being on the water which is relaxing to me. It is also a good time to take photographs of Walt Disney World parks, attractions and resorts from a different prespective.

Last year I took a Motor Cruiser from the Magic Kingdom to the Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort in the morning. Most people were going to the Magic Kingdom at the time. The boat was sparsely filled for the trip back to Fort Wilderness. I could move from one side of the boat to the other or go to the front or back. Below is what I photographed along the way.

A BASS Fishing Excursion boat with guide and guests were out on the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of the Grand Floridian and Narcoossee's restaurant as we left the Magic Kingdom port.

BASS Fishing Excursion boat on the Seven Seas Lagoon in front of the Grand Floridian resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
BASS Fishing Excursion boat on the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

After passing over the water bridge between the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, I got this beautiful view of the Contemporary Resort and, it's new companion, Bay Lake Towers.

Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Towers from Bay Lake, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Towers.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/11, ISO 200, EV 0, 58mm focal length, cropped.

Even from the water, the Wilderness Lodge looks like it belongs in a western United States national park nestled amongst the tall trees.

Wilderness Lodge from Bay Lake, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Wilderness Lodge from Bay Lake.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 210mm focal length, cropped.

I have enjoyed photographing between Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios on Friendship boats and from Port Orleans to Downtown Disney on the DVC ferries. You can, too.

May 10, 2013

How to Create Travel Magazine Photos at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When you use Auto mode with a digital SLR camera, the programing in the camera will do its best to give you a "good" exposure. Even in Program mode if you do not understand how to use it, the camera will give you a "good" exposure. I put good in quotes because, while you will get "good" exposure, I would say 9 times out of 10, the exposure will not be the one you were looking for.

I say this because what our eyes see and what the camera sees are very different. The camera in Auto or Program mode will go for safe exposures meaning it will give you the fastest shutter speed first before setting the Aperture (which controls the depth of field or area of focus) and ISO which controls how grainy the final image will be.

By using Program mode correctly or changing to Aperture (A) mode, you take control of the depth of field. Below are three examples where I took control of the Aperture. I wanted a large area of focus to cover from the front to the back of the image. This would put everything in focus. Many travel images you see in magazines and on websites are photographed this way.

The first was taken from a Friendship boat leaving the Swan & Dolphin Resort dock heading to Epcot's International Gateway. I wanted people to know where I took if from and the relationship between the boat and the resort.

Dolphin Resort from a Friendship boat, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Dolphin Resort from a Friendship boat.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 400, EV +03, 28mm focal length.

The Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom was taken in mid-afternoon. I used five bracketed photos to create the HDR image to make sure to cover the full range of light from the dark shadows under the tree to the bright sky. Each photo was taken with a small aperture for maximum depth of field. Every plant in the foreground is as sharply focused as each carved animal on the Tree of Life.

Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, HDR image.

I photographed a few trains at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the Magic Kingdom before I got the engine positioned at the top of the grade with the large rock formation behind it. A small aperture was used to keep sharp focus from the train back to the towering rocks. Well, except for a little blurring of the train since it was moving which was what I wanted, too.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

Each of the photos above were taken at an aperture of f/16. That is a good setting to start with. If you use a Point & Shoot camera, look for the Landscape mode setting for the same effect.

May 5, 2013

Where in the World #278

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Thank you for all the well wishes on my trip! 24 days and counting! Jason And Melinda Lenz, I will definitely tell Mickey that you said hello! Quite a few more Players are leaving soon too; we'll remember to wish you Bon Voyage! In fact, Bonnie T just left for a Disney Cruise: look at her go!

Here's last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #277

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © Barrie Brewer

It's the the Disney Vacation Club sign at the Boardwalk Resort dock wishing us all a Magical Day! Carolyn Como asked if we're taking a Friendship boat to Studios or Epcot. Hmmm... let's go over to Studios and see if we can be the Rebel Spy on Star Tours!

Uncross your fingers, Jennifer Harmon: you got it right!

Of course you win a free DVC membership, Cheri Palmisano. As long as you always bring me along on the trips. I don't take up much room!

Ed Elder was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Ed and all our winners this week! Daniel Record, Bryce Kershey, Beth Oybkhan, Erin Hammer, Jeff Robertson, Sharon Pierce, Dave Cole, Melanie, Team Hill, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Mary Beth Tarbet, Tinkerbellwells, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Kristi Strembicki, John Sheridan, Kenny, Bill Mckim, Agnes Ciotti, Brian Odonnell , Staci Plunkett, Katy Hebebrand, Carolyn Como, Sarah Calvario, Kristen Mccoy, Diane Tredore, Virginia Pierce, Orange Bird, Frank Zimmerman, Chris Masse, Deb Ragno, Les Stewart, Colette Stanton, Jennifer Harmon, Paul Knott, Jenny Brennan, Nathalie Periard, Tricia Petty, K Beasley, Craig Livingston, Dee Dee Kenney, Brian Miller, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Karen Ramirez, Brian Yesutis, Paul Moore, Phyllis Masse, James Steele, Belicia Cullen, Josh Carney, Scott Cullen, Theresa Rucando, Jamie Gardner, Kris Nixon, Chris Kelly, Louise Barton, Emily Hudson, Zach Szymko, Daniel Meagher, Dawn Bach, Paul Dickson, Maureen Handy, The Emich Family, Betsy Silvestri, Hobbes And Snorky, Shannon Savoia, Dennis Loring, Erin Loring, Beth Mcmeekin, Heidi S. Kulesh, Daniel And Noah Schweizer, Jared Orth, Mary Finkle, Ronald Delorey, Craig, Pam Brzuski, Barbara Ajak , Dan Mangini, Julie Wickware, Leach Family, Antoinette Leblanc, Tim Johansen, Peter Boguszewski, Michael Mclucas And Jackie Mclucas, Claire Gregory, Ladonna Tisdale, Jeremy Turner, Melody O'donnell, Josh Weiss, Ken Maikowski, Larry Sprenkle, Paul Scimeca, Susie Howard, Ken Jackson, Maureen Hanlon, Lisa Z., Kim Skanes, The O'meara Family, The Kahle Family, Gerald Skanes, Mike Haeberle, Jonathan Ward, Jenn Crosby, Heather Pedulla, Denise Cayz, Chris Connors, Jeff Blank, Susan Doucette, Steve And Ruby Jordan, Jason Skow, Trina Noggle, Wade A. Williams, Caitlin Lewis, Kerrie Hogan, Shelly Borella, Hillary Waldroop, Trica Noble, Robert Wescovich, Bonnie T, Amber Slifer, Rebecca Keenan, Matt Holley, Vera Williams, Jeremy Reichelt, Andrea Kruszewski, Sara Alaimo, Cheri Palmisano, Carol Ney, Linda Ranatza, Kim, Cynthia Hitchcock, Hailey Gill, Judy Simonsen, Patti Mccaffrey, Becky And Elizabeth Johnston, Pinder Family, Brenda Strohmeyer, Liz Moreau, Katie Bray, Jackie Graebel, Jacquelyn Law, Elaine Kleinhenz, Anjanette Tournillon, Candy Grasty, Mike , Stefan Owens , Barb Welshhans, Amanda Garrett, Christy Schor, Pam Vanaustin, Thomas Higbee, Christina Rotella, Terry Blair, John &Rhonda Nottell, Vicki Britt, Emily Harper, Jen Tremley, Barclay Bakkum, Patricia Huff, The Kertes Family, Jackie Klafeta, Joseph M. Zafia, Eric Holmes, Peggy Saeger, Vicki Edwards, Deme Grabert, Kathryn Hughes, Ashley Hill, Karen Bellamy, Jennifer Arnett, Karen Bellamy, Karen Smith, Victoria Finnegan, Gallagher Family, Kara Cummings, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, Mike Kaczanowski, Tom Buck, Evald Olson, Betsy Dross, Shirley Garcowski, and Kyle Haggerty. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Time to announce the April 2013 monthly winner! Strike up the Marching Band!
band

And the winner is: Betsy Dross! Congratulations! Deb Wills will be sending you a prize package!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #278 Where in the world is this?

We are back in the parks! See, I told you we would get back this week.

 Where in the World #278

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, May 9th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.
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!

April 28, 2013

Where in the World #277

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Claire Gregory, Mary Beth Tarbet, Rob & April Vanderpool, and Jason And Melinda Lenz: thank you for your concern and wonderful messages! You guys are the best!
From Millan.Net

The Pinder Family and CJ, thank you too for your fantastic notes! From Millan.Net

Guess what, Players? Remember I said we weren't going to Walt Disney World this year? Well, my husband surprised me with a trip: we'll be there in 5 weeks! Star Wars weekends, here we come!
From Millan.Net

Here's last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #276

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © Erin Blackwell

Minnie Mouse in marble! You can find her and many other Disney characters in the Grand Floridian lobby.

That's the Grand Floridian or, as Vicki Edwards' daughter put it, "the place that smells expensive". :)

Brian Miller was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Brian and all our winners this week! Chris Masse, Kris Nixon, Julie Wickware, Claire Gregory, Ed Elder, Virginia Pierce, Hoekzema Family, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Paula Massarelli, Agnes Ciotti, Debbie Desimone, Al Desimone, Louise Barton, Agnes Ciotti, Rob & April - Team Vanderpool, Theresa Rucando, Mary Beth Tarbet, Ellie Argaluza, Laura V., Steve And Ruby Jordan, Team Hill, Carla C, Dan & Deb Mangini, Double Family, Johansen Family, Dave Wang, Noah Schweizer (9 Yrs Old), Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Kye Layton, Jennifer Rowell, The Kahle Family , Lynette Michalos, Pam Gallagher, Scott Encke, Mailin Pares, Darlene Harmon, Melodye Berry, Linda Andrews, Ken Clark, Scott Cullen, Belicia Cullen, Hillary Waldroop, Paul Moore, John & Rhonda Nottell, Tricia Petty, Laura Zale, Betsy Silvestri, Sharon Pierce, Annette Nuenke, Duskin Henard, Colette Stanton, Josh Carney, Julie Bozeman, The Parker Family, Craig Livingston, Evanna Huda, Paul Knott, Megan Collins, Zach Szymko, Missy Tillman, Cindy, Emily Hudson, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Mike Walter, Kara Jones, Kori Hockett, Shannon Savoia, Craig, Mickey Eckert, Amy Marte, Hobbes And Snorky, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Patti Gumiela, Jenny Stoneburner, Carrie Rampy, Paul Dickson, Sharon Dale, Jen Cerce, Morgan M., Marcia Mardirosian, Victoria W., James And Kathy Berry, Darcy Mchale, Kerri Coggins, Scott Precise, Mary Jo Gallion, Lisa Collymore, Daniel Record, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Annie Snodgrass, Leach Family, Cynthia Hitchcock, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Madison Hovan, Chloe Mayhew, Karen Adamakis, Becky Norman, Judy Simonsen, Julie And Kody Rider, Rob Jacob, Audra And Kevin Miller, Randi Balch, Heather Hynes, Tim Jeltes, Andy Hickey, Dale Knight, Vanessa Gordon, Denise Cayz, Maggie Klotz, Hayley Valk, Deedee Kenney, Jennifer Harmon, Jackie Purcell, Chris & Maranda Nichols, Todd Ritter, Andrew Gonzalez, Robert Hildebrandt, Mary Virginia Clause, Jennifer Forsythe, Tricia Noble, Carolyn Como, Amy Park, Kelly Smith, Nancy Cole, Mary Greger, Kristen Mccoy, Andy Schumacher, Anastasia Macneil, Wayne Witherspoon, Sara Alaimo, Scott Sangston, Alan Mize, Matt Holley, Stephanie Linares, Jaron Goldberg, Pinder Family, Matt Ciccone, Peter Boguszewski, Melody O'donnell, Heather Pedulla, Francis Lachance, Michele Mongeon, Scott Greenbaum, Dawn Bach, Walter N. Clark, Chris Kelly, Sara Holloway, Anita Jodouin, Larissa Huda, Diane C., Tracy Discher, Melesia Love, George Mundy Jr, Russell Hamlin, Ainsley Poe, Chris Horne, Stephanie Dollar, Dave Carriere, Heidi Goodhue, Patti Deluca, Elaine Kleinhenz, Patty Newton, Stacy Lee, Jane Johnson, Cheryl Costello, Barb Welshhans, Amanda Garrett, Rachel Taylor, Tom Higbee, Nathalie Periard, Christina Rotella, Pat, Jon Solomonson, Amber Slifer, Bonnie Cummings, Peggy Saeger, Amy Filliben, Vicki And Elizabeth Edwards, Vincent Maltese , Christopher Hall, Nathaniel Clements, Shirley Garcowski, Carol Ney, Julie Weigand, Bob Eldridge, Evald Olson, Pam Vanaustin, and Vera Williams. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #277: Where in the world is this?

STILL outside the parks, Players! Some of you are gnashing your teeth. I promise we'll go back inside the Big Four next week.
 Where in the World #277

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, May 2nd, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

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!

April 18, 2013

Plate of Goodies from the Cape May Cafe

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Seafood goodies from the Beach Club's Cape May Clam Bake Buffet, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Plate full of seafood goodies from the Cape May Clam Bake Dinner Buffet.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 2000, EV 0, 44mm focal length, bounced flash.

If you like seafood, you owe it to yourself to head to the Beach Club's Cape May Cafe for their nightly All-You-Can-Eat Clam Bake Dinner Buffet. There you can have your fill of steamed clams, mussels, crab legs, fish and clam chowder. Don't worry, there is plenty for people who like landlubber food and a kid's buffet with all their favorites. Oh, and, if you can, leave room for the dessert portion of the buffet. A perfect way to end our Disney Pic of the Week on Resort Dining.

March 8, 2013

Staying at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Expanding on yesterday's post about me staying at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge for the first time, here are a few more musings and photos. As you enter Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, the high ceiling of the lobby is a feast for your eyes. The Earth tones of the wood and decor instantly sooth your being. You see the three story tall windows which look out over Arusha Rock and African savanna beyond. You will even spy a "rope" bridge crossing high overhead.

The lobby of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The lobby of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, f/4, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, HDR Image.
Like any good Disney property, you will find several Hidden Mickeys cleverly disguised as themed decorations. To find more at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and all over the Walt Disney World Resort, get yourself a copy of All Ears team member Steve Barrett's Hidden Mickey Guide book.
Hidden Mickeys at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
How many Hidden Mickeys do you see?
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/20s, f/4.2, ISO 3200, EV +0.3, 48mm focal length.

The real reason most people want to stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge are the animals you can see either right from your room or the various overlook lounges and by visiting Arusha Rock. My room was on the second floor were I enjoyed photographing the animals from the balcony. The weather was mostly overcast during my stay which helped to bring out the colors of all the living things.

Even if the colors are black and white like these two Grant's Zebras grazing below my room one afternoon.

Grant's Zebras browsing on one of  Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge savannas, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A pair of Grant's Zebras browsing on a savanna.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 320, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

Many people are amazed at the large horned Anikole Cattle which can been seen wandering each of the savannas surrounding Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Anikole Cattle walking on the savanna at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A large horned Anikole Bull walking on the savanna.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 320, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

Another horned animal, the Scimitar-horned Oryx is no longer found in the wild. Places like Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney's Animal Kingdom and zoos around the world help to maintain a viable breeding population in the hopes of returning them to their northern African home in the future.

Scimitar-horned Oryx standing in the Uzima savanna at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A lone Scimitar-horned Oryx standing in the Uzima savanna.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 640, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

Walking the halls between one's room and the lobby, you never know what you might see as you look out the many windows and overlooks of the Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. You might see a Reticulated Giraffe looking back at you.

Reticulated Giraffe peering around a tree on the Arusha savanna at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Reticulated Giraffe peering around a tree on the Arusha savanna.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 220, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

Whether I ever get to stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge again, I will definitely still visit to enjoy a meal at Boma or Jiko or just to come and visit the animals of the savannas.

March 7, 2013

Animal Kingdom Lodge Savanna Experience

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Sable antelope on the Uzima savanna as seen from a room in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Sable antelope on the Uzima savanna at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 1250, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

Last year I stayed at Disney's Animal Kingdom for the first time. The cast member who checked me in saw my camera and felt a room upgrade to a savanna view was necessary. For the next five days I enjoyed overlooking the Uzima savanna which is much quieter then the Arusha savanna. That was fine by me. I would get up each morning and sit on the balcony to photograph and watch the birds and animals. The Sable antelopes and others gave me a wonderfully New Experience every day and makes for my Disney Pic of the Week.

February 15, 2013

Travel Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Really, Scott? Isn't the title redundant? We all take travel photos at Walt Disney World, don't we?

Well, yes and no. While photos taken at any Disney property can be considered travel photographs, do they tell a story? Do they give someone looking at the photo a sense of place? Travel photography should do both.

Last fall, Ocean Spray and Disney combined to create the Cranberry Bog Exhibit. My photo below shows the location of the exhibit in Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival. I used a small aperture of f/16 to keep everything in focus from the flowers all the way back to Spaceship Earth including the guests surrounding the exhibit. This is called using hyperfocus.

Ocean Spray's Cranberry Bog Exhibit at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Ocean Spray's Cranberry Bog Exhibit at Epcot.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 320, EV 0, 28mm focal length.
To show you this technique works with a telephoto setting, I again used a small aperture photographing a Motor Cruiser on the Seven Seas Lagoon as it was leaving the Magic Kingdom. The Grand Floridian Resort in the background adds to the story.
Mermaid I Motor Cruiser leaving the Magic Kingdom on the Seven Seas Lagoon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Mermaid I Motor Cruiser on the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 170mm focal length.

Most good travel photographs include people or imply people. Such is the case of the photo below. The seating area behind the Flame Tree Barbecue restaurant is a quiet, peaceful location. While there are not people in the photo, the empty tables and chairs in the background tell you this is a place for them.

Waterfall in the seating area behind the Flame Tree BBQ in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Waterfall in the seating area behind the Flame Tree BBQ.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/5s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

For this photo, the small aperture of f/22 not only gave me a large depth of field but slowed down my shutter enough to give the smooth look to the waterfalls.

Next time you are out photographing at a Disney park or in your own backyard, look for story telling travel scenes.

February 1, 2013

Firerock Geyser at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The beauty of Walt Disney World is you can enjoy the parks and the resorts. Disney's Wilderness Lodge has so much to offer from a romantic dining experience at Artist Point, fun (and I mean really fun) family dining at Whispering Canyon, details to discover in the spacious lobby and a surprise by following the flowing spring. The spring starts in the lobby and flows out to Silver Creek Falls. People can slide from the falls into the swimming pool. Make your way along the boardwalk path to the hot springs (jacuzzis), you will come across a sign informing you of Firerock Geyser. If you ask one of the Wilderness Lodge's rangers, they will tell you the geyser erupts every half hour.

Firerock Geyser from the pathway at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Firerock Geyser from the pathway at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 4000, EV 0, 28mm focal length.
Firerock Geyser shots water 120 feet (36.5 meters) into the air when it erupts.
Firerock Geyser erupting at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Firerock Geyser erupting at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 2200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Unlike the geyser's out west, Disney Motor Cruisers were bringing guests to and fro on Bay Lake behind Firerock for unique photo opportunities.

Motor Cruiser behind Firerock Geyser at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Motor Cruiser behind Firerock Geyser at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.
Nikon D700/28-200VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 4000, EV 0, 135mm focal length.

I processed these photos to look like the vacation photos I remember seeing from people who had visited Yellowstone National park as a kid. Brought back a little nostalgia remembering sitting through relative's slideshows of their adventures in the western Untied States.

January 11, 2013

Photographing Disney's Polynesian Resort Lobby

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have yet to stay at Disney's Polynesian Resort. I have found many reasons to visit as the lobby is one of the best places to hang out while waiting for a dining reservation at either 'Ohana or Kona Cafe restaurants. In the case of the next two photos, I was enjoying the tropical atmosphere while my wife and daughter shopped.

Working a subject like the Polynesian Resort's lobby is instructional and fun. The lobby is colorful with waterfalls and flowing water. Wide walkways on the first and second floors give you lots of room to use a tripod if you have one. When I took these photos, my tripod was back in my room. Instead, I used my favorite hand holding technique called Da Grip which I learned from National Geographic photographer Joe McNally.

The first photo of the Polynesian Resort lobby is a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image. I took this standing up and moved in as close as I could. Zoomed in to 48mm to create a composition using vegetation as a frame, a waterfall as the main subject and elements of the resort's lobby in the background. You can see the upstairs walkway and the sign for the BouTIKI gift shop.

Disney's Polynesian Resort beautifully landscaped lobby captured in HDR, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Disney's Polynesian Resort's beautifully landscaped lobby captured in HDR.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, f/8, ISO 720, EV -0.3, 48mm focal length, hand-held, HDR Image.

In the second photo, I kneeled down to be level with the waterfall and made this pleasing composition with the Rule of Thirds in mind. Using Da Grip, I was able to photograph it hand-held at 1/8th of a second shutter speed giving the water motion a soft look.

Disney's Polynesian Resort lobby waterfall, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Disney's Polynesian Resort lobby waterfall.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/8s, f/4.2, ISO 560, EV -0.3, 48mm focal length.

Fast forward a year and as I was waiting for my family's breakfast reservation at Kona Cafe for a helping of Tonga Toast, I photographed a Christmas decorated Polynesian Resort lobby with lots of poinsettia plants added to the waterfalls. In this case, I was above the waterfalls on the second floor walkway and used a wider field of view. The slow shutter speed of 1/15th of a second (hand held again) gave the flowing water a nice softness.

Disney's Polynesian Resort lobby waterfalls at Christmas, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Disney's Polynesian Resort lobby waterfalls at Christmas.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/15s, f/8, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

You can do this with any photography subject including people. Walk around the subject or subjects and view it from all sides and angles especially low and high. You will be amazed at the number of different photographs you can create this way.

November 23, 2012

Color Composition at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

There are many rules of composition in photography, like the Rule of Thirds, symmetry, golden triangle and others. One thing that is often overlooked is using color in composition. Color can be used to lead the viewer's eye to the subject, create a response in the viewer or even frame an image. When studying this subject, I found I relied mostly on my subjects position or their relationship to other elements in the viewfinder. The following photos I did take with color being the primary photographic element.

Besides his humor, Cool Hand Luke stood out in front of Disney's Boardwalk Resort with his brightly colored costume which contrasted with the natural tones of the resort's buildings and wooded boardwalk. To further enhance his appearance, I placed him in the right third of the frame where your eyes are lead to first before exploring the rest of the scene.

Cool Hand Luke Juggling Show entertaining guests on The Boardwalk, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Cool Hand Luke Juggling Show entertaining guests on The Boardwalk.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/11, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, fill flash.

The blue twilight sky makes for a beautiful backdrop for the brightly lighted and colorful Characters in Flight tethered balloon ride at Downtown Disney. Here I balance the balloon with the horizon in the lower third of the frame.

Characters in Flight tethered balloon ride at Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Characters in Flight tethered balloon ride at Downtown Disney.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

A yellow Taveta Golden Weaver (Ploceus castaneiceps) bird on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom posed nicely for me against the natural background. The contrast of the yellow bird pops right out at you.

Taveta Golden Weaver bird on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Taveta Golden Weaver bird on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/5.6, ISO 3200, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

Going to finish up with a couple holiday photos now that Thanksgiving here in the United States has passed and the shopping season is in full swing today.

The slivery-blue Cinderella Castle in holiday Dream Lights from the Ticket and Transportation Center near the Ferry dock reflects in the Seven Seas Lagoon on a December evening. Reflections in water and other surfaces help to draw one's eyes to the main subject.

Cinderella Castle in holiday Dream Lights from the Ticket and Transportation Center, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Cinderella Castle in holiday Dream Lights from the Ticket and Transportation Center.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 3s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 300mm focal length, tripod.

The Toy Soldier statues around the Main Street USA Christmas Tree in the Magic Kingdom can be made the colorful subject by using a wide open aperture to create the dreamy bokeh (out of focus background) of the lights on the tree behind them.

Toy Soldier figure in front of the Main Street USA Christmas tree at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Toy Soldier figure in front of the Main Street USA Christmas Tree.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/40s, f/5.6, ISO 3200, EV -0.6, 116mm focal length, polarizer filter.

This month on my personal photo blog, I ran an assignment about Color Composition where you can find more reference articles and links to people who participated.

November 15, 2012

Morning at the Beach Club Villa Resort

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

View from a Beach Club Villa DVC room, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Early morning at the Beach Club Villa DVC Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 1400, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

I photographed this early morning view from my room in the Beach Club Villas Disney Vacation Club Resort as I waited for my roommates to get ready to head to the parks. The calm scene is perfect for my Disney Pic of the Week about a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Resort.

November 9, 2012

Cast Member Magic at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney parks are wonderful.The attractions and rides are second to none in the world. As Lisa would remind us, without the Cast Members, the MAGIC we all associate with a Disney vacation would not exist. On my last trip, I meet three such Cast Members which created magic for my family and other guests.

While eating at Trail's End Buffet, I watched Chef Stephen going over foods on the buffet for a guest who had special dietary needs. Disney chefs are very good at helping guests with health concerns enjoy good meals at Disney restaurants. After he was finished, I talked with him a bit and asked if I could take his photo. He obliged, though a bit surprised. Thanks, Stephen!

Chef Stephen at Trail's End Buffet at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Chef Stephen at Trail's End Buffet.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 500, EV +0.3, 45mm focal length, bounce flash.

After enjoying a performance by the Voices of Liberty in the American Adventure, one of the performers noticed my daughter singing along and sought her out. My daughter was thrilled as she has sung in choirs since grade school.

Voices of Liberty Singer in Epcot's American Adventure, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Voices of Liberty Singer with guest in the American Adventure.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60, f/8, ISO 800, EV +1, 36mm focal length, bounced flash.

If any of you visited Walt Disney World towards the end of September this year, you know how hot and humid it was. So, it was with delight and relief when I entered the Fountainview Cafe in Epcot's Future World to order up a strawberry ice cream cone. The server was a College Program Cast Member who took pride in getting the ice cream correctly in the cone so it would not fall out. I know this as I had been watching her. Look at her concentration.

Fountainview Cafe Server making an ice cream cone in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Fountainview Cafe Server making an ice cream cone for a guest.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/4.8, ISO 1600, EV +0.3, 62mm focal length.

These cast members helped make my last trip magical and give me and my family three reasons to keep going back.

October 12, 2012

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness Resort

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show playbill from the Pioneer Hall balcony in Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show playbill from the Pioneer Hall balcony.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/50s, f/3.5, ISO 4000, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

My wife and I have attended the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground six times since our honeymoon back in 1983. Back then the Hoop-Dee-Doo was considered a hidden treasure most people not staying at Fort Wilderness knew about. I will not go into a lot of detail about the show. Jack Spence wrote up an excellent guide (click here to read) which covers everything you need to know about going and enjoying the show.

The Pioneer Hall is the location for the three nightly Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner shows. It is a rustic log building themed after the theaters found in pioneer towns during the time of Davey Crockett. Inside is setup to make you feel like you've entered another time and place. Servers dressed in pioneer garb take you to your table where a garden salad already awaits with red and white checkered napkins.

Tip: When you first check in, your party will be asked to have a souvenir photo taken which you can later purchase at your table. The photo package consists of one 6x8, four 4x6 inch prints and a souvenir folder and costs $29.95. There is no obligation to buy.

Pioneer Hall in Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Pioneer Hall has been home to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue since 1974.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/3.5, ISO 1600, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Once all are seated and drinks have been served, the Pioneer Hall Players enter from the front doors everyone came through. Whooping it up and making noise as they make their way to the stage. There they launch into the Hoop-Dee-Doo song encouraging all to clap and sing along. You'll get the chorus pretty fast.

Tip: During any stage show you are photographing, you need to take your exposures directly from a performer's face. I use spot metering to do so and adjust the exposure using the EV button. Notice all the stage photos in this article are set to EV -0.6 (-2/3). That properly exposed for the performer's skin.

The Pioneer Hall Players on stage performing the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show in Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Pioneer Hall Players on stage performing the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 1400, EV -0.6, 82mm focal length.

The Pioneer Hall Players are Jim Handy (out front in yellow shirt) and Johnny Ringo. In back from left, Flora Long (yellow dress), Dolly Drew (red dress), Six Bits Slocum (brown suit) and Claire de Lune (purple dress). You will get to know all of them throughout the course of the show.

During dinner, Flora Long and Jim Handy sang a couple of songs accompanied by a banjo player in the middle of the lower dining area. They even got everyone to join in and twirl their napkins overhead. You will also be asked to clap, stomp your feet, yell and even toot at various times during the show.

Pioneer Hall Players whoop it up with the audience during the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show in Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Pioneer Hall Players whoop it up with the audience..
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 1800, EV -0.6, 85mm focal length.

Before a skit of the Legend of Davey Crockett, a few audience members were asked to volunteer for a part in the play. They were taken backstage and given costumes to wear. All the ones who were at this show did great from the little Davey Crockett to the Can-Can dancer.

Tip: Wait for the performers to stop on stage to photograph them. This happens at the end of songs or, in the case of the Hoop-Dee-Doo, after a really bad joke or pun (see below).

A volunteer guest on stage during the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show in Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A volunteer guest on stage during the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 1400, EV -0.6, 300mm focal length.

Even after 29 years, this show still is as entertaining and funny as ever. The food is very good and is all you can eat. We sat in the Balcony (Category 3) which is set up so you can swivel your chair around and look down at the stage. Performers even come up to visit at times so everyone feels like they are a part of the show.

September 9, 2012

Where in the World #246

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Hello, Players! Guess who's back! Smiley from millan.net Me, that's who! Did you miss me?! I was in the hospital, but I'm home and getting better! Thank you for all the pixie dust and messages you sent me, like Patti Mccaffrey, Claire Gregory, Chris Kelly, Mary Beth Tarbet, Gabriella And Matthieu, Agnes Ciotti, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Kerri Coggins, and The Emich Family!

Rebecca Keenan is at the Polynesian for her Walt Disney World vacation! Wave hello, Players! Smiley from millan.net

We didn't list the winners last week, so here we go:
 Where in the World #244

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © Erin Blackwell

A Magic Kingdom steam train! This one is actually leaving the old Toonstown train station. My husband and I took the steam train tour before it was even official. We highly recommend it if you're at all interested in Walt's trains (I got to help switch a track!).

Megan Krainski was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Megan and to all the readers who got the answer right: Mark Niebojeski, Jennifer Smith , Molly Silva, The Moore Family, Kenny, Daniel Schweizer - 12 , Jeffrey Dunne, Lauren Svec, Mark Burden, Charis Barron, Mary Beth Tarbet, Allison Caputa, Anne Marie Cronin, Tim Jeltes, Laurie Walker, Staci Plunkett, Brian Gallant, The Kahle Family, Teresa Plunkett, Jenny Kelly, Pollyanna Buff, Ed Elder, The Parker Family, Sean F, Matt Holley, Paula Massarelli, Thomas Koval, Mike O'brien , Erin, Evanna Huda, Larissa Huda, Sherry Trapp, Lindsey Nozal , Emily Jabas, Dale Knight, Jeffrey Martin, Hunter Armstrong, Kristen Clegg, Nicole Amidon, Team Hill, The O'meara Family, Jacquelyn Law, Christina Trigiani, John Leach, Bill Foley, Mailin Pares, Vicki, Elizabeth, And William Edwards, Claire Gregory, Carol Schaeffer, Emma Poprock, Kelly Deleon, Julie And Kody Rider, Kerri Coggins, Mary Virginia Clause, Morgan M., Patty Carty, Hobbes And Snorky, Kristyn Scibienski, Amber Slifer, Tracey Francis, Ronald Delorey, Craig, Vera Williams, Jcerce, Emily Hudson, Rob Blundin, Jennifer Snook, Sharon Dale, Brian Haas, Ali Yesutis, Chris Kelly, Mitchell Holmes, Jim Vandenberghe, Victoria French, Jenny Brennan, Maggie Klotz, Megan W, Robert Jacob, Ellen Sullivan, Erin Connell, Jenifer Moyer, Dawn Bach, Sandie Albrecht, Audra Miller, Kevin Miller, Hoekzema Family, Sam Shotick, Chloe Mayhew, Dallas Hamilton, Jerry Felder, Chris Bauman, Richard And Lisa Palmer, Monica Owens, Sara Holloway, Erin Hammer, Alan Mize, Dan Johnston, Les Stewart, Stephanie Linares, Patti Mccaffrey, Shawn Lehnert, Lisa Zitek, Tinkerbellw, Mike Cerce, Pam Lowe, Nathaniel Clements, Patrick Broaddus, Pam Vanaustin, Heidi Goodhue, Kathryn Perkins, Christopher Barnes, Betsy Dross, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Josh Carney, Karla Callen , John Paul, Wayne Chadourne, Agnes Ciotti, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Frank Pierce, Kristin Dormuth, Gabriella & Matthieu, Tom Buck, Amy Miller, Suzanne, Jeff Powell, Paul Dickson, Dee Dee Kenney, Jennifer Bogdan, Evald Olson, Dan Owens, Kelly Barnes, Stacy Guarracino, Walter N. Clark, Mickey Mouse, Brian Nale, Bruce Jones, George Mundy Jr, Stefan Owens, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, and J Brizzle. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Guess what? Time for the monthly drawing! The August winner is Betsy Dross! Congratulations, Betsy! You win the monthly prize of AllEars swag sent to you by Deb Wills herself! (You go ahead and cry, dear. It is very exciting.)
_____________________________________________________ _____________________


Deb gave you this challenge last week and here's the answer:

Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright 2008 © Barrie Brewer

I have no idea. Seriously. Let me go and ask Deb.

Ah! This is from the façade of the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort. Barrie Brewer took this in January 2008 when she was there for the marathon. This is such an interesting building. It was designed by Michael Graves, who has won numerous awards for his post-modern designs.

Faith Humeston was the first to send in the correct answer!
Congratulations to Faith and to all the readers who got the answer right: Sue Mcdonald, Kerri Coggins, The Omeara Family, Debbie Desimone, Al Desimone, Chris Kelly, and Theresa Rucando. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #246: Where in the world is this?

New challenge! We're in the parks, so I hope you have your tickets handy.

 Where in the World #246

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, September 13th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

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!

August 24, 2012

Wilderness Lodge in HDR

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I never seem to be at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort in the morning when the Sun direction would light up the side of the lodge which faces Bay Lake. In the late afternoon, the Sun direction makes it hard to photograph. The range of light is too large. Our eyes can handle it but our cameras are not as good. This is when I turn to the process called High Dynamic Range (HDR). I set my camera to take a series of five photos 1 stop apart going from +2 stops, +1 stop, 0, -1 stop, -2 stops.

HDR Images of Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
HDR Images of Disney's Wilderness Lodge.

I imported all five photos into Photomatix Pro 4 and created the final HDR image by blending all the photos together to capture the full range of light. Now the image looks like what my eyes were seeing. Below is the full image which was cropped in the collage.

Final HDR Image of Disney's Wilderness Lodge, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Final HDR Image of Disney's Wilderness Lodge.

You may see some photographers who only do HDR images. I use it when I feel it will capture the image I see. No right or wrong to either approach.

August 16, 2012

Cape May Buffet Plate

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Snow Crab Legs and Steamed Clams from the Cape May Buffet at the Beach Club, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A plate of Snow Crab Legs and Steamed Clams from the Cape May Buffet.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 2000, EV 0, 44mm focal length.

The Cape May Buffet in the Beach Club Resort features seafood, meats, salads, New England Clam Chowder, kid's favorites and fabulous desserts. It is all you can eat and what you are seeing here just one of the plates from my last trip to the buffet.

A very yummy Disney Pic of the Week about Restaurants.


July 22, 2012

Where in the World #239

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Melinda Lenz, I love it! Courage! Conviction! YEAH! (Jason was close, but wrong, but hey, Walt Disney was SO wrong about Circus World in Disneyland, and we STILL love him!) Up top, sister! Smiley from millan.net

P.j. Popsuj, thank you for your WONDERFUL note!

Gallagher Family, you are ALWAYS on board! *fist bump*

Annie Snodgrass, I'm glad you enjoyed the Steel Magnolias quote. Because, "The only thing I have ever said to you, ever, is that I want you to be happy." :)

Rob And April Vanderpool! Heck yeah, missed you!

Here was the July 15th Challenge:
 Where in the World #238

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell

Let's get to the answer right now, because Bonnie Tulenko has her fingers crossed this week, and she could cramp up. Plus Lauree Little has promised to wait for the answer and we don't want to push the edge of her patience!

It's the 57 Chevy Golf cart at the Pop Century Resort. I so love this thing! We typically stay at Fort Wilderness, home of decorated golf carts, and if I had this one, I'd decorate it for Christmas with a Christmas tree strapped to the roof and other things to make it look like a family coming home with their tree!

I thought this would be a bit of a toughie; silly me! I forgot how many people have been to Pop Century or seen pictures of it. Claire Gregory, you were so right. ;)

James and Kathy Berry, your aunt had a 50s Chevy?! Do you still have it? Let's go cruisin'! I'll pay for the gas!

I bet those golf cart seats get hot in the Florida sunshine, Karen Smith! Like those older cars our parents or some relative had with the vinyl seats and no air conditioning, and as kids, we'd lose a few layers off the back of our thighs, remember? And they'd say to us that we had the open window, like all that hot air from the outside was a big help. -big grin! (That doesn't mean I don't want to still go cruisin', James and Kathy. I'll sit on a towel, don't care. Classic car, baby!)

Chris Masse was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Chris and to all the readers who got the answer right: Sharon Pierce, Larissa Huda, The Strukel Family, Kenny, Chris Kelly, Sandra Shaw, Belicia Cullen, Carol & Alex Gamill, Staci Plunkett, Mary Beth Tarbet, Teresa Plunkett, Dale Knight, Tinkerbell Wells, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Debbie Desimone, Anjanette Tournillon, Scott Cullen, Al Desimone, Evanna Huda, Maureen Handy, Gabriella &Matthieu, Doug Olson Family, Will Gates, Laurie Walker, Emily Hudson, Ashley Hoffman, Leigh Mertz, Sherrie Morse, Robby Bennett, Theresa Rucando, Heather Metzler, Candice Grimes, The Whipple Family, Jennifer Snook, The Parkers, Claire Gregory, Chris Black, Suanne Denham, Blythe Pritchett, Julie Wickware, Janet Fosbender, Anne, Ken Jackson, Mailin Pares, Jenny Brennan, Kathy Jones, Dana Cortese, Craig, Kye Layton, Tom Biglin , Virginia Pierce, Melea Broekers, Maureen Leininger, Mary Thatcher, Bruce Hinterleitner, Megan K, Scott Mitchell, Emily Jabas, Vera Williams, Clare S, Denise Cayz , Ann Marie Baldwin, Bill Mckim, Lainie Marsh, Jessi Harp, Brenda, Scott Greenbaum, Tommy Montgomery, Paul Dickson, Ali Yesutis, Mike Osmond, John Ames, Shelley Diederich, Mike And Julie Phillips, Ed Hogan, Ed Suscreba, Gary Cruise, Christopher Barnes, Laura V., Wendy Ip, Sherry Klinefelter, Karen Mitchell, Duskin Henard, The O'meara Family, Team Hill, Chad Bell, Ashley P., Anne Heffentreyer, Theresa Lucotti, Kathy Opitz, Jeffrey Dunne, Deb Ragno, Tere G, The Malesky Family, Ronald Delorey, Dawn Burns, Betsy Silvestri, Marian Leafblad, Nick Straka, Kelley Bessette, Lauren Mullins, Regina Allen, Josh Weiss, Double Family, Jim Van, Kristi Strembicki, David B, Nancy Johansen, Allie Reckendorf, Marie Rogowski, Maggie Klotz, Kerri Coggins, The Moore Family, Jeremy Hardy, Tracy Discher, Hobbes And Snorky, Mackenzie D., Gloria Kimmel , Hannah Couture, Kelly Feeko, Susie, Nick Bentz, Alan Mize, Amy Weber, Brendan Abel, Karen Johnson , Karen Schlumpf, Dan Mangini, Doug Reichl, Callie C., Curtis Bille, Patty Carty, Hannah M, Mary Greger, Tim Jeltes, Rich Hall, Dana Hinterleitner, Deb Vacek, Laurie Pasnick, Vicki Vaught, Annie Snodgrass, Rebecca Keenan, Roxanne Kliebert, Gloria Martin, Tom Buck, Robert Anderson, Shaun Leake, Pam Vanaustin, Carrie, Kris Nixon, Travis Grim, Patti Mccaffrey, Carolyn Como, Mickey Eckert, Trish Babler, Jonathan Thomas, Angie Young, Kristyn Scibienski, Olivia D., Christine D., Matt And Danielle Murgia, Melesia Love, Bonnie Tulenko, Alison Rosenberger, Carla C, Elyssa H., Bruce Jones, Tricia Petty, Susan Doucette, Sandieaabrecht, Randy Krugman, Teresa Cole, Karrie Duffey, Sara Holloway, David And Melissa Lizewski, Karen Smith, Morgan M., Mona Hornbuckle, Stuart Hale, Patrick Broaddus, Froneberger Family, Carolyn R. Conway, Erin Hammer, Chuck Everson, Diane Ramos, Cathy Connors, Kathy Curtis, Marc Fumo, Les Stewart, John Sheridan, Debbie Cody, Meredith Rule, Jennifer Mercier, Rebecca Dehaan, Kris Blamphin, John Pasqueralli, Jonathan Ward, Andrea Kruszewski, Bambi, Jennifer Rupert, Margie Larmon, The Patterson Family, Jen Tremley, Brian Grabowski, Kerry A., Dee Dee Kenney, Kim Morris, Paul Knott, Wendy T Faler, Dustin Morehead, Rebecca Baker, Katrina Wannerkatrinacolo, Kathryn Willer, Amber Nash, Matt Holley, Cheryl Costello, Cathy Mager, Diane Batista, Kristen Figuerado, Leigh Robillard, John Klein, Elaine Spring, James And Kathy Berry, Kathy Rosenwinkel, Sarah Haas, Tara Weaver, Jullie Pudem, Mark Proper, Mike Pennington, Marsha Morgan, Karen Hotchkiss, Sharon Dale, Jeff Reynolds, Liz Moreau, Janet Medlin, Larry Brooks, Evald Olson, Kristy Holland, Lauree Little, Stacey Williams , Linda Mac, Chip Vermette, Linda Ranatza, Tom Higbee, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, Nancy, Dan Owens, P.j. Popsuj, Stacy Guarracino, Hillary Waldroop, Amanda Kenney, Brian Richmond, Gallagher Family, Vicki Edwards, Audra Miller, Kevin Miller, Roye Ann Morris, Agnes Ciotti, Daniel Record, Jane Johnson, Jake Christopher, Monica Owens, Nicole Shuler, Jason Skow, Jaclyn Kelch, Stefan Owens, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, and Linda Scrivano. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Now for the moment you have all been waiting for! The monthly winner for June is Mackenzie D.! Mackenzie, you have AllEars swag that will be sent to you from Deb Wills!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________
Challenge #239: Where in the world is this?

Back into the parks, Players!

 Where in the World #239

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 26th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

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!

June 14, 2012

Looking Down into the Grand Canyon Concourse

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Monorail Gold moving through the Grand Canyon Concourse in Disney's Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail Gold moving through the Grand Canyon Concourse in Disney's Contemporary Resort.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length.

I took this from the 12th floor of Disney's Contemporary Resort back in 2008. I remember watching when Walt Disney World first opened in 1971 and saw monorails going in and out of this huge A-framed resort. I thought to my 12 year old self back then, the future has arrived. Years later, I enjoyed dining in the Grand Canyon Concourse and watched as monorails quietly moved overhead with similar thoughts. A Back to the Future kind of Disney Pic of the Week for me about Resorts-Indoors.

April 27, 2012

Yacht Club from Snapshot to Postcard

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I see a lot of photographs from Disney parks each week from my contacts on flickr, Google+, Twitter and Disney message forums. That means I see a lot of photos in these two categories: Snapshots and Postcards. Before I go farther, these are my definitions and opinions and not those of AllEars.net.

A snapshot is a photo of something which has distractions of one kind or another. The subject maybe clear or lost in the distractions. Bad compositions fall into this category. I have hundreds of these kinds of photos. Many hold memories for me of places, people and things. They are put in albums and galleries to be shared with family and friends. Nothing people would consider buying if they saw it on a postcard.

This photo of the Yacht Club Resort at Walt Disney World is a prime example of a snapshot. While the subject is the Yacht Club and I used leading lines to lead your eyes to the resort, there are distractions. The most obvious is the large shadow from the lighthouse in the lower left. The other distraction is the boat on the edge of the left border. Remember to look around the edges before you press the shutter or on the LCD screen before you leave the location of an important photo.

The dock to the Yacht Club Resort from the lighthouse., Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Snapshot of the Yacht Club Resort from the lighthouse.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/14, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length.

How to make this snapshot into a postcard? A postcard photo is one which I feel a person would buy in a shop of a place they are visiting to show other people where they have been. These are the photos I share online with my contacts and all of you here. To do this, I first walked up the dock towards the Yacht Club a few feet to eliminate the shadow and zoomed in the lens to clean up the edges.

The dock to the Yacht Club Resort from the lighthouse., Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Postcard of the Yacht Club Resort from the lighthouse.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 40mm focal length.

While this photo will never be in the Yacht Club's store, I believe it could be.

February 26, 2012

Where in the World #218

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Caroline Burmester: Smiley from millan.net

Diane Ramos left on her first Disney cruise yesterday! Quick, everyone wave Bon Voyage and she'll see it when she gets back!

Chris Kelly, I would send you a candy apple if I could! :)

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #217

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, 22mm, 1/1000s shutter, f5.9, ISO 400

The chicken thing, as Tom Hermes so wisely called it - :), is the rooster from the Germany Pavilion's Cuckoo Clock/Glockenspiel. Every hour, the bird comes out and flaps its wings while the Hummel boy and girl come out below , as Agnes Ciotti perfectly described it , just like the famous Glockenspiel in Munich. Sometimes, though, the clock doesn't work perfectly and you don't see the large Hummel figures come out, but the rooster does.

Let's hear it for Susan of Team Hill who wisely corrected her husband that this was not a penguin. You go, Susan! :)

NOW!

For all the Players who dared to play the Grass challenge, the answer is: Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, right outside the paddocks for the Tri-Circle D ranch where you can take horseback rides. Here's the full sized picture with my husband and little nephew who is helpfully pointing out that the Epcot bus just pulled up and we should go start his first Disney day.

Steve Jordan was the first to send in the correct answer for the second week in a row! Congratulations to Steve and to all the readers who got the answer right: Bill Mckim, Diane Tredore, Larissa Huda, Tracy Henkel, Sara Campbell, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Brian Haas, Craig, Penny, Sharon Pierce, Tim Johansen, Tiffany Gibb, Doug Olson, Mark Haraway, Paul Dickson, Chris Kelly, Emily Hudson, Kerry A., Curtis Bille, Louise Barton, Mary Beth Tarbet, James And Kathy Berry, Linda Scrivano, Maryann Eckenrode, Evanna Huda, Angela Blevins, Kellie Harpel, Hoekzema Family, Scott Otis, Julie And Kody Rider, Theo Newton, Patti Mccaffrey, Tom Hermes, Jennifer Rupert, Kerry Mccaffrey, Tom Buck, Amanda Perkins, Anna Keene, Walter N. Clark, Kenny, Les Stewart, Nota Hudson, Mike O'brien, Mike Cerce, Vera Williams, The Kertes Family, Clay, Tim Jeltes, Team Hill, Heidi Goodhue, Nikki Parker, Troy Parker, Kerri Coggins, Will Gallagher, Elyssa H., Agnes Ciotti, Joseph M Zafia, Ashley Pizzino, Kelly Smith, Matt Cofone, Sharon Dale, Barclay Bakkum, Tom Higbee, Sarah Holodick, Jeremy Mccaffrey, and Josh Weiss. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #218: Where in the world is this?

For the people who got a good laugh out of the grass challenge, I present one like it (and this will be it, promise. :):

Where in Disney World is this seagull? :)

 Where in the World grass
Photo by C. Canady

Now, here is Challenge #218:
 Where in the World #218

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 23rd, 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!

February 23, 2012

Rainy Night at the Yacht Club

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A rainy night outside the Yacht Club Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A rainy night outside the Yacht Club Resort.
Nikon D70/50mm, 1/15s, f/2, ISO 800, EV +1.0.

The sidewalk outside the Yacht Club Resort on a chilly rainy night in December. I have not found myself often on a night like this at Walt Disney World but, when I do, I try and take advantage of the reflections from water on surfaces.

February 19, 2012

Where in the World #217

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Players, especially Mary Beth Tarbet, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Kathy And James Berry, Claire Gregory, Maja Kodani, Agnes Ciotti, and Susie Howard: thank you SO much for all the anniversary wishes! You had such wonderful things to say; it means a lot to me.

Of course, Danielle had to start singing "We're off to see the Wizard!", so now THAT's back in my head! Thanks for that, Danielle. ;)

But speaking of my anniversary - this is a segue into sad/good news: Barrie Brewer, who started Where in the World Photo Fun, has retired from the All Ears Team. She's gotten great customers for her photography business, and no one wishes her more good luck and pixie dust than all of us who love her here at AllEars. I miss you already, Barrie, and I can't wait for the next time we wander the Animal Kingdom trails, cameras in hand.

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #216

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, 22mm, 1/400s shutter, f5.9, ISO 100

The main sign for Animal Kingdom Lodge! I have a real love for Disney signs, and when Barrie and I headed in for the Kidani meet in December, this was just begging for a photograph!

Kerry A. has 2 in a row! Hollah! :)

And Jennifer Rupert and her family will be arriving at the Lodge in a week! Maybe you can get Karen Schlumpf's room, she just left. Karen, would you recommend your room? If so, save it for Elyssa H. too; she'll be celebrating her 5th wedding anniversary at the Lodge in May! You guys need to talk to Kelli Sangston and her dad too, because they know all about spotting the animals there!

I'm not jealous of you guys being there; ok, I'm lying. I'm a liar and I'm jealous. Please don't hold it against me. :)

Kenny was the first to send in the correct answer for the second week in a row! Congratulations to Kenny and to all the readers who got the answer right: Chris Masse, Peter Strukel, Leigh Mertz, Brian Haas, Pollyanna Buff, Jamie K, Kris Nixon, Terry Blair, Dee Dee Kenney, Chris Kelly, The Perras Family, Nikki Parker, Mary Beth Tarbet, Sharon Pierce, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Troy Parker, Kerry A., Bob, Al Desimone, Kelly Mager, Debbie Desimone, Matt Holley, Heather Young, Craig, Jennifer Harmon, The O'meara Family, Daniel Record, Lee Anastasi, Steve Jordan, Cara Richards, Kathy And James Berry, Tara Petar, Clint Curfman, Emily Hudson, Jennifer Rupert, Tim Johansen, Bill Mckim, Donnie, Amy Schweizer, Michelle Mcspadden, Spencer Hart, Phil Vickers, Christopher Barnes, Emma Poprock, Stuart Hale, Lauren Thomas, Kelly Zanauskas, Rob Blundin, Beth Mcmeekin, Julie Wickware, Halo Barker, Claire Gregory, Karen Schlumpf, Karen Adamakis, Diane Ramos, Mike Obrien, Jonathan Thomas, Erin Hammer, Courtney Payne, Courtney Payne, Katie Bray, Donna Currier, Maryann Eckenrode, Scott Cullen, Belicia Cullen, Mark Diba, Ken Jackson, Erin Loring, Betsy Silvestri, Team Hill, Kelly Montgomery, Sam Fritz, Emily Hudson, Dawn Burns, Denise Cayz, Carla Nale, Erica Sipich, Paul Newman, Angie Young, Hillary Waldroop, Tom Buck, Joanne Duddy, Jen Cerce, Kerry Mccaffrey, Millie Tenreiro, Patti Mccaffrey, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Suzanne Denham, The Moore Family, Kye Layton, Kevin Miller, Audra Miller, Pam Tees' husband who recognized the M and Pam Tees who got the rest of the answer!, Larissa Huda, Bruce Jones, Greg Strohmeyer, Kerri Coggins, Nancy Cox, Russ Morgan, Brian Miller, Dennis Loring, Shannon Thomas, Scott Otis, Hannah Couture, Linda Mac, Brenda, Cameron Lange, Bob Patterson, Dallas Hamilton, Elyssa H., Hoekzema Family, Andrew Pettit, Tom Hermes, Mike Gillardi, Andrea Kruszewski, Les Stewart, Kristen Carde, Jeremy Reichelt, Carla C, Tricia, Mackenzie D., Jullie Pudem, Maja Kodani, Happy Anniversary!, The Patterson Family, Sharon Dale, Melody O'donnell, Jason Skow, Angela Johnson, Mike Cerce, April Mcbride, Alan Mize, Jim Thompson, Jamie Poynton, Kathryn Hughes, Jennifer Bourg, Kelli Sangston, Jennifer Tremley, Kelly Smith, Theresa Rucando, Josh Weiss, Dayna Guay, Nicole Shuler, Matt Degrandis, Sarah Holodick, Heidi Goodhue, Brian Mcwithey, John Arena Jr, Thomas Housenfleur, Carri Marotto, Brian Grabowski, Patty Carty, Jeff Finger, Jennifer Mercier, Sarah Haas, Patti Deluca, Liz Moreau, Josh Carney, Tom Koval, Debbie Poole, Diane Tredore, Barclay Bakkum, Wendy T Faler, Allison Caputa, David Ballard, John Pasqueralli, Paul Knott, Jerry Weldon, Jen Cox, Evelyn Wilson, Paul Dickson, Dawn Bach, Agnes Ciotti, Jodi Cook, George Mundy Jr, Michael Campe, Teresa Cole, The Hicks Family, Vera Williams, Linda College, Susie Howard, Betsy Dross, and Vicki Edwards. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #217: Where in the world is this?

First for Team Hill and Tom Hermes who thought last week was too easy, here is the tough challenge: Where on Disney World property would you find this patch of grass? LOL!

 Where in the World grass

Now, the regular challenge:

 Where in the World #217

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 23rd, 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!

February 4, 2012

A Grand Floridian Wish

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Grand Floridian Resort photographed from the Resort Monorail, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Grand Floridian Resort photographed from the Resort Monorail.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 11mm focal length.

Like many, I have visited the Grand Floridian Resort many times. Have enjoyed a special dinner at Narcoossee's and stopped in to see the beautiful Christmas decorations in the lobby. Oh, how I would love to spend a night or two inside its elegant walls and soak in the Victorian atmosphere. Maybe someday...

February 3, 2012

Characters in Flight at Twilight at Downtown Disney

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Characters in Flight balloon rising from its platform at Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Characters in Flight balloon rising from its platform at Downtown Disney.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

I have been planning to ride the Characters in Flight balloon from the time it was announced. Yet, since it's first flights in 2009, I have never been able to find the time or the right flight conditions to do so. That was until last month when it all came together on a visit to Downtown Disney including the time of day.

As Barrie, Lisa and I have mentioned many times, the hour before and after sunset is a magical time for photography. The Sun was just setting as my wife and I, another couple and the pilot started our ascent in the circular gondola below the 210,000 cubic feet red and yellow balloon decorated with flying Disney characters. The light towards the Sun was very harsh so I decided to photograph with it behind me. As you can see, it was a good decision.

About half way to our maximum altitude of 400 feet, I noticed the DVC ferry coming into the dock at Downtown Disney Marketplace as the last of the golden sunlight reflected off the Lake Buena Vista hotels.

A ferry headed to Downtown Disney Marketplace from the Characters in Flight balloon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A ferry headed to Downtown Disney Marketplace from the Characters in Flight balloon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/40s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

At the top of our ascent, the restaurants and shops of Downtown Disney Marketplace, the Lake Buena Vista hotels and the city lights of greater Orlando stretched out to the horizon .

Disney Downtown Marketplace and Lake Buena Vista hotels from the Characters in Flight balloon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Disney Downtown Marketplace and Lake Buena Vista hotels from the Characters in Flight balloon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Of to the north of the Lake Buena Vista hotels was the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa Disney Vacation Club all lit up under the blue color of twilight.

Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa from the Characters in Flight balloon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa from the Characters in Flight balloon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

The flight conditions were almost perfect for the ride with hardly any wind to speak of, a warm evening and clear sky. The flight was smooth, quiet and full of character and wonderful views of the Walt Disney World resort.

If you would like to see more photos and details about the Characters in Flight attraction, Jack Spence was on hand back in 2009 for the inaugural flights. Just one correction since Jack's blog was published, the Characters in Flight now costs $18 or $12 for ages 3-9.

January 14, 2012

Pluto at Chef Mickey's

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Chef Pluto visits my daughter during dinner at Chef Mickey's in Disney's Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Chef Pluto visits my daughter during dinner at Chef Mickey's.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5, ISO 320, EV 0, 28mm focal length, bounced flash at -1.0 power.

While enjoying dinner at Chef Mickey's buffet restaurant in Disney's Contemporary Resort, Chef Pluto stopped by and posed with my daughter right at our table. Makes for my Disney Pic of the Week on Character Meals. Click Here for great tips and more information about character meals at Walt Disney World.

December 27, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week - Close Up and Macro Photography

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Close up and macro photography let you to show detail in your subject that may not be noticed when looking at the big picture. This is especially true at Disney where great attention is paid to the creation of that detail. When in the parks, most of us tend to take pictures that encompass as much of the scene as possible, trying to capture the whole story that the Imagineers are telling. But much of that story is in the details. Remember to take close ups so that you are getting the full story. This week's Pic of the Week theme is close up and macro photography.

Grand Floridian Angel
Copyright © 2009 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/60s shutter, f3.2, ISO 2500

This lovely angel stood in a holiday flower arrangement in the lobby of the Grand Floridian. Originally, I photographed her with the Christmas tree and a good part of the lobby and holiday decorations included in the shot. It was a pretty enough picture, but it wasn't until I zoomed way in that I saw just how beautiful she really was. I love her expression - it's what makes this image my favorite of the two.

Share your closeup and macro images from the Disney parks on Google+ with #disneypics-detail.


December 22, 2011

Disney's Boardwalk Villas

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Boardwalk Villas
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/1000s shutter, f8, ISO 200

I have to admit, I have an ulterior motive for choosing this particular photo for my Pic of the Week. This image of the Boardwalk Villas is featured as the July picture in my 2012 calendar. You may ask, "What calendar might that be?" Well, in case you missed my first post about it, let me just fill you in"

I have created a calendar from some of my favorite Walt Disney World photos and am selling it to raise money for Deb's Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. My goal is to raise $1500 with the 2012 calendar. Thanks to everyone who has already purchased a calendar we are almost there! It is my hope that by the first of the year I'll be able to say we surpassed the goal - so in case there's anyone out there who still hasn't got theirs, just click on the calendar below to order one.

That concludes the hijacking of this post for my shameless plug.

2012 Focus on Disney World Calendar


December 20, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week: Daytime Resorts

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Walt Disney World Resorts are extremely photogenic with award winning architecture, theming, landscaping and use of water like fountains, waterfalls, lakes and rivers. The Saratoga Springs Resort is a prime example using the theme from the famous upstate New York horse race track area. Add easy access to Downtown Disney by water ferry or rental boat and you have a winning combination.

A guest pilots a pontoon rental boat past the Saratoga Springs Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A guest pilots a pontoon rental boat past the Saratoga Springs Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 78mm Focal Length.

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

December 16, 2011

AllEars.net 15th Anniversary Photo Essay

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This is my account of the AllEars.net 15th Anniversary December to Remember events I attended between December 8 and December 11, 2011. I was not sure if Deb Wills and the All Ears team could pull it off. Read below to see if they did.

The kick-off event was held in the Convention Center at Disney's Contemporary Resort. Disney historian Jim Korkis talked about the history of the Carousel of Progress. Like the Wilderness Lodge meet I attended back in October, Jim covered the Carousel of Progress from Walt Disney's initial ideas to how it came about to be included in the 1964 New York Worlds Fair before finding a home in the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland in Florida by way of Disneyland. Jim filled in mystery's and included entertaining side stories. For instance, when Walt needed a song for the Carousel of Progress, he went to the Sherman Brothers and told them it had to be uplifting and only 13 and half seconds long.

Jim Korkis entertaining a room full of All Ears guest at the Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Jim Korkis entertaining a room full of All Ears guest at the Contemporary Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 24mm focal length, flash.

I missed out on the Toy Story Mania Eat and Play Meet (click for Laura's coverage) and meet up with the All Ears team and fans for A Night of Sweet Bites and Street Lights in the Art of Animation building at Disney's Hollywood Studios. This event had two parts. The first was a dessert party in the Meet and Greet area. Of course, Minnie and Mickey came out for photos. Barrie and I got a taste of being PhotoPass photographers (that is Barrie on the left below) as we took turns photographing all the All Ears fans with the famous duo.

Barrie doing PhotoPass duty at A Night of Sweet Bites and Street Lights meet in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Barrie doing PhotoPass duty at A Night of Sweet Bites and Street Lights meet in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/8, ISO 1000, EV 0, 28mm focal length, flash.

The second part of the night had all of us being escorted across Disney's Hollywood Studios to an empty and dark Streets of America. Deb Wills had the honor of throwing the switch to turn on the Osborne Spectacle of Lights (see below). We all spent the next thirty minutes enjoying, photographing and being amazed at the new enhancements to this year's display.

Deb Wills turning on the Osborne Lights in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Deb Wills turning on the Osborne Lights in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/5.3, ISO 720, EV 0, 98mm focal length, flash.

The next day, around 40 people showed up for Barrie's and mine Smile and Say Jambo at Animal Kingdom photowalk very early the next morning. After a brief introduction, we raffled off some photos, photo gifts and other cool stuff. We then reconvened in Harambe Village for a walk on the Pagani Exploration Trail to photograph birds, meerkats, hippos and gorillas. Most of the group then went on a Kilimanjaro Safari. We filled up most of a safari jeep and had good photo opportunities of antelopes, elephants, giraffes, white rhinos and cheetahs.

A jeep full of All Ears photowalk attendees on the Kilimanjaro Safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A jeep full of All Ears photowalk attendees on the Kilimanjaro Safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/13s, f/3.5, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

After our Africa adventures, it was time to relax at the Open House in one of the Grand Villas at Kidani Village. The villa was a two level, three bedroom suite complete with kitchen, dining and living rooms.

I attended a Hidden Mickey tour with author Steve Barret around the resort's lobby and hallways.

AllEars.net team member and Hidden Mickey author, Steve Barrett, in the lobby of the Kidani Village, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
AllEars.net team member and Hidden Mickey author, Steve Barrett, in the lobby of the Kidani Village.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

The villa's balconies overlook the wildlife preserve where we all watched and photographed antelopes, giraffes and zebras. Inside, people collected All Ears trading cards, enjoyed snacks, cold beverages and a few raffle give-a-ways by Deb Wills.

All Ears guests watching animals from the Kidani Village Grand Villa, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
All Ears guests watching animals from the Kidani Village Grand Villa.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 500, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

The next morning, we were all in for a special treat as Don "Ducky" Williams gave an hour long talk about how he became a character artist for the Walt Disney Company. His story was full of funny anecdotes, interesting insights and, finally, triumph as he was hired (or more like never asked to leave). The whole time he drew Disney character after Disney character like the one of Ariel below. Afterward, Deb Wills raffled off each of the 22 different characters Don had drawn that morning. Each one was signed by him.

Don Ducky Williams finishing up a character portrait in the Odyssey restaurant in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Don Ducky Williams finishing up a character portrait in the Odyssey restaurant in Epcot.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 2500, EV 0, 200mm focal length, flash.

The last event of the four days was an Illuminations Dessert party held in one of the VIP rooms inside the American Adventure. It had turned rainy which prompted the change in venue from the Italy terrace. The dessert tables were filled with fruit, cakes, sweets and even some melted chocolate to pour over them. Below you see two All Ears team members enjoying the treats. The rain stopped just before Illuminations and about half of us went out to enjoy the show.

AllEars.net team members Mike Scopa and Jack Marshall enjoying delicious desserts at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
AllEars.net team members Mike Scopa and Jack Marshall enjoying delicious desserts at Epcot.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/4, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, flash.

It was a jam packed four days. Deb Wills and her All Ears team truly did create a December to Remember. Thank you!

December 11, 2011

Where in the World #207

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Hello from the World!

Betsy Moquin, thank you for your very nice note! And congratulations to new DVC members, Alan Mize and family!

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #206

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2010 Erin Blackwell Canon PowerShot SD890 IS, 7mm, 1/60s shutter, f/3.2,ISO 250

Yes, it's the Panchito's Gift and Sundries gift shop sign in the Coronado Springs Resort! Some players want to give credit to those who helped them figure this puzzle out: Jack Spence and Kerry Mccaffrey. :)

Kristen Gainey was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Kristen and to all the readers who got the answer right: Dylan Weidner, Rick R., Tim Johansen, Christina Altavesta, Dale Knight, Lorine Landon, Kenny, Mary Beth Tarbet, Karen Schlumpf, Ed Suscreba, Jennifer Tremley, Brandon Emerson, Jonah Rigby, Tricia Petty, Zachary Ott, Vicki Aponte, Paulnewman, Stuart Hale, Chandler, Courtney &Maryann Eckenrode, Ron Harper, Victor Gonzalez, Nikki Parker, Chris, Mackenzie D., The Hicks Family, Craig, Steve Smith, Emily Hudson, Jason Wright, Samantha Kobus, Rebecca Keenan, Alan Mize, Kristyn Scibienski, Kelly Zanauskas, Tiffany Gibb, Linda Mac, Melesia Love, Kim Mobley, Cara Richards, Karen Hughes, Andrew Schumacher, Maja Kodani, Virginia Dastugue, Kerry Mccaffrey, Danielle Fitzgerald, Patti Mccaffrey, Sandra Ednie, Wendy Barney, Scott Otis, Betsy Moquin, Matt Holley, Leslie Stewart, Michele Mongeon, Debra Marrocco, Jeff Finger, Nota Hudsy, Sarah Haas, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Sarah Holodick, Al Desimone, Al Desimone, Christina Cella-bonica, Angela Johnson, Mike Haeberle, Derek Carty, Amber Slifer, Nina Pietrobono, Melissa Gvist, Michele Jeffs, Audra Miller, and Kevin Miller. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________________________________________________

Challenge #207: Where in the world is this?

We're back in one of the four parks!

 Where in the World #207

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, December 15th, 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 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 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 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

October 4, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week - Food and the Food & Wine Festival

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Guess what time it is? It's time for the 2011 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! This year's festival started this past Friday and will continue through November 13. In honor of this spectacular event, our Pics of the Week will focus on a few of Disney's culinary delights as we bring you "Food and the Food & Wine Festival".

Crab Cake
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 50mm f/1.4, 1/120s shutter, f2.2, ISO 1000

Considering what a foodie I am, it's hard to believe that I've only been to the Food & Wine Festival once. Taking pictures was definitely not my top priority when I was there either! Therefore, my crab cake picture comes from my all-time favorite Disney restaurant, Flying Fish Café on the Boardwalk.

Have a Magical Day!

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Wishing You a Magical Day
Copyright © 2011 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX VR, 1/1000s shutter, f8, ISO 200

I've always liked this sign because its only purpose is to make you feel good. It doesn't give you any information, offers no direction and doesn't identify anything. It's just there to wish you a magical day while you wait for the boat. Ok, well I suppose it is advertising Disney Vacation Club, but I choose to ignore that small fact.

September 15, 2011

The Three Caballeros at Coronado Springs

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Three Caballeros topiaries fit the American Southwest/Mexico theme of the Coronado Springs Resort perfectly, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Three Caballeros topiaries fit the American Southwest/Mexico theme of the Coronado Springs Resort perfectly.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/100s, f/5, ISO 200, EV +0.7, 26 mm focal length

The theming of the Coronado Springs Resort is the American Southwest and northern Mexico. Making these topiaries of the Three Caballeros (José Carioca, Panchito and Donald Duck) the perfect fit for the resort and for my Disney Pic of Week on Themed Landscaping.

July 11, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week - Toys

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Boardwalk Toys
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/13s shutter, f4.8, ISO 800

Hanging out at the carnival games on the Boardwalk, a wall full of monsters wait for their turn to go home with a lucky game player. Until then, these plush toys call the Boardwalk Inn home. Our theme for this week's Pic of the Week is toys. Get ready to play - Scott and Lisa will be here later in the week to share their toys with you!

July 9, 2011

Kitchen Sink Ice Cream Sundae

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Kitchen Sink ice cream sundae being delivered at the Beaches and Cream restaurant, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Kitchen Sink ice cream sundae being delivered at the Beaches and Cream restaurant.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4.8, ISO 1000, EV -0.3, 55mm Focal Length.

The Kitchen Sink dessert being announced at Beaches & Cream restaurant in the Beach Club resort at Walt Disney World.

The Kitchen Sink is served in a large sink-like bowl and consists of the following ingredients:

2 scoops each: Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry

1 scoop each: Mint Chocolate Chip, Mocha

Angel Food Cake, Bundt Cake, Brownies, Oreos, Milky Way Candy bar pieces

Peanut Butter, Hot Fudge, Strawberry Sauce, Butterscotch, Caramel

Bananas, Cherries, Sprinkles and a whole can of whipped cream.

I think this fits the Disney Pic of Week for Ice Cream. Bon appetit!

Ice Cream Cone Tables at Beaches and Cream

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Beaches and Cream Tables
Copyright © 20011 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/13s shutter, f11, ISO 200

Ok, I know this is a bit a of a stretch but here goes" My Pic of the Week for ice cream is a picture of the tables outside of Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club Resort. The tables are actually ice cream cones!

July 8, 2011

Zooming In and Out at Bay Lake Tower

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

It is a something you have heard before: There are two photos for each scene. This normally refers to the orientation of the camera in either Landscape (horizontal) or Portrait (vertical). There is another method to getting two photos from most scenes as it does not always work depending on your distance to what you are photographing.

When most people purchase a digital SLR camera, they also get a kit lens or two. The most popular are 18-55mm and/or 55mm-200mm zoom lenses. Many know I like my super zoom lenses in the 18-200mm range for DX (cropped) cameras and 28-300mm for FX (full frame) cameras. Many Point and Shoot cameras also have a zoom range from short to long. Which ever zoom range you have, do not forget to use the power they give you.

As an example, I zoomed in on a monorail as it passed the Bay Lake Tower DVC Resort outside of the Magic Kingdom as the Sun was close to setting.

Monorail Green passes in front of Bay Lake Tower DVC Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Close up of Monorail Green passing in front of Bay Lake Tower DVC Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV 0, 150mm focal length.

I remembered to quickly zoom all the way out to get a wide angle view of the scene as the monorail continued to pass by the resort.

Monorail Green passing in front of Bay Lake Tower DVC Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Wide view of Monorail Green passing in front of Bay Lake Tower DVC Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Same scene, two different perspectives without having to move your feet. It is not being lazy, it is being smart to use your equipment to its fullest.

June 24, 2011

Artist Point Restaurant in Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The last time I enjoyed a meal at the Artist Point Restaurant in the Wilderness Lodge Resort, it was a character breakfast with Pocahontas and Friends. Quite a few years ago. On my trip to Walt Disney World last January I stayed at the Wilderness Lodge and decided to enjoy a quiet and elegant meal in one of the best restaurants on property.

Artist Point restaurant dining room waiting for Wilderness Lodge Resort guests to arrive, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Artist Point restaurant dining room waiting for dinner guests to arrive.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 5600, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length

I ordered Artist Point's Signature Entreé, Cedar Plank Roasted Wild King Salmon. You may wonder what a Signature Entreé is. It is a meal linked to a specific restaurant. In the case of Walt Disney World restaurants, they are meals they have been served since the opening of a restaurant and never have left the menu. I thoroughly enjoyed this meal and highly recommend it to all.

Cedar Plank Roasted Wild King Salmon signature entree at the Artist Point restaurant in the Wilderness Lodge Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cedar Plank Roasted Wild King Salmon signature entreé in the Artist Point restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5, ISO 720, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length, rear-sync flash

You might be a bit more adventuresome in your dining. Then, may I suggest a Buffalo entreé. While the Grilled Buffalo Striploin with Artisan Cheese and Macaroni may or may not be on the menu when you dine at Artist Point, they will most certainly have a meal featuring Buffalo. I would describe Buffalo as a very tasty, tender and lean meat.

Grilled Buffalo Striploin at the Artist Point restaurant in the Wilderness Lodge Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Grilled Buffalo Striploin with Artisan Cheese and Macaroni in the Artist Point restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5, ISO 2000, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length, rear-sync flash

While you are in the Artist Point restaurant, look around at all the large wilderness paintings on display. They enhance the decor and with the view out to the Wilderness Lodge Resort's woods or creek, you'll almost feel like you are in Yellowstone National Park.

Wilderness painting in the Artist Point restaurant at the Wilderness Lodge Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Wilderness painting in the Artist Point restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5, ISO 2000, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length, rear-sync flash

I used all the tips I wrote about when photographing Disney food in a previous article when I photographed the salmon and buffalo plates.

June 17, 2011

On the Boardwalk

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney's Boardwalk Resort at night, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Disney's Boardwalk Resort at night.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 8s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 56mm focal length.

I am on the boardwalk this week taking an early summer vacation. While I am not at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, I am on one of the boardwalks the resort is fashioned after on the New Jersey shore. I will be back next week!

June 3, 2011

Geologic Fireplace in Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A guest relaxes in a rocking chair in front of the 82 foot tall stone fireplace in the Wilderness Lodge Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A guest relaxes in a rocking chair in front of the 82 foot tall stone fireplace in the Wilderness Lodge Resort.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/20s, f/8, ISO 6400, EV -0.3, 16mm focal length.

The Geologic fireplace in the lobby of Disney's Wilderness Lodge is a recreation of the strata of the Grand Canyon. Over 100 colors in hues of green, magenta, buff, red, black and brown are visible, as are fossilized remains of prehistoric plant and animal life. From the Vishnu Schist to Bass Limestone to Tapeats Sandstone to the Redwall and Temple Butte Limestone and finally ending with Kaibab Limestone and Toroweap Formation, the fireplace represents 2 billion years of the time it took for the layers of rock to form.

I selected the Cross Process I preset in Apple Aperture 3 photo editing software to pull out the colors and details of the fireplace. I used a Tokina DX 11-16mm ultrawide angle (UWA) lens on a Nikon D700 FX camera at 16mm to get the entire structure in.

May 12, 2011

Surrey Biking at Port Orleans-Riverside Resort

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A family taking a Surrey Bike for a spin at the Port Orleans-Riverside resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A family taking a Surrey Bike for a spin at the Port Orleans-Riverside resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/22, ISO 900, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

A family taking a Surrey Bike for a spin at the Port Orleans-Riverside resort boardwalk past the Riverside Mill & Market food court. Makes for a nice postcard for my Disney Pic of the Week on Bicycles.

May 1, 2011

Where in the World #175

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Hi, guys! Time for a few shout outs!

Barrie and Craig! Whoo hoo! Good to see you! - Lee Anastasi: really?! Now I have to go look at the blog archives. LOL! - Patti McCaffrey: Welcome to AllEars and the Where in the World Photo Fun contest! We're so happy you found us. :-) - Larissa Huda: Enjoy your trip in August! Tell Walt Disney World that I said hi!

Claire Gregory: Mahalo for the note, Cousin! :)

Last but never least: Mike Venere? Where did you go, buddy? I look forward to your note each week. Hope you're enjoying a vacation!

This was Challenge #174:
 Where in the World #174

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2010 Erin Blackwell Canon PhotoShot SD890 IS, 9mm, 1/6s shutter, f/3.5, ISO 320 (Interior Mode)

Tikis in the BouTiki Gift Shop (behind a cash register) in the Polynesian resort playing Hide and Seek! As I said last week, it's one of my favorite fun details in Walt Disney World!

Dawn Bach was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Joshua and all the other readers who got the answer right: Betsy Bates, Mary Beth Tarbet, Evanna Huda, Jennifer Horst, Allison Burgess, Don Whiteman, Ed Suscreba, Hannah Couture, Carla C., Larissa Huda, Joy Johnston, Carolyn Como, Chris Kelly, Troy Parker, Jen Cerce, Kris Nixon, Elaine Johnson, Dale Knight, Danielle Ciotti, Agnes Ciotti, Daniel Record, Christine Rotella, Craig, Maureen Handy, Kathy Cordell, Melea Broekers, Sharon Pierce, Patty Carty, Kye Layton, Paul Cooper, Louise Barton, Tom Koval, Erica Sipich, Dylan Weidner, Bryan Timko, Erin Dagney, Christine Dagney, Dawn Burns, The Perras Family, Kyler Scott, The Scott Family, Jordan Scott, Ellie Argaluza, Diane Furtado, Ashley P., Sharon Dale, Ansley &Jen, Allison Palmer, Richard Palmer, Lisa Palmer, Julie Wickware, Lauren Thomas, Shaun Leake, Barbara Lawless, Kimberly Kusser, Kimberly Kusser, Anastasia Macneil, Kristen Mikos, Charles Wright, Chris Linscott, Linda Mac, Rich Kacprowicz, Claire Gregory, Stephanie Hardhouse, Jared Orth, Kelly Kobiela, Jaime Thomson, Hillary Waldroop, Stephanie Newell, John Dupre, Jennifer Toto, Christopher Hall, Brittany Siminitz, Tina Santacroce, Jennifer Tremley, Lee Krueger, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Alison Rosenberger, Kristen Carde, Carri Marotto, Jullie Pudem, Christina Cella, Sarah Holodick, Kelly Smith, Cara Richards, Phil Vickers, Diane Tredore, Marissa D'ambrosio, John Snider, Paula Massarelli, Steven Bowling, Katie Bowling, Elizabeth Scarborough, Jim Logue, Laura Pranaitis, Lee Anastasi, John Sheridan, Matt Degrandis, Heidi Goodhue, Lori Rienhardt, Bruce Hinterleitner, Les Whitten, Wendy Kemp, Tim Johansen, Ed Elder, Karen Aguiar, Patti Mccaffrey, Greg Papa, Leslie Stewart, Elizabeth Goodman, Kristen Mccoy, Patti Deluca, Jodie Schall, Christopher Barnes, Jennifer Bogdan, Gail Sheehan, J Brizzle, Jeannine Reid, Jeffrey Finger, Kim Steiner, Derek Carty, Barrie Brewer, Tricia Noble, and Noreen Rachub. Each of you are entered in the April winners' drawing.

Which leads us to announcing the April winner! This month's big winner is Katie Bray! Congratulations, Katie, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars® swag!
_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #175: Where in the world is this?

This one is tougher. You have to be one of two groups (or both, like me) to have seen this:
 Where in the World #175

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, May 5th, 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, Worlders!

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 and a cool Disney book!

April 30, 2011

Bay Lake Tower Grand Villa

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Grand Villa at Disney's Bay Lake Tower
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/1000s shutter, f3.2, ISO 800

Last May I took a tour of Bay Lake Tower, including a look at one of the Grand Villas, which is the subject of my Pic of the Week for resort rooms. Here you can see the living room and dining area with a bit of the kitchen showing in the back. The loft above is a seating area situated between the two upstairs bedrooms. Notice the length of the curtain on the right. It is so long because that entire wall, floor to ceiling, is a window overlooking the Magic Kingdom! Bay Lake Tower is a Disney Vacation Club Resort located next to the Contemporary Resort.



April 26, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week: Resort Rooms

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

If the Walt Disney World theme parks were not so great, the Disney resorts could easily satisfy many a vacationing family. They are all themed like the parks and have the ability to take you away from the mundane hotel rooms of other popular travel destinations. Some rooms can transport you to world of Captain Jack Sparrow and the Pirates of the Caribbean if you stay at a Caribbean Beach Resort Pirate Room as I did.

A Pirate Room at the Caribbean Beach Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Pirate Room beds at the Caribbean Beach Resort will have you yelling "Fire" in the morning.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16, 1/40s, f/5, ISO 200, EV -1.0, 16mm focal length, flash

Lisa and Barrie will be here on Thursday and Saturday with their Disney Pic of Week on Resort Rooms.

April 21, 2011

Swan Resort Fountain

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Fountain in the Swan Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guess which resort this fountain is in?
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length.

In a hallway off of the main lobby of the (you guessed it) the Swan Resort at Walt Disney World is this lovely fountain and seating area guests walk past from the elevator bank. A very fitting Disney Pic of the Week on Fountains.

April 10, 2011

Where in the World #172

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Thank you to Diane Furtado for her note, and Aloha to you too, Danielle Ciotti! And major CONGRATULATIONS to the Hoekzema Family who just got one newborn larger! (And even sent their entry from the hospital!) Booyah!

Now, this week's contest!

This was Challenge #171:
 Where in the World #171

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2010 Erin Blackwell Canon PhotoShot SD890 IS, 7mm, 1/60s shutter, f/3.2, ISO 200 (Auto Mode)

Stitch and I are celebrating my birthday at 'Ohana at the Polynesian! I was so happy to see him, I leapt to my feet and rushed over so fast, I startled him like I was a stalker. :)

And Laurie Walker, the Mickey waffles were very tasty. ;)

Dale Knight was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Dale and all the other readers who got the answer right: Matt Holley, Jared Orth, Sharon Pierce, Sharon Lee, Kate Bowling, Steven Bowling, Christine Twomey, Amy Young, Cathy Skiba , Laurie Walker, Laura Powell, Teri Jo Fuson, Timmy Saunders, Betsy Silvestri, Christopher Barnes, Ashley Deitchler, Larissa Huda, Chris Masse, Mary Tackett, Tina Santacroce, Brianne, Patty Carty, Karen Schlumpf, Amy Schweizer, Daniel Record, Tommy Montgomery, Michelle Raimist, Michelle Raimist, Lauren, Curtis Bille, Mike Malampy, Sandy, Brenda Mcguire, Karen Nelson, Dawn Bach, Don Whiteman, Ansley Wells, Katerina, Jaime Thomson, Bryan Timko, Rob Blundin, Barbara Sims, Bill Mckim, Erica Courville, Stephanie Visco, Hoekzema Family, Ed Hogan, Danielle Aston, Vicki Yarnell, Scott Flenniken, Brett Baker, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Melissa Ruggieri, Linda Scrivano, Kim Meyer, Diane Furtado, Mackenzie D., Theresa Rucando, Diane Curfman, Amy Miller, Chris And Alison, Paul Dickson, Lee Anastasi, Paul Knott, Caroline Dupre, Christopher Hall, Nicole Ruzinski, Greg Strohmeyer, Brenda Strohmeyer, Shaun Leake, Alicia Curtsinger, Danielle Ciotti, David W. , Jennifer Harmon, Hunter Armstrong, Allison Caputa, Karen Hotchkiss, Morgan Mccalip, Kerry Cormier, Jeremy Hardy, Linda Mac, Katie Bray, Vicki Edwards, Jeremy Reichelt, Wayne Witherspoon, Kelly Kobiela, Steve Toponak, Cara Richards, Elaine Johnson, Paul Ignudo Jr, Alan Mize, Alison Rosenberger, Mike Haeberle, Jennifer Tremley, Carri Marotto, Kerry Finnamore, Melissa Dye, Lily-pierre Couet, Karrie Duffey, Kelly Smith, Sara Trower, Maja Kodani, Dennis Blackburn, Scott Sangston, Nicole Duddy, Lisa Honard, Shelly Borella, Ken Fischler, Michelle Wilinski, Megan E., Anastasia Macneil, Nancy Lam, Christine Dagney, Erin Hammer, Tim Rachuba, Mike Kaczanowski, Ken Rhinehart, Jen Maciok, Jaclyn Frye, Lisa , Nick. P, Darren Mosher, Greg Papa, Joey Price, Heidi Summers, Christine Rigney, Eileen Miller, Drew Deapo, Millie Tenreiro, Clay Anthony, Matt Cofone, Patty Newton, Kameo Crea, Patti Mccaffrey, Danielle Brown, Heather Barilla, Jessica Marcotte, Barclay Bakkum, Rachel Hoover, Karen Dresser-smith, Ed Elder, Kim Steiner, Schuyler Stewart, Roye Ann Morris, Sara Beth Wade, Krista Serpi, Heidi Goodhue, Karen Adamakis, Heather Pedulla, Joseph M. Zafia, Jen Schultz, Leigh Hart, Stacy Lee, Noel Hamrick, Jennifer Mccurry, Josh Weiss, Bobbie Wright, Kate Fanning, Diane Ramos, Karen Trammell, Marcia Mardirosian, Emily, Andrea Kruszewski, Wendy Faler, Laura Pranaitis, Bob Swift, Chris D., Penny, Vickie Scioneaux, Heidi F Goodhue, Liana Imbrogno, Brenda Strohmeyer, and Melisa Costa. Each of you are entered in the April winners' drawing.

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Challenge #172: Where in the world is this?

I gotta ask for a little more with this. I don't just need to know who - I hope you'd know who it is - but where this is.

 Where in the World #172

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, April 14th, 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, Worlders!

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 and a cool Disney book!

April 9, 2011

Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian Resort

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Golfing at Saratoga Springs
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/160s shutter, f5.6, ISO 200

Afternoon tea awaits Princess Madison. My Pic of the Week comes from the Grand Floridian, where Afternoon Tea is served daily from 2:00pm - 4:30pm. What a special way to wind down and cool off in the heat of the day. Very civilized if you ask me!


March 13, 2011

Where in the World #168

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

First a wave hi to Mary Beth Tarbet. HI! Thanks for the nice note!

Now, this week's contest!

This was Challenge #167:
 Where in the World #167

And here's the answer:
Art work behind a cash register in the Zawadi Marketplace (Gift Shop) at the Animal Kingdom Lodge

Copyright © 2009 Erin Blackwell Canon PhotoShot SD890 IS, 7mm, 1/125s shutter, f/3.2 , ISO 80 (Interior SCN Mode)

You guys surprised me! I thought you would find this one too difficult and barrage the Debs with an angry mob ruling to bring Barrie back. Instead, I got a lot of responses and winners! Mike Venere even said he liked the hard ones. As we say here at All Ears, Where in the World readers ROCK!

This art work is behind a cash register in the Zawadi Marketplace (Gift Shop) at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. (I'm thinking of putting this in the AllEars® desktops section.) I picked it because of the expression "March comes in like a lion..." and it was our first entry for March.

Jennifer Snapp was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Jennifer and all the other readers who got the answer right: Mary Beth Tarbet, Bill Mckim, Kye Layton, Hoekzema Family, Seth Walker, Anastasia Macneil, Evanna Huda, Deb Ragno, Daniel Record, Paul Newman, Caryn Schil, Paul Dickson, Paul Knott, Colin Buchanan, Cheryl Buchanan, Elizabeth Macgregor, Brian Miller, Kelly M, Dale Knight, Emma Poprock, Julie Wickware, Danielle Ciotti, Bonnie Smith, Jennifer Toto, Sarah Holodick, Amy B., Tim Johansen, Kristen Mccoy, Bev Rematt, The Hicks Family, Jennifer Tremley, Sharon Pierce, Joanne Duddy, Mary Tackett, Tim Rachuba, Elaine Johnson, Barrie Brewer, Agnes Ciotti, Cara Richards, Luis Rodriguez, Bryan Gibson, Nancy Ahlsen, Jamie Poynton, Marcia Mardirosian, Noreen Rachuba, Nicole Duddy, Kelly Smith, Kyler Scott, Dan Meese, Michelle Roth-smoot, and The Scott Family. Each of you are entered in the March winners' drawing.
_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #168: Where in the world is this?

I go to Walt Disney World with my dogs (we stay at Fort Wilderness), so here's Pluto! But where in the World is he? (Like I got the contest name in there? ;)

 Where in the World #168

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, March 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.
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 and a cool Disney book!

March 6, 2011

Where in the World #167

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

I have a few more shout outs this week: Thank you for the warm welcome from Carol and Gary Gamill; a big kudos to Lisa Berton for the most thorough answer imaginable. And David W.? You won. ;)

Now, this week's contest!

This was Challenge #166:
 Where in the World #166

And here's the answer:

Donald in Mickey's Philharmagic gift shop

Copyright © 2007 Erin Blackwell

Donald Duck in the overhead centerpiece at the gift shop for Mickey's Philharmagic in the Magic Kingdom!

Jennifer Harmon was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! But booyah! We had 300 winners all together! And here they are: Congratulations to Jennifer and all the other readers who got the answer right: Ansley, Caryn Schill, Julie Wickware, Larissa Huda, Ashley Deitchler, Dale Knight, Kathy Berry, Kathryn Perkins, Kris Nixon, Vicki Edwards, Mary Beth Tarbet, James Berry, Theresa Rucando, Josh Weiss, Bruce Jones, Chris Masse, Paul Dickson, Brenda Strohmeyer, Greg Strohmeyer, Paula Massarelli, Katie Wolfe, Diana Fitzgerald, Evelyn Wilson, Michelle Raimist, Rob Blundin, Lauren Proutt, Anna Mae Trievel, Sharon Pierce, Ronnie Mehelic, Judy Koslowski, Russ Morgan, Romie Brown, Rob Anderson, Christine, Karen Dresser-smith, Maureen Handy, Sherry Klinefelter, Linda Mac, The Perras Family, Cynthia Harrison, Brian Yesutis, Evanna Huda, Dave Wang, Mary Virginia Clause, Ronnie Lane, Beth Mcmeekin, Christine Dagney, Pollyanna Buff, Emily Dagney, Dillon, Kyle, Lee Anastasi, Donnie, Rich Esker, K.l. Beasley, Lori Rienhardt, Emma Poprock, Jennifer Tremley, Emily Currier, Kristen Mccoy, Carol Gamill, Steve Toponak, Peggy Saeger, Tiffany Gibb, Annette Nuenke, Bryan Timko, Christine Twomey, Cathy Skiba, Bruce Hinterleitner, Diane Furtado, Lisa Jones, Ronni Selzer, Phil Vickers, Joshua Swainston, Lindsay Coram, Angela Fennell, The Hicks Family, Jenny Wells, The Moore Family, Elaine Tomko-deluca, The Kahle Family, Nicole Ruzinski, John Agnew, Blake Schmidt, Brittany Siminitz, Kameo Crea, Tim Wingfield, Louise Barton, Laurie Walker, Barbie Lawless, Hannah Couture, Jane Bradley, Double Family, Kirby , Andrea Kruszewski, Amy Lucas, Chris Kelly, Donna Currier, Jim Thompson, Erica Sipich, Tom Koval, Gabriella Rizzo, Katherine Gast, Jessica Cutler, Megan K, Anastasia Macneil, Stephanie Newell, Betsy Silvestri, Bill Mckim, Kerry A., Luis Rodriguez, Marie Phillips, Daniel Record, Seth Walker, Paulnewman, Elaine Johnson, Spencer Hart, Angie Young, Hillary Waldroop, Diane Curfman, Natalie Baron, Joy Johnston, Marlene Hastings, Carla C, Danielle And Matt Murgia, Shaun Leake, Allison Burgess, Suzanne, Jennifer Mccurry, Doug Reichl, Tyler Worley, Amanda Woods, Christopher Barnes, Kevin Scott, Rich Kacprowicz, Angela Blevins, Jamie K, Brianne, Mike Malampy, Jason, A'lis, Hoekzema Family, Matthew Herman, Madi M., Joyce Tofflemire, Amanda Perkins, Sharon Dale, Erin Rix, Jennifer Horst, Elizabeth Akerley, Danielle Ciotti, Agnes Ciotti, Ashley Hill, Paul Knott, Clay Anthony, Walter N. Clark, Kelsi B., Tom Hermes, Leigh Mertz, Jeremy Hardy, Kevin, Millie Tenreiro, Carrie Kenney, Carrie Henderson, Bill Billy, Cara Richards, Emma Ford, Brian Gallant, Kelly Kobiela, Melesia Love, Alan Mize, Teri Jo Fuson, Heather, Anne Hainsworth, Doug Brigger, Rex Brigger, Elizabeth Scarborough, Tiffany W., Jennifer , Paul Ignudo Jr, Joanne Duddy, Wendy Faler, Ian Falk, Dawn Burns, Sandra Edwards, Karrie Duffey, Kim Steiner, Nicole Duddy, Steve Pocopanni, Dave Cole, Michelle Sunde, Tim Johansen, Dolores, Terry Garvey, Amy Kleinfieldt, Matt Holley, Jenn Steele, Sarah Smee, Kelly, Karen Desantis, Kevin Weidenweber, Erin Savoie, Wendy Snelgrove, Sarah Holodick, Diane Werwinski, Mike Haeberle, Chad Ryan, Caroline Dupre, Michael Hitzel, Denise Cayz , Dan Owens, Mike Venere, Meghan Parham, Kelly Smith, Barrie Brewer, Mike Pennington, Carolyn Como, Claire N, Douglas Dipiero, Les Whitten, Derek Carty, Eileen Miller, Joanne O'brien, Katie Murphy, Katerina Purdy, Cody Marschalk, Chad Rea, Lisa Pennie, Kristin Frascelli, Kelly Mager, David W., Millie Tenreiro, Chloe Albucker, Jared, Allison Caputa, Ken Fischler, Patty Carty, Kevin Miller, Eric Bouchet, Trina Lowry, Kristen Carde, Lisa Zitek, Heather Stevens, Hailey Gill, Laura Pranaitis, Daniel Diehm, Tom Carty, Jim Riley, Mark Kotarba, Robert Ross, Sharon Lee, Ed Suscreba, Danielle Quatrella, Amanda Gagnon, Patti Deluca, Heather Pedulla, Roye Ann Morris, Melissa Littman, Stacy Lee, Melissa Dye, Meredith Mumpower, Mary Connolly, Bill Gallagher, Robert P. Flaherty, Cameron Lange, Kristine Gallatin, Maureen Ohare, Michelle Bates, Dianne Gerth, Kate Fischer, Shannon Wright, Katie Bray, Bethany Mattiuz-king, Debbie Bolen, Emily Hailey, Kelly M, Bonnie Ford, Jay Bradford, Jeff Blank, Catherine Moore, Kerry Cormier, Chris Connors, C.j. Connors, Nancy Ahlsen, Kelly Zanauskas, Kirk Hardy, Heidi Summers, Lori Netti, Heather Meadows, Joseph M Zafia, Jody E, Edward Haja, Cheryl Buchanan, Colin Buchanan, Sirianna Dambrosio, Drew Deapo, Leslie Dameron, and Nancy Lam. Each of you are entered in the March winners' drawing.
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Challenge #167: Where in the world is this?

This one is tougher, peeps:

 Where in the World #167

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, March 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

February 26, 2011

Cleverly Disguised Trash Can at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Animal Kingdom Lodge Trash Can
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/5s shutter, f5.6, ISO 800

I had to do a double-take when I saw this trash can at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. As I walked past, I saw the bellhop put his clipboard on what I thought was a footlocker. I thought to myself, "Wow, someone actually travelled with a footlocker. You don't see that anymore." At first, it didn't seem that odd to me because I always used a footlocker to go to camp when I was a kid. Then it clicked in that I was at Disney. I actually stopped and turned around to take another look and then I realized it was really a trash can. Now, that's good theming... and a perfect shot for Pic of the Week!


February 6, 2011

Where in the World #163

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #162:
 Where in the World #162

And here's the answer:
Hidden Mickey at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200mm VR, 1/125s shutter, f/4.8, ISO 400

At Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa you'll find this clever Hidden Mickey tucked away on the side of one of the buildings. It's in the Springs section (Villas 4101 - 4436), across from the check-in parking lot.

Chris Masse was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Chris and all the other readers who got the answer right: Susan Kuster, Bridgette Gallagher, Lee Anastasi, Sharon Dale, Double Family, Julie Wickware, Kelly Mager, Jennifer Toto, Paul Knott, Michael Malampy, Ken Jackson, Lorne Harris, Paul Moody, Avery Zanauskas, Matthew Herman, Daniel Record, Michael Flaherty, Colin Buchanan, Cheryl Buchanan, Carolyn Como, Kirk Hardy, Brian Haas, Rob Blundin, Patti Deluca, Evanna Huda, Mae Cavalcanto, Paul Dickson, and Theresa Maradei! Each of you will be entered in this month's winners' drawing.

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #163: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #163

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 10, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

November 28, 2010

Where in the World #154

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #153:
 Where in the World #153

And here's the answer:
Dolphin Resort
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200mm VR, 1/640s shutter, f/4.5, ISO 400


This is the Dolphin Resort as seen from across Crescent Lake. Wow, there sure were a lot of correct answers this week - 423! A few of you were asking for an easy one so I guess this was it. One or two of you said this was the Swan, but I know you meant to say Dolphin so you got it right too. You can thank me by buying a calendar - I'm kidding - well, sort of.


Speaking of calendars, has everyone ordered theirs? If not, here's another discount code for 40% off. With this code you get a nice Walt Disney World calendar and contribute to a great cause - Deb Will's Avon Walk for Breast Cancer - for only $10.05. Code: CALENDARVIP305


Lee Anastasi was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Linda and all the other readers who got the answer right: The Kahle Family , Linda Mac, Judy Koslowski, Sharon Pierce, Chris Connors, Julia Woods, Christine & melissa, Mary Beth Tarbet, Elaine Johnson, Kelly Mager, Pollyanna Buff, Theresa Rucando, Caryn Schill, Paula Munson, Candace Dymond, Seth Walker, Craig Livingston, Robert, Paula Massarelli, Jen Snapp, Brendan Abel, Jennifer S., Jeff Carson, Chris And Alison, Colin Buchanan, Monica Hatch, Larissa Huda, Boris Beckert, Sandi B, Sandra Shaw, Hoekzema Family, Hoekzema Family, Timmy Saunders, Kye Layton, Kristen Mccoy, Amy, Maureen Handy, Karen Hotchkiss, Patrick Albrecht, Double Family, Holly Anderson, Mary Virginia Clause, Tom Armstrong, Emma Poprock, Robin Fitts, Carol Gamill, Misty Mehelic, Chris Masse, Jeremy Coto, Jonathan Ward, Courtney Fortenberry, Karen Nelson, Chloe Albucker, Lilli Blake, Sammi Jo , Keith, Diane Ramos, Christine Dagney, Bryan Timko, Annette Nuenke, Phil Vickers, John Dupre, Megan, Julie Ellis, Gabriella Rizzo, Chris B, Jennifer Bourg, Paul Dickson, Katie Bray, Sue Thompson, Angie Young, Stephen Hafke, Jorge R. Caso, Erika Loboda, Paul Knott, Jacquelyn Law, Allison Caputa, Michelle Raimist, John Agnew, Cindy Duprey, Kristen Baustert, Kelly Seymore, Ed Suscreba, Kris Nixon, Kathryn Perkins, K.l. Beasley, Deb Ragno, Nicole Amidon, Evanna Huda, Susan Higginbotham, Jen Cerce, Allison Jason, Gloria Martin, Belicia Dawson, Stefanie Vandiver, Dave Wang, Jennifer Lalli, Cindy Jensen, Duane Shaver, Tom Koval, Morgan Mccalip, Rachael Shaw, Amy Perras, Stuart Hale, Amanda Linington, Kellie Harpel, Scott Cullen, Emily Currier, Karen Desantis, Brian Yesutis, Spencer Hart, Lynn Lofton, Bridgette Gallagher, Tom Hermes, Maryann Eckenrode, Joshua Swainston, Don Whiteman, Jennifer Harmon, Sharon Lee, David Uchtman, Tim Jeltes, Mary Haggarty, Dylan Weidner, Sarah Aebersold, Joann Albrecht, Daniel Record, Christine Twomey, Shannon Milair, Sarah Smee, Ed Aleszczyk, Karen Ram & shyrez , Laurie Walker, Anna Mae Trievel, Shannon Brueggemann, Tracey Mayfield, Jennifer Townsend, Linda Scrivano, Diane Furtado, Tara M., James Berry, Kathy Berry, Heather Young, Michael Pyle, Beth Mcmeekin , Dan Mangini, Lindsay Coram, Mike Haven, Travis Grim, Kerry Cormier, Cindy Dore', Kimberly Kusser, Steve Landers, Tim Wingfield , Andrea Kruszewski, Sarah Biesterfeld, Michael Malampy, Jodi Cook, Jared Orth, Betsy Silvestri, Drew Deapo, David, Maureen Hanlon, Vicki Yarnell, Jessica Deans, Tracy, Julie Wickware, Linda Abbate, Jay Bradford, Kelsi B., Alissa Ammons-coxsey, Craig, Bruce Hinterleitner, Debra Kuklinski, Joyanne M Johnston, Tom & Susan Linder, Webber Family, Christopher Barnes, Isabelle Boivin, Reagan Herman, Irene Kleintop, Steven Bowling, Leah Broussard, John Leach, Samantha French, Jen Schultz, Melissa Benson, Elizabeth Macgregor, Leslie Dameron, Randy Heintzelman, Clarissa K, Katie, Hannah M., Christopher Hall, Jennifer Mccurry, Erica Sipich, Harry Wilson, Cheryl Costello, Marcia Mardirosian, Roxanne Kliebert, Wendy Snelgrove, Alan P, Jeffrey Dunne, Connie Covatta, Kirsten Stark, Jonathan Thomas, Zac Goodwin, Chloe, Gabby Stapp, Kevin, Mike M., Justin Collins, Ken Jackson, Cara Richards, Bob Destephano, Brian Gallant, Kathy Lowe, Baines Family, Carol Baranowsky, Kathy Lowe, Patty Cartry, Ken Fischler, Amy Schweizer, Susan Doucette, Jennifer T, Shawn Simmons, Kelly Kobiela, Diana Fitzgerald, Sandra Edwards, Alan Mize, Stephanie Newell, Mike Gillardi, Blake Schmidt, Michael Mclucas, Michael Mclucas, Hayden Pronto-hussey, Anne Hainsworth, Brittany Siminitz, Angela Fennell, Anastasia Macneil, Jason Wright, Virginia Mackenzie, Alison Rosenberger, Kristen Carde, Tiffany W., Barbara Meegan, Erin Loring, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Gennaro Rosato, Steve Pocopanni, Nicole Duddy, Joyce Tofflemire, Les Whitten, Scott Lau, Michelle Sunde, Mark Franklin, Rob Blundin, Louise Barton, Linda Kasych, Mike Haeberle, Cathy Skiba, Jennifer Tremley, Claire, Brian Haas, J Brizzle, Andrea Weedmark, Sarah Holodick, Erin Hammer, Mary Greger, Sara M., Leigh Mertz, Jennifer Mercier, Karrie Duffey, Sherry Trapp, Mary Tackett, Russ Morgan, Cameron Lange, Steve Bieniek, Bruce Lawson, Carla C, Gregg Mcglasson, Ken Maikowski, Jessica Marcotte, Kathleen Kennedy, Tim Johansen, Cindy Bunch, Kathy Love, Melanie Dunlap, Cari Steward, Jackie Purcell, Susie Roberts, Kerry Finnamore, Clay Anthony, Melinda Lenz, Matt Holley, Mike Venere, Tracy Borden, Tyra Trueblood, Melinda Lenz, Chris Kelly, Mickey, Shelly Borella, Karen Bellamy, Les Whitten, Jennifer Horst, Wayne Witherspoon, Steve Smith, Diana Mathis, Jim Riley, Carrie Henderson, Ellie Argaluza, Deb And Lee, Lee Krueger, Todd Moore, Rick Ernst, Sharon Dale, Laura Pranaitis, Jessica Folan, Linda Kasych, Jessica Cutler, Melody O'donnell, Melanie Dunlap, Dominic P., John Foggo, Deirdre Lewis, Patty Newton, Laura Maskousky, Madi M., Tiago De Oliveira, Lori Rienhardt, Marikay Piazza, Tara Weaver, Heidi F Goodhue, Noreen Rachuba, Tina Santacroce, Peggy Saeger, Vicki Edwards, Jill Fogg, Bryan Herrmann, Mike Kaczanowski, Chris B, Kameo Crea, Susan Stanley, Natalie Baron, Michelle Thompson, Dolphin hotel walt disney world, Teri Jo Fuson, Doug Reichl, Mickey Eckert, Brian Miller, David W, Carri Marotto, Dale Knight, Marjorie Schmitt, Karen Schlumpf, Debbie Desimone, Melissa K, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Matthew Jadro, Ruth Woodhouse, Chris Hills, Tracy Discher, Jodi Robertson, Amy W, Wendy Palmquist, Dick Smth, John Sheridan, Matt Degrandis, Dale Goralczyk, Margot Garofalo, Kristy Holland, Kerry, Lori Locke, Vickie Scioneaux, Susie Howard, Heather Pedulla, Shaun Leake, Stephanie Caskey, Joseph M Zafia, Christy Schor, Jennifer Bogdan, Andrea Mayo, Robert P. Flaherty, Carrie Kenney, Lisa Jones, Nancy Stephens, Linda College, Chip Vermette, Stephanie Canales, Barclay Bakkum, Allison Dibiase, Hillary Waldroop, Nicole Shuler, Shirley Garcowski, Bill Macbride, Derek Carty, Dan Owens, Nicole Ruzinski, Michelle Wilinski, Thomas Higbee, Walter N. Clark, Valerie, Ken Lohrman, Bethany Mattiuz-king, Al Ganter, Perry Peltier, Brenda Strohmeyer, Kelly Zanauskas, Scott, Mukta, Debbie Bolen, Nicole Alley, Roye Ann Morris, Corrie, Wendy Crober, Marina Crober, Debbie Boivin, Sheila Saey, Robin Mcconnell, Tery Voss, Betsey Whitehead, Katerina Purdy and Dave Wang! Each of you will be entered in this month's winners' drawing.

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #154: Where in the world is this?
 Where in the World #154

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, December 2, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

November 19, 2010

No Tripod? No Problem.

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

What if you do not have or want a tripod with you when vacationing at Walt Disney World and you still want to steady your camera? Do a search for camera bean bags or pods like the one pictured here. This model goes by the name of Cam Pod and is a specially designed bean bag. As you can see, it can be folded so an SLR camera with a lens sits comfortably on top of it. This does a couple of things, it raises up the lens angle and keeps your camera off dirty surfaces.

A Cam Pod bean bag sitting on a Disney Quadpod or garbage can, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Cam Pod bean bag sitting on a Disney Quadpod or garbage can.

The Cam Pod is placed on a natural helper, the Disney Quadpod which most people call a garbage can. I lined up my shot, set the aperture to f/22 for maximum depth of field and set the camera to use its timer delay to keep camera shake down to a minimum. Pressed the shutter and stood back as the camera took this photo of the Alligator Bayou section of the Port Orleans - Riverside Resort.

Port Orleans Riverside Resort's Alligator Bayou section, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Port Orleans - Riverside Resort's Alligator Bayou section.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/20s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, Cam Pod

If you are a Do-It-Yourself kind of person, you can make your own camera bean bag. Other people have filled up plastic freezer sized bags with everything from sand to popcorn for their camera pod.

October 15, 2010

All Star Props

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A few years ago I posted a couple of articles on using the props you find at Walt Disney World. One was about props found at Disney's Animal Kingdom and the other on hats in the shops. I stayed at one of the All Star resorts last month. These resorts feature bigger than life icons based on the themes of sports, music and movies which make great props for fun vacation photos.

My daugher and I stayed at All Star Sports in the building featuring basketball icons. This was perfect as my daughter is a big college basketball fan. As we were leaving, I had her pose for some fun photos.

My daughter shooting hoops at the All Star Sports Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
My daughter shooting hoops at the All Star Sports Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 38mm focal length

Remember, though the above is a nice photo, getting closer is better. I zoomed in to fill the frame with my daughter and still kept a prop (the huge basketball) in the frame.

A closeup of my daughter shooting hoops at the All Star Sports Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Here is a closeup of my smiling daughter shooting hoops at the All Star Sports Resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 90mm focal length

Okay, I know it is hard to tell she is smiling. Should have asked her to bring one arm down a bit but then it would not be an accurate shooting motion.

October 10, 2010

Where in the World #147

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #146:
 Where in the World #146

And here's the answer:
Window Sticker at Animal Kingdom Lodge
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/60s shutter, f/5.3, ISO 200

I was so glad to see this window sticker at the beginning of my stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge, rather than at the end when it might have been too late!

Frances Phebus was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Frances and all the other readers who got the answer right: Craig, Deb Ragno, Maryann Eckenrode, Dawn Bach, Hoekzema Family, Betsy Silvestri, Colin Buchanan, Ken Jackson, James Steele, Allison Caputa, Anthony Oneto, Barbara Marshall, Lee Anastasi, Dusty Cheatham, Jessica Folan, Wendy Crober, Marina Crober, Scott Otis, Mckinley Yeaman, Bruce Jones, Judy Koslowski, Karen Nelson, Kathy Love, Laura Tarbet, David P Tarbet, Brian Gallant, James Greene, Dennis Loring, Erin Loring, Karen Stanley, Debbie Desimone, Debbie Desimone, Jennifer Lalli, Krista Penno, Barbara Meegan, Maureen Handy, Jennifer S., Jerry Weldon, Stuart Hale, Daniel Record, Pollyanna Buff, Mary Tackett, Laura Laws, Paul Knott, Austin O'blenis, Renee Miranda, Theresa Rucando, Derek Carty, Bill Mckim, Denise Cayz, Joanne Duddy, Chloe Albucker, Loretta Reed, Seth Walker, Joan Peacock, Chris Connors, Lauri Phillips, Cindy Dore', Diane Furtado, Melissa Littman, Gaylene Gray, Jennifer, Elizabeth Macgregor, Dave Cole, Chambers Family, Cameron Lange, Wayne Witherspoon, Bob Destephano, Tiffany W., Alison Rosenberger, Stephanie Canales, Mary Greger, Marissa "princess Aurora" D'ambrosio, Jerry Marceau, Leigh Mertz, Nicole Duddy, Wendy Snelgrove, Andy Shaw, Rick Ernst, Scott Prewitt, Tom Hermes, Peg Jones, Jeremy Reichelt, Quincy Delcolletti, Matt Degrandis, Timmy Saunders, Linda Mac, Mike Kaczanowski, Jim Riley, Jamie Poynton, Brenda Glover, Marcia Mardirosian, Jacquelyn Law, Jillian Domings, Sue Mcdonald, Jennifer Mercier, Karen Schlumpf, Tim Johansen, Sarah Holodick, Angela Horan, Muffy Monnier, Ruth Cookson, Hillary Waldroop, Kevin Miller, Luis Rodriguez, Heather Coursen, Barclay Bakkum, Michael Nanney, Les Whitten, Renee Miranda, Tom Cartry, Nancy, Robert Bostic, Robert Bostic, Deanna Bump, Jim and Suzanne. Each of you will be entered in the October winners' drawing.

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #147: Where in the world is this?
 Where in the World #147

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, October 14, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

October 2, 2010

Winter Camping with Mickey and Friends

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Ft. Wilderness Holiday Decorations
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200mm VR, 1/80s shutter, f4.5, ISO 3200

The best time of year to visit Ft. Wilderness is around the December holidays. Even if you aren't staying there, it's worth the trip just to see the elaborate decorations. I'm not talking about Disney's decorations either, I'm talking about the campsites of the guests! They are really quite amazing. It's especially fun to wander around with a group of friends or take a carriage ride.

September 28, 2010

Disney Pic of the Week: Fort Wilderness

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have always heard about how campers at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground decorate their camping sites during the Christmas holidays. Last December, after eating dinner at Trail's End, my family and I took a walk around one of the nearby camping loops. The holiday displays we saw rival, if not surpass, many home displays where I live in upstate New York!

Camper Christmas decorations at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Camper Christmas decorations at the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/2s, f/4, ISO 200, EV +1.0, 18mm Focal Length, Flash

Check out this Thursday and Saturday for Barrie and Lisa's Disney Pic of the Week on Fort Wilderness.

September 24, 2010

Green Treefrog

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) on a railing at the All Star Sports resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Green Treefrog (Hyla cinerea) on a railing at the All Star Sports resort.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/15s, f/5.6, ISO 2000, EV -0.3, 300mm focal length

Scott is on vacation this week. Before he left, he wanted to share a photo taken at Walt Disney World but not exactly a Disney photo. As he was leaving his room at the All Star Sports resort, he spotted this Green Treefrog on a railing of the blue stairwell. Scott said the color combination was just too good to pass up. He'll be back next week to share more photography tips.

September 23, 2010

Yacht Club Globe

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The globe in the Yacht Club lobby, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The globe in the Yacht Club lobby.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/4.2, ISO 280, EV +0.3, 32mm focal length

While waiting to be called for a table at the Captain's Grille, my daughter checks out the globe in Disney's Yacht Club's lobby. I found out some interesting facts about this globe from the Walt Disney World website:

The globe located in the lobby was specifically created for Disney's Yacht Club Resort and was designed to resemble the styles of globes from the 19th century, but it includes fictitious names and places-and even a hidden Mickey.

Turned out to be a fun Disney Pic of the Week on Hotel Lobbies.

September 21, 2010

Disney Pic of the Week - Land and Lobbies!

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

I'm playing catch up a little bit here. I completely missed my Pic of the Week day last week. So this week I'll be sharing two pictures. This first one is a behind the scenes glimpse of Living with the Land. I snapped this photo of the tomato tree while on the Nature-Inspired Design Segway Tour. Amazing that this is just one tomato plant!

Tomato Tree
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Canon PowerShot SD780 IS, 1/125s shutter, f3.2, ISO 80

Now onto the current Pic of the Week, hotel lobbies. The parks are not the only place to get great pictures in Walt Disney World. Every one of the resorts is teaming with amazing photo opportunities. From the fun and colorfully decorated value resorts to jaw-dropping, spectacular deluxe resorts, there is an endless supply of photographic material in the lobbies of Disney's hotels. Here's one from the Grand Floridian to get us started. Watch for Scott and Lisa's lobby pics later this week.

Grand Floridian lobby
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200mm VR, 1/80s shutter, f4.5, ISO 400

September 20, 2010

November Disney Calendar

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

The Beach Club Resort is our scene for this month. Hopefully this nice sunny view will brighten your November days.

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.

November 2010 8.5x11 Calendar


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

November 2010 Jewel Case Calendar

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

11-10_wallpaper_sm.jpg
1024 x 768
1280 x 800
1280 x 1024
1440 x 900
1600 x 1200

September 5, 2010

Where in the World #142

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #141:
 Where in the World #141

And here's the answer:
The Wave Lounge
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 0.7692s shutter, f/3.5, ISO 200

This ultra cool lounge can be found at The Wave restaurant in the Contemporary Resort.

David Tarbet was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to David and all the other readers who got the answer right: Sharon Pierce, Kye Layton, Craig, Paul Cooper, Amy Rupp, Larissa Huda, Evanna Huda, Maureen Handy, Maryann Eckenrode, Kristine Mcdonald, Robin Fitts, Steven R. Long, Anastasia Macneil, Barbara Meegan, Dawn Bach, Jared Orth, Jane Bradley, Bruce Hinterleitner, Sarah Holodick, Joann Albrecht, Derek Carty, Matthew Herman, Carol Gamill, Gaylin, Christopher Barnes, Sarah Monnier, Tina Santacroce, Kristen Marshall-gainey, Michael Joel Gainey, Nancy Lam, Christine Twomey, Christopher Hall, Mary Greger, Christi Ison, Kristen Carde, Kristen Mccoy, Maureen Tavrell, Tiffany W., Scott Otis, Mckinley Yeaman, Paula Massarelli, Mary Dannahey, Margot Garofalo, Peggy Saeger, Jacquelyn Law, Jennifer Mercier, Michelle Wilinski, Tim Rachuba, Denise Decker and Aaron Williams. Each of you will be entered in the September winners' drawing.

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #142: Where in the world is this?
 Where in the World #142

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, September 9, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

August 29, 2010

Where in the World #141

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #140:
 Where in the World #140

And here's the answer:
Yacht Club Globe
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 11-16mm, 1/15s shutter, f/2.8, ISO 400

The gorgeous globe lives in the lobby of the Yacht and Beach Club.

Maura Simon was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Maura and all the other readers who got the answer right: Paul Cooper, Mary Beth Tarbet, Lee Anastasi, Tom Koval, Donnie, David Manning, Sharon Lee, Jared Orth, Sharon Pierce, Amanda Linde, Kellie Harpel, Kris Nixo, Scott Otis, Mckinley Yeaman, Baines Family, Dylan Weidner, Maureen Handy, Maryann Eckenrode, Sherry Klinefelter, Robin Fitts, James Berry, Kathy Berry, K. Beasley, Kathy Lowe, Elizabeth Scarborough, Jen Cox, Rick Hemsley, Jennifer Tremley, Michelle Mcspadden, Elizabeth Macgregor, Michael Campe, Sharon Dale, Carrie Kenney, Julie Wickware, Bill Mckim, Karen Adamakis, Dawn Bach, Kristen Marshall-gainey, Paul Knott, Scott Lau, Dale Knight, Jessica Gruhlke, Patty Cartry, Paula Massarelli, Seth Walker, Amy Schweizer, Matt Degrandis, Jennifer Harmon, Vanessa Gordon, Rob Blundin, Christopher Barnes, Ellen Petillo, Teri Jo Fuson, Sarah, Jen, Karen Hotchkiss, Ed Aleszczyk, Claire Gregory, Walter Fletcher, Pam Lorenz, Heather Young, Bonnie Smith, Tina Cole, Craig, John Dupre, Christopher Hall, Karen Desantis, Leslie Dameron, Brian Yesutis, Kristen Mccoy, Kristen Carde, Jocelyn Carpenter, Terry Fleming, Steve Pocopanni, Jennifer S., Larissa Huda, Evanna Huda, Suzanne, Jen Schultz, Michael Mann, Allie Reckendorf, Neil Taylor, Mike Kaczanowski, Justin , Jill Davoll, Carri Marotto, Ken Fischler, Bryan Fencl, Shiraz Biggie, Cheryl Costello, Deanna Simmons, Hillary Waldroop, Donna Brandt, Emily Chronas, Mike Flaherty, Elizabeth Hardy, Julia W., Michael Malampy, Maryann Eckenrode, Ryan Benco, Susan Stanley, Wendy Crober, Marina Crober, Emma Ford, Paul Pica, Bob Hicks, Melissa Weiland, Michael Malampy, Clay Anthony, Tim Johansen, Debbie Desimone, Dan Mangini, Nancy Lam, Bryan Gibson, Paul Latella, Laura Pranaitis, Tim Sanchez, Margot Garofalo, Jennifer Bogdan, Kate Fanning, Brian Haas, Jim Couzzourt, Sharon Jones, Douglas Florey, Tim Rachuba, Emily Robinson, Angela Johnson, Sam Pogers, Blake Schmidt, Andrew Baillie, Linda Mac, Vicki Edwards and Laurie Walker. Each of you will be entered in the September winners' drawing.

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #141: Where in the world is this?
 Where in the World #141

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, September 2, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

August 27, 2010

Summer Break!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Picture This! blogger, Scott, relaxing in a hammock on the Polynesian Resort beach, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Picture This! blogger, Scott, relaxing in a hammock on the Polynesian Resort beach.
Nikon Coolpix 4600, 1/500s, f/4.9, 50 ISO

Scott is taking a summer break from the Picture This! Photoblog. No, he is not at the Polynesian Resort vacationing. Though you can be sure he wishes he was. Remember to check back next week to see what Scott is going to be doing over the Labor Day holiday weekend. He thinks you will like what you see, er, read.

August 26, 2010

On the Course at Saratoga Springs

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Golfing at Saratoga Springs
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200mm VR, 1/640s shutter, f6.3,

The golf course at Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa really adds to the country estate look of the resort.

August 22, 2010

Where in the World #140

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Hi everyone - I'm back! Challenge #139 was a tough one. It had four parts, one for each week that I was on vacation. In order to make it into the prize drawing, you had to get all four parts correct. Anyone who did so was rewarded with two entries in the drawing this week.

A.)  Where in the World #139a

B.)  Where in the World #139b

C.)  Where in the World #139c

D.)  Where in the World #139d

And here are the answers:

A.)
Coronado Springs Pool
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/160s shutter, f/8, ISO 200

The pool at Coronado Springs is beautiful, especially when the water is falling down the side of the pyramid.

B.)
Where's the Fire?
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 11-16mm, 1/60s shutter, f/2.8, ISO 800

Innoventions West at Epcot is where you'll find this fire engine. It's part of the "Where's the Fire?" fire prevention exhibit.

C.)
Mickey's Remodel Plans
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 11-16mm, 1/10s shutter, f/2.8, ISO 200

I'll be sad to see Toontown in the Magic Kingdom go. These are Mickey's plans for remodeling his kitchen.

D.)
Advertising Kiosk in France
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 11-16mm, 1/320s shutter, f/8, ISO 200

You see advertising kiosks like this all over Paris. This one can be found in France in Epcot's World Showcase.

Lee Anastasi was the first to send in all four correct answers for the challenge! Congratulations Lee! Your name was entered three times. Only two other readers got all the answers right: James Berry and Kathy Berry. I'm betting there was some teamwork happening there! Each of you were entered twice in the August winners' drawing. Speaking of that drawing, this is the week when a reader is randomly selected for the prize package. This month's big winner is Paul Cooper! Congratulations Paul, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars schwag!

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #140: Where in the world is this?
 Where in the World #140

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, August 26, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

August 13, 2010

Photographing Disney Food

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I enjoy a good meal after spending a day walking around a Walt Disney World park. Thankfully, you have a choice of all kinds of table and counter service restaurants in the parks, resorts and Downtown Disney. I like to photograph the food for future restaurant reviews at the PSCalculator.net website. However, judging by all the photos I see on Disney forums, photographing Disney restaurant food is very popular.

To get really good photos of food with a digital SLR camera, I suggest you bring a flash unit you can rotate the flash head in order to bounce it off a nearby surface to spread and even out the light on the food.

Photographing food is not unlike anything else. Watch your backgrounds and edges along the frame, focus carefully, hold the camera steady and get a good exposure. A couple of other things, don't start eating until after photographing the food and arrange everything the way you want. This is what I did for the lunch buffet plate at the Tusker House restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

A plate of food from the Tusker House restaurant lunch buffet in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A plate of food from the Tusker House restaurant lunch buffet.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/6s, f/3.5, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length, flash at -1 power

I took the photo directly from above as it worked best for the amount of different items arranged on the plate. For the Maine Lobster entree at Narcoossee's restaurant in the Grand Floridian, I photographed as one would see it if they were seating in my place. Yes, the lobster was as good as it looked.

Maine Lobster entree served at Narcoossee's restaurant in the Grand Flordian Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Maine Lobster entree served at Narcoossee's restaurant.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/5, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length, flash at -1 power

In both the above photos, I used the Nikon SB-600 Speedlight flash unit bounced off the restaurant's ceiling with a -1 power setting to give the food the added pop of color and succulent lighting.

When waiting in line at Norway's Kringla Bakeri og Kafe, I remembered Barrie's wonderful photo of the Cloudberry Horns. As I didn't want to duplicate her version, I made the famous Kringla Sweet Pretzels the main subject using the Cloudberry Horns in the softly focused background.

Cloudberry Horns and Kringla Sweet Pretzels at Kringla Bakeri og Kafe counter service restaurant in Epcot's World Showcase Norway pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Cloudberry Horns and Kringla Sweet Pretzels at Kringla Bakeri og Kafe counter service restaurant.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/, ISO 360, EV +0.3, 170mm Focal Length

One last thing, you may have to get down low or stand up above or even look a bit goofy as you find the best angle to get a favorite snack properly framed in the viewfinder. Don't worry, the servers and cast members have seen it all before.

July 11, 2010

Where in the World #138

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #137:
 Where in the World #137

And here's the answer:
All Star Resort
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/640s shutter, f/8, ISO 200

We have a little red, white and blue action going on this week. This was shot at Disney's All Star Music Resort.

Paul Cooper was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Paul and all the other readers who got the answer right: James Berry, Kathy Berry, The Kahle Family, Michael Joel Gainey, Lsrissa And Evanna Huda, Lee, Kimberly Kusser, Colin G Buchanan, Emily Currier, Maryann Eckenrode, Pollyanna Buff, Frances Phebus, Katarina Whitmarsh, Craig, Scott Stubbs, Gabriella Rizzo, Donna Currier, Jennifer Harmon, Julianne Williams, Donna J, Kelsi Bruno, Jane Bradley, Bruce Hinterleitner, Christopher Barnes, Diane Furtado, Wendy Crober, Marina Crober, Shannon Murray, Brian Miller, Howard Schreiber, Steve Cummings, Brian Yesutis, Amy Schweizer, Mike Walter, Dale Knight, Chambers Family , Seth Walker, Jill, Cara Richards, Ed Suscreba, Karrie Duffey, Julie Wickware, Cheryl Buchanan, Chris J, Betsy Silvestri, Rob Blundin, Misty Lyons, Lisa Laskowski, Mike Cerce, Christine Dagney, Kelly Dagney, Erin Dagney, Dana Hinterleitner, Ruth Cookson, Mike Zendler, Mia W., Jim Riley, Carinne Kight, Sharon Pierce, Bill Daniel, Jacqui Ruxton, Ashley Elizabeth, Sarah Showers, Millie Tenreiro, Tom & Susan Linder and Dawn Bach. Each of you will be entered in the July winners' drawing.

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #138: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #138

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 15, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

June 29, 2010

Disney Pic of the Week - Bars and Lounges

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Given that I often travel solo to Walt Disney World and my tolerance for counter service meals is pretty low, I often find myself bellying up to the bars of some of the sit down restaurants for my meals. You can make a very nice meal from a couple of appetizers and many of the bars offer the full menu as well if you are especially hungry. Of course, I do like a good martini too, but that's beside the point! If you usually enjoy a family vacation, you may be surprised to know that Disney has some pretty great bars and lounges. Scott and Lisa will be chiming in with their photo pics later this week. (I'm guessing I might have a few more to choose from than either of them!)

Rix Lounge
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 11-16mm, 1/6 sec, f/3.2, ISO 640

Although it has that feel, this isn't a Las Vegas lounge. Rix Lounge was a new discovery for me on my last trip to the World. It's a huge, 300-seat lounge at Coronado Springs Resort, offering specialty drinks and appetizers. I had plans to meet a friend for dinner at Maya Grill so I didn't sample the food at Rix, but I'll definitely be checking it out on my next trip.


May 7, 2010

Walt Disney World at f/2.8

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Fast lenses for digital SLR cameras have a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or bigger. Except for the Nifty-Fifty which are 50mm prime lenses at f/1.8, fast lenses are expensive. Most of the lenses in this class are considered some of the best ever made. Over the last three years, I have purchased two f/2.8 lenses which I have enjoyed using at Walt Disney World. The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 DX Ultra Wide Angle and the Nikon 70-200mm VR f/2.8. The following photographs were taken with these lenses at their wide open aperture of f/2.8.

The Tokina has gotten a large following among Disney photographers. For the price of around $650 in either Canon or Nikon versions, this is one of the better bargins in f/2.8 lenses. At it's widest setting of 11mm, there is some distortion of things near the edge of the frame. To cut down on the distortion, I try to make sure to keep the camera level and perpendicular to what I am photographing.

I found a post to lean against at my favorite counter service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Columbia Harbour House, to take this photo of the ordering area. The lens was able to capture the windowed ceiling, the tall ship paraphernalia on the walls and the cast members and guests ordering their food. I'll take the fish and chips with a bowl of New England clam chowder, please!

Ordering area for the Columbia Harbour House counter service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Ordering area for the Columbia Harbour House counter service restaurant.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/30s, f/2.8, ISO 720, EV +0.3, 11mm focal length

Night photography at Walt Disney World is very popular as the parks have a whole different look after the Sun goes down. This is one of my favorite views of Spaceship Earth when walking towards the park's entrance. The colored lights on the palm trees were not as bright as I have photographed them in the past making the geodesic structure the star of the photo. At f/2.8, I was able to hand hold the camera at 1/15th of a second using a reasonable ISO of 900.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/15s, f/2.8, ISO 900, EV -0.3, 11mm focal length

For those who have vacationed at Walt Disney World in December, you know it can get cold at night. Returning back to my room in the All Star Sports resort late one night, I took this image of the steam rising off of the main pool area. I thought the sign made a good foreground subject for the story I wanted to tell.

No Lifeguard on Duty as steam rises from the Main Pool at the All Star Sports resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
No Lifeguard on Duty as steam rises from the Main Pool at the All Star Sports resort.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/15s, f/2.8, ISO 900, EV +0.7, 11mm focal length

The Nikon 70-200 VR, VR is for Vibration Reduction which is what Nikon calls their Image Stabilization system, has long been considered one of Nikon's all time best lenses. Nikon recently updated this lens with the new VR II version going for around $2,400. I picked up my VR I version used for less than half of that so deals can be found on eBay and other used lens websites.

Fast lenses have one more trait I should mention: they are heavy. The Nikon 70-200VR weighs in at a little over three pounds. While I have no trouble using it without a tripod, in low light situations like Fantasmic! in Disney's Hollywood Studios, I used my tripod like a monopod (the tripod legs were folded in) to help steady this image of Mickey Mouse welding his fire sword to oust the dragon from his dream. Just a note, this is one lens where you leave the VR on when used on a tripod or monopod.

Mickey Mouse welding his Fire Sword during Fantasmic! in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mickey Mouse welding his Fire Sword during Fantasmic!
Nikon D70/70-200VR, 1/200s, f/2.8, ISO 1600, EV 0, 140mm focal length

The Festival of the Lion King does allow the use of flash photography during the show but, by using the lens at f/2.8 and zooming in, I had more than enough light to take this photo during the Can You Feel the Love Tonight duet scene. This shows the nice bokeh the Nikon 70-200VR creates when used wide open.

Can You Feel the Love Tonight duet during the Festival of the Lion King show in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Can You Feel the Love Tonight duet during the Festival of the Lion King show.
Nikon D70/70-200VR, 1/50s, f/2.8, ISO 1600, EV 0, 200mm focal length

I have tried for years to take a good photo of the fire dancer during the heina scene of the Festival of the Lion King show. By focusing on the performer's face, I picked up this photograph of some lingering fire on his tongue. The brightness of the fire gave me the fast shutter speed of 1/1600th of a second.

Fire dancer performing during the Festival of the Lion King show in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Fire dancer performing during the Festival of the Lion King show.
Nikon D70/70-200VR, 1/1600s, f/2.8, ISO 800, EV 0, 180mm focal length

These two lenses allowed me to get photos of higher quality than I have been able to in the past. Yes, they are expensive but you can rent them for a fraction of their costs.

April 18, 2010

Where in the World #128

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #127:
 Where in the World #127

And here's the answer:
Sunshine Sweets on the Boardwalk
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/2000s shutter, f/5.6

Got a sweet tooth? Head on over to Seashore Sweets on the Boardwalk. In this old-time candy store you'll find all kinds of sugary delectables like saltwater taffy, fudge and of course, ice cream. The Sweet Sisters are known for their "Confections Served with Affection". Being Pageant winners themselves, they have decked out their shop with memorabilia from the Miss America Pageant.


Dawn Burns was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Dawn and all the other readers who got the answer right: Sharon Pierce, Jennifer Toto, Ed Aleszczyk, Erin Flaherty, Leslie Dameron, Katie Bray, Daniel Record, Angie Schluter, Robin Mcconnell, Sherry Klinefelter, Chris Masse, Wendy Crober, Marina Crober, Donnie W, Colin Buchanan, Carla C., Nicole Ruzinski, Jen Cerce, Lisa Graham, Mike Haeberle, Sarah Smee, Dale Knight, Krista Penno, Stuart Hale, Darlene Harmon, Hillary Waldroop, Cindy Bunch, Penny Urell, Anjanette Tournillon, Christopher Barnes, Tim Wingfield, Edsuscreba, Rebecca Lollar, Heather Barilla, Dave Cole, Cameron Lange, Kelly Mager, Jaclyn Kelch, J Brizzzzle, Shane Stack, Tim Rachuba, Carri Marotto, Cynthia Barry, Bruce Lawson, Laura Pranaitis, Chloe, Nicole Alley, Dana Schirnhofer, Megan E., Tricia Noble, Mike Cerce, Sharon Dale, Mary Tackett, Stephanie Pcolinsky, Scott Lau, Donna Currier, Amy Chapman, Margot Garofalo, Patti Purdy, Jane Johnson, Noreen Rachuba, Chip Vermette, Theresa Rucando, James Berry, Kathy Berry, Jennifer Schwing and Chambers Family. Each of you will be entered in the April winners' drawing.

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #128: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #128

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, April 22, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

March 30, 2010

Archery Experience Review

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Normally when I use the word "shoot" in my blogs I'm speaking about photography but this time I'm talking about archery. Stand back kids because I've got a bow and a handful of arrows and I know how to use them (again).

Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground offers archery lessons every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday to everyone 6 years old and older. You don't need to have previous experience playing Robin Hood or taken home any trophies from camp as a young teenager like I did. All you need to have is $25.00 (plus tax) and a desire to learn.

If you're unfamiliar with this resort as I am, the first thing you need to know is after you park at Fort Wilderness' parking lot, hop on an internal route bus. You can either take the Yellow or the Orange route. They'll drop you off on opposite sides of the Bike Barn but the walk is about the same distance and you'll need to cross a small bridge.

Next, you'll check-in at the Bike Barn, sign a release form in case of injury, and pay for your lesson. Afterwards you'll be directed around the back and over to where your archery lesson will take place.

archery-loadbow.jpg

There are 2 Cast Members who will teach you everything from how to hold your bow and shoot to safety precautions. The 2 guys I met had a great sense of humor. I'm left-handed and so was one of the guys which made learning even easier.

Little compound bows are available for kids and big ones for adults. Bright, vibrant colors make them fun. Arrows have rounded tips, making them safe for everybody except Inspector Clouseau. Equipment use is included in the cost.

archery-bows.jpg


archery-bowCloseup.jpg
This was my bow, designed specifically for left-handed folks.

During your lesson one of the instructors will use a drum to indicate what your next move is.

archery-drumcommands.jpg

archery-bowontoe.jpg

Most of the 90 minute class is spent shooting arrows. For every turn you'll shoot 5 arrows, wait for your fellow archers to finish and when it's safe you'll be directed to retrieve them.

Starting out relatively close to the padded bullseye allows you to work on your aim and power. So many attempts later, you'll move back making it a bit more of a challenge. After shooting from that location, you'll move even further away from the target making it even harder. I missed the target twice from that position. The non-pointed arrows just bounced off a heavy sheet that's hung up behind the targets. Mine frightened off men in tights who were making shadow puppets.

archery-sheet.jpg

It's great fun for the whole family. My class included a boy who was 7 or 8 and a 15 year old who'd taken the course before. Your friends can cheer for you from a bench positioned at a safe distance away from archers. Observing is free and hopefully painless.

archery-drawbow.jpg
The proper pose for someone right-handed.

Are you ready to give archery a try? Instructions can be booked up to 90 days in advance. Walk-ups are welcome if space permits. 10 students is the maximum per class. Call 407/939-7529 to reserve space. Credit card information is due at the time of booking. Remember, it's only available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and takes place from 2:45pm-4:15pm.

I strongly suggest giving yourself 45 minutes from the time you park until the class begins. It's very easy to have to wait in line at the Bike Barn as people are borrowing and returning athletic equipment all day.

There's a restroom at the pool which is a quick walk from the Bike Barn.

archery-target.jpg
Tadaaaaaaaa!


March 28, 2010

Where in the World #125

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #124:
 Where in the World #124

And here's the answer:
Mary Blair mural at the Contemporary
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/40s shutter, f/5.6, ISO 1600

Disney legend and artist Mary Blair designed this 90 foot tall mural at the Contemporary Resort. It consists of nearly 18,000 hand-painted tiles, and is said to be the largest mural in the world. Over the years, Blair contributed to the design of many exhibits, attractions, and murals at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, including It's a Small World and this beautiful mural in the Grand Canyon Concourse at the Contemporary.

Craig was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Craig and all the other readers who got the answer right: Sharon Pierce, Chris Masse, Karen Hotchkiss, Julie Wickware, Sharon Dale, Pollyanna Buff, Hoekzema Family, Patty Carty, K.l. Beasley, Lee Anastasi, Jessica Deans, Gloria Martin, Holley Blyler, Todd, Kellie Harpel, Amanda S, Linda College, Rochelle, Karen S, Rebecca Lollar, Bill D, Colin Buchanan, Cameron Lange, Cindy Harrison, Lisa Murphy, Bill Macbride, Jennifer Schwing, Michael Haven, Sherry Trapp, Elaine Leviner, Margot Garofalo, Jaclyn Kelch, Tim Rachuba, Jennifer Mercier, Tammy, Noreen Rachuba, Heidi F Goodhue, Diane Furtado, James Berry, Kathy Berry, Eva, Rob Blundin, Gregg Mcglasson, Amy Perras, Bob Burge Jr, Dana Hall, Heather Coursen, Lori Rienhardt, Janet Theriault, Mike Bidwell, Karen Nelson, Elex Sy, Theresa Rucando, Emily Robinson and Trish Bachand. Each of you were entered in the March winners' drawing.

It's time for our monthly drawing. This month's big winner is Lisa Murphy! Congratulations Lisa, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars schwag!

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #125: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #125

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, April 1, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

Note on last week's photo: The interesting symbol on the side of the tower over Akershus is King Christian IV's royal monogram. Akershus was a typical medieval castle until the late 16th century, when the king of Denmark-Norway, King Christian IV, decided to rebuild and modernize the castle. It served as his royal residence when he visited Norway. Thanks to Lee for digging up this information for us!

March 18, 2010

Old Key West

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Old Key West DVC resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Old Key West DVC Resort is beautifully landscaped.

A few years ago, generous friends of my family lent us their DVC points. The first couple of days, we enjoyed staying at the first DVC resort, Old Key West and it's beautiful landscaping which makes for my Disney Pic of Week on DVC Resorts.

March 16, 2010

Disney Pic of the Week - Disney Vacation Club

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Old Key West
Copyright © 2003 Barrie Brewer, Nikon E3100, 1/470 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

Welcome Home! Our Pic of the Week topic this week is Disney Vacation Club (DVC). Old Key West was the first DVC resort built and the first one where I ever stayed. I remember being SO impressed. I was thrilled that we had become members and so excited to know that for many years to come I was going to be able to stay in such "fancy" places. That was 10 years ago and I still love being a DVC member. It's not for everyone, but for me, it's perfect. There are currently nine DVC resort choices at Walt Disney World. Check back later in the week to see which ones Lisa and Scott will be sharing with you.


March 14, 2010

Where in the World #123

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #122:
 Where in the World #122

And here's the answer:
Boardwalk in Miniature
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/2s shutter, f/5.6, ISO 200

Oh, so many of you guessed that this was part of the model train display outside of Germany in World Showcase. I'm so sorry. That was a good guess, but this model of a boardwalk amusement park can be found in the lobby of the Boardwalk Inn. That was a hard one, but there were a lot of you who are really paying attention to the Disney detail. Good job!

Theresa Rucando was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Theresa and all the other readers who got the answer right: Millie Tenreiro, Michelle Mcspadden, Scott Cullen, Belicia Dawson, Tim Johansen, Kristen Mccoy, Mike Malampy, Frances Phebus, Deb Silhan, Chris Masse, Karen Hotchkiss, Amanda, Craig, Krista Penno, Ed Aleszczyk, Maureen Handy, Julie Wickware, James Steele, Kristin Mazur, Hillary Waldroop, Leslie Dameron, Patty Carty, Pamela Lorenz, Nicole Ruzinski, Chloe, Sammi Jo Albucker, Jilly Red, Sammi Jo Albucker, Jilly Red, Nicole Alley, Tim Wingfield, Chris And Alison, Carrie Henderson, Jason Brooks, Sandra Edwards, Dale Knight, Dallas Hamilton, Scott Lau, Jacquelyn Law, Sherry Klinefelter, Marissa D'ambrosio, Sarah Connors, Shane Stack, Rob Brookhart, Mary Dannahey, Daniel Record, Ed Suscreba, Greg Gallo, Paula B, Margot Garofalo, Kristin Dormuth, Heather Coursen, Peggy Saeger, Sirianna D'ambrosio, Pat Huff, Mark Franklin, Christopher Barnes and Derek Carty. Each of you will were entered in the March winners' drawing.

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #123: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #123

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, March 18, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

March 12, 2010

Zeroing Out

Ever get to the Magic Kingdom and your family rushes up to get their photo taken in front of the Main Street Train Station. You snap a few shots and head into the park. You are half-way down Main Street USA when you take a peek at the photos and they are all overexposed. We have all been there. Photograph something and forget about all the changes made to get the exposure right the last time you used the camera and get bad exposures the next time you use it. So, in an effort to save you future aggravation, I want to tell you about Zeroing Out your camera.

Main pool at the All Star Sports resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Forgetting to change your camera setting can lead to overexposed photos like this.

Zeroing Out is a process of going through the most used settings on a camera and putting them back to the start settings BEFORE using the camera. Some people call this their base settings or starting point. After I zero out my camera, I take a couple of quick snaps and review the photos on the camera's LCD screen before leaving the house or, if at Walt Disney World, before leaving the resort area. If the photos look bad or the photo's Exif data is wrong, I probably forgot to zero out. Kind of a fail-safe procedure. By doing this, I know I am starting at a point I am very familiar with and can easily make changes as needed from there. If I am taking a lot of photos or the light changes dramatically, I might zero out my camera on a few occasions during the shoot or day.

The advantage of Zeroing Out before you start shooting is huge. Much easier to do in the calmness of your home or hotel room than when you notice you have taken ten photos that are over or under exposed and you can not retake them again because the opportunity is gone. Worse, trying to fumble around to find which setting needs to be changed while someone is waiting. Talk about pressure. Imagine if that person is a bride or a Disney character and your daughter with a line of families behind you. Guilty on both accounts. I learned the hard way and still need to remind myself.

What are these settings I am talking about? That depends, the blog writer says with a broad smile. The ones most of us need to be aware of is Shooting mode (P, S (Tv), A, M), ISO, Exposure mode (matrix, center-weighted, spot, etc.), White Balance, Image Quality, Exposure Compensation (EV), Shutter (Single or Continuous) and Focus Area. You might have more or less settings depending (there's that word again) on your camera and what you consider important. For Point and Shoot cameras, it might be as simple as putting the camera back to full Auto mode from another mode or scene used previously.

Another thing to be aware of is if you use a Vibration Reduction (Image Stabilized) lens. Make sure its settings are where you expect them to be after mounting it on the camera. I set mine to ON and Normal mode.

On a recent thread about this subject of Zeroing Out on a photography board I read, each photographer had different zero out settings. Just as each of you will, too. Doing so will allow you to get better photos from the first click.

Main pool at the All Star Sports resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
After Zeroing Out my camera, I got a much better photo of the All Star Sports Main Pool.


February 19, 2010

King of the Wild Frontier

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I enjoyed a stop at the Trail's End restaurant in Fort Wilderness for a hearty all-you-can-eat buffet. Before I left, I explored Crockett's Tavern which is inside Trail's End and is a small bar where you can enjoy some spirited drinks. Next to the bar is a wall of paraphernalia from the life of Davy Crockett. The scene below has a map of Tennessee, the bear Davy killed when he was three, a coonskin cap, a portrait of Davy as a Congressman and other bits from the legend's life. Most coming from the lyrics of The Ballad of Davy Crockett used for the television shows Walt Disney produced for ABC back in the 1950's.

Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free
Raised in the woods so's he knew ev'ry tree, kilt him a b'ar when he was only three
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!

A wall of paraphernalia from the life of Davy Crockett found in the Trail's End restaurant located in the Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A wall of paraphernalia from the life of Davy Crockett.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4, ISO 200, EV +1.0, 18mm focal length, bounced flash at -1 power

The person who played Davy Crockett in those television shows was Fess Parker who is more known today for the wines he brings each year to Walt Disney World's Food and Wine Festival in Epcot from his California winery. Back in the 1950's, Fess was famous for the coonskin cap he wore in the very first miniseries ever created for television and, confirmed to Walt Disney, the power of the new medium. Fess Parker is honored with a portrait of him as Davy Crockett right next to the wall depicting the life he so entertained America with.

A portrait of Fess Parker as Davy Crockett hangs near Crockett's Tavern found in the Trail's End restaurant located in the Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Portrait of Fess Parker as Davy Crockett hangs near Crockett's Tavern.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4, ISO 200, EV +1.0, 18mm focal length, bounced flash at -1 power

As all good legends do, Davy Crockett faded into the western sunset...

His land is biggest an' his land is best, from grassy plains to the mountain crest
He's ahead of us all meetin' the test, followin' his legend into the West
Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!


January 28, 2010

Calypso Abstract

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Calypso Abstract
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR lens, 1/40 sec, f/8

Abstract photography concentrates on texture, form and color rather than the bigger picture, leaving more to your imagination. Here's another look at that giant xylophone outside the Calypso building at Disney's All Star Music Resort. Last time, I showed you the big picture. For an abstract look at it, I zoomed in to focus attention on the colors and lines of the pipes. Then I flipped them on their side for a different perspective. The more I play with it, the more I like abstract photography. You can really go wild with it at Walt Disney World.


January 24, 2010

Where in the World #117

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #116:
 Where in the World #116

And here's the answer:
Huey, Louie and Dewey Duck
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/40s shutter, f/5, ISO 800

Donald's nephews are having a good ole time over at Fulton's General Store at Port Orleans Riverside. That's Louie climbing the rope. Huey is cheering him on while Dewey holds the rope steady. Do you know how to tell the triplets apart? Huey wears red, Louie wears green and Dewey wears blue.

Anne Hainsworth was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Anne and all the other readers who got the answer right: Sharon Pierce, Marina Crober, Debbie Hudson, Denise Owen, Scott Otis, Mckinley Yeaman, Tim Rachuba, Heather Pedulla, Jen, David And Angela Blevins, Lauren Foss, Paula B, Sharon Dale, Paul Cooper, Julie Wickware and Suzanne S. Each of you will be entered in the January winners' drawing.

It's time for the monthly drawing. This month's big winner is Darren Fuller! Congratulations Darren, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars schwag!

Good luck to everyone as we begin another month! Here we go"
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Challenge #117: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #117

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 28, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

January 16, 2010

A Touch of Color

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Disney's All Star Resorts Calypso building
Copyright © 2009 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR lens, 1/25 sec, f/8

Here's a close-up of the giant xylophone outside the Calypso building at Disney's All Star Music Resort. I love how colorful this resort is. If you've never visited the All Star, it's worth a trip just for the fun photos you can take.

January 14, 2010

Bus Stop

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

All Star Sports Resort Bus Stop, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
All Star Sports Resort Bus Stop.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length

Everything at an All Star resort is oversized including the letters spelling out the All Star Sports name where guests wait for the Walt Disney World Transporation buses to take them anywhere on property. Makes for a large Disney Pic of the Week on the All Star Resorts.

January 4, 2010

March 2010 Walt Disney World Calendar

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This is the Beach Club Resort near Epcot. I decided to have a little fun and give this image an artistic look. Hope you like it. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom for a desktop wallpaper version of March's calendar.

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


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

March 2010 8.5x11 Calendar


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

March 2010 Jewel Case Calendar

At least a few of you liked the wallpaper last month so I'm including it again this month.

3-10_wallpaper_sm.jpg

1024 x 768
1280 x 800
1280 x 1024
1440 x 900
1600 x 1200

December 29, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Leading Lines

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Lines in photography are used to lead the eye to the point of interest and prevent the eye from wandering. Lines can put emphasis on distance or illustrate a relationship to foreground and background elements. Lines can be straight. Lines can be curved like the monorail tracks I photographed from the front of an express monorail headed towards the Contemporary Resort.

Monorail tracks heading towards the Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail tracks heading towards the Contemporary Resort.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 18mm Focal Length

Come back on Thursday and Saturday to see Barrie and Lisa's take on our Disney Pic of the Week on Leading Lines.

November 7, 2009

Walking on Sunshine

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Walking over the pedestrian bridge from Disney's Boardwalk to the Swan Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Early morning light casting shadows.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/50s, f/16, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 72mm focal length

As photographers, we all work with light and shadows to create our images. However, when I was looking for something with these two elements for this Disney Pic of the Week on my last trip to Walt Disney World, I had a hard time. While walking back from the Boardwalk Bakery early one morning I saw this composition without the person walking over the bridge to the Swan/Dolphin Resort area. That photo lacked something. Then, this person walked past me and I realized what was missing and quickly took this photo.

November 5, 2009

Boardwalk Shadows

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Boardwalk Shadows
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR lens, 1/15 sec, f/4.8, ISO 800

I really struggled to find any photos that I might have of shadows for this week's Pic of the Week. This is definitely not one of my finest shots, but it does remind me of how amazed I was at the beautiful shadows this lamp was casting on the side of the Boardwalk Inn. I didn't come even close to showing how cool they looked. Now I know one thing I'll be looking for on my next trip. That's what I love about photography at Walt Disney World - I'll never run out of subject matter.

October 11, 2009

Where in the World #105

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #104:
 Where in the World #104

And here's the answer:
Lobby of the Wilderness Lodge
Copyright © 2009 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR, 1/2s shutter, f/8, ISO 400

This beautiful inlaid wood floor can be found in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge.

Benjamin Esham was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Benjamin and all the other readers who got the answer right: Katie Wolfe, Jodi Cook, Heidi Summers, Mary Beth Tarbet, Kris Nixon, Sarah Koller, Alissa Ammons, Shannon Brueggemann, Jen Cerce, Elizabeth Scarborough, Emily Currier, Kristen Gainey, John Agnew, Dominic Plavny, James Berry, Kathy Berry, Lee Anastasi, Daniel Record, Scott Otis, Stephen Kiskamp, David Manning, Michael Utesch, Tom Koval, Donna Currier, Cameron Love, Mark Brown, Kathy Love, Julie Wickware, C Gibrich, Danielle And Matt Murgia, Cindy Hershey , Jennifer Townsend, Amanda Perkins, Dawn Bach, Michael Gainey, Melissa Dye, Tim Rachuba, S Mullins, Brian Haas, Harry Wilson, Frank F. Fincken Iii, Clarence Diggles, Cheryl Costello, Jeanne Cundiff, Craig, Jackson Hart, Anne Hainsworth, Christopher Hall, Caitlin Rush, Jeff Surette, Bruce Arnold, Cara Arnold, Kelly Zanauskas, Todd Ritter, Carri Marotto, J Brizzle, Dan Hawkins, Stephanie Pcolinsky, Dennis Blackburn, Mike, Laura Pranaitis, Karen Schlumpf, Sarah Haas, Quincy Delcolletti, Mike F, Wendy Palmquist, Heather Coursen, Kendall Huffman, Jennifer Schwing, Leah Nan Broussard, Dan Mangini, Nanette J, Carla, Tom Linder , Sara Beth Wade, Heather Stevens, Robert Longley, Gregory A. Strohmeyer, Karen Dresser-smith, Jamie Poynton, Paula Bender, Joyce Tofflemire, Dave Cole, Jacquelyn Law, Lee Ann Clary, Tim Johansen, Katy M. Robinson, Heidi Goodhue, Shirley Garcowski, Kristin Dormuth, Marikay, Gail Whigham, Angela Haire, Todd Lane, Amy Miller and Nunzio Vignone. Each of you will be entered in the October winners' drawing.
_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #105: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #105

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

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 and a cool Disney book!

October 2, 2009

Pano-Magic

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I recently attended a photo workshop where I saw some fantastic panoramic images. As the presenter went through the steps to create them, I got so excited that when I got home last night I searched through my Walt Disney World photos to see if I had any candidates for a panoramic.

Though I did find some including the example I am showing you today, you really need to create images with the panoramic image in mind. Here's a list of tips when photographing for panoramics:

1. Use a level tripod. The key here is to make stitching the images together easier for the software. I will tell you the software I tried was very good a finding a way to match up images even if hand held. So, if you are going out to specifically create panoramic photos, then use a tripod. If you are in the middle of a themepark without one, go ahead and hand hold.

2. Use the same exposure for all images. Again, this will make matching up the images easier. Also, another good use of the Manual mode.

3. Make your exposures as fast as possible. This is help keep all your images even and, if you have any moving subjects, it will keep down the movements of those subjects.

4. Avoid using a polarizer filter. If you are trying to capture a wide expanse of sky, a polarizer will cause different hues as the camera is moved from one image to another and the angle to the sun changes.

5. If using a digital camera, turn off Auto White Balance (AWB). AWB can change the color cast of an image as the light changes from one image to another. If it's cloudy out, use the Cloudy setting. If bright sun, use the Sunny setting, etc.

6. Overlap the Images. For best results, overlap the images about 20% if you are using focal lengths of 35mm and up. If you are using a wide angle lens then increase that to 40 to 50% because wide angles can distort at the edges.

Now, let's create a panoramic of these two photos I took of a sunset at Epcot's World Showcase. As you can see they are level as I was using a tripod. They have enough overlap to make the stitching easy for software or to manually match them up if I choose to do so.

Two images from Epcot's World Showcase for panoramic stitching, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

I have my photos selected. I edited them the same and matched up the sky colors as best as I could. Check to see if the software you use to edit photos with has a panoramic tool built-in. The last few versions of Photoshop has it and is called Photomerge. I tried out a few different programs and liked Arcsoft's Panorama Maker 5 (for PC or Mac) the best. It automatically did the hard work of stitching the photos together and even has virtual framing options available. There are many other programs out there so try them out to see which one is best for you. Here's the final version after Panorama Maker 5 got done with it's magic.

Finished panoramic of a World Showcase sunset, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
World Showcase Sunset Panoramic

Something to keep in mind. While this is a horizontal panoramic, I saw some vertical ones during the workshop which were gorgeous. I'll be looking for panoramic opportunities on my next visit to a Disney resort.

August 25, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Resort Activities

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When I am in Walt Disney World, I am on vacation. I know others have a different view of vacation and I do realize not everyone is there on vacation. Especially in Disney's Boardwalk and Epcot resort area where the Swan, Dolphin, Yacht and Beach Club resorts host many business conventions and seminars. Yet, it still surprises when I am returning from the Boardwalk Bakery with freshly baked goodies to see people out for their morning runs like this gentleman. This is one Disney Pic of the Week about Resort Activities you will never see me doing. Look for Barrie and Lisa to present their ideas of Resort Activities on Thursday and Saturday.

Out for a morning run on Disney's Boardwalk, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Out for a morning run on Disney's Boardwalk.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/18, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

July 30, 2009

Bowling Alley Swim

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Bowling Pin Pool at the Pop Century Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Pop Century resort's Bowling themed pool.
Nikon D70/18-70G, 1/60s, f/4, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

While many of my fellow guests were still sleeping, I got up early while staying at the Pop Century resort to take advantage of the cool morning light. As an avid bowler, I took great joy in finding the Bowling themed pool of the 1950's Classic Years area and makes for my Disney Pic of the Week on Swimming Pools.

July 28, 2009

Disney Pics of the Week - Swimming Pools

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

With summer kicking into high gear, Scott and Lisa and I thought it might be nice to show you some of Disney's swimming pools. As I type this, the temperature in Oregon (where I live) is creeping up to the 100 degree mark. What I wouldn't give to jump into one of the many refreshing pools at Walt Disney World!

 Stormalong Bay at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR lens, 4s shutter, f8

Surprise, surprise, my Pic of the Week is a night shot. Imagine that! I hope you all don't get tired of these. This is Stormalong Bay at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. It is, hands down, the best resort pool on property.

July 19, 2009

Where in the World #95

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #94:
 Where in the World #94

And here's the answer:
Lobby of Disney's Grand Floridian
Copyright © 2009 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR, 1/6s shutter, f/8, ISO 400

If you guessed the Grand Floridian, then right you are! This giant bird cage sits in the lobby of Disney's ultimate deluxe resort.

Howard Schreiber was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Howard and all the other readers who got the answer right: Debbie Hudson, Jennifer Harmon, Stephanie Visco, Jennifer Snapp, Kirsty Butler, Gina Poulson, Kye Layton, Jane Rochefort, Barbara Meegan, Theresa Rucando, David Tarbet, Bryan Timko, Jennifer S., Chloe, Kendall Huffman, Christie Condit, Evelyn Wilson, Baines Family, Paul Moody, Amanda Campbell, Belicia Dawson, Julie Wickware, Scott Cullen, Krista Penno, Chloe Williams, Ed Aleszczyk, Joanna Snow, Cameron Love, Cindy Hershey, Dawn Bach, Kathryn Hughes, Christine, Megan Krainski, Monica Hatch, Tommy Carty, Derek Carty, Carolynn Gamill, Sherry Klinefelter, Alissa Ammons, Steve Thorpe, Linda Mac, Jill Fogg, Michelle Thompson, Emily Currier, Kristen Gainey, Jim Kayer, Hillary Waldroop, Boris Beckert, Valerie Gugala, Dominic Plavny, Tom Koval, Jeffrey Dunne, Darlene Harmon, Brandon Emerson, Robin Fitts, Karen Adamakis, Nicole, Bill Mckim, Ashley Ryan, David Coates, Brenda Mcguire, Tracy Discher, Donna Currier, Tiago De Oliveira, Dave Cole, Double Family, Irene Kleintop, Ali S., Scott Price, Chuck Sands, Wendy Ip, Barbara Sims, Lisa R, Keirsten Sangster, Sharon Pierce, Clarissa K, Louise Barton, Ivan Barton, Chloe Barton, Madeline Barton, Benjamin Barton, Susan Thompson, Ken Jackson, Karen Nelson, Ana Marlett, Wendy, Marina And Madison Crober, Jennifer Tremley, Ssg, Tina Santacroce, Deb Ragno, Kris Kline, Karen Hotchkiss, Vera Musella, Michelle Mcspadden, Rochelle, April Tucker, Kris Nixon, Kelly Jean Clarkson, Joy Johnston, Anjanette Tournillon, Michelle Roth-smoot, Brian Miller, Michael Gainey, Dylan Weidner, Deb Staples, Walter N Clark, Bruce Arnold, Melissa Littman, Lou Ann Davis, Melissa Hoekzema, Annette Nuenke, Hollie Hinton, Drew Deapo, Tommy Montgomery, Brian Haas, Kristin Frascelli, Jeremy Hardy, Duane Wisniewski, Rick Ivnik, Dawn Burns, Diane C., Kelley J, Angie Young, Brian Gallant, Scott Prewitt, Teresa Cole, Anne Hainsworth, Christopher Hall, Stephanie Servaites, James Greene, Karen Desantis, Dallas Hamilton, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Mike Cerce, Becky Skidmore, Dolores Riccio, Tricia Noble, Alison Rosenberger, Chris G, Noreen Rachuba, Jared Orth, Caroline Dupre, John Dupre, Cara Richards, Caitlin Rush, Tim Rachuba, Megan E., Blossom, Tony, Dwayne Fontenot, Jody Erdfarb, Cathy Skiba, Sandra Edwards, Brooke Stahl, Christina Cella, Kim Watson, Julie Morgan, Marie Phillips, Shiraz, Danusia Rogacki, Travis, Jake Christopher, Cindy Motta, Aubrey Cooper, G Evans, Shannon Brueggemann, Jen Cerce, Katy Robinson, Laura Pranaitis, Tere Given, Donna Brandt, Karen Schlumpf, Michelle Wilinski, Sue Mcdonald, Steven Long, Durant Charleroy, Dale Knight, Jodi K., Angie Schluter, Jessica Marcotte, Tim Johansen, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Carri Marotto, Lynn Barber, Kelly Zanauskas, Jamie Poynton, Kim Steiner, Chris Auckland, Casie, Kendra Galipeau, April Pangburn, Dan Hawkins, Jessica Thompson, Jessica Lingoni, Jen Cox, David And Angela Blevins, Clare Mcculloch, Terry King, Z. Cheven, James Berry, Kathy Berry, Marie Bertini, Debra Soley, Amy Filliben, Jonathan Thomas, Stacy Patterson, Clare C, Charlotte Ohare, Juliet O'hare, Harry Wilson, Kelly, Paula Munson, Debbie Poole, Rob Kowalski, Craig Canady, Mike Thomson, Paula Massarelli, Nicole Thompson, Paul Amico, Amy Schweizer, Jeff Brashear, Shane Stack, Ashley Pizzino, Kendra Hettel, Barb Decina, Joshua Swainston, George Enell, Nancy Cole, Todd Ritter, Mark Swayze, Jennifer Horst, Nicole Lopresti, Danielle Murgia, Dana Hall, Debbie Desimone, Vanessa Gordon, Jackie Callanan, Laney Wood, Jen Cerce, Jennifer Bogdan, Melissa Tabone, Mike Kaczanowski, Alicia Henderson, Margot Garofalo, Joan Delli Carpini, Katie Whitehurst, Bill Daniel, Karen Klein, Susan Jackson, Mike Parramore, Heather Pedulla, Margaret West, Mary Lou Lutri, Emily Nussbaum, Liz Moreau, Sharon Poinsett, Jeff Blank, Christi, Scott Otis, Eileen Monaghan, Lisa Honard, Chip Vermette, Terri Thornton, Angie Winter, Bruce Dormuth, Cheryl Costello, Amber Keen, Jill Saxe, Heather Coursen, Barclay Bakkum, Bethany Mattiuz-king, Sabrina Mcdonnell, Chris Moore, Bruce Lawson, Allison Dibiase, Tom Higbee, Al Desimone, Janine Currie, Jr Johnson, Catherine Chiarello, Katie Fry, Michelle Faustino, Katarina Whitmarsh, Todd Lane, Michelle B., Collette Beuther, Kathy Love, John Wolff, Linda Abbate, Theresa Maradei, Steve Dolan, Berry Morris, Jennifer Mcneill, Ginny Fazio, Erin Kubicki, Chris Forner, Lauri Phillips, Doug Brigger, Priscilla Sayward, Dave Carriere, Jorge Caso, Katie Olson, Aj Perras, Allison Lowry, and Kala Bieniek. Each of you were entered in the July winners' drawing.

It's time for the monthly drawing. This month's big winner is Jeffrey Dunne ! Congratulations Jeffrey, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars schwag!

Good luck to everyone as we begin another month! Here we go"

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Challenge #95: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #95

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 23, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

July 12, 2009

Where in the World #94

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #93:
 Where in the World #93

And here's the answer:
Waterwheel at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/250s shutter, f/5.6

Either I stumped you good this week or everyone was having too much fun celebrating the Fourth of July to play. This is the waterwheel at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside. This was the resort I stayed at the very first time I went to Disney World. I stayed in one of the mansions on Magnolia Bend and had the best time. I'd love to stay here again one day.


Wendy, Marina And Madison Crober were the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to the Crober family and the other two readers who got the answer right: Anne Hainsworth and Sarah Haas. Each of you will be entered in the July winners' drawing.

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Challenge #94: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #94

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 16, 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.

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 and a cool Disney book!

June 18, 2009

Arusha Rock

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Great White Egret near Arusha Rock, the Animal Kingdom Lodge's viewing area, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Great White Egret near Arusha Rock.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 200mm Focal Length

From Arusha Rock, the Animal Kingdom Lodge's elevated viewing area, you can see Giraffes, Zebras, Gazelles and other African animals was well many birds species which are both African and Flordian. The animals can be easily photographed with a good zoom lens/camera of at least 200mm in length. Birds like pelicans and egrets are even easier. This Great White Egret was only eight feet from me when I took this photo which is my Disney Pic of the Week for the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

June 16, 2009

Disney Pics of the Week - Animal Kingdom Lodge

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

One of the most impressive resorts at Walt Disney World is the Animal Kingdom Lodge, our subject for Pic of the Week this week. From the grand lobby to the savannahs, this resort is absolutely amazing. I always make time to visit, even when I'm staying elsewhere.


Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR lens, 1/13s shutter, f3.5

I know it's not Christmastime, but this is my favorite shot of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. The lobby is truly beautiful. If you're looking for something fun to do on your first or last day and don't want to waste a park ticket on a half day, check out this resort. You can easily spend a few hours wandering around, watching the animals, checking out the art, eating great food, and talking to the Cast Members. There's a terrific playground for the little ones too. Oh, and there are lots of Hidden Mickeys to find!

May 28, 2009

Cameras Up!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The AllEars.Net Photowalk Group photo with the Boardwalk Resort in the background, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cameras Up! AllEars.Net 2008 Photowalk Group Photo.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/125s, f/10, 200 ISO, -0.6 EV, 18mm Focal Length, Tripod, Flash Used

For my Disney Pic of the Week on Groups, I present to you the group photo from the AllEars.Net 2008 Photowalk. This was a lot of fun to do and hope we can do this again. Of the half dozen photos I took, this one with the cameras up was the best. Of course, since my camera was on the tripod taking this photo, I only have the small remote in my hand.

May 10, 2009

Where in the World #85

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #84:
 Where in the World #84

And here's the answer:
Artwork from Disney's Polynesian Resort
Copyright © 2009 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR, 1/2s shutter, f/3.5, ISO 800

This beautiful relief carving is located near the elevators at Disney's Polynesian Resort. I think this one stumped a lot of people. I went easy on you - anyone who mentioned the Polynesian got it right this week, even if you didn't know exactly where it was at the resort.

Kelly Kobiela was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Kelly and all the readers who got the answer right: Louise Barton, Chloe Barton, Jennifer Tremley, Patty Carty, Cameron Love, Casey Sullivan, Denise Owen, Dana Hinterleitner, Bruce Hinterleitner, Karen Walat, Lynn Barber, Carolyn Como, Kelli Vancil, Liz Moreau and Casey Sullivan. Each of you will be entered in the May winners' drawing.

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Challenge #85: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #85

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, May 14, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Comment link at the bottom of this post.

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 and a cool Disney book!


May 2, 2009

No Pedaling for You, Lisa!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Lisa finding out she's not tall enough to pedal the Surrey Bikes at the Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Lisa is none too pleased about being to short to pedal a Surrey Bike.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/5, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 62mm Focal Length

For my Disney Pic of the Week on Humor, I wanted to share poor Lisa's reaction to finding out she was too short to pedal the Surrey Bikes around the Epcot resort area during last December's AllEars.net Photowalk event. That's okay, Lisa, you can always ride up front in one of the kiddie seats!

April 30, 2009

A Serious Understatement

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Wet Floor sign on Crescent Lake
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR lens, 1/250s shutter, f8

On our photowalk in December, several people found the humor in this safety cone floating in Crescent Lake, including Lisa and Scott. However, knowing that humor was the topic for an upcoming Pic of the Week (and being the brat that I am), I quickly called dibs on using it!

April 24, 2009

Using a Tripod at WDW

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Hollywood Studios Entrance, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Hollywood Studios Entrance.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 30s, f/16, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 170mm Focal length, Tripod

I have never carried a tripod into a Walt Disney World park until my last trip. I thought it would be too much trouble and a bother. However, if you plan ahead, it can be done without too much disruption to your family's enjoyment. First, you have to consider how to carry the tripod the times you decide to bring one. For me it started with the choice of tripod. I didn't want one too heavy or big and easy to carry. I settled on a Manfrotto 725B Digi Tripod with Integrated Ball Head and Carrying Bag which is all those things and cost about $135. This tripod has since been replaced by the Manfrotto 7302YB M-Y Tripod and still comes with a ball head and carrying bag at around the same price. The carrying bag allowed me to carry the tripod over my shoulder comfortably. Now, don't get me wrong, I would not carry the tripod all day long. The main reason for using a tripod at Walt Disney World is for long exposure photography in the early mornings, evenings and fireworks.

MK locker
On the days I planned to use a tripod, I would rent a locker at the parks. The tripod fit easily in a LARGE locker (see photo) so make sure you ask for one of this size. It was also handy to store sweatshirts or sweaters if you are visiting when the nights cool down. This let me go on rides and attractions without having to deal with the bulkiness of a tripod. The lockers are located near the front entrances to the parks so be aware of how long it will take to retrieve the tripod. I tried to plan to be near the front of the park about an hour before sunset. That gave me more than enough time to get to the locations I had in mind.

So, what are the advantages of a tripod besides being able to shoot at long exposures. It lets you use low ISO setting which means less noise and better clarity to your photos. All of my tripod photos were taken at my camera's lowest ISO setting of 200. Tripods, used correctly, give your camera a rock steady platform with no shake. To insure as little or no camera movement as possible use a remote shutter release or your camera's self-timer. Some people even go so far as locking up the mirror (see your camera's manual on how to do this).

Temple of Heaven in the China pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase at dusk, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Temple of Heaven in the China pavilion at dusk.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 8s, f/8, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal length, Tripod

I keep mentioning how I planned to use a tripod and to be at a certain place. Think of it as an extension of your normal planning process and make sure your family is involved so they know what you want to do and expect. For fireworks, your family will probably want to be with you. Other times, they may want to explore while you are waiting through 10, 20, 30 second or longer exposures. It pays to research locations. In previous visits, I would try and take a night photo which just wouldn't work hand-held so I would make a mental note. flickr is a great place to find locations as there are many photographers who specialize in Disney themepark photography.

Sometimes you might just come upon them as you walk around. On a previous trip, I walked the trail between Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Epcot resort area late at night. I looked over the canal to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror all lit up in very moody colors fitting the theme of the ride and knew I would need to come back with a tripod which I finally did.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at night from the walking trail to the Epcot resort area.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 30s, f/11, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 130mm Focal length, Tripod

This was taken late at night which is another way to capture unique night time photos at Walt Disney World when the parks are close to being empty of visitors and there's a chance the water around and in the parks is calm. I had such a night during my last visit and was able to get mirrored images around the Epcot resort area like in this photo of the Swan Resort.

The Swan Resort mirrored in the canal the Friendship boats use during the day, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Swan Resort mirrored in the canal the Friendship boats use during the day.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 30s, f/11, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal length, Tripod

Using a tripod at Walt Disney World does take some effort and advanced planning but the rewards of capturing photos you could never get without one is worth it. Will I always take a tripod to a Disney park now? That will depend on what I have planned and who will be accompanying me but I will never think of it as a burden. Tripods open up far more opportunities when the Sun goes down.

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April 10, 2009

Metering Modes Revisited

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last year I went in-depth and explained the three different metering modes found on our digital SLR and advanced point and shoot cameras. These are Matrix, Center-weighted and Spot. At the time, I used some un-Disney like photos to show the difference between each mode. I thought a side by side comparison would be helpful as a review.

The three photos below were taken from Sea Breeze Point near Disney's Boardwalk Resort shows the three different metering modes in action.

Metering mode collage from Sea Breeze Point near Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Metering mode collage from Sea Breeze Point near Disney's Boardwalk Resort.

As I have mention in previous posts, Matrix metering in today's digital cameras is very good except in the most challenging of lighting situations like stage lights, backlighting and very low light conditions (dark rides). When faced with one of the challenging conditions, I will use Spot metering over the other two like in the photo from the Festival of the Lion King.

Festival of the Lion King performer in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Festival of the Lion King performer in Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D70/70-200VR, 1/125s, f/2.8, ISO 800, EV 0, 200mm Focal length

April 5, 2009

Where in the World #80

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #79:
 Where in the World #79

And here's the answer:
 Grandstand Pool at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/320s shutter, f/9

To all you folks who guessed the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway, you were in good company! That was the most popular answer this week. Designed to look like the horses' gate at a racetrack, this water play area is part of the Grandstand pool at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa.

Theresa Rucando was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Theresa and all the readers who got the answer right: Karen Nelson, Sharon Pierce, Linda Mac, Tim Rachuba, David And Melissa Lizewski, Garland Cox, Frances Phebus, Jennifer Tremley, Ed Aleszczyk, Dan Owens, Nikki Powell, Howard Schreiber, Rick Shea, Robin Mcconnell, Charlie Scheer, Michelle Thompson, April Pangburn, Trish Babler, Daniel Record, Krystal Thomas, Christi Ison, Stephanie Visco, Dawn Bach, Dylan Weidner, Emma Poprock, Dave Cole, Sarah Biggs, Lorne Harris, Nick Straka, Melesia Love, Anne Hainsworth, Shane Stack, Cathy Skiba, Wendy Snelgrove, Austin O'blenis, Becky Sterusky, Leah Broussard, Mike Malampy, Tina Benco , Michael Nanney, Darlene Harmon, Paula Massarelli, Carolyn Como, Ali S, Paul Cooper, Andrew Michuda, Allison Caputa, Denise Owen, Paul Moody, Dan Mangini, Paula H., Heather Mcfall, Bill Daniel, Heather Coursen, Bonnie Smith, Michelle Mcknight and Cheri Palmisano. Each of you will be entered in the April winners' drawing.

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Challenge #80: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #80

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, April 9, by clicking on the button below. Please do not post answers using the Comment link at the bottom of this post.

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 and a cool Disney book!

March 24, 2009

Disney Pics of the Week - Watercraft

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Water, water, everywhere - it's Florida after all! Our Pic of the Week theme this week is watercraft. One of the things I love about Walt Disney World is how many different opportunities there are to ride on the water. Ferries and water taxis of all sorts transport guests from resorts to the theme parks and Downtown Disney. All over the property, there are marinas where guests can rent Sea Racers and canopy boats. There are fishing excursions and fireworks cruises. And on really special occasions, it's a treat to a sail on Breathless or the Grand1 yacht!

 Sun Trackers at Disney's Yacht Club Resort
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR lens, 14s shutter, f8

Late one night I happened upon these pontoon boats docked at the marina at the Yacht and Beach Clubs. Earlier that evening they were used to take guests on Illuminations Cruises.

March 14, 2009

Indulgance

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Boardwalk Bakery Cake
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200VR lens, 1/80s shutter, f5.3

I can sum up this week's Pic of the Week in one word - yum! Head on over to the Boardwalk Bakery to experience this little piece of decadence.

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 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 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!

January 31, 2009

Pretty in Pink

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

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

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

January 30, 2009

Advanced Composition

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

January 23, 2009

Case for Using a Polarizer Filter

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 20, 2009

My Top Ten

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer


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


Animals

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


Entertainers

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


Props

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


Architecture

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


Flowers

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


World Showcase Pavilions

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


Parades

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


Fireworks

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


Resorts

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


Night Photos

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

January 15, 2009

My bad!

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 9, 2009

Wide World of Disney

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 6, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Restaurants

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

December 28, 2008

Where in the World #66

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #65:
 Where in the World #65

And here's the answer:
Dolphin Resort Chandelier
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/160s shutter, f4.8, ISO 800

This abstract looking photograph is a picture of the chandelier that hangs over the escalators in the Dolphin Resort. Since you had a couple of extra weeks to figure it out, I thought I'd make you work a little harder on this challenge. This week's challenge won't be quite so tough.

Anne Hainsworth was the first to send in the correct answer for this challenge! Congratulations to Anne and all the readers who got the answer right: Sharon Dale, Jane Bradley, Jeffrey Michaels, Devin Wisman, Adrian Jelenszky, Angela Mcgee and Chris Freeman. Each of you were entered in the December winners' drawing.

And speaking of that monthly drawing" this month's big winner is Hayley Lawson ! Congratulations Hayley, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars schwag!
_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #66: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #66

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 1, 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!

December 6, 2008

Polynesian Breakfast Favorite

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Tonga Toast, here presented by my lovely daughter, is my Disney Pic of the Week for the theme of Food. This decadent, deep-fried breakfast favorite has been served at Kona Café in Disney's Polynesian Resort for more than a quarter of a century. Sourdough bread, bananas, sugar and cinnamon are all it takes to make it -- except for the oil to fry it in.

Tonga Toast is a favorite breakfest treat at the Polynesian Resort's Kona Cafe, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Tonga Toast is a favorite breakfest treat at the Polynesian Resort's Kona Cafe.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/400s, f/10, 400 ISO, -0.6 EV, 18mm Focal Length

November 20, 2008

Boardwalk Wakes Up

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney's Boardwalk comes to life after sunset, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Disney's Boardwalk comes to life after sunset.
Nikon Coolpix 995, 1/15s, f/2.6, 400 ISO, 0 EV

Disney's Boardwalk Resort Area comes alive after sunset with arcade games, entertainers and kiosks selling popcorn, drinks and other yummy snacks. I took this from a balcony overlooking the Boardwalk with my Nikon Coolpix 995 digital camera. Due to the slow shutter speed, I used the balcony's railing to help steady the camera. I think I captured some of the magic you feel walking on the boardwalk as my selection for this week's Disney Pic of the Week theme on Disney's Boardwalk area.

Don't forget, Barrie, Lisa and myself are hosting the AllEars.net Pictures This! Photowalk at Mousefest in the Boardwalk area. Check out the link for more information and to sign up!

November 18, 2008

Disney Pic of the Week - Boardwalk

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Everyone has that one special thing that they have to do on every trip to Walt Disney World. It might be a particular ride that can't be missed or a favorite snack that just doesn't taste as good anywhere else. For me, a Disney vacation just isn't complete until I spend some time on the Boardwalk. That's our theme for Pic of the Week this week, my favorite place in all of Walt Disney World - the Boardwalk.

Disney's Boardwalk Inn
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200mm VR, 1/20s shutter, f5, ISO 800

These rockers outside the lobby of the Boardwalk Inn are the perfect place to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the parks. Add a good book and a refreshing beverage and you may never want to get up again.

September 14, 2008

Where in the World #53

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #52:
 Where in the World #52

And here's the answer:
Tikis at Disney's Polynesian Resort
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/6s shutter, f4

This mischievous tiki can be found at the Polynesian Resort. He stands outside the window peering in at his mate who is behind the register in BouTiki. BouTiki is the resort's largest gift shop, located on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House.

Amy Young was the first to send in the correct answer this week! Congratulations to Amy and all the readers who got the answer right: Deb Ragno, Sharon Dale, Debbie Hudson, Joey Price, Cameron Love, Sara Lewis, Denise, Hillary W, Joy Johnston, Alicia Henderson, Chris Bertelmann, Tim Rachuba, Jennie Connelly, Melea Broekers, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Laura Pranaitis, Gaylin Chev, Derek Carty, Jennifer Horst, Sarah Haas, Sunny Skyes, Jamie Poynton, Jenny Anderson, Heather Coursen, Jeremy Reichelt, Mary Dannahey, Hope Schiemer, Linda Mac, Chris Freeman, James Boyd and Kim Steiner. Each of you were entered in the September winners' drawing.

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #53: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #53

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, September 18, 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!

September 12, 2008

Organizing Your Photos

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last time, I went over how I name all the thousands of photos I take each year. Each photographer will come up with his or her own naming system. This week I am going to show you how to organize your image files on your computer systems.

In sticking with my boring, yet simple, system, I start with one folder on my computer system called PHOTOS. Inside PHOTOS, I have subfolders for each year I've been taking digital photographs named: STP_2005, STP_2006, STP_2007 and STP_2008. In each of these folders I have twelve more folders for each month of that folder's year. For this year, they look like STP_200801 through STP_200812. If you recall, I rename each of my photos when I put them on my computer to something like STP_20080912_0192.jpg. This method works for me. Others might create a folder for each topic they photograph. However, don't over do it or your computer will get filled with hundreds of folders.

I know you are asking yourself how do I find something as specific as a photo of Space Mountain or how to pull up just my Walt Disney trip photos from 2006. That is the subject I'll cover soon. This was to get you thinking how to set up your files on your computer system.

Below is a photo from the Pop Century resort named STP_20061213_0006.jpg which resides in folder PHOTOS, subfolder STP_2006 and subfolder STP_200612 on my hard drive. Anyone ever have one of these phones? I had a touch tone one.

Giant Mickey Mouse phone icon at the Pop Century Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The giant Mickey Mouse Phone icon at the Pop Century Resort.
Nikon D70/18-70G, 1/320s, f/9, 200 ISO, EV +0.7, 18mm Focal length

September 6, 2008

What's In A Name

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

One of the first things I had to deal with when I first started using a digital camera was how to organize all the files I was creating every time I went out taking photographs. The camera manufacturers think their simple system of a strange prefix followed by a number is what anyone would ever need. Blah! After producing hundreds of image files, I ended up doing folders for each time which got even more chaotic.

When facing this ongoing problem, I first identified the need to name this files so I could easily sort them. I read how others were doing it. Many like to use some sort of descriptive name which includes a prefix of meaning (like WDW for Walt Disney World) followed by a date designation and a sequential number. I tried this type of system for awhile but found the prefix was a bit confusing for me and decided to use a standard prefix for all my photos. Here is what a typical name for one of my digital photo files looks like: STP_20080905_025.jpg. The prefix of STP stands for Scott Thomas Photography then an underscore to separate the date which is in long year, month, day format which is easy to sort in chronological order with another underscore separating the sequential order. This works for me. You may have come up with a different system. I only use one camera right now. If I add another camera in the future, I will add a camera type to the prefix so it will be easy to see which camera took what photo. Don't forget, there's a lot of data contained in each photo's Exif which in future weeks I'll show how that can be used.

Now, how did I get from the camera's name for the files that look like DSC_2345 to my system? For that I use a program which takes my files from the compact flash memory card and loads them onto my laptop. As it copies the files down it renames them using the photo file's date and adds the prefix and sequential number suffix around it. For instance, below is my photo STP_20070524_0008.jpg. This also happens to be the location where the AllEars.net Pictures This! Photowalk at Mousefest will start (click on link for more information and to sign up).

Sea Breeze Point near Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Sea Breeze Point near Disney's Boardwalk Resort.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/500s, f/5.6, 200 ISO, 0 EV, 200mm Focal length

August 29, 2008

Get Yourself in those Disney Vacation Photos!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

If you are the photographer of your family, chances are you are not in very many photos for holidays, vacatons, birthdays or other occassions. I would guess I'm in less than 100 photos of the thousands of photos I have in boxes, albums and on my hard drives. You may be in more if other members of your family have picked up the photography bug. I know my daughters both own Point & Shoot (P&S) cameras now so I've shown up in their online galleries the last couple of trips.

I found with a little thinking there's some fun ways you can do self-portraits with dSLRs. I know it's popular to hold small Point & Shoot cameras at arms length but I can't do that with a heavy dSLR too easily.

The first way is to use mirrors. Recently, I found a Got Milk? promotional area when visiting the Dairy building at the New York State Fair with some rather unique mirrors.

Got Milk? Mirror portrait at the New York State Fair, Syracuse, New York.
Got Milk? Mirror portrait at the New York State Fair.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/30s, f/3.8, 800 ISO, EV +0.3, 20mm Focal length

This second self-portrait uses an IR Remote Control for my Nikon digital SLR camera. If you look real close, it's in my left hand. It's very small. I put my camera on a tripod and pressed the remote to take this photo of me in Letchworth State Park in New York last Fall.

Remote Control portrait in Letchworth State Park, New York.
Remote Control portrait in Letchworth State Park.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/40s, f/14, 200 ISO, EV +0.6, 18mm Focal length

Lastly, if you see a fellow photographer walking nearby, it never hurts to ask if they could take a picture of you. I am often asked to do this service and am honored to do so. In the photo of me relaxing in a hammock on the Polynesian Resort's beach, I had my daughter take this with her Nikon Coolpix P&S camera.

Picture This! blogger, Scott, relaxing in a hammock on the Polynesian Resort beach, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Picture This! blogger, Scott, relaxing in a hammock on the Polynesian Resort beach.
Nikon Coolpix 4600, 1/500s, f/4.9, 50 ISO

Next time you are on vacation, find ways to get yourself in the picture! For even more ideas and fun, check out Lisa's Get in the Picture blog from last year.

August 12, 2008

Disney Pic of the Week: Recreation

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Believe it or not, there's a whole lot you can do at Walt Disney World besides spending time in one of the themeparks. Besides swimming at your resort, there are all sorts of recreational activities like golf, minature golf, surfing, tennis, horseback riding, parasailing, waterskiing, driving a race car and fishing. What did you say? Fishing? There are some hardy people who get up early (just like us photographers will for the AllEars.net Picture This! PhotoWalk at Mousefest) so they can go after the big ones.

To lead off this week's Disney Pic of the Week theme on Recreation, I choose this photograph of some fishermen who are not only enjoying some early morning fishing but where else in the world could they see a monorail quietly going by while they are doing it?

Barrie and Lisa will be along with their Recreational photos on Thursday and Saturday.

Fishing on Bay Lake, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Fishing on Bay Lake.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/800s, f/7.1, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 200mm Focal Length

July 17, 2008

Back to the 50's

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Pop Century Resort's 1950's building and pool, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Pop Century Resort's 1950's building and bowling alley pool area.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

As an avid bowler, when I came upon Pop Century's 1950's area, I was thrilled. The huge bowling pin stairwells, the sock-hop icons on the buildings and the bowling pin and alley themed pool put a big old smile on my face and perfect for my Disney Pic of the Week Resort theme photo. To come upon it early in the morning with great light and not a guest to be seen was, well, cool. It's too bad those bowling balls are not disguised floatation devices.

July 15, 2008

Disney Pics of the Week - Resorts

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer


This week Lisa, Scott and I will be sharing photos from the Disney resorts in our Pic of the Week series. Disney really does it right when it comes to creating beautiful and interesting resorts. Some are fun and whimsical, while others are just plain gorgeous. From the value resorts to the deluxe, there's no shortage of fabulous photo opportunities. It was hard to narrow it down to just one photo this week.

Disney's Boardwalk Villas and Inn
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 8.7secs shutter, f8, ISO 200

I decided to lead us off with my favorite place to stay, the Boardwalk Villas in Walt Disney World. This Disney Vacation Club resort is especially pretty at night with all the lights reflecting on the water. It was so quiet and peaceful when I took this shot. It's hard to imagine all the bustling activity that took place earlier in the evening.

Don't forget to check back on Thursday and Saturday to see Lisa and Scott's resort photo picks.

July 13, 2008

Where in the World #46

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

This was Challenge #45:
 Where in the World #45

And here's the answer:
Disney's Old Key West Lighthouse
Copyright © 2003 Barrie Brewer, Nikon E3100, 18-200VR, 1/470s shutter, f5.6

This lighthouse can be found at Disney's Old Key West Resort. I took this photo from a boat that Sutree and I rented at Downtown Disney. Tooling around on the waterways near the resorts is a really nice way to enjoy a lazy afternoon.

Anne Hainsworth was the first to send in the correct answer this week! Congratulations to Anne and all the readers who got the answer right: Theresa Rucando, Sharon Pierce, Debbie Hudson, Ed Aleszczyk, Denise, Merrie Tesh, Jennifer Haas, Garland Cox, Tom Armstrong, Chris & Alison, Heather Young, Chris Bertelmann, Sharon Dale, Austin O'blenis, Nicole Cyr, Christie Condit, Neil Roeper, Tim Rachuba, Debra Kuklinski, Jen Cox, Tim Wingfield, Eric Hoffman, Lisa Hoffman, Michael Gainey, John Agnew, Brian Gallant, Lauren Cameron, Noreen Rachuba, Trish Hennessy, Christi Ison, Cameron Lange, April Pangburn, Sue Vanvleet, Jaron Goldberg, Deb Ragno, Colleen Gaudette, Rusty Podbelski, Double Family, Emily Chronas, Dana Hall, Betsy Podbelski, Katelyn P., Amy Miller, Laura Pranaitis, Ken Geiser, Barbara Styles, Michael Barker, Sara Clemenson and Marie H. Each of you will be entered in the July winners' drawing.

_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #46: What is this young woman doing and where in the world is she?

 Where in the World #46

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 17, by clicking HERE!
_______________________________________________________________________

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

July 7, 2008

MouseFest Photowalk Invitation

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Have you heard of photowalking yet? Photowalks are a great way to spend time with other photography enthusiasts, get a little fresh air, exercise, and have some fun taking pictures. Technically, photowalking is defined as "the act of walking [or wheeling] with a camera for the main purpose of taking pictures of things that the photographer may find interesting". Pretty simple, eh?

You can do solo photowalks, but organized group photowalks are where it's at! It's really fun to spend some social time with other photographers, doing what we all love to do - taking photos!

Group photowalks are for everyone. There are no special skills or equipment required. Just show up with a camera, ANY kind of camera, and that's all you need. You can use a simple point and shoot that fits in your pocket or a fancy dslr with a whole bag of lenses. Really, the only thing you need to join a photowalk is the desire to walk with other people and take photos.

It works like this: someone schedules a photowalk and then invites other people to join in, usually via the internet. On the day of the walk, everyone gets together at the starting place and time and introduces themselves. After a few minutes of milling about and discussion, the group takes off on their pre-determined route to take photos. Everyone goes at their own pace, chatting and chimping* along the way. When they reach the end of the route, there is likely to be a little time to gather and do some more chimping, usually over coffee or beer! Then when everyone goes home, they upload the photos they took to a group site on the internet so they can see what everyone else thought was interesting enough to photograph. And that's how friendships are formed!

photowalk_logo.jpgWell, Lisa, Scott and I are all about photography, fun and making friends, so we've decided to host a photowalk at MouseFest this year and you're all invited! You're all going to MouseFest, right? Of course you are! So, here are the details:

What: Picture This! Photowalk meet at MouseFest 2008
Date: Saturday, December 13, 2008
Time: 7am - 9am (yup - that's the crack of dawn!)
Where: Disney's Boardwalk - meet at the Wedding Pavilion, finish at Boardwalk Bakery
Who: Everyone is welcome!

We've set up a Flickr group with more information, including a map of the route we'll be following. That is where everyone can RSVP, introduce ourselves and chat about the meet. Afterwards, this is where we'll share our photos. You'll need to join Flickr to RSVP but it's free and safe, I promise. You won't get any spam from them.

We're very excited about this meet and hope to see lots of you there. And who knows, there may even be some goodies available for those who attend**.

For a more in-depth article on photowalking, check out this post by Jeff Revell. To find a photowalk in your area check out photowalking.org or just google "photowalk" and your city.

Don't forget to RSVP on the Flickr site.

*looking at each other's photos on their lcd screens
**There's nothing wrong with a little bribery!

July 4, 2008

Sidelighting

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Sidelighting is light illuminating from a 90 degree angle to the subject. This gives an almost three dimensional effect to the subject being photographed. As seen below in this photo of The ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, the sidelighting creates shadows in the restaurant's exterior features showing depth in a two dimensional medium.

The ESPN Club near Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Sidelight hits The ESPN Club near Disney's Boardwalk Resort giving a 3-D effect.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/800s, f/8, 200 ISO, EV -0.3, 200mm Focal length

June 15, 2008

Where in the World? #42

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

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

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

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

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

Dawn Bach was the first to send in the correct answer this week! Congratulations to Dawn and all the readers who got the answer right: Kim, Nora Beirne, Michael G, Nicole Cyr, Poopymail, Eric, Heather Coursen, Jeremy Hardy, Amy, Damon Carter, Jamie Poynton, Kellie Carter, Noreen Rachuba, Tim Rachuba, Maryann Eckenrode, Ed Aleszczyk, Hillary W, Josh Rohrbach, Katelyn P, Jennifer Horst, Susan Pitts, Heather, Ed Nawrocki, Jacquelyn Law, Austin O'Blenis and Garland Cox. Each of you will be entered in the June winners' drawing.
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Challenge #42: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #42

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 19, by clicking HERE!
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Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies and a copy of PassPorter's Walt Disney World by Jennifer Marx, Dave Marx, Allison Cerel Marx!

March 9, 2008

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #31

This was Challenge #30:
Where in the World #30


And here's the answer:
Dolphin Resort
Copyright © 2008 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/60s shutter, f4.5

You just never know" I thought everyone would guess this one right away. Not a single person got it though. Challenge #30 is from the façade of the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort. I took this in January when I was there for the marathon.

This is such an interesting building. It was designed by Michael Graves, who has won numerous awards for his post-modern designs. I am always drawn to take photos of this hotel. There are so many ways you can take really unusual photographs of it. Normally I tend to shy away from taking any photos that are perfectly centered, but in this shot I deliberately lined everything up in a very symmetrical pattern. When you take a photo like this it's important to be precise about the way you compose it. Even a slightly crooked line will ruin the effect.
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Challenge #31: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #31

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, by clicking HERE!
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Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

February 24, 2008

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #29

This was Challenge #28:
Where in the World #28


And here's the answer:
ADH%20med%20size.jpg
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 55-200, 1/400s shutter, f10

The Atlantic Dance Hall is a gorgeous art deco club on Disney's Boardwalk. I originally fell in love with this place several years back when they played swing music. A local swing dance club would liven up the place on weekends. They wore great clothes from the 1940s and were a lot of fun to watch. Now they have 1980s DJ dance music. Most times that I've stopped in recently the place has been fairly deserted. It's too bad because it really is a beautiful club. I'd love to have a big old party there someday" maybe a fiftieth birthday bash" you'll all be invited!

Congratulations to Evelyn Cowdell , this week's winner. Merry Shippee, Kristen Eby, Kim Lawton, Erin, Jim Szlachta, Jude Toups, Gloria Martin, Jaime Thomson, Sarah Haas, Frank F Fincken III, Jennifer Tremley, Noreen Rachuba, Melissa Ruggieri, Gregg Letts, Mike Kaczanowski, Karen Schlumpf, Katelyn Palermo, Nora Beirne, Patty Carty, Chloe' C, Jeanine Yamanaka, Dominic Cooper, Tim Rachuba, Susan, Jared Nishida, April, Leslie Budd, Elisa Dillon, Karen DeSantis, Jennifer Horst, Jane Bradley, Melissa Littman, Ken, Michelle Raimist , Ed Aleszczyk , Sue McDonald , Ann Carr , Jim Senft , Chip Vermette, Melissa DeMonbreun, Heather Young, Neil Taylor, Ruth Cookson, Larry Carter and Suzanne Brown also all gave the correct answer by Thursday and were entered in the February winner's drawing.

Here we are at the end of another month already. We had 191 winning answers this month! Unfortunately, there can only be one prize winner and this month that person is Kathy Love. Congratulations Kathy! You will receive Steve Barrett's newest Hidden Mickey book, along with some other great AllEars gifts.
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Challenge #29: Where in the world is this?

Where in the World #29

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, by clicking HERE!
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Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

January 6, 2008

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #22

This was Challenge #21:
Where in the World #21

And here's the answer:
ESPN
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/250s shutter, f8

Only one person knew that this metal hand was part of the ESPN building on the Boardwalk and that was Jessica Romano. Congratulations Jessica! I was certain this would be an easy one. This contest just baffles me (in a fun way). Whenever I think something is going to be hard, someone gets it right away. And when I think my email with be overrun by answers, I have a lonely week!

Well, it just means there'll be better odds for winning the monthly prize this month. Let's see how you all do on this next one. Good luck everyone!
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Challenge #22: Where in the world is this?

Where in the World #22

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking HERE!
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Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

January 4, 2008

Photographic Innoventions: Photo Editing 101

Unlike when you used film, digital photography processing is done inside your camera and produces JPEG images. (dSLRs can also produce RAW images. RAW images are often referred to as digital negatives and require processing on a computer to produce the final JPEG image.) If you are like me, you try to get all your photos as close to perfect right out of the camera. It takes a lot of practice and getting to know your camera as to what settings give you the results you are looking for. I learn each time I use my camera so if you are an old hand at photography or just starting your photographic adventures, you will one day look at the photos and wonder if there is a way to improve them.

In researching this entry I found there is no general "how to" information on approaching digital photo editing. What follows is my approach. The photo editor used was Picnik.com and the steps outlined should be available in most photo editing software. The goal for the photo I selected of my daughter enjoying a hammock on the Polynesian Resort's beach was to reclaim the colors as I remembered them.


Before Digital Processing.
© Scott Thomas Photography 2008

After Digital Processing.
© Scott Thomas Photography 2008
Original Photo Data: Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/500s, f/10, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

Step 1: EXPOSURE

The original image on the left is a bit underexposed as I had dialed in a -0.3 exposure compensation (EV). Not a drastic error yet I wanted to recoup the detail lost. In Picnik.com, I start with the Exposure tab which has two sliders for Exposure and Contrast. I first moved the Exposure slider to the right to add exposure slowly until I got back the detail. Picnik.com has an advanced button for brightness, adjusting highlight and dark areas and local contrast. I like to use the local contrast tool instead of the general contrast slider as it gives me a little more control. Your software may or may not have this option. I used a radius of 5 and strength of 25%. This brought out even more detail in the hammock and tree bark.

Step 2: COLOR

After adjusting exposure, I move on to the Color tab. Here I always first try the Auto Color button. Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don't. As they say YMMV (Your Mileage My Vary). In this case, I didn't like it and hit the Reset button to start over. Next I adjusted the two sliders available. One for Temperature and one for Saturation. I set up my camera to saturate colors so I usually don't have to add any more. However, my camera settings tends to give my photos a reddish cast to light objects. In this case, the sand and hammock color is off. In some software, you may see a Blue and Red indicator on the Temperature slider. I moved the Temperature slider to the left or blue end to a -5 bringing back the natural colors to those photo elements.

Step 3: SHARPENING

I've been learning about sharpening over the last few days and was surprised to find out most digital photos need to be sharpened. Picnick.com allows for two ways to sharpen: a simple slider and a more advanced Unsharp Mask. Don't let the unsharp mask confuse you, it is a sharpening tool. The name is a hold over from film processing days. The simple slider is great and I have used it with excellent results but no higher than a setting of 10 or less. Beyond that, photos start to look unreal.

There's a whole bunch of ways people use unsharp mask tools in photo editing software. Some are very complicated and require very expensive software. However, I want to share with you three simple recipes as recommended by Scott Kelby in his book, The Digital Photography Book (page 18):

For people, set Amount to 150%, Radius to 1 pixel and Threshold to 4 levels
For cityscapes, urban and travel photography, set Amount to 65%, Radius to 3 pixels and Threshold to 2 levels
For general everyday use, set Amount to 85%, radius to 1 pixel and Threshold to 4 levels

In the example photo, I used the general recipe in Picnik.com's Unsharp Mask tool (note: Picnik.com does not have the Threshold setting).

Now, all these adjustments are to MY taste. Yours will be different. What I have found in reading about photo editing is it is very subjective to the person doing the editing. There are techniques you can learn but no rules to follow. If you own a photo editing software product, I encourage you to find Internet resources, books, and video training for it.

I am much happier with the new version of my example photograph. To see larger versions of the Before and After photos, click on either of them. I hope this gives you some ideas on how to approach your photo editing tasks.

December 30, 2007

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #21

This was Challenge #20:
Where in the World #20

And here's the answer:
Crayons
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/6s shutter, f4

I noticed this shelf of crayons when I was headed into Cape May Café at the Beach Club Resort. These are the crayons they give kids to play with while they are waiting for their meals. Who would have ever thought that a crayon storage space could be used so cleverly to decorate? That's Disney for you!

Christina Romano was this week's winner once again. Christina is getting hard to beat! She was joined by Jessica Romano, Nancy Ahlsen, Loretta Reed and Gretchen who all knew the answer and were entered in December's winners drawing.

It's time for another drawing winner. Congratulations to Nancy Ahlsen! Nancy was chosen randomly from a pool of 95 December winners to receive a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies.
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Challenge #21: Where in the world is this?

Where in the World #21

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking HERE!
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Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for a copy of Hidden Mickeys Walt Disney World by Steve Barrett and some special AllEars® goodies!

December 14, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Hats Off to More Disney Props


Last month I did an entry on Props at Walt Disney World and asked people to send in their favorites. By far the most popular ones where all the different and fun hats you find in shops throughout the resort. As an example, my daughter is trying on a very patriotic hat in The Chapeau, a hat shop on Magic Kingdom's Main Street. This shop can monogram almost any hat and, of course, Mickey Ears for you while you wait. Hats found in World Showcase are a big hit with our Photo Blog readers from French Berets, Sombreros in Mexico, Coolie hats in China to Homburg style hats in Germany. The little outdoor shop at Rafiki's Planet Watch in Disney's Animal Kingdom has all kinds of safari hats. My daughter just had to model one for me.




Safari hat. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4.5, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 40mm focal length

Other popular suggestions for props was RC Car from Toy Story at the All Star Movies resort, the larger than life Troll in Norway's Puffin's Roost shop, a Cinderella statue at the Marketplace in Downtown Disney similar to Buzz Lightyear I mentioned in the first Disney Prop entry and the Mickey sculpture at the Contemporary resort with Mickey ears perfect to sit kids in.

Would like to continue this topic so if you have a favorite Walt Disney World prop, I'd like to hear about it! Just leave a Comment using the link below.

November 9, 2007

Focus on Disney World - Leading Lines

Lighthouse
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/18-200VR, 9.3s shutter, f8

One way to make the main subject of your photograph stand out is to compose your shot with leading lines. Leading lines are lines in a photograph used to guide your viewer's eye through your photograph. When deciding how to compose your shot, consider where the line begins and ends, the direction of its flow and its angle and shape.

In this photo, my main subject is the lighthouse in front of the Yacht Club resort. There are several leading lines here: the dock, the beam of light reflected on the dock, the rope railing. Even the buildings on the horizon lead your eye to the lighthouse. The list of things to use as leading lines is endless. Even people and shadows can be used to create leading lines.

The way in which the lines flow should allow your viewer to enter the picture where the line begins and continue his or her viewing without being lead out of the photo. By changing your camera angles you can change the direction the lines in the photograph are leading. Zooming in or out can change where your line begins and ends.

You can even affect the mood of your photo by the shape of leading line you choose. Different lines are thought to have psychological meanings: vertical lines create a feeling of stature and strength and can even imply power; horizontal lines are thought to be peaceful or stable, suggesting rest; diagonal lines represent activity or motion; and curved lines are thought to be graceful and imply beauty.

Leading lines will give depth to your photo and can make an average scene look a lot more interesting. Give it a try next time you are composing a photograph.

October 19, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Adding Light to the Sun

Earlier, I showed how the use of software can add light to a badly underexposed photo. What if I told you there was a way to do the same thing using your camera and not having to do any post-processing in software. Would that be worth something to ya?

Looking at the photo below taken at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, you can see that the background and sky are nicely exposed but the subject is in shadow because of the angle fo the sun in relation to the photographer.


Scottwdw (yep, that's me) at Disney's Boardwalk Resort © Scott Thomas Photography 2005
Nikon Coolpix 995, 1/250s, f/6.0, 100 ISO, 0 EV

After looking at the image in the camera's LCD, I instructed the photographer (my daughter) to use the camera's flash to fill in the shadows. The result you can view below.


Scottwdw (me, again) at Disney's Boardwalk Resort © Scott Thomas Photography 2005
Nikon Coolpix 995, 1/60s, f/6.0, 100 ISO, 0 EV, Flash Used

This technique is called Fill Flash as it fills in shadow and dark areas of a scene with the use of an artificial light source. In this case, the builtin flash on the camera. In digital SLR and advanced Point & Shoot cameras, you may hear the term balanced fill flash as the camera will calculate the amount of flash needed using the amount of light detected by it's light meter. You don't want the flash to overpower the available light but to add just enough to bring out darkened areas like in this example.


Further Reading: While this article talks specifically about Canon equipment, other manufacturer's cameras work in a simliar fashion. Fill-in flash use with EOS cameras and speedlites

October 7, 2007

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #9

This was Challenge #8:
Where in the World #8

And here's the answer:
Stormalong Bay Slide
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/18-200VR, 1/500s shutter, f4.8

The best resort pool on property, hands down, is Stormalong Bay at the Yacht and Beach Clubs. This beached pirate ship, named the Albatross, is the pool's slide.

Darn - no winners this week. I guess this one was kind of hard. The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse was the most popular guess. This next one will be easy for you Hidden Mickey buffs - better get your answers in early!
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Challenge #9: Where in the world is this?
Where in the World #9

Do you know where to find this Hidden Mickey? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking on the comments link below this post.

September 25, 2007

Focus on Disney World - The Little Things

Mmm... Tasty!
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/18-200, 1/500s shutter, f5.6

I happened upon this little guy having breakfast while walking on the path between Saratoga Springs and Downtown Disney. He was so intent on eating that he didn't even mind me taking his picture. If you look really close you can see one of the buildings in the reflection in his eye.

Quick Tip: My tip for today really is a quickie - take time to notice the little things. Yup, that's it. So often we are trying to cram in as much as we possibly can at Disney World. If you're anything like me, you need a vacation from your vacation! Many of my favorite shots were taken when I slowed down and really paid attention to what was around me. And, come to think of it, those are some of my favorite memories as well.

September 9, 2007

Focus on Disney World - Where in the World? #5

This was Challenge #4:
Where in the World #4

And here's the answer:
Wilderness Lodge Lights
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/55-200, 0.077s shutter, f4.5

Apparently, this wasn't really a challenge after all! Nearly everyone got the answer correct. Congratulations go to Melissa N. Wheeler for being the first one to tell me that Challenge #4 comes from the teepee chandeliers in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge. OK, now that I know I'm not dealing with a bunch of novices here, you can bet I'm going to step up these challenges and make them a bit harder!
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Challenge #5: Where in the world is this?
Where in the World #5
Do you know? Do you have a guess? Send in your answer by clicking on the comments link below this post.

July 25, 2007

Focus on Disney World - Boardwalk

Boardwalk
Copyright © 2006 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50/55-200, 1/400s shutter, f4

Early evening is a great time to enjoy the Boardwalk in the Epcot resort area. I just love the feel of the area at that time of day. Whenever I go to Disney World, I always build in time to hang out there, even if I am staying somewhere else. I think what I like best is that people linger on the boardwalk throughout the late afternoon and well into the evening. Even though it's bustling with activity, it's a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. There are kids playing everywhere. Many people are out walking just for the pleasure of it. There's always someone sitting in a rocker with a good book. Friends have a beer together at Big River Grille and laugh about the fun they had earlier in the day. The Boardwalk just feels good. I like the energy of it.

Quick Tip: The best photographic subject is not always in front of you. While waiting in line to ride the Friendship water taxi to Epcot I turned around and saw this scene. For me, it captured some of that lazy summer evening feeling that I love about the Boardwalk. When you're walking around the parks and resorts remember to look at what you might be missing in the opposite direction.

July 20, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Exif Photo Data

What do all those numbers mean under our pictures?

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Disney's Yacht Club Resort Lighthouse.. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/500s, f/11, 200 ISO, -0.3 EC, 26mm Focal Length (Exif Data Line)

One of the first comments we received was to include some of the Exif (Exchangeable Image File) format information with the photographs we were using in the Picture This! blog. We decided to standardize this information so it's in the same place and format each time. Using the picture of Disney's Yacht Club Resort Lighthouse, here is the explanation of the Exif data line:

Nikon D70/18-200VR (Camera Make and Model / Lens Used (if applicable))
1/500s (Shutter Speed Used in Seconds)
f/11 (Aperture or f-stop Used)
200 ISO (ISO Setting Used)
-0.3 EC (Exposure Compensation or Bias Used)
26mm Focal Length (If known, this is the Focal Length when a Zoom lens is being used)

All of this information plus much more is attached to a digital image when you press the shutter release to take a picture. Not all of this information is available for every image you will see but we will always try to give you the Camera Make and Model, Shutter Speed and Aperture. In upcoming blog entries, I'll be defining and explaining each of these Exif terms.

Somethng else you may find helpful is, if you click on an image, you'll get a larger image if the author has one available. Try it on the picture above.

July 12, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: More than a Dining Guy

Scottwdw. Copyright© Scott Thomas Photography 2007

You may know me as the webmaster of the Disney Planning Strategy Calculator for Disney Reservations. What you don't know about me is I've been an avid photographer since I received my first Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera at the age of 16. I've burned up a lot of rolls of film, took a correspondence photography course and read many books and articles since then. With the technological breakthrough of digital photography, the hobby of photography has taken a huge leap and me with it. A couple of years ago, I purchased my first digital SLR camera, a Nikon D70. I can say I have learned more with this camera then all the film based ones I've used over the last 30 years.

I would like to thank Deb Wills for inviting me to contribute to the Picture This! photography blog here on AllEars. I will be giving you my views, examples, and ideas for taking photographs at Walt Disney World. I have recorded thousands of images at Walt Disney World over the last 24 years. Some great and some not so great. I hope my experiences can help you to improve your photographs at home and on your Disney vacations.

While at times I will be writing about specific pieces of equipment, most of the articles will cover intermediate to advanced photography concepts and techniques relevant to both Point and Shoot (P&S) and digital SLR cameras. As a starter, you can improve your pictures today by taking the time to get more familiar with your digital camera by reading through it's manual. Have your camera with you as you learn about all the different settings, menus and picture review capabilities. I was surprised at all the different things I could do with my camera by just changing a setting or menu option. I think you will too.

For me, digital photography brought back the fun of photography. I will be sharing the fun with you here.

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About Resorts

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Picture This! in the Resorts category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

MouseFest is the previous category.

Theme Parks is the next category.

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