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Hollywood Blvd. Archives

September 19, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Mickey Ears Souvenir

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Who has not tried on a Mickey Ears Souvenir Hat? Anyone? I thought so. Disney makes thousands of different Mickey Ears Hats from the classic Mickey Mouse Club to Attractions and Rides. Not to mention movie tie-ins like this one for Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast movies and stage shows.

Young woman trying on a Belle Mickey Ears Hat in the Celebrity 5 & 10 shop at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Young woman trying on a Belle Mickey Ears Hat in the Celebrity 5 & 10 Shop on Hollywood Blvd.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 5000, EV +0.3, 44mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here to share her favorite Disney Mickey Ears Souvenir photo tomorrow.





August 11, 2017

Farewell to the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

As Disney's Hollywood Studios continues to transform into something else. Disney's Movieland, perhaps? The stream of goodbyes to original attractions from when the Disney/MGM Studios opened in 1989 continues.

The latest attraction will close in a couple of days and was a surprise to me. When Turner Classic Movies (TCM) came on as a sponsor for the Great Movie Ride a couple of years ago I thought it meant a new lease on life for the iconic attraction. Alas, though it did get spruced up some and TCM host Robert Osborne introduced the movie montage, Disney recently announced the Great Movie Ride would be replaced with a Mickey Mouse based ride.

Below is my tribute to one of my favorite attractions.

The Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

I will miss the Great Movie Ride. I am a fan of all the movie genres found inside from gangsters to westerns and from musicals to science fiction. Mickey Mouse and Disney has some big shoes to fill.





July 28, 2017

Sharing Details from Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

For the last two weeks I have urged you to look around and enjoy the details found at Walt Disney World. Today I want to just share of few of my favorites from my last visit to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

As you walk into MuppetVision 3-D, you will see a series of fictitious movie posters starring the Muppet characters. In this one, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem will be starring in a remake of Disney's High School Musical.

Poster for High School Mayhem in the queue for MuppetVision 3-D at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Poster for High School Mayhem in the queue for MuppetVision 3-D.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 1000, EV +0.3, 66mm Focal Length.

After taking in the Muppets, I popped over to enjoy a pizza in PizzeRizzo. If you go there, make sure to walk upstairs and check out the Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall. When I was there they were getting ready for a wedding reception.

Schedule for Rizzo's Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall upstairs at Pizzerizzo at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Schedule for Rizzo's Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall upstairs at Pizzerizzo restaurant.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 6400, EV 0, 30mm Focal Length.

Lastly, as I was strolling down Hollywood Blvd., I spotted a fellow guest wearing a very interesting and amusing t-shirt. Nice to know our princesses are safe.

Father of daughters walking in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Father of daughter(s) walking around Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/160s, f/4, ISO 100, EV 0, 120mm Focal Length.

I do love to find fun details at Walt Disney World. I find new ones on every trip.






May 10, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Hollywood Blvd

Deb's Digest Blog

I'm a tad embarrassed to admit this to you, but Disney's Hollywood Studios is probably the park I have photographed the least. That face became abundantly clear when I realized I have very few older photos of good ole' "MGM".

However, I DO have a press kit from WALT Disney Imagineering dated 1989, that has some interesting photographs.

Here is one of Hollywood Blvd with the following caption: "THE EXCITEMENT OF HOLLYWOOD is captured for vacationers visiting the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park. Aerial view shows Hollywood Boulvard from Crossorads of the World (foreground) to the Chinese Theater, plus back-lot and soundstages where guests get to peek at actual motion picture and television production. The new Walt Disney World theme park features attractions, shows, street entertainment, shops and restaurants celebrating Tinseltown and the making of movies and TV shows."

hollywood-blvd.jpg

May 9, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Hollywood Blvd.

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Things change at Walt Disney World over time. Right now a lot of things are changing at Disney's Hollywood Studios. A few years ago a big change occurred all over Walt Disney World when Kodak, a long time sponsor, was replaced by Nikon. This changed all the Picture Spots and the photography store on Hollywood Blvd. Of course, in keeping with the art deco architecture of the era.

The Nikon Photography Store on Hollywood Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Nikon Photography Store on Hollywood Blvd.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/400, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow with her Hollywood Blvd. photo.

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.

December 30, 2016

Bringing in the New Year with a BAM at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM holiday show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Christmas tree projection lingers on the Great Movie Ride as guests turn to leave after a showing of Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM holiday show in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/20s, f/4, ISO 6400, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length.

Happy New Year! May 2017 be all we hope it to be.

Scott will be returning next week for another year of Walt Disney World photography fun, tips and knowledge. In the meantime, if you have any questions, leave them in the Comments and Scott will do his best to answer them in an upcoming blog post.

September 30, 2016

Photographing Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I had a plan in mind when I thought about photographing the new night show at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is a fabulous show mixing projections on the Great Movie Ride and fireworks. The problem lies in the word "mix". The projections seldom are still long enough to mix them with long exposures needed for fireworks. I watched the show numerous times on youTube where I identified a few opportunities I may be successful.

During the first few seconds, the Star Wars logo is displayed towards the top of the replica of Mann's Chinese Theater and is stationary. In the photo on the left below, I opened and closed the shutter manually and captured the logo. On the right photo, you see the problem with projections if you leave the shutter open longer to get the multiple fireworks on one image. The Star Wars logo started to move and became blurry.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Shutter Speed comparison of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Here is a set of photos I feel came out the way I envisioned them.

A scene showing Imperial Walkers on the ice planet of Hoth did not come out too bad. It looks good at this size. At full resolution, there is blurring.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Imperial Walker projection during the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 5.4s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 23mm Focal Length, Tripod.

The double Suns on Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine did come out very well. The projections are static for a few seconds.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Tatooine sunset during the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 8.9s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 23mm Focal Length, Tripod, Cropped.

Towards the end of the show, the projections display each movie poster from the Star Wars saga. This one of the first Star Wars movie (renamed A New Hope once the prequel movies were released) showing a very stylized Luke with his lightsaber and Princess Leia at his side with the image of Darth Vader above them. This ones was the best even with moving X-Wing fighters on each side.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Movie Poster during the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 7.3s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 20mm Focal Length, Tripod.

This was the one image I wanted to get. Just before the finale of fireworks are released, an image of hands holding a lightsaber is projected with a beam of light coming out of the top of the Great Movie Ride. My location was a little off center and the Moon was near the beam but I still like how it came out.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Great Lightsaber during the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 5.8s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 23mm Focal Length, Tripod, Cropped.

If I get another chance to photograph the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show, I will concentrate on the projections using higher ISOs and faster shutter speeds. The fireworks for the most part are off to the right of the Great Movie Ride. I had a wide angle lens and, with all the people around me, it was not very useful as people to my right kept getting in the frame. The cropped photos shared in the article are the result.

To read more on the technique I used to photograph the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular show, click here: Photographing Fireworks - Part 1

September 9, 2016

Hyperpaced in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Star Wars clip seen in the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Star Wars clip seen in the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Scott has hyperspace jumped to Walt Disney World this week. He will be back next week to tell you all about it unless he gets lost in space on the way back.

August 12, 2016

Trying to Photography Too Much at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Way back in the early Nineteen-Eighties, I researched for months before my first trip to Walt Disney World. Back then there was only the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. All the time was well worth it as my honeymoon turned out fantastic.

Today, it is easy to tell when talking with people after they returned from Walt Disney World after their first trip if they enjoyed it or not. Those are ones who planned ahead and did not try to do too much. It is a theme I see played out over and over again.

Photographers looking overwhelmed on Route 66 in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Photographers looking overwhelemed on Route 66 in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/80s, f/14, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length.

Photography at Walt Disney World is the same. People will look at photos for months and want to try and do the same thing or do something else or try to improve on them. Without a plan, it is easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated trying to do everything. When I first went to Walt Disney World with a dSLR camera, I wanted to shoot it all. I had thousands of ideas and photos I have seen by others in my head. While I did come back with a few good ones, I was disappointed with most of my attempts.

This is when research, planning and keeping expectations real come in play. Today, I will make a Shot List of what I want to get. I keep it down to a couple a day. For example, on my next trip, I want to photograph the new Star Wars Fireworks show. I will watch videos on youTube, look at other photographer's photos on flickr, Twitter, FaceBook and forums. Ask questions and have prepare a plan. This will maximize the chances of getting good photos of the show.

In this way, I do not try to do too much. I will enjoy myself more and be proud of the photos I will bring back from Walt Disney World.

April 29, 2016

Chinese Dragon at the Great Movie Ride

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios has gotten a nice face-lift with the new sponsorship from Turner Classic Movies. The Chinese Dragon Foo Dog statues out front make for a nice detail photo of the type of architectural elements found at Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

My first attempt was technically correct. Good focus and depth of field. What do you thing of it? Background a bit distracting perhaps?

Chinese dragon statue in front of the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Wide view of the Chinese dragon foo dog statue in front of the Great Movie Ride.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-35mm, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 140, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length.

By adjusting my position to get closer and zooming in a bit, I made the statue the main subject and used the Rules of Thirds for a more pleasing composition.

Chinese dragon statue in front of the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Tighter view of the Chinese dragon foo dog statue in front of the Great Movie Ride.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-35mm, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 160, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

Any ideas how you would improve this photo or do it differently?

NOTE: It was pointed out that the statue is of a foo dog and not a dragon. I have made appropriate changes. -- Scott


February 19, 2016

Great Movie Ride HDR at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Today is my birthday and I am going to indudge myself with photographic candy.

Late afternon at Disney's Hollywood Studios means the Sun is behind The Great Movie Ride or GMR, for short. Especially, in early December when I was there last. I sure was not going to let the cloud filled sky go to waste. No sir! Instead, I took a series of five photos in a bracketed set covering the -2EV to +2EV range of exposures. My camera (Nikon D750) can be set up to bracket from 3 to 9 images at a time in any interval I want. Saves me a lot of time as I do not have to adjust my camera after each shot. I do have to remember to take it out of bracketing mode once I am done.

I then brought the five photos into Photomatix Pro. Photomatix Pro merges the photos into one image before creating a set of images to choose from processed in various ways. I selected the one you see below as I liked how it emphasized the clouds in the sky and popped the colors of the GMR building.

HDR image of The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
High Dynamic Range (HDR) image of The Great Movie Ride.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 1100, 28mm focal length.

I cropped the image into a 16x9 HD crop, sat back and enjoyed the candy.

November 24, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Holiday Shopping

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This week starts the official beginning of the holiday shopping season with Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States). Though it seems each year, it is more like as soon as Halloween is finished, Christmas shopping commences. Well, no sense complaining as we jump into Holiday Shopping at Walt Disney World.

The Celebrity 5 & 10 shop on Hollywood Boulevard in Disney's Hollywood Studios has a place where you can get several kinds of gifts personalized by Cast Members.

Disney's Hollywood Studios cast member personalizes a Christmas tree ornament for a guest, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Disney's Hollywood Studios cast member personalizes a Christmas tree ornament for a guest.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 1600, EV +1.0, 38mm Focal Length.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping this week!


November 10, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: The Great Movie Ride

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Back in February of this year (2015), the Sorcerer's Hat was about 80 percent removed from Disney's Hollywood Studies. I knew the next time I would visit, the view down Hollywood Blvd. would be very different. Or would it? For Star Wars Weekends and Frozen Summer Fun, Disney placed a large stage in front of the Chinese Theatre.

My next visit was just after Labor Day and the conclusion of the Frozen special events. The stage was only partially removed. By the time I returned later in the week, it had been fully removed. This allowed me to finally get a clean view down Hollywood Blvd. for the first time since 2001 of The Great Movie Ride now sponsored by Turner Classic Movies.

It is nice to see the return of Disney's Hollywood Studios "castle" to it's rightful place.

The Great Movie Ride at the end of Hollywood Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Great Movie Ride at the end of Hollywood Blvd.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 30s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 25mm Focal Length, Tripod.

Deb will be here tomorrow to show us something interesting about the Great Movie Ride.

September 18, 2015

Blue Storm at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Tower of Terror as a storm closes in on Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Tower of Terror as a storm closes in on Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 4.5s, f/22, ISO 100, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length, Tripod.

I bet you can guess by this photo I took last Saturday from the location of the Photo Meet outside of Disney's Hollywood Studios, the weather was not too good. In fact, five minutes after I took it, the rain came down hard, lightning flashed and thunder clapped. I rushed for shelter at one of the bus stops. The meet was a storm-out, which was disappointing. Will try again!

To the three people who did show up and were smart enough to leave before the rain, thank you.

There was a silver lining. Once the storm passed, I entered the park right as Blue Hour was starting and got this photo of Hollywood Blvd. Not exactly the photo I was going for as I talked about last week. Still, the sky and clear view to The Great Movie Ride made it a very nice consolation.

Blue hour on Hollywood Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Blue hour on Hollywood Blvd.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 30s, f/16, ISO 64, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Tripod.

I was using a rented Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX lens for my Nikon D750 camera on this trip and liked the wide angle look it gave me. The rain left behind lots of reflective surfaces.

The Great Movie Ride at blue hour in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Great Movie Ride at blue hour in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 30s, f/16, ISO 64, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length, Tripod.

Walking closer and zooming in to 28mm, I was able to frame the Great Movie Ride right at the height of Blue Hour light. There was still a barrier left over from the stage that was there earlier in the week. It is my hope it will be gone by my next trip.

September 11, 2015

Do-over at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The photo this week was taken by me in February of 2009 from the location of tomorrow's All Ears Photo Meet. Earlier this year, the Sorcerer Mickey Hat was removed from in front of the Great Movie Ride. The view down Hollywood Blvd. is now clear right up to the reproduction of the Mann's Chinese Theater entrance.

View of Hollywood Blvd. from outside of Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
View of Hollywood Blvd. from outside of Disney's Hollywood Studios taken in 2009.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 30s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 170mm (255mm in DX) Focal Length, Tripod.

I am looking forward to re-photographing this scene. If you live in Central Florida or are currently visiting Walt Disney World, come on out to meet me. Click the link for the Meet's location. I will be there starting at 6:30PM. For updates and information, visit the Photo Meet's FaceBook Event page and/or follow me on Twitter at @Scottwdw.

July 24, 2015

Documenting Details Around Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have had the pleasure of accompanying Disney Historian Jim Korkis and fellow photographers on tours around Walt Disney World. On each tour, Jim repeated how important it was to photograph and document "everything" in the parks and resorts. Over time, things change, get replaced or plain disappear from guest areas.

With rumors swirling around Disney's Hollywood Studios as attractions are closed without word of what may be coming to replace them, I sought out various details around the park during my last two visits.

Signs in the Streets of America New York area in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Signs in the Streets of America New York area.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV 0, 65mm Focal Length.

Streets of America is filled with details movie sets need in a backlot. Authentic locations and details to make people believe they are in New York when it was filmed in Orlando.

Flowers around the mermaid water fountain from the 1984 movie, Splash, at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Flowers around the mermaid water fountain from the 1984 movie, Splash.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/11, ISO 1100, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

This prop always makes me smile remembering this was from Tom Hanks breakout movie, Splash, back in 1984. And, it's right down the street from Pixar Place and Toy Story Midway Mania, something else Tom Hanks had a hand..er, voice, in.

Ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz imprinted in a cement block outside the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz imprinted in a cement block outside the Great Movie Ride.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 31mm (47mm DX) Focal Length.

I was thrilled to learn Disney and Turner Classic Movies were getting together to give the Great Movie Ride some much needed face lifts. The removal of the Sorcerer's Hat brings back the original appearance of Disney's Hollywood Studios and this should help bring back the luster to the attraction, too.

The sign outside of the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost shop in the Echo Lake area of Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The sign outside of the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost shop.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 160, EV +0.3, 95mm (143mm DX) Focal Length.

You have heard the rumors and I have heard them, the area known as Echo Lake may look a lot different in a few years. Attractions, restaurants and shops could be removed, changed or replaced. For anyone looking to get the iconic Indiana Jones hat, the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost is where you want to go before it gets replaced with something else in the galaxy.

The window to Eddie Valiant's Private Investigations above the Hollywood & Vine restaurant in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The window to Eddie Valiant's Private Investigations above the Hollywood & Vine restaurant.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/250s, f/4, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 120mm (180mm DX) Focal Length.

Back in 1989, when Disney's Hollywood Studios opened (then called Disney-MGM Studios), Who Framed Roger Rabbit references where found throughout the park as the movie had been a huge hit the year before. Over the years, many of the references have been moved or disappeared. As of today, you can still spot the office window of Eddie Valiant's Private Investigations above the Hollywood & Vine Restaurant.

Have you photographed something in Disney's Hollywood Studios in the past which is no longer there or moved to a different location in the park or the resort? Share them with us in the Comments below.

April 14, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Donald Duck

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Donald Duck is lucky. He blows his top and everyone laughs. Yet, he has a warm heart and is beloved by many. He even took some time out from meeting guests at Disney's Hollywood Studios to give me the thumbs up.

Donald Duck greeting guests at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Donald Duck greeting guests at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV 0, 135mm Focal Length.

Thank you, Donald, for being you.


April 3, 2015

Adding Light to the Stars in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios, I look forward to seeing the Citizens of Hollywood entertaining guests along Hollywood or Sunset Blvd. You can find the times to look for them on the park's daily entertainment schedule. While the Citizen's skits do have some structure, the performers play off the people they meet (that's you!) which leads to a lot of fun and laughter.

I found Officer Percival Peabody "undercover" on Hollywood Blvd. inquiring to those who were curious when he poked his head out if they had seen anything suspicious going on and other questions.

Officer Percival Peabody is undercover at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Officer Percival Peabody is undercover on Hollywood Blvd.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 160, EV +0.3, 48mm focal length, fill flash.

The divine Dorma Nesmond may be a fading Hollywood starlet but do not tell her that. She loves the attention she gets from people and will tell them about her many Hollywood exploits and films.

Hollywood Star Dorma Nesmond greets a fan at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hollywood Star Dorma Nesmond greets a fan on Hollywood Blvd.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/5.6, ISO 100, EV 0, 24mm focal length, fill flash.

Talent Agent Jack Diamond has a questionable occupation as he seems more interested in playing card tricks and running the shell game much to the delight of all who gather around his gaming table.

Talent Agent Jack Diamond performs card tricks at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Talent Agent Jack Diamond performs card tricks on Hollywood Blvd.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/10, ISO 100, EV 0, 50mm focal length, fill flash.

I do not know the story of Miss Betty Shambles. She always seems to be looking for a boyfriend or, in the case below, her Valentine.

Miss Betty Shambles looking for her Valentine at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
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, fill flash.

All of the photos were taken using Fill Flash to open up the shadows from the bright Florida sunshine. Not all but most of the Citizens wear hats which further adds shadows on their faces. Fill flash adds some pop to colors and skin tones.

If you have never stopped to watch or interact with the Citizens of Hollywood, you are missing out on what I consider the best in live entertainment at Walt Disney World. The talent and comedic quick thinking is a joy to behold.

February 17, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Beauty and the Beast, Live On Stage is presented several times a day in the 1,500-seat Theater of the Stars on Sunset Boulevard in Disney's Hollywood Studios. Like the movie, this live stage show mini-version is still my favorite at Walt Disney World.

Belle with the magic rose in Beauty and the Beast, Live On Stage in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Belle with the magic rose in Beauty and the Beast, Live On Stage.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, f/5.6, ISO 1800, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

I have a tough photographic history with this show. I talk about my battle with White Balance and how I solved it here: The Red Beast. For those wondering, yes, I used an Expodisc to set my white balance for the photo above.


January 20, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

As I outlined in my 2014 Walt Disney World Photo Review, Disney's Hollywood Studios is going through some changes. The biggest one people who have visited the parks within the last thriteen years will notice is the removal of the large Sorcerer Mickey Hat at the end of Hollywood Blvd. As of last week, the process of removing it from in front of The Great Movie Ride had begun. I would like to bid it a fond farewell as my Disney Pic of the Week.

Sorcerer Mickey Hat in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Sorcerer Mickey Hat in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/6s, f/3.8, ISO 1600, EV +1.0, 20mm focal length.

Seems the search lights are no longer used at the Studios so this photo, taken in 2009, is how I want to remember the Sorcerer Mickey Hat.

September 23, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Billboards of Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Walking around Disney's Hollywood Studios always gives me the feeling of being in a place that never was. You know what I mean? Hollywood back in the 1930's and 1940's was like a fantasy to most of America. A place not quite real. The billboards you see around the Studios help to tell the story of that time. A few of the billboards are based on the park's sponsors while others advertise locations in the area. Locations like Hollywoodland.

Hollywoodland billboard in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hollywoodland billboard on top of a building in the Studios.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/25s, f/4.8, ISO 1600, EV -1.0, 62mm focal length.

Do you know the name of the Disney movie which changed the Hollywoodland sign to Hollywood?

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her Disney Pic of the Week on The Billboards of Hollywood Studios (sounds like an old monster movie title, doesn't it?).

June 13, 2014

Photographing Star Wars Weekends Fireworks

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Star Wars Weekends for 2014 ended each day with the Symphony in the Stars fireworks show. The show is done totally with music from the Star Wars movie saga. The fireworks used are the most advanced I have ever seen at a Disney themepark. Bursts would change colors in different directions and from the inside-out, shapes of galaxies and ringed planets with lots of ground rockets. All this takes place behind the main stage in front of the Sorcerer Mickey Hat. For safety reasons, Pixar Place and Toy Story Midway Mania are closed before the performance.

While I was only able to photograph Symphony in the Stars once. I have enlisted four other talented Disney fan photographers to show you five locations both inside and outside of Disney's Hollywood Studies to photograph these fireworks from.


From Inside Disney's Hollywood Studies:

I photographed from The Feel the Force Premium Package viewing area. I setup towards the front and just to the left of the stage looking up Hollywood Blvd. It is very close to the stage and the Sorcerer Mickey Hat and I used the Sigma 15mm fisheye lens to cover as much of the sky as I could. The viewing area has a few palm trees and the lens shows you the number of people in front of the stage during the show.

Symphony in the Stars fireworks show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Symphony in the Stars fireworks show.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm, 1.3s, f/8, ISO 400, EV 0, tripod.

I think if I was to do it again, I would have found a position as far away or to the back of the viewing area and as close to the rope edge on Hollywood Blvd.

Jeff Krause (SpreadTheMagic on flickr) set up near the corner of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. From there you can see the Keystone Clothiers store and the Sorcerer Mickey Hat. The view is cluttered with the tall palm trees and the store itself but you can see more of the high bursts in the sky.

Symphony in the Stars fireworks show in Disney's Hollywood Studios by Jeff Krause, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Symphony in the Stars fireworks show by Jeff Krause from Hollywood and Sunset Blvd.
Canon EOS 5D Mk3/16-35IS, 15s, f/9, ISO 800, EV 0, 16mm focal length, tripod.

As you can see, there are a lot of people who attend Star Wars Weekends days. Be prepared.

Matthew Cooper (TheTimeTheSpace on flickr) set up in the Echo Lake area and used Min & Bill's Dockside Diner and the lake as a foreground subject. If you get to this area early (and I recommend you do), you can set up your tripod (not yourself) on the inside of the fence surrounding Echo Lake. People won't be able to accidentally hit your tripod legs during a long exposure with the setup.

Symphony in the Stars fireworks show in Disney's Hollywood Studios by Matthew Cooper, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Symphony in the Stars fireworks show by Matthew Cooper.
Nikon D800/24-70mm, 15s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 24mm focal length, tripod.

I really like this location. If I had not decided to do the special viewing package, I had planned on shooting from here.


From Outside Disney's Hollywood Studies:

Dave Kliment (ExploringWDW on flickr) photographed from what I am seeing on flickr and elsewhere as a very popular location. The Sorcerer Mickey and enchanted broomstick topiaries are out in front of the park's entrance.

Symphony in the Stars fireworks show in Disney's Hollywood Studios by Dave Kliment, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Symphony in the Stars fireworks show by Dave Kliment.
Nikon D300/10-24mm, 22s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 19mm flocal length, tripod.

Here you can see how high the bursts go in the sky and how wide the ground rockets shoot up. You do loose the Sorcerer Mickey Hat entirely and most of the buildings on Hollywood Blvd. Due to the long exposures necessary for Fireworks photography, the neon lighting gets overexposed but it does not distract from the fireworks.

From the walkway to the Epcot resorts, Dennis Dunkman (ddindy on flickr) photographed at the point of the path which looks directly down Hollywood Blvd. From this location you can really see the scope of the Symphony in the Stars fireworks show.

Symphony in the Stars fireworks show in Disney's Hollywood Studios by Dennis Dunkman, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Symphony in the Stars fireworks show by Dennis Dunkman.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 15.2s, f/11, ISO 200, EV 0, 56mm flocal length, tripod.

Each photographer was using Bulb Mode to open and close their camera's shutter while using a tripod to keep it steady. For more on how to photograph firework shows at Walt Disney World, click on the links below:

Photographing Fireworks at Walt Disney World - Part 1

Photographing Fireworks at Walt Disney World - Part 2

May 30, 2014

Star Wars Weekends Legends of the Force Motorcade

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Star Wars Weekends for 2014 started off with a big opening ceremony featuring those lovable Imperial Stormtroopers making fun of all the people being held back by a teeny, tiny, little rope. From there it just got bigger and better. A lot of people were entertained all day with Star Wars Character Meet and Greets, roving characters on Mickey Avenue, lots of behind the scenes shows in the Premier Theater and, new for 2014, Star Wars character meals: Jedi Mickey's Star Wars™ Dine at Hollywood and Vine and Star Wars™ Dine-In Galactic Breakfast (click the links for more information).

The 2014 Official Star Wars Weekends poster was hanging on each side of the Main Stage in front of the Sorcerer Mickey Hat. You could find the poster on calenders, t-shirts, pins, hats, coffee mugs and just about anything else inside Darth's Mall merchandise shop.

Star Wars Weekends official poster titled
Star Wars Weekends official poster titled "Join the Rebellion" hanging on the Main Stage.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 120mm focal length.

Each Star Wars Weekend day begins with the Legends of the Force Motorcade. Jedi Mickey Mouse leads it off followed by the 501st Legion Florida Garrison and the Rebel Legion. Organizations which promote Star Wars, use of costumes and contributing to their local communities.

Legends of the Force Motorcade in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Jedi Mickey Mouse, Imperial Stormtroopers and Rebels parade in the Legends of the Force Motorcade.

After the Legions pass, Star Wars celebrities from both the animated series and live action movies go by in convertibles waving to one and all. For the first weekend this year, Ashley Eckstein (Voice of Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Ahmed Best (Voiced and played Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars I-III), Vanessa Marshall (Voice of Hera Syndulla from Star Wars Rebels) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca from all the Star Wars movies) came down Hollywood Blvd.

Celebrities in the Legends of the Force Motorcade in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
From Top Left: Ashley Eckstein (Clone Wars), Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks), Vanessa Marshall (Star Wars Rebels) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) ride in the Legends of the Force Motorcade

Star Wars Weekends have grown in the last two years since my last time visiting a Galaxy Far, Far Away. It helps there are now new movies for fans to look forward to. The success of The Clone Wars on the Disney cable networks have helped to foster a whole new generation of Star Wars fans. This fall, Disney XD will be premiering a new animated series called Star Wars Rebels picking up where Revenge of the Sith, the third prequel movie, left off. I can only see Star Wars Weekends becoming even more popular.

The use of the FastPass+ system helped greatly in obtaining excellent seats for the popular Behind the Scene shows at the Premier Theater. Plan ahead and show up about 45 minutes before the show.

March 2, 2014

Where in the World #321

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!

Annie Snodgrass, you were in plenty of time to submit your entry. I don't check until Friday morning; I feel that's the safest for everyone to have entered because of all the different time zones around the world.

Exciting news, Players! Paul Moore is going to Walt Disney World and then on the Disney Fantasy: he's promised to bring us back Mickey rice krispie treats!
From Millan.Net

Tom Buck just had his first Dole Whip! Another convert joins the ranks! Somebody get him the T-shirt.

I'm listening to all the Walt Disney World Resort channel videos on youtube. It takes me right back to Disney where I'll put on this channel and leave it on for the music. (After I've caught up with Stacey's list of must-dos). Yes, I am that geeky. :)

I know it took a while before we left the last park but it was worth it. We got Christi Ison's breakfast lasagna, Ashley Collins' Mickey pretzel (did you need mustard?), Duskin Henard's ice cream, Rebecca Keenan's churro, Claire Gregory's whole shopping list ;). By the way, I didn't forget your Mickey balloon!
Disney balloon

From last week: Challenge #320:

Where in the World #320

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

We're in the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene inside the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios! The thumbnail had a little clue: the hieroglyphics show the Hidden R2-D2 and C3PO from Star Wars which, as Vicki Britt and Josh Carney said, is very cool!

Cheryl Costello, if you want to see them, look to your left across from Indiana Jones. They are right before the rope hanging with a trunk, second row from the bottom. Don't forget to look for the Hidden Mickey and Donald also on the left and high up right before you leave the room!

Dave Carriere, I have been trying for years to get a decent picture of these guys! I can't believe I finally caught them! I should ask Barrie Brewer if she would do her Photoshop magic on it to make it look even better.

Jeff Blank, awesome Jeopardy answer! ;)

Kristi Strembicki were the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Kristi and to all our winners this week! Jennifer Rowell, Donna Frank, Jennifer Duncan, Brian Yesutis, The Kertes Family, Erica Tibbetts, Pat Schwier, Tara Weaver, Brian Miller, Kenny, Kevin Koszola, Ed Elder, Melissa Such, Michele Zowacki, Carol Ney, Linda Ranatza, Stefanie Hendley, Emery Fellows, Tricia Petty , Sharon Pierce, Tinkerbell Wells, Sisk Family, Heather, Phyllis, Laurie Berthelot, Eric Berger, Janney Family, The Garofalos, Kelly Sroka, Debbie Desimone, Hilary Pease, Erin Dagney, Al Desimone, Christine Dagney, Quincy Delcolletti, Jack Lynch, Pam Vanaustin, Bill Schmid, Danielle Harsley, Valerie Zabe, Dee Dee Kenney, Zandria Michaud, Tim Miller, Jason Hocker, Dawn Bach, Ellen Sullivan, Team Hill, Manda Stuewe, Sandie Albrecht, Jesse Mccarthy, Michael Mclucas And Jackie Mclucas, Nicole Mosca, Nancy Bolton, Elaine Kleinhenz, Michelle Darabaris, Paul Dickson, Owen Popek, Anne-marie Murch, The Parker Family, Nancy Ahlsen, Shari Prater, Ed Suscreba, Scott Merrill, Lee Anastasi, Fiona Knight, Christy Fish, Annette Nuenke, Beth Mcmeekin, Laura V., Paul Silagyi, Judy Simonsen, Bill Mckim, Amiee Augustine, Rob Hepler, Carla C, Lauran Jozik, The Frisbee Family, Scott Cullen, Kye Layton, Belicia Cullen, Nathaniel Clements, Josh Weiss, Pam Manseau, Tina Santacroce, Tim Johansen, Mary Beth Tarbet, Mark Benton, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Jacquelyn Law, Dave Wang, Ken Jackson, Bryant And Ruben O'meara, Jennifer, Patty Norman, Nan Amor, Cindy Pink, Arlene Vicek, Chris Nichols, Patti Gumiela, John Bickers, Jen Tremley, Gordon Cavalero, Louise Barton, Steve Ganter, Paul Moore, Karen Costa , Les Stewart, Heather Capraun, Robin Robinson , Herb Mille, Ken Daube, Jeremy Hardy, Maureen Handy, Anna Hudson, Fishman Family, Vera Dercole, Lisa Zitek, Dale Knight, Andrew Swiatowicz, Clay Anthony, Demetrios Makres, Jim Nitschje, Liz &Dave Fullerton, Robert Wescovich, Megan Krainski, Hobbes And Snorky, Danielle Murgia, Jonathan Ward, Julie And Kody Rider, Karen Schlumpf, Diane Furtado, Maggie Klotz, Melodye Berry, Axel, Emily Hudson, Peg Readinger, Kelly Hurley, Stefan Owens, Ron Harper, Smitty, Lyn Johnson, Tink, Liane Watt, Margie Bigelli, Lynette Michalos, Tim Keenan, Andrew Stege, Carla Keenan, Kirsten Miller, Elizabeth Scarborough, Betsy Silvestri, Claire Gregory, Scott Precise, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Craig, Jenifer Geinitz, Gail States, Scott Mcbride, Duskin Henard, Ralph Chamberlain, Patty Carty, Chris Kelly, Michele Smith, Amy Enser, Brad Ward, Paul Knott, Jonathan A Thomas, Tom Koval, The Patterson Family, Jim Finley, Brian Gallant, Wayne Chadourne, Tim Mckay, Kevin Parmeland, Sarah And Chris, Dallas Hamilton, Mike Aldrich, Cathy Connors, Chris Thacker, Ignudo2@comcast.net, Melissa Littman, Patrick Broaddus, Sara Alaimo, Shelly Borella, Terry Fleming, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Davida, Anastasia Macneil, Mary Greger, Vicki Britt, Andy Schumacher, Michelle Palazzo, Kirk Hardy, Susie Howard, Karen Bellamy, Barclay Bakkum, Jenn Steele, Sandra Valgardson, Mark Proper, Dave Carriere, Karrie Duffey, Leigh Mertz, Patti Mccaffrey, Hillary Waldroop, Caryn Schill, Doug Olson Family, Jeff Blank, Karla Callen, Kerrie Hogan, Matt Holley, Josh Carney, Bonnie Cummings, Kate Fischer, Maryann Romagnano, George Mundy Jr, Rob Blundin, Karen Hotchkiss, Grump's Groupies, Walter N. Clark, Joseph M. Zafia, Jodi Cook, Matthew Earl, Eileen Miller, Kelly Smith, John Foggo, Amy Filliben, Cheryl Costello, Bob Henriksen, Heather Hynes, Craig Lordan, David Lizewski, and Annie Snodgrass. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
Since this was the last game for February, the drawing is now! The winner is: Carri Marotto! Congratulations! You'll be receiving a prize from Deb Wills!
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #321 Where in the world is this?

The saying goes, "March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb". So we'll start with one that might be a toughie. We're in a park.
 Where in the World #321

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, March 6th, 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 9, 2013

Details of Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Every Disney park and resort has many amazing details which help to immerse us guests into the theme of attractions, areas and entire parks. Disney's Hollywood Studios has numerous little details I am guessing many guests do not see or look for. Here are a few I found.

This golden Buddha statue is one of several found outside the Great Movie Ride reproduction facade of the Mann's Chinese Theater entrance.

One of several Buddha statues on the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Flordia
One of several Buddha statues on the Great Movie Ride.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

An Animal lobby dust pan eats up the grim and dirt left behind by guests visiting Muppet Labs to see Muppet*Vision 3-D.

Animal Lobby Dust Pan in MuppetVision 3D at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Flordia
Animal Lobby Dust Pan in Muppet*Vision 3-D.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 5600, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

Fire Station No. 1 (the home of the fire truck that appears at the end of Muppet*Vision 3-D) can been seen if you look north from the entrance to Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano. I found it looking a bit unkempt.

Fire Station No. 1 in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Flordia
Fire Station No. 1 in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Flordia.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 150mm focal length.

Figures on the Animation Courtyard Archway depicting the filming of a Hollywood Western. Maybe the Lone Ranger (wink). You will find scenes like this on either side of the archway.

Figures on the Animation Courtyard Archway in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Flordia
Figures on the Animation Courtyard Archway.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 68mm focal length.

Next time you are walking around Disney's Hollywood Studios, look for those details Disney Imagineers have left for us to discover.

May 24, 2013

Star Wars Weekend Hyperspace Hoopla Photography Tips

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Star Wars Weekends have started at Disney's Hollywood Studies for this year. I had a great time there last year being swept up in the fun of the Star Wars universe of characters, actors and events. At the end of each Star Wars Weekend day is the Hyperspace Hoopla Dance Off Show at the stage in front of the Sorcerer Mickey hat on Hollywood Blvd.

NOTE: These photos were taken in 2012. Current Hyperspace Hooplas may feature different characters, dancers and storylines.

Hyperspace Hoopla during Star Wars Weekend in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hyperspace Hoopla during Star Wars Weekend at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The show is hosted by Snig and Oopla though Emperor Palpatine has been known to crash the party.

Hyperspace Hoopla hosts Snig and Oopla and party crasher Emperor Palpatin at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hyperspace Hoopla hosts Snig (upper right) and Oopla with party crasher Emperor Palpatin.

The Emperor gets chanllenged to a Dance Off pitting the Dark Side against the Jedi force of good. The Emperor goes first and brings out bounty hunters Boba Fett and Aurra Sing before finally introducing the Lord Darth Vader.

Boba Fett, Darth Vader and Aurra Sing on stage at Hyperspace Hoopla in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Boba Fett, Darth Vader and Aurra Sing on stage at Hyperspace Hoopla.

Not to be outdone, Snig and Oopla bring out the Jedi forces to vanquish the Dark Side with Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Ahsoka Tano from the Clone Wars animated series.

Princess Leia, Chewbacca the Wookie and Ahsoka Tano from Clone Wars on stage at Hyperspace Hoopla in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Princess Leia, Chewbacca the Wookie and Ahsoka Tano from Clone Wars on stage at Hyperspace Hoopla.

Sometimes not even the Emperor or Snig and Oopla can keep good and evil from being tempted with each other.

Darth Vader dancing with Padme Amidala, Queen of Naboo, during Hyperspace Hoopla at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Darth Vader dancing with Padme Amidala, Queen of Naboo, during Hyperspace Hoopla.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

The audience determines the winner by applause and then an encore.

The encore for the show I saw featured Darth Maul in a martial arts style dance routine to close the event.

Darth Maul performin on stage during Hyperspace Hoopla at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Darth Maul performin on stage during Hyperspace Hoopla.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 11/250s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV 0, 135mm focal length.

Some tips for photographing the Hyperspace Hoopla:

1. If you want to be close to the stage, you should be prepared to show up 1 to 1.5 hours before it starts (consult the Star Wars Weekend Guide Map). It can be a long, hot wait on open cement in the Florida Sun. Bring bottle water to keep yourself hydrated and an umbrella for shade.

2. This is a lighted stage show and my blog post on Photographing a Disney Show will come in handy.

3. Check out the AllEars.net youTube channel for the latest Hyperspace Hoopla show:

And May the Force Be with You!

February 17, 2013

Where in the World #268

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 Valentine's Day! And thank you to Jeremy Mccaffrey, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, & Rob And April Vanderpool for your great notes to me!
From Millan.Net

A lot of Players sent their answers from underneath a couple of snow. Stay warm and safe! Let's picture ourselves warm and happy in Disney... we're in Disney... we're in Disney...

Wait, Sandie Albrecht really is in Disney! And Mickey and Jim Eckert are headed there! (braggarts) LOL! I hope your trips are wonderful!

Claire Gregory, when do you go to Disney?

Here was the challenge last week:
 Where in the World #267

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

The Ice Cold Snack Stand in Disney's Hollywood Studios, on your right as you enter the park. It's with Oscar's Service Station which rents strollers, wheelchairs, and ECV scooters as so many of us know. :)

This stand holds special memories for Patty Carty, Mickey Eckert, and Janet Thorn. I'm glad seeing this brought those back for you. :)

Morgan M., sneaky? Moi? kenzosmileys

Theresa Rucando was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Theresa and all our winners this week! Sebbie Desimone, Brian Miller, Al Desimone, Derek Carty, Beth Mcmeekin, Ken Maikowski, Doug Reichl, Patty Carty, Janet Stavrides, Eileen Wiederspan, Noah Schweizer, Tinkerbell Wells, Betsy Silvestri, Tinkerbell Wells, Team Hill, Jennifer Harmon, Lisa Mericle, The Kertes Family, Melissa Roberts, Heather Young, Tena Sapp, Jenny Brennan , Julie And Kody Rider, Anne Marie Cronin, Megan Collins, Kristin Olmedo, Trina Noggle, Jared Orth, Dave Freemyer, Ryan Mccorristin, Ken Daube, Mikie Hayes, Kathy Morris, Maryann Eckenrode, Robert Ruocco, Elizabeth Poyner, Eric Schneider, Scott Precise, Patti Gumiela, Kim Howe, Daniel Record, Kelsi, Lynette Michalos, Meghan Gleason-vollmer, Jeff Griffin, Melisa, Orly Bradley, Kristi Strembicki, Lauren Kilpatrick, Brian Yesutis, Beth Mcnaboe, Paul Scimeca, Linda Scrivano, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Steve Jordan, Kris, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen , Sandi B, Katie Bamford, The Parker Family, Paul Moody, Pamela Manseau, Chris Masse, Judy Simonsen, Chris Dotaman, Leigh Mertz, Pam Vanaustin, Melissa Such, Paul Dickson, Kelly Cummings, Anne Beebe, Mike Haeberle, John Menjes, Paul Moore, Louise, Dani Deritis , Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Janet Thorn, Craig Livingston, Amanda Campbell, Al Ganter, Lee Anastasi, Evanna Huda, Caroline Burmester, Kerry A., Courtney Payne, Les Stewart, The Kahle Family, Cindy Pink, Patti Mccaffrey, Colette, Jeremy Mccaffrey, James Steele, Tricia Petty, Marguerite Garofalo, Natalie Covey, Sandy Weiss, Hobbes And Snorky, Misty Mehelic, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Diane Curfman, Lori Rienhardt, Bill Mckim, Emily Hudson, Alessandro Zapparoli, Dsnymom14, Linda College, Vicki Edwards, Penny Urell, Andrea Mackafee, Jessica Iglesias, The Omeara Family, Laurie W, Maureen Handy, Cynthia Hitchcock, Nathalie Periard, Deb Ragno, Craig, Mike Malampy, Karen Genda, Morgan M., Claire Gregory, Pecosace, Nathan York, Maggie Klotz, Amy Mucedola, Sherry Trapp, Christopher Gainey, Sharon Pierce, Cindy Canterbury, Joanna, The Emich Family, Jacquelyn Law, Tom Koval, Sarah Calvario, Kenny, Karen Ramirez, Jason &Melinda Lenz, Andrea Kruszewski, Betsy Dross, Mike Gillardi, Susie Howard, Vera Dercole, Wendy Snelgrove, Jeff Blank, Bob Henriksen, Colin Sawyer, Jeremy Hardy, Mike Mondoux, Chris &Maranda Nichols, Robert Hildebrandt, Ryan Pinder, Bob Patterson, Al Sandal, Andrew Pettit, Tricia Noble, Karrie Duffey, Jeremy Reichelt, Josh Carney, The Patterson Family, Jennifer Snook, John Nottell, Jullie Pudem, Eric Holmes, Luis Rodriguez, Maryann Romagnano, Ainsley Poe, Tim Johansen, Wendy Barney, Erin Hammer, Karen Smith, Arlene Vicek, Hillary Waldroop, Randy, Deb V., Doug Olson Family, Shelley Diederich, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, Chris And Alison, Kelly Smith, Mary Jane Hargadon, Angel Diven, Krysten Toth, Zach Szymko, Cathy Connors, Jim Finley, Heidi Goodhue, Jen Tremley, Jackie Purcell, Tara Weaver, Caryn Schill, Gina L Falzone, Debbie Mangini, Deme Grabert, Heidi Goodhue, John Bickers, Susan Higginbotham, Walter N. Clark, Sandie Albrecht, Paul Ignudo Jr, Kristen Mccoy, Barclay Bakkum, Mary Beth Tarbet, Patrick Broaddus, Team Meeker, Jim Thompson, Scott Sangston, Brian Nale, Larry Sprenkle, Jennifer Bogdan, Ladonna Tisdale, Elaine Kleinhenz, Linda Grau, Karen Hotchkiss, Tom Ratcliffe, Liz Moreau, Vera Williams, Jackie Graebel, Linda K Ranatza, Christina Trigiani, Mickey Eckert, Joseph M. Zafia, Linda Begley, Wendy T Faler, Kyle Burdo, Hayley Valk, Chris Haynes, Emily Harper, Nick Cristea, Sherri Pell, Jeannette Fornadel, Terri Zitkus Green, Agnes Ciotti, Margie, George Mundy Jr, Tom Buck, Kerry Mccaffrey, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Theresa Maradei, Theresa Maradei, and Anita Jodouin. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #268: Where in the world is this?

This one is tougher (I think):
 Where in the World #268

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Friday, February 21st, 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!

January 4, 2013

Great Movie Ride through a Crystal Ball

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Believe it or not, when Disney's Hollywood Studios first opened back in 1989 it was called the Disney-MGM Studios and you could see the replica of the Mann's Chinese Theater as you walked up Hollywood Blvd. I will have to scan in some old 4x6 prints someday to show you this view. By the time the digital camera age came around the view of the Great Movie Ride became history as the large Sorcerer Mickey Hat was built directly in front of it.

Many Disney fan photographers have used various techniques to photgraph the front of the GMR in one image from creating wide panoramics using multiple images, fisheye lenses and even a complete 360 degree interactive view using expensive and specialized equipment and software. Last year, I showed you how I used a crystal ball to make unique photographs of Spaceship Earth and Cinderella Castle. Below, I used the crystal ball again. This time to show you the entire front of the Great Movie Ride.

The front of the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The front of the Great Movie Ride through a crystal ball.

I would still like the old view back someday. I know a lot of photographers who would agree with me.

I will be using the crystal ball for more Disney photographs this year. Stay tuned!

September 11, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Character Interaction

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Most of my Character Interaction at Walt Disney World these days are with my camera. In all the parks you will find willing Disney characters who will pose for your camera. Some you have to wait in line for while others will walk right up to you. In the case of a new Citizen of Hollywood character named Ben Appetit, he will want to sell you one of his pies for $3.14 (get it?). I truly enjoyed his salesmanship and pose. I told him I would send him a copy for his pie brochure.

Citizen of Hollywood Ben Appetit selling his pies in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Citizen of Hollywood Ben Appetit selling his pies in Disney's Hollywood Studiosl.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 32mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with her Disney Pic of Week on Character Interaction.

June 17, 2012

Where in the World #234

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!

Deb Ragno, you weren't first with the answer and rightly so, since your three year old grandson was playing at your house. So here's to the two of you: the first note! :)

Players, it's birthday shout out time! It's someone all of you know, although maybe not personally, but... if you don't mind: Erin Blackwell --

Happy Birthday Smiley from millan.net

WHAT?! You guys! I am so surprised! I never expected - wait, flowers and chocolates?! Aw, stop, you're making me blush!

Speaking of shout outs: John Ames! So good to see you here! I didn't know you played the game!

Now, everybody wave hi to Rob And April of Team Vanderpool who are enjoying a Walt Disney World vacation! They are enjoying magical moments and I'm sure they are thinking of us!
Speaking of vacations: ALOHA, Kerri Coggins! Oh, I hope you do get to check out Aulani, but I know you are so enjoying yourself at Oahu!

Vera Williams, I'm glad you liked last week's photo! My foot is fine. The gator mostly just gummed it; it tickled. And Patti Mccaffrey, you have so been to Discovery Island in Disney's Animal Kingdom. Because as soon as you walk over the bridge and see the Tree, you are there! Ask Jeremy, he can tell you. :)

Sandie Albrecht, Kameo Crea, P.j. Popsuj, and Carolyn R. Conway, thank you for your notes! Everyone here at the photo blog loves you right back! Because without all of you, we wouldn't be here. :)

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #233

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, f2.7, 1/10sec, 4mm, ISO-1600

Clinton Dickinson, you chose the Indiana Jones section of The Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios for 300. The answer is: The entrance music to the Team Hill wedding reception. "What is the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme song?" Correct!

And thanks to Ainsley Poe singing it, I have that theme song stuck in my head. Thanks, Ainsley!

Indiana Jones Smiley from millan.net

As Matt Holley and Chris Kelly pointed out, there are two great Hidden Mickeys here. One is at the base of the Ark and the other is Mickey and Donald on the opposite wall from Indy. Have you guys also seen the wonderful hidden R2-D2 and C3PO on that wall? I've tried to take a picture of it, but it's so dark on that part of the wall that I can't get it clearly.

Gabriella wants to thank Matthieu for getting the answer right for the two of them! Mary Tackett is also very thankful for the "Mom, D'UH! Indiana Jones!" she undoubtedly got when she asked. LOL!

Jenn Steele, I never judge. Never. ...well, maybe occasionally, but NEVER you! And Annie Snodgrass, it's been FOREVER since I heard a good Easy peasy lemon squeezey! Booyah!

Chris Masse was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Chris and to all the readers who got the answer right: Teresa Plunkett, Audra Miller, Larissa Huda, Al Desimone, David W., Kenny, Dave Wang, Kevin Miller, Staci Plunkett, Debbie Desimone, Debbie Desimone, Emily Dagney, Mary Beth Tarbet, Paul Knott, David B, Emily Hudson, Jennifer Dealmeida, Brian Gallant, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Dale Knight, Linda Scrivano, Sam Fritz, Brenda Mcguire, Jen Tremley, Jennifer Rowell, James Schmidt, Jim Mcdermott, Kelsey, Janet Fishman, Frank Domizio, Matt Holley, Jen Cerce, Joe Black, Kathryn Perkins, Ken Maikowski, Ed Elder, Hayley Valk, Stephanie Newell, Amanda Sage, The Kertes Family, Laura V., Vincent Coppola, Scott Cullen, Katherine Pretzman , Mike Walter, Belicia Cullen, Margaret West, Marie Seilus, Paul Sankey, T.treloar-rhodes, Sharon Pierce, Russ Morgan, Brian Beck, Vera Williams, David And Angie, Kameo Crea, Antoinette Leblanc, Phil Vickers, James And Kathy Berry, Daniel Record, Deborah Boucher, Liz Weiter, Chris Hanna, Liana Imbrogno, Mackenzie D., Ali Yesutis, Tina Santacroce, Team Hill, Craig, Tiffany Gibb, Kye Layton, Gabriella And Matthieu, Courtney Payne, Emily Jabas, Christopher Tweedle, Lee Anastasi, Nicole Duddy, Sharynne Smith, Bob Hendrix, Megan Krainski, Kerri Coggins, Linda College, Amy Schweizer, Rebecca Smith, Stephanie Visco, Christoper Bourassa, Morgan M. , Chris Surette, Deb Ragno, The Malesky Family, Jason And Melinda Lenz, John Ames, Becky Noto, Mike Venere, Wendy T Faler, Anne Marie Cronin, Jonathan Thomas, Lauren Thomas, Pam Vanaustin, Diane Marciuliano, Gaylene Gray, Nancy Johansen, Cara Richards, Hobbes And Snorky, Erika Loboda, Aaron Harpel, Kellie Harpel, Lily-pierre Couet, The Moore Family, Claire Gregory, Carla C, Paul Newman, Katie Bray, Josh Weiss, Annie Snodgrass, Scott Precise, Regina Seaner, Maggie Klotz, Donna Currier, Carolyn Como, Brendan Abel, Michael Gainey, Vicki Edwards, Melesia Love, Kelly Mager, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Bill Cudney, Christopher Barnes, Kim Kusser, Mary Virginia Clause, Liliana Rivera, Vickie Smialkowski, Caryn Schill, Susie Howard, Dan Johnston, Michelle White, Rob Blundin, Lauren Blundin, Rich Hall, Karen Ramirez, Dawn Bach, Jennifer Townsend, Laurie Walker, Gregg Mcglasson, Matt Cofone, Sharon Dale, Chris Kelly, Nick Bentz, Walter N. Clark, Brian Miller, Beth Mcmeekin, Bruce Arnold, Amy Miller, Vanessa Gordon, Robert Anderson, Doug Olson Family, Jeffrey Dunne, John Duncan, Scott Lau, Kathryn Willer, Jackie Purcell, Wayne Chadourne, Allyson Sodrosky, Cameron Lange, Clinton Dickinson, Ken Fischler, Dan Mangini, Andrew Drummond, Andrew Pettit, Jackie Knapp, Brian Grabowski, Zachary Ott, Jared Orth, Josh Carney, Alan Mize, Bonnie Tulenko, Dee Riccio, Christopher Hall, Mary Tackett, Michelle Roth-smoot, Michele Delorenzo, Austin O'blenis, Kristi Strembicki, Pamela Gerdes, Chuck Everson, Alison Rosenberger, Chuck Everson, Dick Smith, Earl Wilcher, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Gail Hirsch, Brad Scott, Regina Brown, Heather Calvey, Davida Kosa, Callie Conrad, Shelly Borella, Rachel Hoover, Carri Marotto, Kim Steiner, Greg Cusano, Dave Carriere, Regina Allen, Kelli Sangston, Erin Hammer, Anastasia Macneil, P.j. Popsuj, Andy Schumacher, Patti Mccaffrey, Kerry Finnamore, Stephanie Linares, Jeff Finger, George Mundy Jr, Allison Caputa, Ainsley Poe , Jennifer Chartier, Ed Suscreba, Jenn Steele, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Bob Henriksen, Mike Pennington, Matt Ciccone, Jackie Bastien, Erica Zielewski, Heidi Goodhue, Leach Family, Paul Dickson, Nicole Lopresti, Nicole Benoit, Matt Degrandis, Karen Hotchkiss, Lexi , James Greene, Carla Nale, Jenny Lopresti, Emma Ramsey, Tom Buck, M'shel Bowen, Carolyn R. Conway, Jenifer Moyer, Joshua Swainston, Mukta Mohapatra, Jeff Blank, Rick Shea, Bob Patterson, Scott, Hillary Waldroop, Chris, Heather Hynes, Karen Schlumpf, Patrick Broaddus, Lisa Zitek, Sam Thomas, Courtney Broaddus, Ashley Elizabeth, Bruce Hinterleitner, William Sharp, Mike O'brien, Jeffrey Martin, Clay Anthony, Patti Deluca, Cleopatra room, Robert Bostic, John Pasqueralli, Melissa Kirk, Maureen Handy, Kerry Mccaffrey, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Kerrie Hogan, Kris Blamphin, Sandie Albrecht, Robert P. Flaherty, Mark Cullison, David Ballard, Kate Flanagan, Betsy Silvestri, Jennifer Bogdan, Walter N. Clark, Melissa Dye, Debbie Poole, Tom Koval, Sandy Kanigowski, Dave Kanigowski, Chris Bauman, Barclay Bakkum, Thomas Higbee, Wayne Witherspoon, Kristin Dormuth, Jessica Haywood, Paula B, Stacy Murphy, Mary Kay Samluk, Shirley Garcowski, Bill Gallagher, Emily Chronas, Derek Carty, Patty Carty, Jackie, John Foggo, Tina Horlick, Theresa Rucando, Tom & Susan Linder , Linda Mac, Mike Haeberle, Sarah Holodick, Margie Larmon, Barbara Sims, Chris Stockton, Agnes Ciotti, Melissa Love, Ryan , William Smith, Wendy Snelgrove, Stefan Owens, Mickey Eckert, Jamie K, Jane Johnson, Gerald Buford, Jack Foley, Cindy Nagel , J Brizzle, and Ben Sodrosky Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
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Challenge #234: Where in the world is this?

Keep your park passes out, because we are staying in them! So where in Walt Disney World would you see this?

 Where in the World #234

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 21st, 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
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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!

June 8, 2012

Star Wars Weekend Fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I finally got to attend my first Star Wars Weekends last month at Disney's Hollywood Studios. If you have looked into it, you know it is very crowded in the event areas and for the special Star Wars character meet and greets. Beyond that, the rest of the park is fairly normal. I got to do my favorite attractions and rides using FastPasses and patience.

I went to two Star Wars Weekend days. The first day was to photograph the Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade which is lead off by Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse.

Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse leads off the Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse leads off the Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 85mm focal length, fill flash.

I was most interested in seeing the members of the 501st Legion who are people like Civil War re-enactors who are part of a world wide organization which promotes interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work. Below is three examples of the their costume work of over 300 who participated in this motorcade.

Members of the 501st Legion march in the Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Members of the 501st Legion march in the Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade.

There are many special events and meets and greets. These have some unique photo opportunities. Like seeing the Bounty Hunter Janga Fett signing Disney autograph books.

A Bounty Hunter's work is never done as Janga Fett signs his autograph during Star Wars Weekend at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Bounty Hunter's work is never done as Janga Fett signs his autograph during Star Wars Weekend.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/18, ISO 200, EV 0, 116mm focal length, fill flash.

Waiting in line for Star Wars characters is a long and hot process. I waited for an hour to get my picture taken with Princess Minnie "Leia" Mouse or Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse as they were changing every 25 minutes. I caught this moment during one of the change overs.

Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse waving to Princess Minnie
Jedi Knight Mickey Mouse waving to Princess Minnie "Leia" Mouse during Star Wars Weekends.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/10, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 52mm focal length, fill flash.

There are many shows featuring actors who are part of the Star Wars movies and animated series. The one I highly recommend going to is the Stars to the Saga show. Not only will you see stars like Ray Park who played Darth Maul but for the pre-show. The pre-show features some wayward Stormtroopers who enjoyed the park while on patrol bringing back some hilarious photos of their exploits.

Imperial Stormtroopers wearing Mickey ears during Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Imperial Stormtroopers wearing Mickey ears at the Stars to the Saga pre-show during Star Wars Weekends.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 2000, EV -1.0, 250mm focal length.

If you or members of your family are big Star Wars fans as I am, you will throughly enjoy Star Wars Weekends. I even got to see the famous droids C-3PO and R2-D2 being escorted after a show on the main stage. Spent some money in Darth's Mall which is a huge tent full of only Star Wars merchandise especially for Disney. If you are interested in autographs of the Star Wars stars, there are special entrance stations to get FastPasses. I even enjoyed a Blue Milk Shake (tasted like Vanilla) in the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant as a nod to the blue milk Luke drank in the first Star Wars movie.

NOTE: I apologize for missing posting to the blog last week. Time got away from me after vacation. I have many great posts coming up over the next few weeks so I hope you will continue to come back to read Picture This! every day.

May 29, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: From A Ride

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last fall I rode the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios with a group of Disney fan photographers. We filled up a few rows and, without using flash which is not allowed, photographed most of the 95,000 square feet of the ride. I chose a wide angle lens and had some fun not only photographing the ride but some of my fellow photographers, too.

His name is Michael Summers and, when he is not in Walt Disney World, he is photographing trains. REMEMBER, do not use flash on a dark ride. Learn how to turn your camera's flash off.

What part of the ride did I photograph?

A photographer shooting on the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A photographer shooting on the Great Movie Ride.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/2.8, ISO 6400, EV +1.0, 16mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with her Disney Pic of the Week on the subject, From a Ride.

September 17, 2010

Doing the High ISO Dance

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

One of the things I was looking forward to doing with my new equipment was using it on Walt Disney World's dark rides. For the dark rides I set up my camera for spot metering and Auto ISO to go as high as 6400 with the slowest shutter speed of 1/125th of a second. I then put on the Nifty-Fifty, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens, before going on the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios for a trip through the history of movies as only Disney can do it.

One of my old time favorite Hollywood musicals is Singing in the Rain with its famous scene of Gene Kelly singing and dancing in the rain. Disney Imagineers re-created the scene using audio-animatronic technology.

An audio-animatronic Gene Kelly is Singing in the Rain during the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
An audio-animatronic Gene Kelly is Singing in the Rain during the Great Movie Ride.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/125s, f/1.8, ISO 4000, EV -0.3

The D700 did not disappoint allowing the fast shutter speed with little digital noise even at an ISO of 4000.

August 20, 2010

Reflective Disney

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Reflections at Walt Disney World can be found in mirrors, windows, metal surfaces and in the rivers, lakes, fountains with still water. When using a reflective surface make sure you are not in the photo (unless your intention is to make a self portrait), watch for distortions and over exposed areas. It is hard to find a perfectly still body of water unless the air is very still. Water reflections can still be beautiful even if the water is rippling. Such was the case of the photo of Disney's Hollywood Studios taken at night with a long exposure which smoothed out the water.

Disney's Hollywood Studios water reflection, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Disney's Hollywood Studios water reflection.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 20s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 95mm focal length, tripod

Windows can be a bit tricky. Some are more reflective than others depending on their use. Time of day and angles play a large part so as you walk around the parks, keep your eye out for the windows you see in the buildings and shops. Last December I was invited to watch Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios from the VIP seating area right behind the show's control room. The top of the control room featured very reflective windows which I used at the end of the show for this photo.


The set of Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show reflected in the control room windows.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/400s, f/5, ISO 200, EV 0, 18mm Focal Length

If you search for the word "reflection" in the Search Box for the Picture This! blog you will find other examples of how Barrie, Lisa and myself have use reflective surfaces at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Program Note: I will be taking the next two weeks off from blogging for my annual summer break. However, I will be announcing something special for the Labor Day weekend so check in to see what it is.

August 6, 2010

On Hands and Knees

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When Disney's Hollywood Studios opened back in 1989, the Great Movie Ride was its "castle". The entrance to the ride which features famous movie scenes using audio-animatronics characters is a replica of the famous Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California.

Entrance to the Great Movie Ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Entrance to the Great Movie Ride is a replica of the famous Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/13, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length

Like its Hollywood counterpart, the Great Movie Ride's forecourt has cement handprints and footprints of famous actors (both real and animated) and other entertainers like one of my favorite pop singers, Neil Diamond.

Neil Diamond's hands and greeting in cement outside the Great Movie Ride entrance in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Pop singer Neil Diamond's hands and greeting in cement outside the Great Movie Ride entrance in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D90/18-200VR, 1/40s, f/10, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length

I got on my knees to take this photo of Neil Diamond's hands and greeting. Showing people walking into the Great Movie Ride adds the human element to the photo.

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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March 27, 2009

Hyper-Hollywood

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Hyperfocus is a term you may run across when reading about photography. It is a one word term to say everything in a photograph is in sharp focus from front to back. You see hyperfocal photos on the covers of travel magazines where a tropical beach is featured and everything is in focus from the people on the beach to the far away mountains. It is an easy technique to learn. In the "old" days of manual focus lenses, you had a distance scale where one of the settings was the infinity symbol. You set your focus to infinity at certain apertures and, even if it looked out of focus through the viewfinder, everything would be in focus once you got the film back.

These days, most lens manufacturers have done away with the distance scale and letting the camera do the work. For point and shooters, set to landscape mode which is the hyperfocus setting. For digital SLR users, it's a bit more complicated. The easiest way, is to put your camera into Aperture priority mode and use an aperture of f/16, f/22 or smaller. Then focus on a point about one third (1/3) into the scene you are photographing. The photo below of some Streetmosphere performers on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios is a good example of where to focus. Citizen of Hollywood Ready Freddy Fiddlesticks is about 1/3 into the scene of him and his fellow performers, the audience and the backdrop of Sunset Blvd. with the Hollywood Tower Hotel off in the distance.

Streetmosphere performers on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios., Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Streetmosphere performers Ready Freddy Fiddlesticks, Cloe Canard (big hat) and Tallulah Fruiti (blue dress) on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal length

Citizens of Hollywood are the troup of cast members in Disney's Hollywood Studios known as Streetmosphere. Here at the Picture This! Photoblog, Streetmosphere is a popular subject. Lisa talked about how the "shows" are put together, I featured them in a Pic of the Week and Barrie used a piece of a Streetmosphere performer's costume in one of her "Where in the World" contests. AllEars.net recently updated the Streetmosphere information with more photos which identify some of the popular Citizens of Hollywood.

February 29, 2008

Photographic Innoventions: Watch Your Back(grounds) Again

We've all done it. You get off of the Tower of Terror a few minutes before the afternoon parade is to start and rush down Sunset Blvd. You get there and all the curb side places are taken. In fact, people had staked out their places hours before. As the crowd is three deep, you end up having to shoot over people's heads like this.

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2008
Lilo & Stitch Motorcar. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2008
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/8, 200 ISO, 35mm Focal Length

This is where a zoom lens comes in handy. You can fill the frame with your subjects. Eliminating foreground and background distractions. At full zoom, many times you have to shoot with a wider aperture which will cause the background behind your subject to get that pleasing bokeh like this.

Lilo & Stitch in a Motorcar on Parade in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Lilo & Stitch Closeup. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2008
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/320s, f/5.6, 200 ISO, 200mm Focal Length

Ah, that's much better and you didn't have to barge in front of anyone. I have found a zoom lens that goes to 200mm to be an excellent way to capture parade, street and stage performers at Walt Disney World.

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About Hollywood Blvd.

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

Echo Lake is the previous category.

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