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Streets of America Archives

December 25, 2015

Disney Christmas Wish 2015

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Merry Christmas from the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/4.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 18, 2015

Goodbye to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

After a 20 year run, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios will go dark for the last time after the 2015 holiday season. Jennings Osborne, a Little Rock, Arkansas, businessman, began putting up lights at his residence in 1986, at the request of his young daughter. Each year, Jennings would add more lights and displays. By 1993, the display had grown so large and popular, Osborne's neighbors filed suit to shut it down because the traffic congestion was a concern if emergency vehicles were ever needed in the neighborhood.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights takes its final bow at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2015.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/50s, f/5.6, ISO 3200, EV 0, 135mm focal length.

The legal issues came to the attention of Walt Disney World officials who offered to move the lights to its Residential Street in what was then called Disney-MGM Studios. Jennings was a fan of the park and agreed. In 1995, the Osborne Lights came to Walt Disney World.

Over the years, Disney slowly shutdown the Residential Street and moved the lights to the Streets of America. Imagineers swapped out the lights with LED technology and relays so the lights could "dance" to favorite Christmas songs and music.

The Spectacle of Lights includes (more or less): 5 million lights, 32 miles of extension cables, 66 snow machines using 100 gallons of snow fluid a night and 43 Hidden Mickeys.

Knowing this was going to be my last time seeing the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights earlier this month, I wanted to photograph not only the wide views of the display but the many details found along the streets and alleys of the Streets of America.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights details on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Details.

Starting from the top left and going clockwise, Fire Hydrant leaking water, Phone Booth or a Tardis for Dr. Who fans with a snowman wearing a bluetooth, Stitch on a tire swing and the table outside Tony's restaurant setup for Lady and the Tramp's date.

The view down San Francisco Street is just as impressive as the view down New York Street. The overhead canopy of lights flashes and changes colors to the music during one of the many "shows".

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on San Francisco Street in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on San Francisco Street.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

I was not the only one photographing or videoing the lights, smartphone and tablets (which did not exist 20 years ago) were held high anytime a musical show would start. In between, people were taking photos of everything or getting in a PhotoPass line to get themselves, families and large groups one last photo of the largest Christmas light display started by an individual.

A guest uses a tablet to record the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A guest uses a tablet to record the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

As excited as I am for all the new things coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios, I will miss the Osborne Lights. Who knows, maybe they will reappear someday.

Here is an early photographic gift for you. This link will take you to a post with more links to more posts with even more links on how to photograph Christmas lights outside and inside to bring even more joy to your holiday photography this season. Enjoy!

Christmas Light Photography

September 4, 2015

Encounter with Darth Vader at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Darth Vader menacing young padawans at the Jedi Training Academy in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Darth Vader menacing young padawans and Scott at the Jedi Training Academy.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 450, EV 0, 135mm Focal Length.

Scott is off to Walt Disney World this weekend and is looking forward to another encounter with Darth Vader at the Jedi Training Academy in Disney's Hollywood Studios. With all the recent announcements, Scott is hoping to get some information out of the Sith Lord. Wish him luck.

If you are going to be in Walt Disney World or live in central Florida, come by and see Scott at the next All Ears Photo Meet on Saturday, September 12, 2015 starting at 6:30PM. Click that link for details and click here to sign up on the FaceBook Event page.

Click here to follow Scott's adventures at Disney on Twitter.

September 1, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Cinderella

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

All this month, Deb and I will be sharing photos based on Walt Disney Studios movies.

For the last few years, Disney has come out with a live cinematic version of an animated classic. This spring, Cinderella was released and featured a golden carriage. In advance of the film coming out in theaters, the carriage was displayed on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Golden carriage from the live action movie, Cinderella, on display in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Golden carriage from the live action movie, Cinderella, on display on the Streets of America.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 220, EV +0.3, 24mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow sharing a special Cinderella image.


August 18, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Green

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

We have all heard about Little Green Men from Outer Space. For this week's color, Green, I get to share with you exactly that. Though you know him better as Yoda, the Jedi Master from Star Wars. Below he is wielding a light saber on the side of a Chevy Spark. This car was on display on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios during the 2014 Star Wars Weekends.

Green Chevrolet Spark with Yoda and Star Wars graphics on display at Disney's Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekend, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Green Chevrolet Spark with Yoda and Star Wars graphics on display during Star Wars Weekend.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm focal length.

Thought you might want to see a closer look at Yoda.

Green Chevrolet Spark with Yoda and Star Wars graphics on display at Disney's Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekend, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Green Chevrolet Spark with Yoda and Star Wars graphics on display during Star Wars Weekend.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/160s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 70mm focal length.

Deb will be here tomorrow where she smartly decided against a cliche Green subject into something to lift the spirit.


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.

June 30, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Cast Costumes in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Three years ago (how time flies!), I hosted an All Ears Photowalk which included a backstage tour of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show. Our hosts for the tour was two of the stunt drivers we had been photographing at the last show. As you can imagine, their costumes were very different and fire proof.

Backstage at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Meeting a Stunt Driver backstage at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share a CM from Disney's Hollywood Studios.


April 10, 2015

Disney Food Photography

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 16, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Frozen

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The animated musical, Frozen, took the world by storm and surprised Disney by its success. It did not take long for Disney to catch up in merchandising, a Sing-Along version in Blu-Ray and DVD released recently and bringing the magic to its themeparks.

Over the summer, Disney's Hollywood Studios hosted Frozen Summer Fun which was so popular, the stage show, For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration Show at the Premiere Theatre has been kept on indefinitely. It is a show which mirrors the magic of all past animated films as it entertains both adults and their children.

Elsa and Anna sing in the For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration Show at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Elsa and Anna sing in the For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration Show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 1800, EV 0, 210mm Focal Length.

Deb takes Olaf's song about summer to heart tomorrow.


December 9, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Christmas Lights

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When it comes to Christmas Lights, you would be hard pressed to find something as spectacular as the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios. This display has evolved from a fairly static version when the Osborne Lights first appeared on Residential Street of the old Backlot Tour in 1995 to today's electronic light shows to up beat holiday tunes on the Streets of America.

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 10s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 15mm Focal Length, Tripod.

Deb and I were thinking alike this week as you will see tomorrow.

September 28, 2014

Where in the World #351

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!

I hope everyone had a lovely Rosh Hashanah! The celebration is still going on as I write this
Shofar

Happy Birthday to my husband John Blackwell! I just found out that he actually checks out the game. :)

The Gunnels Family are at Disney's Vero Beach Resort. Have a lovely time!

Last week's challenge: number #350
Where in the World #350

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

It's the Public Library on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios. This is one of my pictures that I took especially for the game. :)

Alan Mize, quick! Dave Carriere says they're waving overdue fees; get that book back!

Kristi Strembicki was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Kristi and to all our winners this week! Jennifer Rowell, Bruce Jones, Danielle Harsely And Agnes Ciotti, Melissa Such, Sandie Albrecht, Mary Beth Tarbet, The Koren Family, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney, Ed Suscreba, Jim Finley, Ed Elder, Elaine Kleinhenz, Virginia Pierce, Susie Howard, Linda Scrivano, The Kahle Family, Cheryl Costello, Hunter Armstrong, Jill Hauth, Lana Bloomfield, Tom Armstrong, Sharon Pierce, Nan Amor, Kye Layton, Team Hill, Torrey Beasley, Morag Lemon, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Tom Swan, Katie, Ken Maikowski, Amber Penske, Ken Daube, Lee Anastasi, Doug Olson Family, Candice Grimes, The Strukel Family, Ed Bogle, Vera And Izzy Williams, Mike O'brien, Julie Bozeman, Melissa King, Lori Rienhardt, Tricia Petty, Kyra C., Karen Hotchkiss, Vinny Bullara , Maggie Klotz, K Beasley, Axel Beer, Phyllis, Paula Massarelli, Paul Dickson, Luis Rodriguez, Paul Knott, Chris Horne, Mike Amor, Tinkerbell Wells, Pollyanna Buff, Brenda Mclean, Sharon Lucia, Pat Schwier, Claire Gregory, Lindsay Coram, Wendy Barney, Duskin Henard, Patti Gumiela, Suzanne Renfroe, Megan Krainski, Betsy Silvestri, Annette Nuenke, The Parker Family, Dawn Bach, Al &Kerry Ganter, Eric Johnson, Andrea Kruszewski, Paul Scimeca, Deb Ragno, Kris Nixon, Dee Dee Kenney, Janet T Thorn, Carol Collins, Beth Pleban, Nancy Dawkins-pisani, James Steele, Maureen Handy, Dennis F O'reilly Jr, Lee Deroia , Scott Mcbride, Ashley Collins, Maryann Romagnano, Liz Moreau, Elaine Tomko-delucaq, Jamesd, Emily Hudson, Andy Hickey, Dave Freemyer, Ken Savage, Eric Berger, The Kertes Family, Ginger Sneeringer, Jeff Blank, Maggie Biederman, Kathy Morris, Tiffann Gibb, Jamie Fahey, Mickey Eckert, Jamie Fahey, Sherry Hawley, Michele Zowacki, Hobbes And Snorky, Bruce Hinterleitner, Ruben O'meara, Jason Hocker, Jen Peterson, Nadine Grieshaber, Eric Enli, Linda College, Jeremy Hardy, Team Bonnie Sue, Bill Mckim, Jen Eacret, Jodi Cook, Julia Marsh, Greta Lee, Herb Miller, Wayne Chadourne, Brian Delacruz, Trisha Johnson, Arlene Vicek, Rebecca Keenan, Larry Sprenkle, Karen Costa, Susan Barbash, Mary Ann Lamay, Britta Andrews, The Long Family, Jamie Beil, Daniel Record, Bob Ruer, Brian Grabowski, Sarah And Chris, Dallas Hamilton, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Andrew Pettit, Melissa Littman, Vicki Shearman, Brian Mcwithey, Les Whitten, Kate Fischer, Carla C, Jeremy Reichelt, Patti Mccaffrey, Karen Bellamy, Les Stewart, Scott Sangston, George Mundy Jr, States Family, Terry Blair, Chloe Mayhew, Diana Grady, Josh Carney, Dave Carriere, Kelley H, Randy, Grumpy's Groupies, Smitty, Mike Haeberle, Mary Jo Gallion, Jan Rosato, Rob Blundin, Matthew Frey, Pati Nystrom, Heidi Goodhue, David J Miller, Kay Egan, Tim Johansen, Susan Higginbotham , Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Kimberly Timm, Ron Harper, The Gunnels Family, Jennifer Snook, Davida, Carolyn Como, Ken Rhinehart, Kristan Bertelmann, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Vicki Britt, Chris Kelly, Alan Mize, Mark Proper, Mike, Darrell Shortt, John Foggo, Esther Chernak, Theresa Rucando, Jackie Graebel, Sheila Bagg, Brian Miller, Theresa Maradei, Joseph M. Zafia, Kerri Coggins, Tom Higbee, Matt Holley, Hillary Waldroop, Kyle Burdo, Jen Tremley, Barclay Bakkum, Owen States , Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Brian Yesutis, and Kerry A.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #351 Where in the world is this?

Can you believe we're at the end of September? So where is this picture to end the month?
Where in the World #351

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

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies!

April 17, 2014

This is what we call...MuppetVision 3-D

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Guests enjoying the Muppet Vision 3-D pre-show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests enjoying the Muppet Vision 3-D pre-show entertainment.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm, 1/100s, f/2.8, ISO 6400, EV 0.

For those of us who remember The Muppet Show syndicated television show, watching the pre-show to MuppetVision 3-D in Disney's Hollywood Studios is like going back in time with one twist...each bank of televisions are connected into one scene. The Muppet zaniness which happens as guests wait to enter the theater is exactly like what I used to watch in my college dorm room back in the late 1970's.

A nostalgic trip down memory lane for my Disney Pic of the Week about MuppetVision 3-D.

August 27, 2013

Disney Pic of the Week: Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show in the Streets of America backlot area at Disney's Hollywood Studio is an exciting, fast, adrenaline inducing live show. It is a fun and challenging to photograph with lots of fast action, jumps and stunts. Each stunt is carefully choreographed and practiced to look far more dangerous than they are. The fact that it looks so dangerous is a tribute to the men and women who put on the production each day.

Hero car jumps between vans during a performance of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Disney's Hollywood Studio, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hero car jumps between vans during a performance of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/2000s, f/11, ISO 1400, 0 EV, 16mm Focal Length

Come back on Thursday when Lisa shares her Disney Pic of the Week for Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.

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 17, 2013

Using a Super Zoom Lens at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I am a big fan of using Super Zoom lenses on digital SLR cameras. When I travel to places like Walt Disney World, I do not want to be carrying a lot of heavy equipment. A Super Zoom lens lets me go with a small pouch which holds an extra battery, memory cards, lens cleaning cloth, flash and one extra lens, usually the 50mm f/1.8.

I have used Nikon's Super Zoom lenses on both a DX (cropped camera) and FX (full framed camera). They are the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S VR DX Zoom and Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S VR II FX Zoom Lenses. Canon has their 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 EF-S IS Zoom Lens. Sigma and Tamron each have an 18-250mm zoom lens. All are image stablized and very versatile.

Super Zoom lenses are full of compromises. They have variable apertures and are not very fast nor are they extremely wide or long. I find they work perfectly in a place like a Disney themepark, festivals, or fairs. The following photos were all taken with a Nikon D700 FX camera and the 28-300VR lens.

For this photo of a tricycle parked near Kali River Rapids entrance in Disney's Animal Kingdom, I got in close and low using the widest focal length of the lens.

A tricycle parked near Kali River Rapids entrance in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A tricycle parked near Kali River Rapids entrance.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 25mm focal length.

Along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, the gorrilas, at their closest, are still far away and the reach of a super zoom lens comes in very handy.

Bachelor Gorilla on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Bachelor Gorilla on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 160, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

The Image Stablizaton (Vibration Reduction for Nikon's) in the Super Zoom lenses work even while doing motion photography like panning at the Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom.

Guests speeding around the Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests speeding around the Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/15s, f/29, ISO 200, EV 0, 85mm focal length.

The verstality of the wide range of focal lengths helps to photograph scenes like this one. Space Mountain was being lighted by a late day Sun with rain clouds behind it. I really liked being able to crop in and create this composition with the spires of the ride bright lighted in front of a dark, gloomy background.

Space Mountain with rain clouds in the Magic Kingdom's Torrowland, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spires of Space Mountain in Torrowland.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 105mm focal length.

Let me repeat, Super Zooms give you a lot of compostional freedom. I envisioned this photo of the Red Hero car from Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios knowing I was going to be seating in the VIP section of the grandstands during the show. The wide end let me get the car's reflection, the camera truck and the set behind all in the frame. Using a fast shutter speed let me freeze all the action at the right time.

Red Hero car during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Red Hero car jumping during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/1000s, f/5, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

A slight zoom on the lens from 28mm to 40mm eliminated some foreground clutter and brought the broom in closer as I photographed the Sorcerer Mickey Mouse topiary in front of Disney's Hollywood Studios' entrance.

Sorcerer Mickey Mouse topiary in front of the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Sorcerer Mickey Mouse topiary in front of the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, f/16, ISO 1100, EV 0, 40mm focal length, HDR Image.

Are Super Zooms the perfect travel lens? Maybe not perfect but the closest thing I have used to one.

April 26, 2013

Photographing Details at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney parks are known for many things. Attention to detail and incorporating detail is one of them. Focusing on the little details at a busy tourist attraction like Walt Disney World is one way to get photos which do not include people.

Taking a stroll down Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, I came upon probably the only Ford vehicle on property. It is a yellow taxi in front of the Disney Vacation Club location. I got down low and opened up my aperture wide open to selectively focus on the car's grill where the manufacturer's logo was found.

The chrome grill of a yellow texi parked on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The chrome grill of a yellow texi in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/3200s, f/5, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 32mm focal length.

Another detail Disney is famous for are Hidden Mickeys which Disney Imagineers design into attractions, restaurants, resorts and just about anything. This address plaque, found in the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios, was pointed out to me by a Hidden Mickey fan.

Hidden Mickey on the Dalmation dog address plaque in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hidden Mickey on the Dalmation dog address plaque in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

Disney parks and resorts and most any tourist destination will have details to photograph which will add unique and interesting stories to your travel photography.

March 31, 2013

Where in the World #274

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!

To all you Players who are celebrating: Happy Passover and Happy Easter!
Dayenu From Millan.Net

James Hoekzema, you saw Jim Henson at the Grand Floridian?! Wow!

Amber Slifer and Judy Simonsen, thank you for your wonderful notes!

Joy Ousterout, thank you for letting me know about the problem with your entry last week. I updated it with your name and put you in with the other winners! Just in time for your Disney trip!

Rob And April Vanderpool, I'm getting ready to go to Disney with you as we speak! Hold on: mickey ears Ready! Danielle Ciotti Harsley is tiny and won't take up much space: can we stop to pick her up?

Derek Carty, I'm sorry I lowered your estimation with me. From Millan.Net

Here was last week bonus tough Challenge:
 Where in the World Difficult

And here's the answer:
 Where in the World Difficult

One of the suspensions bridges on the Nature Trails in Oasis, Disney's Animal Kingdom. Barrie Brewer wanted to test the action settings on her camera and asked me to jump up and down on the bridge. Good times. :)

Here's last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #273

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

It's Miss Piggy dress as the Statue of Liberty at the fountain in front of Muppets 3D! My niece always gets us together for a family photo here! A lot of you said the same. :)

Herb Miller, I don't remember the scrolling sign that said, "K-E-R Are you ready? M-I-T That's a school in Massachusetts"! Is that still there?

Morgan M, coins thrown into all the Disney fountains are donated to charities such as employees' volunteer fund, Disney's Wildlife Conservancy fund, Quest Inc, etc.

EVERYBODY got this right!

Katie Bray was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Katie and all our winners this week! Kris Nixon, Wayne Chadourne, Chris Masse, Jason Skow, Janet Stavrides, Josh K, Paul Moore, Amber , Amanda Campbell, Brian Gallant, Stacie O, Stefanie Vandiver, Kathy Ripka, Bob Patterson, Jillian Domings, Tim Jeltes, Jennifer Shaw, Anita Jodouin, Karen Hunsinger, James Steele, The Woodruff's , Mary Davis, Mary Davis, Russ Morgan, Cheryl Chambers, The Parker Family, Mike Gillardi, Ken Clark, Doug Reichl, Vickie Smialkowski, Sharynne Smith, Kevin Scott, Blake Schmidt, Kim Mobley, Duskin Henard, Robert Graham, Kerrie Hogan, Scott Allemang, Scott Allemang, Sharon Gilbert, Melesia Love, James Schmidt, Mark Craver, Melissa Such, Axel Beer, Michael Tomczyk, Amber Henry, Dianne Parker, Bettina Muscara, Jennifer Harmon, Scott Precise, Sherri Pell, Emily Hudson, Cari Richards, Liz Moreau, Clinton Dickinson, Hoekzema Family, James hoekzema, Lee Deroia, Craig Lordan, Denise, Robert Hildebrandt, Brian Mcwithey, Andrew Pettit, Vera Williams, Jeff Griffin, Brian Nale, Chloe Mayhew, Karen Davis, Jennifer Saunders, Devin Wisman, Michelle Raimist, Dawn Hartson, Kellie Harpel, Deme Grabert, Dawn Hemmert, Christian Hitzinger, Michael Rudge, Candice Grimes, Hillary Waldroop, Herb Miller, Marguerite Garofalo, Trina Noggle, Heather Sabatino, Becky Delp, Karen Costa, Kate Nejman, Annisa Martin, Janet F, Kate Fischer, Brian Grabowski, Morgan M, Dave Cole, Jim Finley, Jodi Cook, Allison Dibiase, Janet Thorn, Chris Bauman, Brandy Andrews, Lisa Zitek, Matt Holley, Josh Carney, Scott Mitchell, Shannon Savoia, Zachary Ott, Anastasia Macneil, Karrie Duffey, Brian Miller, Pam Gallagher, Brian Mickle, Dee Dee Kenney, Phil Vickers, Steve Jordan, Keri, Tricia Noble, George Mundy Jr, Steve Jordan, Traci Mills, Antoinette Leblanc, Jerry Weldon, Salvatore Mangiacapre, Deb Gallo, Patrick Broaddus, Lizanne Fisk, Judy Simonsen, Hayley Valk, Michelle Boykin, Claire Gregory, Kristen Mccoy, Tricia Petty, Jim Thompson, Maryann Eckenrode, Mary Greger, Carla Nale, Mike Walter, Michael Barker, Lisa Fronheiser, Becky Norman, Ken Maikowski, Timothy Hutchinson, Lindsey S., Chuck Everson, Karen Reitz, Theresa Rucando, Scott Sangston, Brenda, Norma Lajoie, Lori Rienhardt, Evanna Huda, Carri Marotto, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Maryann Romagnano, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Billie Jean Albolino, Courtney Payne, Doug Olson Family, Andrew Carrieri, Karen Hotchkiss, Rebecca Keenan, Jennifer Klek, Heather Hynes, Barclay Bakkum, Meredith Rule, Heather Friel, Jim Mcdermott, Nigel Mcquire, Mark Benton, Tim Johansen, Shelly Borella, Whitney M, Kate Kozlowski, Andrea Kruszewski, Deb Ragno, Veronica Upwood, Gerald Skanes, Mark Proper, Wendy Snelgrove, Clay Anthony, Jullie Pudem, Tinkerbellwells, Wayne Witherspoon, The Patterson Family, Chris, Linda College, Team Meeker, Nathalie Periard, Curtis Bille, Melissa Littman, Steve Knapp, Dave Freemyer, Jason Hocker, K Beasley, Al Desimone, Deb Desimone, Heather Pedulla, Kat Curtis, Caitlin Lewis, Cameron Lange, Nick Cristea, Karen Smith, Dennis, Jessica Iglesias, Matt Ciccone, Mike M., Erin Hammer, Ashley P., Diane Curfman, Olszak Family, Eric Enli, Stuart Hale, Sharon Powell, Jen Eacret, Monica Owens, Mary Beth Tarbet, Victoria T., Nathan York, Kara Cummings, Melody O'donnell, John & Rhonda Nottell, Patti Mccaffrey, Victoria Finnegan, Jen Cerce, Roger Vollmer, Lauren Thomas, Alex A, Mike Mondoux, The O'meara Family, Dave Carriere, Mike Rotkiske, Andy Schumacher, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Betsy Dross, Mickey Eckert, Mike Mondoux, Nicole Shuler, Betsy Dross, Ronald Delorey, John Pasqueralli, Sylvie, Ed Suscreba, Leach Family, Dsnymom14, Patty Carty, Mitchell Holmes, John Bickers, Becky Hosinger, Hobbes And Snorky, Kristi Strembicki, Patty Carty, Pollyanna Buff, Kris Blamphin, Sharon Dale, Ryan And Kerry A., Cindy Pink, Lynne Dunn, Tom Donnelly, Jan Rosato, Maggie Klotz, Lou Baker, Susie Howard, Zach Szymko, Brendan Abel, Joan Schroeder, Denise Castiglione, Lynette Michalos, Les Stewart, Paul Dickson, Rachel Kotwitz, Team Hill, The Perras Family, Chris Kelly, Michele Mongeon, Lorine Landon, Stefan Owens, Ladonna Tisdale, Julie And Kody Rider, Sarah Calvario, Madison Hovan, Kerry Mccaffrey, Larry Sprenkle, Annette Nuenke, Lynne Simpson, Luis Rodriguez, Bill Cudney, Kelly Cummings, Chris Schrider, Cathy Connors, Jennifer Bourg, Dwayne Fontenot, Derek Carty, Andy Hickey, Randi Balch, Theresa Maradei, Jenn Crosby, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Betsy Silvestri, Kathryn Perkins, The Hulse Family, Crystal Gelinas, Sue Anne Kennedy, Karen Ramirez, Cindy Rey, Bill Mckim, Les Whitten, Les Stewart, Maureen Handy, Bonnie Cummings, Carolyn Como, Sandra Edwards, Noah Schweizer, Kelli Gordon, Ainsley Poe, Jennifer Mercier, Jennifer Mercier, Diane Ramos, Rachel Hoover, John Hout, Al Sandal, Linda Grau, Elyssa H., Dan Diehm, Michelle Wilinski, Emily Watson, Michalski Girls, Sandra Loveless, Chris Kelly, Amber Slifer, Mark Franklin, Andrew Swiatowicz, Amy Scott, Double Family, Ken Rhinehart, Carrie Kwiat, Pam, Erin Dagney, Christine Dagney, Eric Holmes, David B, Brian Sherwin, Jason &Melinda Lenz, Walter N. Clark, The Emich Family, Jackie Graebel, Jo Ann Bailey, Elaine Kleinhenz, Amy Letterman, Jill Strand, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Colin Sawyer, John Sheridan, Lindsay Kasawski, Screen Watson, Megan Krainski, Tom Koval, Joseph M. Zafia, Cynthia Hitchcock, Kyle Burdo, Dee Riccio, Tom Higbee, Shirley Garcowski, David Ballard, Lynn Torre, Bob Henriksen, Mackenzie D., Maryann Daly, Alan Mize, Carol Ney, Linda K. Ranatza, Emily Harper, Agnes Ciotti, Jennifer Bogdan, Erin Connell, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Linda Scrivano, Robert Wescovich, Josh Weiss, Heidi Goodhue, Tracy Discher, Karen Adamakis, Mike Haeberle, Pam Vanaustin, Angela Johnson, Vicki Edwards, Angel Diven, Ashley Hill, Robert P. Flaherty, Brent Hand, Judy Walker, Jeff Finger, Kerry Fox, Gary Bracknell, Elizabeth Johnston, Karen Genda, Joy Ousterout, Diane Batista, Gail H, Rob Blundin, Jane Johnson, Chris & Maranda Nichols, Chris Connors, Sandy Kanigowski, Dave Kanigowski, Pinder Family, John Paul Carnell, Dallas Boyer, and Jim Logue,. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________
Challenge #274: Where in the world is this?
 Where in the World #274
Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Friday, April 4th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.
See you next week, Players!
Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

Everyone who sends in a correct answer to a Where in the World Challenge this month will be entered in a drawing at the end of the month for some special AllEars® goodies!

September 28, 2012

Vacation Time at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Donald Duck ready for vacation, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Are You Ready for a WDW Vacation?

Scott is and he will be attending the Disney Villains Hollywood Bash after the Tower of Terror 10 Miler tomorrow night which his daughter is running in. He will be there taking photos to bring back and share with all of us next week. You can follow Scott's adventure by clicking this link for his Disney Twitter feed. If you will be there, look for Scott and say "Hi!". He might have a gift for you.

Can anyone tell Scott why A113 (See ticket number above) is significant in Disney history?


August 3, 2012

On the Road Again

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Scott behind the wheel of the red Hero car from the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Scott behind the wheel of the red Hero car from the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt.

Scott is on the road this week. No, not in one of the red Hero cars (he wishes!) but driving his daughter through the Mid-West as she relocates to take a new job. He will be back next week with more Disney photography tips and information.

July 20, 2012

Disney Panoramic Views

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Back in October of 2009, I wrote a post called Pano-Magic about how to best take a set of photos to create a panoramic image. This post will show you some common mistakes made when taking photos for and creating the panoramics in post-processing. Due to the locations, all of the photos were taken hand-held.

If you recall when I reviewed the Nassau Forts and Junkanoo Discovery Tour, the one thing I wished I had was more time at Fort Fincastle. The panoramic you see below is the result of being rushed. I took these four photos quickly and, as I was reviewing them, was told we were moving on. I knew they would not create the panoramic image I had in mind. The wide angle shot in the review link is much better. Next time I did a panoramic set of photos, I made sure I had more time.

Panoramic view from the top of Fort Fincastle on Nassau in the Bahamas.
Panoramic view from the top of Fort Fincastle on Nassau in the Bahamas.
CLICK PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.

This panoramic of Castaway Cay was planned. I knew about the Lookout Tower from my first visit to Castaway Cay. I had visions of a beautiful Caribbean blue sky with sunshine gleaming off the Disney Dream on the horizon. That vision was dashed with the weather but I still wanted the panoramic. I did a couple of things wrong here. First, I did not set my camera to full manual so that the exposure would be the same in each of the photos. As you can see, the photo used for the Disney Dream is a bit underexposed in comparison to the other four photos. Second, you can see a duplicate clearing on the left side. The panoramic stitching software I used did not properly line up the edges. I should have fixed that before saving the panoramic. Also, should have read my Pano-Magic post first, eh?

Panoramic view from the top of Lookout Tower on Castaway Cay in the Bahamas.
Panoramic view from the top of Lookout Tower on Castaway Cay in the Bahamas.
CLICK PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.

The last one I want to show you I am very proud of. During the Streets of America photowalk, the group got a backstage tour of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show. The panoramic image of the garage took four photos and I was so very careful to overlap them enough so the panoramic stitching software could do its magic. This time I made sure my camera was in manual mode to keep the exposure the same. I was told by the stunt drivers giving the tour, they can strip down and totally rebuild any of the vehicles used during the shows.

Panoramic view of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show garage in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Panoramic view of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show Garage.
CLICK PHOTO TO SEE LARGER IMAGE.

Many photo editing programs today can perform the stitching needed to create panoramic images. Check to see if yours does. If not, there are many quality stand alone programs suited to the task. Of course, the better you plan and produce the photos for the panoramic, the better your results will be. Right, Scott?

June 22, 2012

Photowalking the Streets of America

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last month I hosted a photowalk on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios. It did not turn out exactly as people thought it would. I had planned a surprise but could not revel it until the time of the photowalk as it was not confirmed until a couple of hours before the meet was to start. You see, I had been in contact with a cast member at the Studios to arrange for special seating at Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show over the last few months. The problem was the weather as it was raining hard, as in Cats and Dogs hard, until about two hours before the Photowalk was to start.

Turns out as long as it is not raining, the show would go on at a slower pace for safety. I collected my group of 6 people who took a chance on the weather and we headed over to the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show entrance where we meet up with the cast member. He escorted us up to the VIP Seating area which is directly behind and above the show's control room. From there we had a clear view of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show "stage". Four more people joined us late bringing the group to 10 people.

AllEars.net Streets of America Photowalk participants in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
AllEars.net Streets of America Photowalk participants.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length, fill flash.

Here is a photo I took during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show from the VIP Seating Area when the red Hero car comes nose to nose with the Villain cars while driving backwards. I pointed out when and where the action would be taking place to those who had never seen the show before.

The Hero going nose to nose with the Villians during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Hero going nose to nose with the Villians during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 105mm focal length.

I found out before the show my group was invited to a backstage tour of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show set. After the show ended, I gathered everyone up and meet one of the ushers at the bottom of the stands. He walked us over to a stage entrance where we were greeted by two of the stunt drivers. What a surprise to all of us (including me) that they would be giving the tour. Rob and Chad took us behind the town's facades where we got to see all the cars, motorcycles and other stuff stuff for the show. We even got a chance to get behind the wheel of the Hero car. Let me tell you it is a tight fit!

Behind the wheel of the red Hero car backstage at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Behind the wheel of the red Hero car backstage at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/4.5, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length.

The stunt drivers were perfect hosts answering all of our questions while showing us around. Did you know they use 3,000 tires a month and the bumper of the Hero car is replaced twice a week? They showed us the cleanest auto shop I have ever seen where they can fully take the cars, motorcycles and jet skis apart and rebuild them. Rob and Chad posed with us for pictures. This is Rob below with a young Photowalk participant.

A young Photowalk participant poses with a stunt driver backstage at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A young Photowalk participant poses with a stunt driver backstage at the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 45mm focal length, fill flash.

I can not thank the cast member enough for arranging both the VIP Seating and the Backstage Tour. It was a thrill for all of us and made the day extra magical.

After saying our goodbyes to Rob and Chad and thanking them with the AllEars.net trading card for the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show, we went over and explored the Streets of America. I gave everyone 10 hints of interesting things to find. You can see those hints and the photos by some of the photowalk participants at the AllEars.net Streets of America Photowalk Online Gallery by clicking here. Feel free to leave us comments about them.

We caught the end of a performance by Mulch, Sweat and Shears on San Francisco street. The guitar player was really into it. Sure capped off an amazing photowalk for us.

Mulch, Sweat and Shears guitarist performing on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Mulch, Sweat and Shears guitarist performing on the Streets of America.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, fill flash.

What a great group of people who took a chance and came to the photowalk even though the weather was far from ideal. I encourage you to check out the photo gallery (see link above) as the crew did a very good job of capturing the fun and excitement of the day. I hope to see some of you at a future photowalk.

June 19, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Streets of America

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have walked through the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios many times since the park opened back in 1989. The backlot facades of New York City and now including San Francisco adding to the atmosphere of Hollywood. I never really took the time to really look at those facades until I was researching for the photowalk I hosted last month. The Disney Imagineers put a lot more thought and detail in those facades than I thought.

One of my research tools was using fellow AllEars.net team member Steve Barrett's Hidden Mickey Field Guide to find and locate those fun Hidden Mickeys found along the Streets of America like this Mickey Mouse watch in the window of the Pawn Shop in New York street.

Pawn Shop Mickey Mouse Watch for sale on the Streets of America in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Pawn Shop Mickey Mouse Watch for sale on the Streets of America.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 5000, EV 0, 300mm Focal Length, Selective Color.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with a Streets of America photo for her Disney Pic of Week.

December 16, 2011

AllEars.net 15th Anniversary Photo Essay

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 10, 2010

New Gear!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I want to first thank everyone who followed my trip down to Walt Disney World last weekend. I tweeted over 35 photos from my iPhone and many other tweets. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

What I did not tell you last week was I was bringing my new camera and lens to the parks for the first time. I purchased a new-to-me Nikon D700 digital SLR camera and new Nikon 28-300VR lens. This is a tremendous upgrade from the Nikon D70 dSLR camera and 18-200VR lens I have been using for the past three years. The D700 is a full-frame camera with a larger sensor (12 Megapixels) and high ISO capabilities. The 28-300VR lens was designed for the full-frame Nikon digital cameras and is the same range in 35mm terms as the 18-200VR for cropped camera bodies.

For this week, I want to share with you some of the photos I took with the new equipment. If you have any questions, leave me a comment!

The larger sensor allowed me to crop this photo of the explosive finale in the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios and not lose the the detail of the fire and water in the air.

Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show explosive finale in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show explosive finale.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/1600s, f/5.2, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 92mm focal length

The Nikon D700 technology is five years newer than the D70 and its photos take a lot less time in post production. In fact, this photo of Lotso from Toy Story 3 in the The Magic of Disney Animation tour is straight out of the camera except for a little sharpening.

Lotso from Toy Story 3 in the Animation building at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Lotso from Toy Story 3 in the Animation building.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/4, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular begins with a low light scene where Indy locates a golden idol. In the past, I was limited to a maximum ISO of 1600 which was also very noisy. The D700 has little noise up to 3200 ISO and even as high as 6400 is very clean.

Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular scene at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Indiana Jones sizing up the golden idol.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 3200, EV 0, 300mm Focal Length

While it is not the camera that creates the photos, new tools can help a photographer improve even more through technological improvements in their gear.

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.

April 23, 2010

Fire Slide

Last week I talked about using long exposures to show water as silky flow over waterfalls. The same technique can be used to show movement for other subjects.

During the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show is an exciting chase scene with motorcycles ending with the bad guy sliding through a wall of fire. I took in this show twice on my last visit to Walt Disney World and caught this scene two different ways. The first with a fast shutter speed of 1/800th of a second.

Motorcycle sliding through fire during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Motorcycle sliding through fire during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show with a fast shutter speed.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/800s, f/7.1, ISO 200, 135mm focal length

During my second showing, I had a better angle for the slide action and slowed my shutter down to 1/80th of a second. Ten times slower than the first photo.

Motorcycle sliding towards a wall of fire during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Motorcycle sliding towards a wall of fire during the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show with a slow shutter speed.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.6, 170mm focal length

The motorcycle and rider are blurred as they slide towards the wall of menacing fire while the rest of the image is in sharp focus. This technique works for any moving subjects like amusement park rides, race cars and any place you find things that move.

My site was nominated for Best Photography Blog!

January 29, 2010

Burst Mode

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When photographing an event or show which features fast action, I use what photographers refer to as Burst mode. Camera companies call it Continuous mode. Refer to your camera's manual on how to set it. This mode will continuously fire your shutter as fast as the camera is able. The Nikon D70 I use is rated at 3 frames per second (fps). The cameras used by today's sports photographers can go as fast as 11fps.

At Disney's Hollywood Studios, I used burst mode when photographing the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show to catch all the exciting action sequences like the finale you see below.

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show finale sequence in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show finale sequence.



December 18, 2009

Walt Disney World in HDR

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

High Dynamic Range imaging which is referred to simply as HDR is a process to increase the amount of luminance between the lightest and darkest areas of an image. Digital cameras can handle from 4 to 7 stops of light. In contrast, the human eye can see 20 stops of light. People "see" in HDR. Photographers for years have done all kinds of things in the darkrooms to increase their photos dynamic range.

With the advent of more powerful personal computers, digital cameras and imaging software, photographers and software engineers created the HDR process of merging a set of digital photographs which would have taken hours of setup in a darkroom and do it in just a few minutes. Today's blog is just an introduction to HDR as I have recently discovered it myself.

There are two kinds of HDR images. One is created by a set of images I call an HDR set. The second is created from one image which I will cover in three weeks. So, what is an HDR set? To explain that I first have to introduce you to the term bracketing. In photography, bracketing means to take one picture at a given exposure then one or two brighter and one or two darker, in order to obtain the best image. I did this often whenever I was using slide film. Digital sensors are a lot like slide film so when I took up digital photography, I returned to bracketing, especially if the the subject I was photographing had very light and dark areas.

HDR imaging takes bracketing a bit further. Instead of changing a half or a full stop around an exposure, HDR photographers go 2, 3 and sometimes more stops. Digital cameras make it very easy as most come with auto-bracketing settings which will program your camera to take a series of photos plus and minus around the exposure the photographer decides to start with. Auto-bracketing can be truly automatic where one shutter press takes all the photos in sequence or, like my older digital camera, you have to press the shutter for each bracketed photo. To find out how your camera does auto-bracketing, check its manual (haven't bugged you about reading that in awhile!).

Now that you have an idea of what HDR is. Let me show you how it works. Most HDR books and web tutorials recommend you start with a 3 image bracket of +2, 0, -2 EV (exposure compensation). When I turn on auto-bracketing, the first shutter press will take the +2 EV photo first, the 0 EV photo second and the -2 EV photo last. This gives me the HDR set of 3 photos you see below of Expedition Everest from the bridge to Africa in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

HDR set of photos of Expedition Everest in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
HDR set of photos of Expedition Everest in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

When I first started doing this I had to get used to seeing such light and dark images and to NOT delete them which I did the first few times. Once you get the HDR set onto your computer the real fun begins. A couple of years ago, you really needed something like Photoshop to merge the HDR sets together. Most HDR gurus today recommend Photomatix either as a stand along program or plugins for Photoshop, Lightroom or Apple's Aperture. Since I use Aperture, I'll explain how easy it is to use the Photomatix plugin. If you get the stand alone version, Photomatix Pro, you have to create the JPEG images for it.

In Aperture, I selected the three images you see above and choose to edit with the Photomatix plugin. This launches Photomatix and imports the three images. Since I didn't use a tripod here, I told Photomatix to align the images. After a minute or less, the merged image is displayed in the plugin. The first time you see this you'll be amazed. Dark and light areas which in the "properly" exposed image had little to no detail, now have detail. The links below will go into more detail as to what all the adjustment sliders in Photomatix does. After a few minutes, below is what I ended up with. Notice how you can see details in the bright clouds and dark green foliage. In my normal processing, I would have had a hard time getting something even close to this.

Expedition Everest from the bridge to Africa in Disney's Animal Kingdom in HDR, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Expedition Everest from the bridge to Africa in HDR.

Remember, HDR works best with scenes which have very dark and/or very light areas. If the scene is very evenly lighted, HDR won't do much for you. With that in mind, lighted structures at night have a large contrast in light and dark. I had seen others do HDR images of Spaceship Earth at Epcot but I thought I would give it a try and see what I came up with. Below is the HDR set of three images. This time, I decided to do it manually by using my camera's light meter and a tripod. I kept the ISO at 200 and aperture at f/16 and varied the shutter speed to get the same exposure range of +/- 2 stops.

HDR set of photos of Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
HDR set of photos of Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World.

Night HDR processing was a lot harder than I thought it would be. HDR increases noise. So, if you start with ISO 200 images, the HDR image turns out like an ISO 400 image. In very dark areas, like a night sky, noise can become very apparent. After a long time, I finally came upon the settings to keep the night sky black and not a grainy brown. The result you see below.

Nighttime HDR of Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Nighttime HDR of Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World.

When HDR images first appeared, they were panned as being too cartoonish and not very realistic. As software engineers and photographers improved the tools and techniques, HDR images got better and better. For fun, you can still create those extreme HDR images like the one I did below of the set of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Extreme HDR of set of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Extreme HDR of set of the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show.

To me, this looks like concept art which might have been seen in the offices of Disney Imagineering when they were creating the show. What do you think? For more HDR examples from Walt Disney World, click here.

I have been rather vague as to how to use Photomatix. This is because like all photo editing software, there are no wrong or right ways to create an HDR image once it's in Photomatix. Below are some links which will explain further how to create HDR photos using Photomatix.

Stuck In Customs HDR Tutorial - Trey Ratcliff is considered a master of HDR photography.

HDR Tutorial by Pete Carr - goes into how adjustment sliders in Photomatix effect an image. (This is an update from the original link.)

HDRsoft's website - the maker of Photomatix which have 30 day trials of the stand alone and plugin versions for download.

Stuart Perry's Photomatix Presets - I know it's early but this is my Christmas gift to anyone who wants to try out Photomatix. This link has a download with over 80 presets you can use in Photomatix. It's a great way to see how each preset changes your images while in Photomatix. Enjoy!

November 27, 2009

Photographing Christmas Lights at Disney II

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last year I gave you some tips on how to photograph Christmas light decorations at Walt Disney World and at home. This year I want to show you a couple of my results using those tips.

I visited the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios last December. Putting my camera into Rear Sync Flash mode or what I referred to as dragging the shutter in last year's article, I was ready to capture those spectacular light displays. I used Manual mode and set the aperture to f/4. By using flash, I kept the ISO low at 200 but I had to be very aware of the shutter speed. In Rear Sync mode, the camera can use longer shutter speeds to capture as much ambient light as it can before the flash is fired. At a 1/4 of a second, I had to make sure to steady my camera using Da Grip and an image stabilized lens (the Nikon 18-200VR) when taking this photo of these lighted bicycles.

Lighted bicycles found at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in Disney's Hollywood Studios , Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Lighted bicycles are part of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/4s, f/4, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length, Rear-sync Flash at -3 Power

Without the flash, you would only be able to see the colored lights. With the flash, you can see the bicycles, the flat tires, the sidewalk and the background. Notice I had the flash set to its lowest power setting at -3 so as not to wash out the lights. I don't randomly set the flash power. I take shots at various power levels until I find the one that works the best.

This technique can also be used for any lighted displays. The entrance to Mission: Space features a rotating Earth with the ride's logo with space ship leaving orbit and Hewlett-Packard's logo, the attraction's sponsor. While I would have rathered taken this photo at dusk with a tripod like I did in China, this was the last night of my trip and the tripod was already packed. Again, using Manual mode, I set the aperture at f/8 and a shutter speed of a half second. The longest shutter speed I would ever attempt a hand held shot. I did the best I could to steady my camera by getting down on one knee, using Da Grip and the flash set to Rear Sync and full power to cover the large area and distance. It took several photos to make sure I got some good images like the one you see below. The long shutter speed gave a nice blur to the moving globe while keeping everything else sharp. The flash filled in the dark areas nicely.

The Mission: Space sign in Epcot's Futureworld, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Mission: Space sign in Epcot's Futureworld.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/2s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length, Rear-sync Flash at Full Power

Twitter fans, I will be tweeting from Walt Disney World next week on my @Scottwdw twitter account. Request to follow me and you'll be seeing lots of pictures from the Disney parks and Sea World.

August 22, 2008

Don't forget!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A young couple holding hands in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
My daughter and her beau walking on New York Street in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, 200 ISO, 0 EV, 18mm Focal length

While I enjoy taking pictures of all the buildings, scenery, characters, parades and shows at Walt Disney World. I am there to enjoy it with my family, too. My daughters have grown up in the Disney parks over the last 23 years. I always have fun trying to find new ways to capture their time there. Last year, a new wrinkle was added, as my youngest brought her boyfriend with us. He had not been to Walt Disney World since he was very young. My daughter had fun sharing with him all the new rides and parks that have been added while he was away.

I was taking extra care to be aware of them and took lots of photos. Some they knew about and some they weren't aware of like the one above as they walked hand in hand through Disney's Hollywood Studio's Streets of America. So, as lovely as Walt Disney World is, it's those closest to us that make it truly magical. Don't forget about them.

August 24, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Introducing The Histogram

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show explosive finale. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, 200 ISO, 0 EV, 20mm Focal Length

Don't go away! Histograms are not hard to understand. They are a great tool for us digital photographers to know, at a glance, if the picture we just took is well exposed. No more being disappointed when we see the photos on our large computer screens that looked so good on the camera's little LCD. If you are not sure if your camera is able to show a histogram, check its manual.


Simply put, a histogram is a graph that displays how light is distributed in your picture. The left side of the graph represents the shadows (dark areas), while the highlights (light areas) are on the right. Remember bell curves from your old math or statistical classes? Rarely does a histogram from a photo take on the look of a perfect bell curve but the principal is the same. You do not want to see the curve bunch up to either side or get cut off which is referred to as a clipped histogram. A clipped histogram to either the left (dark) or right (light) side is something to be avoided. In the histogram example shown here, while there is a spike on the dark side, it is not clipped and falls off before the edge. The spike can be seen in the dark upper portions of the image.

By taking a photograph and looking at the histogram my camera shows me, I can tell if I have overexposed (histogram pushed to the right side or cut off) portions or all of the image. From there, I can adjust my exposure using the exposure compensation button. I may need to change the ISO setting if the histogram is showing a very underexposed (everything pushed or cut off on the left side of the graph) to increase the sensor's light sensitivity moving the histogram towards the center.

Take this entry's photo from the Disney-MGM Studios Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. I had to be quick with this shot as the car flu over the ramp faster than I was ready for. Checking the LCD image afterwards, I felt it looked good. Once I saw the well-distributed histogram, I was confident it was good.

As you can tell, the histogram is an excellent way to see if you have the exposure you are looking for quickly and easily.

Further Reading: I highly recommend this article on histograms: Understanding Your Digital Camera's Histogram.

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About Streets of America

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

Pixar Place is the previous category.

Sunset Blvd. is the next category.

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