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May 12, 2017

Observing the Extraordinary at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.Photographer Elliott Erwitt

While we can all agree Walt Disney World is not an "ordinary place", it is a great place to find something interesting if you are observant. It is hard not to be distracted while visiting the resort. There are so many things to see and do and so many people doing them. You are traveling with other people and there are reservations and Fast Pass times to adhere to.

But...if a few times during your stay you can take a step back and look around. Allow yourself to observe where you are and let the creative part of you out. You will be surprised what you may capture in front of you.

The Discovery Island Carnivale in Disney's Animal Kingdom perform a very energentic act which gets guests involved and dancing. I so enjoy others enjoying themselves and capturing their exuberance in the moment.

Discovery Island Carnivale performing and getting guests to dance with them in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Discovery Island Carnivale performing and getting guests to dance with them..
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 140, EV +0.3, 72mm focal length.

It can be something so simple and ordinary as a daughter helping her mother with menu choices at Homecoming: Florida Kitchen restaurant in Disney Springs.

Daughter helping her mother with menu choices at Homecoming restaurant in Disney Springs, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Daughter helping her mother with menu choices at Homecoming restaurant.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 2000, EV +0.3, 27mm focal length.

Let your knowledge of your camera, lens, exposure, composition guide your creative side to look and see. Walt Disney said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” In our case, put the books down, get away from the computer and go out and shoot. Learn from mistakes and never stop observing the life around us.

Walt Disney statue in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Walt Disney statue in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/9, ISO 100, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

A good exercise in observing is finding a place to sit down or lean against an object. Do as Obi Wan Kenobi would do and let yourself go and stretch out with your mind to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. You can do this anywhere even in a busy Disney themepark.

April 14, 2017

Photographic Patience at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I covered this week's theme on Patience before in a blog post entitled, "Play the Waiting Game at Walt Disney World" back in 2013. In it, I talked about waiting until I got a people free photo opportunity.

This week I talk about another kind of patience. The kind we all face being a photographer with a group of people or traveling with family at Walt Disney World.

The first is time waiting for someone to shop in the many stores, shops and kiosks found in and around the resort. I fill up the time by wandering around and looking for interesting merchandise to photograph. In the photo below I found these colorful hats on display in the Disney Outfitters Shop at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Hats on display inside Disney Outfitters shop in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hats on display inside Disney Outfitters shop in Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D750/18-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.8, ISO 5600, EV +0.3, 34mm Focal Length.

A ride queue, especially for the most popular rides, can be very time consuming. Thankfully, Disney Imagineers put in as much work into the queues as they do the rides. As older rides have been refurbished and new rides open, the queues have become more interactive and photographically pleasing. For example, Frozen Ever After's queue is a pleasing wait in a Norwegian village ending in Oaken Token's with a fun sauna inside.

Frozen Ever After queue in the Norway pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Waiting in the Frozen Ever After queue in Epcot's Norway pavilion.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1/50s, f/2.8, ISO 12800, EV +1.0.

I like to photograph firework shows with a tripod. This means staking out a location long before show time. I use the time to experiment with different exposures like this very long exposure looking down Main Street USA.

Waiting Main Street USA for Holiday Wishes to start in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Waiting Main Street USA for Holiday Wishes to start in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 30s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length, Tripod.

This is the hardest subject to be patient with to photograph. Your food order when it gets set before you and you are hungry. I am not talking about your everyday hunger, I mean Walt Disney World hunger. You know what I mean. Below is a photo of Art's Fabulous Fried Chicken entree at the Homecoming Restaurant in Disney Springs. I had heard all kinds of postive things about his dish, I almost started eating before I took a couple of photos. I mean, look at it. Hungry, yet? Yes, it is as good as people say.

Art's Fabulous Fried Chicken entree at Homecoming restaurant in Disney Springs, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Art's Fabulous Fried Chicken entree at Homecoming restaurant in Disney Springs.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/40s, f/10, ISO 3200, EV +0.3, 48mm Focal Length.

When you are waiting for family or friends, look around for a photo op. At Walt Disney World, they are everywhere.

November 11, 2016

Harps of Disney's Animal Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I enjoyed performances of musicians playing harps in Disney's Animal Kingdom recently. The first one was a very unique instrument called a mandinka harp (kora) which is a 21-string lute-bridge-harp used extensively in West Africa made from a large calabash or bottle gourd. It makes a very pleasing sound.

Muscian playing a mandinka harp in the African village of Harambe at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Muscian playing a mandinka harp in the African village of Harambe.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/4.8, ISO 100, EV 0, 62mm Focal Length, Fill Flash.

I follow and have read many an article and blog post from National Geographic photographer Joe McNally. He pays a lot of attention to a person's hands in his photographic essays about people in all walks of life. I channeled my inner McNally by taking a close up of the musician's hands while he played the mandinka harp.

Close up of a muscian's hands playing a mandinka harp in the African village of Harambe at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Close up of a muscian's hands playing a mandinka harp in the African village of Harambe.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 100, EV 0, 300mm Focal Length.

Later that day, I happened upon a musician playing the Paraguayan harp, the national instrument of Paraguay, on Discovery Island. I again wanted to emphasize the musician's hands. This time I slowed down my shutter to show motion as his hands moved over the strings. I kept the camera steady by using another Joe McNally technique called Da Grip. Comes in very handy (sorry about the pun) when you do not have a tripod on hand (I just can not help myself!).

Musician playing the Paraguayan harp on Discovery Island at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Musician playing the Paraguayan harp on Discovery Island.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/15s, f/5.6, ISO 560, EV +0.3, 170mm Focal Length.

Entertainment at Walt Disney World resorts and themeparks are wonderful to experience and photograph as you often can get very close to the performer(s).

As I was writing this post, I listened to mandinka harp music via youTube. I highly recommend doing the same when you wish to relax.

October 25, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Signature Restaurant

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Signature restaurants at Walt Disney World stand for fine dining and feature unique experiences, menu choices and are the most expensive places to eat on property. For those on the Dining Plan, meals at a signature restaurant take two dining credits per meal. It has been my experience the extra cost at a signature is more than made up in the quality of the restaurant, service and food and drink served.

I recently dined at the newest signature restaurant at Walt Disney World called Tiffins in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Tiffins is found on the path which will eventually lead you to the future Pandora attraction. Here is a collage of photos from the experience.

Collage of photos from Tiffins restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Collage of photos from Tiffins restaurant.

From top left, Tiffins napkin on the Travel Log (aka menu), Berkshire Pork Tenderloin entrée, wall art created from photos and items brought back from Africa by Imagineers when doing research for the Animal Kingdom and Berbere-Spiced Lamb Chop entrée.

The food and ambiance was excellent. Check out the Nomad Lounge for a before or after dinner cocktail which is right next door.

Tomorrow, Deb will share one of her favorite Signature Restaurants.

August 31, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Favorite Animal

Deb's Digest Blog

It didn't take me long to decide what animal to feature in this week's Pic of the Week, it has to be the collared lemur!

I have been going to Animal Kingdom every year since it opened in 1998. In all that time, I have only seen the collared lemurs ONCE! They are nocturnal and are usually sleeping in the trees. You can find them in the same area as the ringed-tail lemurs (black and white). I think they are still in Animal Kingdom. If anyone knows for sure, please let me know.

It was hard to select which one photo to share - hope you like the one I have chosen. I just love the eye contact! The photo was taken January 2013. Let me know if you have ever seen these lemurs!

clemur.jpg


February 3, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Close Up

Deb's Digest Blog

I had a fun time finding a photo for this week's topic. One of my absolute favorite things to do is wander around Animal Kingdom with my zoom lens! Here is one of my favorite shots of the ring-tailed lemur.

"Look Ma No Cavities!"
lemur2013.jpg
Click on the photo for a closer dental inspection :)

November 4, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Tree of Life

Deb's Digest Blog

I vividly remember the first time I saw the Tree of Life. It was mid-April during a Cast Member preview. I stood in awe - overwhelmed by its magnitude and all the carvings.

The photo below is from a Disney Media Relations "newspaper" that was sent to journalists during the construction phase of the park. It shows the framework for the Tree of Life.

It was described as follows: "Towering 14 stories above Safari Village is the Tree of Life, 170 feet in diameter at its root base and surrounded by shimmering pools and greenery filled with a host of birds and small mammals. The trunk of the tree is intricately carved with a swirling tapestry of animal forms that symbolize the richness and diversity of animal life on Earth."

tree-of-life.jpg

What were YOUR thoughts the first time you saw the Tree of Life?


November 3, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Tree of Life

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Tree of Life continues to dominate people's attention as they emerge from the Oasis and travel over Discovery River bridge into Disney's Animal Kingdom park. Imagineers over time have added new viewing locations, waterfalls and animal carvings. While I like the new ones, my favorite view of the Tree of Life is this waterfall you pass after leaving the It's Tough To Be a Bug show. Look for it on your next visit.

Waterfall at the base of the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Waterfall at the base of the Tree of Life.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, f/8, ISO 1600, EV 0, 25mm Focal Length, HDR Image.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her view on the Tree of Life icon.


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!

February 20, 2015

New Views of the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

As reported by Deb Wills on the AllEars.net Twitter account last week, a few of the walls came down at Disney's Animal Kingdom as people enter the park from the Oasis. A new open area with a spectacular view of the Tree of Life was revealed. The lower viewing area has been replaced with this area featuring new carvings on roots from the tree.

New view of the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
New view of the Tree of Life.
Nikon D7100/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 450, EV 0, 11mm Focal Length.

Here are new carvings of a deer and an African elephant which are on the right side.

New Tree of Life carvings of a deer and African elephant at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
New Tree of Life carvings of a deer and African elephant.
Nikon D7100/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 1800, EV +0.3, 11mm Focal Length.

On the left side, is a carving of a Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep. This carving is proving to be very popular with guests.

New Tree of Life carvings of a Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
New Tree of Life carvings of a Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep.
Nikon D7100/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 1100, EV +0.3, 11mm Focal Length.

The new viewing area is beautiful but the opening to the tree between the new carvings is about 20 feet wide. That is not a lot of room for guests, especially big groups, to gather to get photographs. One must be patient to get the photos I have taken here and even more patient to get your party set up for a photo as guests will come in and out of your frame.

The day I was there no Disney PhotoPass photographers were working the area. I would imagine that will not always be the case.

January 27, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Disney's Animal Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Changes are in the air over at Disney's Animal Kingdom, too, as Disney prepares the park of a new night time entertainment experience. Even the Tree of Life is having every one of its leaves replaced. That is like 103,000 of them! The image below was taken in October of 2014 before the leaf changeover had begun.

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

I took this photo a little after noon and the Sun angle was not very flattering on the tree. I knew a single photo would not capture the tree's carvings which were in deep shade. Instead, I took a series of five photos from two stops underexposed to two stops overexposed and combined them into a High Dynamic Range image. Much better.

November 16, 2014

Where in the World #358

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!

Now for Challenge #357:
Where in the World #357

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

A giraffe statue near the bamboo in Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom. He's one of three giraffes here.
From Millan.Net

The Kertes Family were the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to the Kerteses and to all our winners this week! !Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Donna Frank, Kristi Strembicki, Hillary Waldroop, Hobbes And Snorky, Melissa Such, Carol Bertolo-gamill, Sandie Albrecht, Jamie Fahey, Evanna Huda, Kris Nixon, Sharon Pierce, Candice Grimes, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney , Elaine Kleinhenz, Eric Johnson, Team Hill, Pat Schwier, Isabel Johansen, Laurie Walker, Kye Layton, Jennifer Hess, Maryann Romagnano, Nan Amor, Rider Family, Ruben Omeara, Judy Simonsen, Grumpy's Groupies, Bill Mckim, Patti Mccaffrey, Maggie Klotz, Maureen Handy, Owen States, Kerri Coggins, Les Stewart, Lennie Chapman, The Long Family, The Parker Family, Lee Anastasi, Leach Family, Chloe Mayhew, Angel Diven, Team Bonnie Sue, Josh Carney, Mary Beth Tarbet, Chris Kelly, Terry Fleming, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Kathryn Perkins, Brian Gallant, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Vera And Izzy Williams, Jim Finley, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Liz Moreau , Joseph M. Zafia, Barclay Bakkum, Kyle Burdo, Walter N. Clark, Matt Holley, Kelly Smith, Jessica, Dayna Guay, Stacy Guarracino, Les Whitten, and Vicki Britt!
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #358 Where in the world is this?

Back into the parks! This might be tough; if it is, here's a hint. You're used to seeing these from the side.
Where in the World #358

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, November 20th, 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 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.

April 22, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Tree Of Life

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Whether it is your first time visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom or your fiftyish, seeing the Tree Of Life as you come out onto the bridge to cross over to Discovery Island is an amazing experience. I like it as one of the few places in Walt Disney World where you can frame an attraction and wonder where on Earth it is.

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

Here are a few facts from the AllEars.net page about the Tree of Life:

  • Branches span 165 feet across
  • There are over 100,000 leaves on the tree
  • The trunk is 50 feet wide
  • 20 artists carved into the trunk, branches and roots over 320 animals
  • Thousands worked on the construction of the Tree of Life which took 18 months to build

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her view of the Disney Pic of the Week on the Tree Of Life.

August 8, 2013

DiVine, in profile

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

DiVine in profile as she walks around Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
DiVine, in profile, as she walks around Discovery Island.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 1100, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

DiVine, the living and moving vine you see at Disney's Animal Kingdom moves slowly, often stopping to blend into the vegetation surrounding Discovery Island. She is quiet, serene and always looking afar. When people see her, they are amazed and curious.

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

July 30, 2013

Disney Pic of the Week: Waterfalls

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney Imagineers and architects used waterfalls everywhere in Walt Disney World. Some are very big and incorporated into major attractions like Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom and the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot's Future World. While other waterfalls are smaller and not as noticeable like this one in Disney's Animal Kingdom on Discovery Island.

A waterfall at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A waterfall at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 70mm Focal Length

Come back on Thursday when Lisa shares her Disney Pic of the Week for Waterfalls.

July 25, 2013

Bug Eyed at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Kid looking through a bug eyed mask in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A young guest finding out what a bug sees.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/400s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 200mm focal length.

Child looks through a bug eyed mask at Disney's Animal Kingdom can see how an insect sees through their compound eyes. This mask can be found by following the path pointed out by the MEET THE REAL STARS OF THE SHOW sign after exiting the It's Tough to be a Bug show on Discovery Island. A real eye opener for our Disney Pic of the Week for Insects.


May 26, 2013

Where in the World #281

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!

By this time next week, I will be in Walt Disney World, Players! So time to wish me Bon Voyage!
wave
Wow, thanks for the enthusiasm!

I'll tell Mickey Mouse you said hello! Plus I will of course see you here next week. And have the Disney bear ready for my post vacation blues. Who had the Disney bear last; they will have to spare him. I'm looking at you, Claire Gregory.

It looks like I'm sharing Disney with Hunter Armstrong who is also leaving for a vacation! See you around the parks, Hunter!
From Millan.Net

And welcome home, Susan and Mike Hill! I'm glad you had so much fun tracking down Where in the World clues!

Mickey Eckert, thank you for still loving me and the game despite the impossible clue. Hugs! hug
Sorry, too much?

Here's Challenge #279:
 Where in the World #279

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

The DCV outpost globe in Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom where you turn for Camp Minnie-Mickey.

Steve And Ruby Jordan, great answer. :) I found a boo-boo Disney bear to make your digital photo paper cuts feel a little better:
From Millan.Net

Bob Lanks was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Bob! A few people were close in their answers and congratulations to them too! Vera Williams, Team Hill, Diane Ramos, Emily Hudson, and Colette Stanton. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Here's Challenge #280:
Where in the World #280

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

The sign welcoming you to Rockettower Plaza in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom!

Plenty of people like Pam Vanaustin, Diane Ramos, & Steve And Ruby Jordan's daughter love this ride as much as my husband, especially the call "Paging Mr. Morrow... Mr. Tom Morrow!" Been there, love it, got my husband the t-shirt!

Jerry Turner was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Jerry and all our winners this week! Sairey, Ally, Colette Stanton, Colette Stanton, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Johansen Family, Judi Copley, Hunter Armstrong, Mike Mondoux, Linda College, K Beasley, Becky Norman, Ken Clark, Kathy Davies, Lorine Landon, Kelly Cummings, Louise, Tina Santacroce, Mike Walter, Andrea Weedmark , Duskin Henard, Maggie Klotz, Emily Hudson, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, Leigh Mertz, Chris Bauman, Sara Alaimo, Alan Mize, Belicia Cullen, Melissa Littman, Maryann Romagnano, Carol Ney, Rob Hildebrandt , Mary Beth Tarbet, Linda Ranatza, Pam Vanaustin, Robert Hildebrandt, Scott Cullen, Vera Williams, Steve And Ruby Jordan, Team Hill, John Menjes, Rachel Taylor, George Mundy Jr, Theresa Rucando, Steve And Ruby Jordan, Tom Higbee, Diane Ramos, Chuck Sands, Mickey Eckert, and Emily Hudson. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

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Challenge #281 Where in the world is this?

We're still in the parks with a less impossible clue!

And remember, you can't just give the park name.

 Where in the World #281

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, May 30th, 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!

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 2, 2013

Flik at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Flik meets and greets guests in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Flik signs an autograph for a guest at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D700/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 70mm focal length, fill flash.

I got to meet and photograph Flik, one of my favorite Pixar characters, at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The star of the movie, A Bug's Life, was perfect for my Disney Pic of the Week about Pixar.

March 29, 2013

Including Guests in Walt Disney World Photography

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Continuing our tips for photographing in busy tourist attractions using Walt Disney World examples. When the parks are full of people, and it is a rare day when they are not these days, I just include them in the composition. People help to tell the story and add scale to whatever surrounds them.

Watching the Dream Along with Mickey show on the stage in front of Cinderella Castle with a few of my closest friends, I decided to include them. I stood up on the bench next to the Partner's Statue in the hub to get this photo.

Guests enjoy the Dream Along with Mickey show at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests enjoy the Dream Along with Mickey show in front of Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/22, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length.

My niece and her family were visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom for the first time and stopped to marvel at the Tree of Life. I like this photo more than the posed one I took a few minutes later. They are involved with the Tree of Life as the parents and children look at all the animals on it.

A family seeing the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom for the first time, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A family seeing the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom for the first time.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 22mm focal length.

While both of these photos would have been fine without the people, I feel including them enhanced the photos and created better stories.

October 28, 2012

Where in the World #252

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, Players, for your understanding for my mistake last week!

And Happy Halloween to everyone who is celebrating it!

Smiley from millan.net

As for this week, I am in Walt Disney World vacation! Everyone wave to me! Hi from Disney World! Smiley from millan.net

Kelly Mager is here too. You know we are both thinking of all of you! (In between kiosks a the Food and Wine festival.) ;)

Seriously though, if you are at Walt Disney World now and you see me with my AllEars backpack, say hi! I'm carrying AllEars swag like our trading cards and buttons!

Claire Gregory, I can't believe we're going to miss each other by a week!

Here was the challenge:
 Where in the World #251

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

It's the camel from Mickey's Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade. in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Actually, it's Mickey's JINGLE Jungle Parade. when they decorate the floats for Christmas.

Players, I love it when you talk with Imagineers' jargon. I had quite a few entries for "one of those paradey/floaty thingies". I don't know how you memorize technical specs like that!

Danielle Ciotti Harsley was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Danielle and to all the readers who got the answer right: Emily Hudson, Ed Elder, Betsy Silvestri, Chris Kelly, Mary Beth Tarbet, Jenny Brennan, Kerri Coggins, Chris Masse, Team Hill, Amanda Campbell, Annie Snodgrass, Morag Lemon, Vera Williams, Larissa Huda, Jamie K, Hayley Valk, Diane Arsenault, Sara Powell, John Pasqueralli, Karen Ramirez, Angie Young, Wendy T Faler, Vicki, William, Thomas, And Elizabeth Edwards, Cynthia Hitchcock, Kye Layton, Claire Gregory, Maureen Handy, Theresa Rucando, Katie Marshall, Pam Tees, Kelly Cummings, Jerry Weldon, Kris Nixon, Megan, Hobbes And Snorky, Diane Curfman, Tom Koval, Clay, Lee Anastasi, Jennifer Rupert, Jason Geberdt, Sharon Dale, Trina Noggle, Nathalie Periard, Angela And David Blevins, Hoekzema Family, Carrie Henderson, Peg Howard, Kellie Harpel, Amber Slifer, Diane Ramos, Debbie Desimone, Tricia Noble, Stephanie Linares, Erin Loring, Lindsey Nozal, Kristen Mccoy, Jaclyn Kelch, Kelly, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Jenifer Moyer, Jackie Graebel, Mark Franklin, and Jared Meeker. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Remember, you are all actually entered TWICE in the drawing!
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Challenge #252: Where in the world is this?

Now a new challenge!
 Where in the World #252

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, November 1st, 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 19, 2012

Where in the World #243

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!

Jeremy Mccaffrey, your Aunt Patti feels bad she got your answer in too late for last week's challenge, especially when you answered it perfectly. So, on her behalf, you are getting a special honorable mention to start off all the Players this week! And if she wins the monthly drawing, she has to share the prize with you. She promised. Right, Patti?

Since I have Team Mccafrey's attention, you guys can help start the wave to Mike Venere who is in Walt Disney World as we speak! Hope you're enjoying your trip, Mike! Let's put you in the mood for the World Showcase and wave hello in.... Japanese. Love that pavilion!
Smiley from millan.net

Here was the August 12th Challenge:
 Where in the World #242

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

It's Karen Schlumpf's personal friend - she always stops to see him when she is in the House of Mouse: the rabbit carving on the Tree of Life in the Discovery Island section of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Specifically, you'll find him on the trail around the exit of Tough to Be A Bug.

(Did I ever tell you, Players, that I met Dave Foley with his daughter IN the attraction? Nothing like watching Flik in the movie while he's sitting next to you!)

We're not sure who that critter is kissing the rabbit on the nose. I like her jacket though. And her Pal Mickey.

Kris Nixon was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Kris and to all the readers who got the answer right: Ed Elder, Christine Dagney, Erin Dagney, Jennifer Rowell, Linda Scrivano, Chris Kelly, Mary Beth Tarbet, Larissa Huda, Evanna Huda, Team Hill, Kenny, Scott Mitchell, Dolly Rettig, Wendy Snelgrove, Wendy T Faler, Chris Connors, Debbie Connors, Gabriella &Matthieu, James And Kathy Berry, Karen Schlumpf, Mike O'brien, Daniel Meagher, Louise Barton, Kristi Strembicki, Ruth Senecal, Michelle Boewe, Nathalie Periard, Mike Venere, Jenny Stoneburner, Ed Suscreba, Kyle Parker, Morgan M., Madison Hovan, The Kertes Family, Jessica Iglesias, Walter N. Clark, Lily-pierre &Mathieu, Tinkerbell Wells, Vera Williams, Kelly Smith, Alan Mize, Kate Fischer, Nancy, Matt Holley, Kelly Feeko, Dan Owens, Karen Smith, Sandie Albrecht, Heidi Goodhue, Danielle Ciotti, Cynthia Hitchcock, Lori Rienhardt, Liz Moreau, Kari Clark, Daniel Record, Evald Olson, Agnes Ciotti, Christopher Barnes, Holly Jaen, Alex Romanauskas, and Victoria Finnegan. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
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Challenge #243: Where in the world is this?

I'll be honest. This is a tough one. It's a tough one if you've never noticed this "Overlooked" or "Hidden" detail in Walt Disney World. Of course, if you've looked for it, you'll recognize it right away.

Since this is tougher, I'll give you a second hint (and let me know if you needed this hint or if you recognized this anyway. I'm just curious). You're looking at two parks right now:
 Where in the World #243

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, August 23rd, 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 10, 2012

Where in the World #233

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!

Pecosace, look! Here's your name, big and bold as life! I got your entry. :)

Gabriella And Matthieu, thanks for the fantastic note! Wow!

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #232

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, f2.7, 1/320sec, 4mm, ISO-400

This is why they tell you that if you drop something in one of the Animal Kingdom enclosures, don't go in after it. Let one of the animal caretakers get it for you. Here I am, getting my shoe, and this gator guy thinks I want to play a game of tug-of-war.

Seriously, this stone friend is located by Beastly Bazaar, in Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Equally seriously, you just know my husband was so proud to be with me at that moment. LOL!

Mary Beth Tarbet, you couldn't have the answer more right if you tried. Kudos! ;)

Claire Gregory, I can't give you a secret mission in Cape Cod, so I'll just say have a good trip when you go! And we'll see what we can think of for your Disney trip later this year!

Larissa Huda was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Larissa and to all the readers who got the answer right: Mike Haeberle, Diane Tredore, Kenny, Hayley Valk, Nancy Johansen, Gabriella And Matthieu, Kathleen Wolfe, Tjm Johansen, Jacquelyn Law, Annette Nuenke, Ken Maikowski, Maryann Eckenrdoe, Dennis Weidner, Marian, Anne Marie Cronin, Becky Fuqua, Brian Fleming, Pecosace, Mike Cerce, Jen Cerce, Pam Vanaustin, Sherri Tatum, Sara Holloway, Lori Rienhardt, The Kertes Family, Jennifer Rowell, Belicia Cullen, Janice Alvord, Walter N. Clark, Kerri Coggins, Alison Rosenberger, Mary Beth Tarbet, Kathy Lubenow, Jason Skow, Wendy T Faler, Tim Widener, Amy Bolinsky, Deb Ragno, George Mundy Jr, Margie Larmon, Stacy Guarracino, Chris Rathsack, Paul Newman, Susie Howard, The Malesky Family, and Sarah Kuekes. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #233: Where in the world is this?

All right! We're staying in the parks! Do you know where this is in Walt Disney World?

 Where in the World #233

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 14th, 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 26, 2011

FX Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In keeping with our theme of creative processing this week, I want to share with you an app I was made aware of a few weeks ago. If you own an Apple computer, iPhone, iTouch or iPad/2. You might enjoy getting FX Photo Studio to quickly add one or more special effects to your photos.

The interface is very easy. Once you import your photo, you can select, preview and adjust one of almost two hundred special effect filters to apply to your photo. Here are a few of my favorite Walt Disney World photos after selecting a FX (movie shorthand for special effects) filter from the app.

I keep going back to this photo of Space Mountain. As much as I like the original, it is fun to see it differently using creative filters and textures.

Neon Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida.
Neon FX filtered Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World is based on our planet but what if it was something from another galaxy?

Alien Skin Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida.
Alien Skinned FX Spaceship Earth in Epcot.

Using FX Photo Studio is very easy. After launching the application on a MacIntosh computer, you can import photos from iPhoto, Aperture 3 or LightRoom libraries. On an iPhone, iTouch or iPad, it can import from any photo album. I imported this photo of the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom from my Aperture 3 album of what I consider my best photos.

Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom before adding an FX filter.

Here is the Tree of Life photo being compared with the special effect called Lindale (selected below in the strip of effects). Once you select an effect, you are given one or more sliders to adjust the effect to your liking.

Screen shot of FX Photo Studio.
Screen shot of FX Photo Studio with the Tree of Life photo.

After I adjusted the effect from 100% to 80% I saved the image back to my computer.

Tree of Life after the Lindale special effect filter added.
Tree of Life after the Lindale special effect filter was added.

See how easy that was to do? FX Photo Studio costs $9.99 from the Mac App store. The iPhone and iTouch versions cost $1.99 and the iPad version costs $2.99 from iTunes.

July 9, 2010

Animal Portraits

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In the past I have shown you a portrait of a Wood Stork but I never went into details as to how to make a good animal portrait. The principles are the same as a good human portrait. Good lighting, good background, sharp focus, fill the frame (or crop after) and good exposure. In most zoos, animal parks and in the wild, backgrounds are the toughest to control. The best way is to use the widest aperture your lens can go so as to create an out-of-focus, or bokeh, blur in the background. I found this Yellow-billed Stork (Mycteria ibis) along one of the Discovery Island Trails which surround the Tree of Life. He was close enough to fill the frame with the lens I was using with a little crop for a 4x5 (8x10) ratio.

Yellow-billed Stork portrait in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Yellow-billed Stork portrait in Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/25s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +1.0, 200mm focal length

This portrait has the bokeh background, soft light coming from behind and to the right, exposure so as to keep detail in the white feathers, focus (like humans, the eye must be sharply focused for animals) and a nice pose.

Something I also try to get is an environmental portrait of the animal. Today's zoos and animal parks try to recreate as much as possible the actual living environment of the species they care for. In this case, a marsh-like setting along a river was created for many of the birds who live near or on Discovery Island and made for a suitable environmental portrait for this Yellow-billed Stork.

Yellow-billed Stork environment in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Yellow-billed Stork environmental portrait.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 200mm focal length

Here are previous Disney's Animal Kingdom photography guides:

Kilimanjaro Safari Photo Tips

Maharajah Jungle Trek Photo Tips

April 16, 2010

Spring Waterfalls

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

It is Spring. Both on the calendar and in the air where I live in upstate New York. Most of the United States has had serious bouts with Spring fever. Spring is also the time of rain and melting snow. The old adage of April showers bring May flowers and all that. This is the time of year for nature photographers to visit their favorite waterfalls as the flow is at its peak.

At Walt Disney World you don't have to worry about the flow of the waterfalls and fountains as they are artificially maintained. It gives visitors a chance to capture the wonder of moving water. To demonstrate, I re-visited the giraffe waterfall along one of the Discovery Island Trails just past the exit of It's Tough to be a Bug.

There are two ways to photograph moving water. Use a fast shutter speed to freeze it like this.

A fast shutter speed freezes the motion of the water of this waterfall in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A fast shutter speed freezes the motion of the water of this waterfall.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/5.3, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 80mm focal length

Or by slowing the shutter speed like in this photo to see water take on a smoother look.

A slower shutter speed shows the motion of the water of this waterfall in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A slower shutter speed shows the motion of the water of this waterfall.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 80mm focal length

I did not have a tripod so I really could not go much slower than 1/15th of a second for my shutter speed. When I am going out to photograph natural waterfalls like the one below in the Robert H. Treman State Park near Ithaca, New York, I come prepared with a tripod and set my camera to get long shutter speeds for the silky look many people love about waterfall photography.

Enfield Creek waterfall in the gorge at the Robert H. Treman State Park near Ithaca, New York.
Enfield Creek waterfall in the gorge at the Robert H. Treman State Park near Ithaca, New York.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 5s, f/29, ISO 200, 135mm focal length

If you live near a waterfall this Spring, grab your tripod and have some fun capturing moving water. For more waterfall tips, click on this link: Photographing Waterfalls.

October 23, 2009

Telephoto Landscape

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Mistakes. We all make them. Most of the time when we make a mistake, it doesn't work out to good. Sometimes you get a pleasant surprise. Such as the case in the photo below of Expedition EVEREST taken from the bridge between Africa and Discovery Island. I had just finished walking the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and had my camera in Aperture Priority mode and set to it's largest f-stop of f/2.8. That is best for taking animal portraits with and not landscapes. Well, I forgot and took this photo. I didn't realize what I had done until later when I was on the other side of the park. What do you think? Ideally, I would have used f/11 to f/16.

Expedition Everest telephoto landscape in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Expedition Everest Telephoto Landscape.
Nikon D70/70-200VR, 1/3200s, f/2.8, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 70mm Focal Length

Using a telephoto lens, even a short one, compresses the image captured by the camera's sensor. The compression worked here to keep the depth of field small enough to keep the image in focus almost from front to back. Remember, with my camera crop of 1.5x, this is the equivalent to a 105mm telephoto lens (70mm x 1.5). There is softness in the extreme areas and I wouldn't want to print this any bigger than an 8" x 12".

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About Discovery Island

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

Dinoland USA is the previous category.

Rafiki's Planet Watch is the next category.

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