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February 23, 2018

Photographing Birds at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Photographing birds whether at Walt Disney World or out in the wild is a challenge. While many birds at Disney's Animal Kingdom are content to stand and be still for photographs. Others are not. If you have ever watched the Eastern Golden Weavers inside the Aviary of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, you know what I mean. These little yellow birds fly in and out from their nests all day long. They rarely stop and pose for the camera.

To best capture a photo of moving birds, set your camera to Shutter Priority mode (or Sport Mode) and use a fast shutter speed. For the photo below, I used 1/500th of a second and let the camera choose the aperture and ISO. Continuous mode where you press the shutter and the camera fires off multiple exposures is a big help, too. I observed where the birds would often land on the fern. Birds often have favorite perches. They would only stay there for a second or two so I needed to be quick. I have a few lovely shots of the fern by itself when I was too slow. Persistence and patience paid off here.

Eastern Golden Weaver inside the Aviary of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Eastern Golden Weaver inside the Aviary of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV +0.3, 300mm Focal Length.

When attending a bird show like the former Flights of Wonder (soon to be replaced by a new show featuring Dug and Russell, from Pixar's UP!) you are often told where the birds will start from, fly to and land. This allowed me to capture this Harris Hawk landing on a handler's glove. Notice I used 1/1000th of a second here to freeze the action. Again, continuous mode allowed me to get a sequence of photos as the hawk landed. This was my favorite one of the bunch.

Harris Hawk landing on a handler's glove in the Flights of Wonder show at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Harris Hawk landing on a handler's glove in the Flights of Wonder show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 1800, EV 0, 120mm Focal Length.

While I do like to see a sharp photo of a flying bird, sometimes I want to convey the energy and movement of them. This is what I did for the launch of several Macaws during the Winged Encounters - The Kingdom Takes Flight presentation on Discovery Island. The slow (for bird movement) shutter of 1/125th of a second allowed the wings of the colorful birds to become blurred as they flew off.

Macaws fly in Winged Encounters - The Kingdom Takes Flight on Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Macaws fly in Winged Encounters - The Kingdom Takes Flight on Discovery Island.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 35mm Focal Length, Skylum Intensify CK.

Birds are easy to find around the world, not just in Walt Disney World, and are a fun subject to photograph.






http://land.allears.net/blogs/photoblog/2009/01/wide_world_of_disney.html

April 21, 2017

Eliminating Distracting Backgrounds at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Here are a few ideas on how to separate your subject from its background which are often busy at Walt Disney World. I have previously gone into detail on how to use Aperture mode on a dSLR camera to blur out the background while keeping the subject sharp and clear. For compact cameras and on some smart phones you can look for Portrait mode to get the same effect.

The background behind this Meerkat sentinel on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney's Animal Kingdom was extremely busy. I used Aperture priority mode and set the aperture to the widest available for the 300mm focal length I used. Doing so threw the background out of focus while keeping the meerkat in sharp focus.

Meerkat (Suricata suricatta) sentinel on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Meerkat sentinel on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 300mm Focal Length.

Using Fill Flash is another great way to pull your subject out from a busy background. While Miss Betty Shambles was pining for a Valentine on Hollywood Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, I used fill flash to highlight her over the background.

Citizens of Hollywood Miss Betty Shambles looking for her Valentine on Hollywood Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Citizens of Hollywood Miss Betty Shambles looking for her Valentine on Hollywood Blvd.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/200s, f/4, ISO 100, EV 0, 66mm Focal Length.

Lighting or Color is another way to highlight your subjects. Below I happened to use both. The light on the ancient idol along one of the world's rivers on the Magic Kingdom's Jungle Cruise naturally outlined it. The green vegetation also framed the idol. Both the light and colors pop the idol out of its background.

An ancient idol on the Magic Kingdom's Jungle Cruise as the boat enters the Mekong River in Cambodia, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
An ancient idol on the Magic Kingdom's Jungle Cruise as the boat enters the Mekong River in Cambodia.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 900, EV 0, 150mm Focal Length.

Remember these tips when you are confronted by busy backgrounds which can distract from your photo's main subject or subjects.

February 10, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Action

Deb's Digest Blog

This was a hard one for me as I don't do very well taking "action" shots. However, recently I happened upon the Meerkats at Animal Kingdom just as their feeding and enrichment was beginning. It was great to watch as the first one timidly emerged from the hole to see is everything was safe. A few more minutes went by before the 2nd one peered out.

After about 10 minutes, they animal keeper had them all running back and forth for their "meatballs". Just image how FAST this little meerkat was jumping up for food! I managed to get him on 2 legs and mouth wide open. If this isn't an action shot, I don't know what is!

meerkat2.jpg

Be sure to click on the photo for a larger image.

January 29, 2016

New Animals at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Things are always changing at Walt Disney World. At Disney's Animal Kingdom, I photographed new residents on my last trip in December of 2015.

The entrance to Discovery Island Trails before the bridge over to Africa is the home of the Cotton-top Tamarins (Saguinus oedipus). Cotton-top Tamarins are new world monkeys from Central and South America.

Cotton-top Tamarin at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cotton-top Tamarin at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 4500, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

On the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Asia, I spotted the Sarus Crane (Grus antigone) walking through tall grass. Turns out Sarus Cranes are the tallest cranes in the world reaching a height of nearly six feet (1.8m). They are found in India, Southeast Asia and Australia.

Sarus Crane on the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Sarus Crane on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 180, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

Staying on the Maharajah Jungle Trek and in the same exhibit area were Asian Antelopes. A whole heard had come up and over a hill to start grazing on the hillside. This lovely male was nice enough to pose for me.

Asian Antelope on the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Asian Antelope on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 450, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

While Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) are not new to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, these two baby boys are. They were entertaining a large audience of guests with their antics.

Baby Western Lowland Gorillas playing on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Baby Western Lowland Gorillas playing on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/5.6, ISO 4500, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

I always make it a point to walk all the trails in Disney's Animal Kingdom as new animals go on display or replace other species all the time.

April 25, 2014

Photographing around Disney's Animal Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I see a lot people when they first walk up to the Tree of Life after crossing the bridge just take a photo or look at the tree for a bit then walk off to either side around Discovery Island. I suggest to many of my friends and family, to take the short trail down to the animal viewing area. Here you can see the animals and take pictures often with no one around with the tree making a nice background. You can see many of the Tree of Life's carvings from there, too.

Snowy Egret at the base of the Tree of Life on Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Carving of an American Bison or Buffalo looks down upon a Snowy Egret at the base of the Tree of Life.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/14, ISO 200, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

Discovery Island is one of the places you can get good pictures of the beautiful and endangered West African Crowned Cranes.

West African Crowned Crane on Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
West African Crowned Crane on Discovery Island.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

When approaching the Lion area towards the end of the Kilimanjaro Safari be ready as you never know when you might get a glimpse of one of the felines.

African lioness looking from behind a rock on the Kilimanjaro Safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
African lioness looking from behind a rock on the Kilimanjaro Safari.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/500s, f/5.6, ISO 720, EV +0.3, 400mm focal length.

After you get off your Kilimanjaro Safari jeep, be sure to follow the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail to see all the wonderful animals and birds. The highlight being the troops of Western lowland gorillas. Take your time as you walk along the trail as you are often followed.

A bachelor Western lowland gorilla on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A bachelor Western lowland gorilla on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/800s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV +0.3, 400mm focal length.

Sadly, you can no longer visit with the Komodo Dragon on the Maharajah Jungle Trek as a few weeks after I took this photo, the dragon died. He was a magnificent animal who gave me many thrills over the years. {UPDATE: Paul (see comments) has informed me there is a new Komodo Dragon. I will get a photo of it on my next trip for sure.]

Komodo Dragon on the Maharajah  Jungle Trek in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Komodo Dragon on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Nikon D700/80-400VR, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 2200, EV -0.6, 400mm focal length.

Disney's Animal Kingdom is a beautiful place to see, learn and photograph animals from all over the world.

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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Picture This! in the Pangani Forest Trail category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Kilimanjaro Safari is the previous category.

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