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Sunset Blvd. Archives

June 27, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Live Performances

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I am sticking with Disney's Hollywood Studies for this week's theme of Live Performances. It is my all time animated, now live action Disney movie, Broadway musical and, of course, the live show in the Theater of the Stars: Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage. The costuming is Disney theme park big but the talent over the years continues to be top notch and the music is, well, timeless.

Beauty and the Beast Stage Show in the Theater of the Stars on Sunset Blvd. at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Beauty and the Beast Stage Show being performed in the Theater of the Stars.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250, f/5.6, ISO 2800, EV +0.6, 300mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow with her Live Performance photo.




June 9, 2017

Launching at Rock'n'Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Rock'n'Roller Coaster launch in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Rock'n'Roller Coaster launch in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/5s, f/3.5, ISO 1600, EV 0, 18mm Focal Length, cropped.

Seems life goes from 0 to 60MPH in 2.3 seconds these days for Scott so he is taking a break this week. He will be back next week to share more photography tips for and from Disney.

May 17, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Sunset Blvd

Deb's Digest Blog


Susnet Blvd did not exist when Disney's MGM Studios opened. It opened several years, 1994 actually, when Beauty and the Beast relocated from the Backlot Theater and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened. Once adorn with old time cars and numerous "streetmosphere", Sunset Blvd draws you in as you focus on the huge icon at the end of the street -- the Tower of Terror! And for those keeping track of such things, Fantasmic opened in October 1998 and Rock n Roller Coaster in 1999.

Often, folks are in such a hurry to get to the end of the boulevard -- that they forget to look around. Where will you find this "Uncle Sam" on Sunset Blvd?

sunset-blvd.jpg

May 16, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Sunset Blvd.

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

After walking down Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios with all its shops full of Hollywood tie-ins and California styled counter service eateries, everyone is confronted by the tall Hollywood Tower Hotel where screams can be heard which thrills many but scares off a few. I often wish Disney could have somehow figured out a way create this area in Black and White.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Tower at the end of Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Twilight Zone Tower of Tower at the end of Sunset Blvd.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/320, f/9, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length.

I converted this photo to Black and White as I always find it fitting to cast the The Twilight Zone Tower of Tower that way as a nod to the old TV show.

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

January 27, 2017

More Walt Disney World Aerial Photography

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

If you have been following the Disney Pic of the Week blog posts recently, you have seen Deb and mine's attempt at aerial photography at Walt Disney World. When the subject of aerial photos first came up, Deb and I found we only shared three locations. I wanted to share a couple more with you today.

The trick is to find a high vantage point in the parks. Mostly those are found on attractions. Expedition: EVEREST certainly meets the height requirement. It also has a long, slow ascent early on which has a great view of Disney's Animal Kingdom.

View from Expedition: EVEREST in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
View of Disney's Animal Kingdom from Expedition: EVEREST.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/16, ISO 450, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

We all know the Tree of Life is big. This photo shows how much bigger it is compared to the surrounding buildings and trees. This was taken back in 2010. Once Pandora, the World of AVATAR opens, I will re-take this photo. I did not want the huge construction cranes in a photo which were there on my last few trips.

Another attraction to get aerial photos from at Walt Disney World is the one I took during a ride on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios. This is from 2009 when the Earful Tower was still there.

Riding the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
View of Disney's Hollywood Studios from the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm (27mm DX) Focal Length.

This is one of those rides you have to secure your camera and be ready to take the picture as soon as the doors open at the top of the shaft.

While these are not true aerial photos, you can get high enough at Walt Disney World to get unique photos from up high.

May 13, 2016

Leading Lines at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When the talk leans towards leading at Disney's Hollywood Studies, it is usually about leading men or women. Today, however, it is about leading lines. Photographers use leading lines to give a photo depth and/or to "lead" a viewer's eyes to something of interest.

My first example is the hallway you leave from after riding on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and going through the Rock Around the Shop store. I really liked how the lines converged and the texture of the bricks along the walls. The posters overhead giving a nice added splash of color and shapes.

Leaving the Rock Around the Shop after riding the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Leading lines in the hallway leaving the Rock Around the Shop.
Nikon D700/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/50s, f/2.8, ISO 1000, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length.

The second example is not so straight forward (see what I did there?). Here, the "cars" create the leading lines to the big drive-in movie screen inside the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant.

Rows of cars leading to the Big Screen inside the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Rows of cars leading to the Big Screen inside the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/4s, f/8, ISO 10000, EV +1.0, 16mm focal length.

In both of these examples, I used straight lines. Curved lines can also lead. Anyone have any examples of curved leading lines? Shoot me a link in a Comment below and I will share them in a future blog post.

August 14, 2015

All Ears Photo Meet near Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

All Ears Photo Meet outside of Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Announcing Photos of the Night, an All Ears Picture This! Photo Meet at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
ANNOUNCING!

The next All Ears Picture This! Photo Meet will be different than past ones. Instead of walking around, this time it will be in one location. The location is along the Epcot Resort Path just off the Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot (see map below for approximate location at the star). I will be there starting at 6:30pm on Saturday, September 12, 2015.

The first order of the meet will be to prepare to photograph the sunset taking place at 7:34PM. I will give advice on how to photograph a sunset and be available to answer any questions on photography at Walt Disney World and beyond throughout the evening.

DHS Sunset

After the sunset, I will be photographing through the afterglow and into Blue Hour. A tripod would be very useful as well as a small LED flashlight as night falls.

If you are interested in joining me taking photos into the night, leave a Comment using the link below or you can go to the FaceBook Event Page by clicking this link: All Ears Photo Meet.

November 11, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Rain

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

It is amazing to see how fast the shops and snack areas at Walt Disney World get out rain ponchos at the first hint of rain. Of course, seasoned Disney park goers know to buy them before they travel to save money, right?

I know a rainy day at any Disney themepark can be a bummer but there is still lots to do and photograph when it rains. Even if it is of our fellow guests wearing the latest in Mickey Mouse rain ponchos whom I photographed walking very fast past the Yellow Cab parked on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

People in rain ponchos walking past the Yellow Cab parked on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
People in rain ponchos walking past the Yellow Cab parked on Sunset Blvd.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 220, EV +0.7, 116mm focal length.

I have written a few blogs about how to photograph in the rain or what to photograph if it is raining and thought I would list them here for your reference:

Photographing in the Rain at Epcot

Indoor Tour of World Showcase, Part I

Indoor Tour of World Showcase, Part II

April 18, 2014

Sunny Lobby of the Tower of Terror

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Normally one thinks of the lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel as a gloomy, dusty place. This is not always the case on a sunny day in late October when the Sun's angle at times sends its bright rays through the lobby doors.

Guests throw eerie shadows in the Tower of Terror lobby at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests throw eerie shadows in the Tower of Terror lobby.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm, 1/100s, f/4, ISO 6400, EV 0.

Waiting for the doors to the library to open, there are deep shadows being cast to the side of the lobby desk. For this photo, I wish I had time to do a bracket set of photos but I was ushered away by a bellhop.

Dusty trunk and luggage still waiting for bellhops in the lobby of the Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Dusty trunk and luggage still waiting for bellhops in the lobby of the Tower of Terror.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm, 1/30s, f/4, ISO 6400, EV 0.

Do not worry. Once you enter the library and the bellhop closes the door, you will be taken into the dark world of the Tower of Terror. I am sure you will enjoy dropping in.

January 23, 2014

Roping Cowboy in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Beau Rangler roping up some young'uns on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Beau Rangler roping up some young'uns on Sunset Blvd.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 720, EV 0.

Photographed a new to me Citizens of Hollywood character going by the name of Beau Rangler doing some fancy roping tricks on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios. The kids did not seem to mind. Anyone know this guy's story? I had to skedaddle to a galaxy far, far away before I could talk to him.

A sunny scene for the Disney Pic of the Week on Disney's Hollywood Studios.

January 3, 2014

Best of Walt Disney World in 2013

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

After visiting Disneyland in September, I had two trips to Walt Disney World in October and December. The first was a family vacation where I photographed while touring the parks. The other was a planned couple of days photographing with other Disney fan photographers. Both trips were fun, enjoyable and presented new challenges and experiences in each park. Today, I am sharing with you some of the highlights from those trips.

It is exciting to see something new at Walt Disney World even if it happens every day. In all my visits, I never saw the IllumiNations barges enter Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon. When I noticed the Earth barge coming through the draw bridge, I stopped and took several photos.

IllumiNations Earth barge entering Epcot's World Showcase lagoon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
IllumiNations Earth barge entering Epcot's World Showcase lagoon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 150mm focal length.

This was the first time I had the Fisheye lens with me at Walt Disney World. I probably used it way too much but it was a lot fun. While waiting for my ride on Rock'n'Roller Coaster, I photographed fellow guests being launched. The lens' f/2.8 aperture and a high ISO allowed me to photograph inside the dark ride.

Guests are launched at the Rock'n'Roller Coaster in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests are launched into the Rock'n'Roller Coaster.
Nikon D700/15mm, 1/30s, f/2.8, ISO 6400, EV 0.

Each December, Disney fan photographers always watch for Extra Magic Hours at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This allows for photographing in the park after sunset. Something that is a rarity. The bare light bulbs hanging over the path to Expedition EVEREST made for good foreground interest to the Forbidden Mountain. By using a small aperture of f/22, the small light sources became small starbursts. I waited for Blue Hour, the time between sunset and full night, to give it a magical light.

Blue hour at Expedition EVEREST in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Blue hour at Expedition EVEREST.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 2.5s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 92mm focal length, tripod.

After Blue Hour in Disney's Animal Kingdom, I traveled to the Magic Kingdom to take advantage of its late night closing. Putting the Fisheye lens back on my camera, I photographed the lights and movement of the park. Fantasyland's Mad Tea Party is colorful and full of motion when using a long exposure and tripod to photograph it.

Mad Tea Party tea cups whiz around at night in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mad Tea Party tea cups whiz around at night.
Nikon D700/15mm, 10s, f/5, ISO 200, EV 0, tripod.

These are my favorites from this year's trips to Walt Disney World. Here's to even more in 2014. Do you have any favorites from the past year?

December 6, 2013

Starburst photography in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

One of the first things beginner photographers are told is NOT to photograph towards the Sun. For the most part it is good advice and shooting into the Sun should be avoided. Yet, if done right, putting the Sun or any bright light source like street lights in your compositions can work.

The first thing you need to do is balance out the large light to dark difference. You can do it a couple of ways. Often I will use flash to fill in the shadows. Another way is to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) techniques to capture the large range of light from dark to light using multiple exposures and then blend them into a single image. The latter is the technique I used below of an antique car in Disney's Hollywood Studios. The last tip is to step down your aperture to f/16 or smaller. This will create a starburst effect on bright objects in the frame. In the photo below, the Sun and reflection off the hood are examples of starbursts.

Sun shines on a past star parked off of Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Sun shines on a past star parked off of Sunset Blvd.
Nikon D700/15mm, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, HDR Image.

Wide angle and fisheye lenses are well suited for this kind of photography but any lens stopped down can create starbursts. Bring a little star power to your photography with this technique.

December 1, 2013

Where in the World #308

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'm on my way to Walt Disney World! So is Annie Snodgrass!

Annie, I hope we bump into each other! I don't know if your boyfriend will be so keen about it after what I said last week. From Millan.Net

Cindy Pink is going on a Disney cruise soon which rounds out her year of "All Four": Disneyland, Aulani, Walt Disney World, and now Disney Cruise Line. Whoa! What an amazing year, Cindy!

Mary Beth Tarbet, Dave Carriere, and Dave & Sandy Kanigowski, thank you so much for your wonderful notes! I really appreciate them.

From last week: Challenge #307:
 Where in the World #307

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

The Carthay Circle Theatre in Disney's Hollywood Studios, holding the Once Upon a Time store.

The real theater in Hollywood was the first to show Skeleton Dance, showed the early Mickey Mouse cartoons before feature films, then later held the premier of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was one of 13 theaters to be fitted with the full Fantasound equipment for the road show premiere of Fantasia and even gave tours to patrons to show how the ground breaking sound system work. It's no wonder this is just one of the tributes to this wonderful place in Disney's Hollywood Studios!

Kris Nixon was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Kris and all our winners this week! Kristi Strembicki, Daniel Record, Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Chuck Sands, The Gunnels Family, Phil Vickers, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Mary Beth Tarbet, Ed Elder, Andrew Carrieri, Sharon Pierce, Lori Elias, Paula Massarelli, Scott Greenbaum, Ed Krol, Elaine Kleinhenz, Timberly Aymond, Jenny Brennan, The Kertes Family, Hayley Valk, Tina Santacroce, Zach Szymko, Kara Cummings, Brian Miller, John Mahoney, Colette Stanton , Gina Shaw, Carol Ney, Theresa Lucotti, Tina Powell, Bruce Jones, Theresa Rucando, Joe Calomeni, Kathy Morris, Theresa Rucando, Dave Freemyer, Sandie Albrecht, Melissa Such, Leigh Mertz, Liz Slevin, Paul Dickson, Dawn Bach, Tracey Thomas , Aimee Leblanc, Dawn Zatorski, Paul Scimeca, Mike Walter, Tricia Petty , Kelly Deleon, Dave Cole, Laura V., Rhonda Tomlinson, Jennifer Page, Lee Anastasi, Stuart Hale, Vicki Britt, Russ Buckingham, The Emich Family, Michelle Norris, Paul Knott, The Young Family, England, Deb Ragno, Phyllis, Amanda Campbell, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Michael Frisbee, Team Hill, Betsy Silvestri, Gina Smith, Mary Clark, Tommy Montgomery, Maggie Klotz, Cheryl Costello, Rob Blundin, Emily Hudson, Louise Barton, Maureen Handy, Jessica Raposa, Suzanne Sevier, Mickey Eckert, Tim Johansen, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Kerry A., Donna Buechle, Craig, Marie Summers, Ruben O'meara, Jada Smith, Joann Albrecht, Patty Carty, Elizabeth And Dan Johnston, Chris Kelly, Mary Ann Lamay, Eric Enli, James Steele, Michelle Striegel, Leach Family, Hobbes And Snorky, Leach Family, Wayne Beck, Andrea Kruszewski, Pam Vanaustin, Ashley Collins, Leslie Dean, Jonathan Ward, John & Rhonda Nottell, Nicolle Clement, Judy Simonsen, Irene Ng, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Jason L, Vera And Izzy Williams, Michelle Darabaris, Len Darabaris, Bruce Hinterleitner, Heather Pedulla, Linda Ranatza, Pat Schwier, Cindy Pink, Kerry Mccaffrey, Andrew Popek, Amanda Woods, Gerald Skanes, The Pearsall Family, Morgan M, Cassandra Newton, Susan Fuger, Kim Skanes, The Parker Family (actually Nikki), Steve Morin, Tommy And Karlene Farley, Jason Hocker, Katie Bray, Claire Gregory, Jim Finley, Maryann Romagnano, Maranda & Chris Nichols, Kirsten Miller, Jeff Blank, Kerri Coggins, Elizabeth Salcido, Bob Patterson, Shelly Borella, Sarah Thomas, Karrie Duffey, Alison Rosenberger, Kelly Smith, Rebecca Keenan, Annie Snodgrass, Erin Hammer, Sara Holloway, Tricia Noble, Maja K., Barclay Bakkum, Terry Fleming, Matt Holley, Melissa Littman, Anastasia Macneil, Marie Phillips, The Patterson Family, Team Meeker, Rita Garcia, Matthew Jadro, Dave Carriere, Herb Miller, Karen Bellamy, Alan Mize, Kameo Crea, Kay Egan, Wendy Palmquist, Ron Harper, Duskin Henard, Nicole Benoit, Gail States, Chloe Mayhew, Vanessa Gordon, Mike Hulse, Art Hutchinson, Water N. Clark, Jan Rosato , Heidi Goodhue, Evald Olson, Hunter Armstrong, Jenny Stoneburner, Brian Grabowski, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, George Mundy Jr, Nan Amor, Les Stewart, Robert P. Flaherty, Joseph M. Zafia, Logan Gravitt, Mark Proper, Jennifer Mercier, Karen Schlumpf, Cary Burke, Patti Mccaffrey, Smitty, Sophia Clifton, Peggy Saeger, Hillary Waldroop, John Pasqueralli, Dave & Sandy Kanigowski, Jane Johnson, and Beth Olliges. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Hey, kids! Do you know what time it is? Time to announce the November winner. It's Patti Mccaffrey! Patti, you'll be getting a prize from Deb Wills: Congratulations!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #308 Where in the world is this?

We're still in the parks, Players. Do you know who this is?
 Where in the World #308

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

November 8, 2013

Fisheyed Disney

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A fisheye lens is an ultra-ultra wide-angle lens that produces strong visual distortion intended to create a wide panoramic or hemispherical image. Fisheye lenses achieve extremely wide angles of view by forgoing producing images with straight lines of perspective (rectilinear images), opting instead for a special mapping (for example: equisolid angle), which gives images a characteristic convex non-rectilinear appearance (Source: Wikipedia).

Did you get all that? Fisheyes have been a favorite fun lens for Disney photographers for years. The lens, as the above definition says in a round about, distorts straight lines near the edges. That effect can ruin a photo unless used creatively. Earlier this year, I obtained a Sigma 15mm Fisheye lens for my Nikon D700 FX (full frame) dSLR camera. Last week, I used it at Walt Disney World for the first time. Let's see how I did.

I look for three conditions when I am shooting with a Fisheye lens:

1. Compositions with curved or circular objects which wrap around the image.
2. Put something of interest in the center and let straight lines get bent to lead people to the frame's center.
3. When a Fisheye is the only way to get far enough away from a subject to photograph it in cramped quarters (like a ride queue).

The huge red guitar outside of the building containing the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in Disney's Hollywood Studios was a perfect subject for a Fisheye composition. The curves of the piano keys, guitar, palm trees and even the railing all work to create the uniqueness of a Fisheye photograph. You will also notice how close I got. I was learning over the railing to get as close to those piano keys as I could. Just like any wide angle lens, you want to get as close to the main subject as you can. It is easy to loose a subject in the extreme wide angle of a Fisheye and make a photo confusing.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster building in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster building in Disney's Hollywood Studio.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm, 1/640s, f/13, ISO 200, EV 0.

With the Bust of Walt Disney at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in Disney's Hollywood Studios, I got in real close and let the Fisheye distort all the straight lines of the nearby celebrity busts, palm trees, lines in the pavement and building. Notice how the bust itself is relatively distortion free.

Bust of Walt Disney at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Bust of Walt Disney at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0.

In the Test Track queue where you can use the giant touch screens to design cars, it is really tight quarters for even a wide angle lens. The Fisheye worked great to tell the story of how Disney entertains and educates even while waiting in line.

A young woman designing a car in the queue for Test Track in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young woman designing a car in the queue for Test Track.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm, 1/50s, f/2.8, ISO 3200, EV 0.

You will see more Fisheye photos in the future as I found it a fun and useful lens to have in Disney themeparks.

August 13, 2013

Disney Pic of the Week: Cars

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The subject this week is cars found inside the Walt Disney World resort. This is not about the movie, Cars, whose characters are seen numerous times in and around the parks. These cars are seen on display at Epcot's Test Track and around Disney's Hollywood Studios. Street performers on Main Street USA and Hollywood Boulevard often are driving around in cars of a different era.

With Chevrolet being a major sponsor at Walt Disney World, I was a little surprised to find a Yellow Ford Taxi Cab sitting on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios. To eliminate the distractions surrounding it, I got in close and focused on the emblem of the car's manufacturer.

Yellow Ford Taxi Cab parked on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Yellow Ford Taxi Cab parked on Sunset Blvd.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/3200s, f/5, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 32mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her Disney Pic of the Week about Cars.

July 26, 2013

Photographing Patterns at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Patterns can be boring to look at for most people. Not to us photographers. Patterns are facinating to photograph. They are all around us once we train our brains to see them. Lots of times, we will ignore patterns and fail to see their photographic potential.

Take for instance when we browse the shops at Walt Disney World. Do you notice the photographic opportunities of the displays? Look below at the display of Disney character coffee cups. Do you see the patterns?

Disney character coffee cups on display in Beverly Sunset shop at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Disney character coffee cups pattern.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/3.8, ISO 1800, EV +0.3, 32mm focal length.

Click here for more about photographing patterns

June 21, 2013

Photographing a Star in Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Whenever the Citizens of Hollywood set up shop in Disney's Hollywood Studios there will soon be a gathering of park guests around them. To make sure to separate the lovely and talented Evie Starlight from the people behind her, I made sure to shoot my lens wide open at f/5.6. Shooting wide open means using the largest aperture setting of a lens.

Evie Starlight is a bubbly and beautiful starlet and one of the Citizens of Hollywood performing on Sunset Blvd. in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Evie Starlight is a bubbly and beautiful starlet performing on Sunset Blvd.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 300mm focal length,.

The result is a sharply focused starlet with the crowd befitting her status softly focused in the background.

June 16, 2013

Where in the World #284

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!

All together, Players: let's hear it for the Dads! Happy Father's Day!
Happy Fathers Day
I hope you have a great day!

Guess who's birthday is on Thursday? Yes! How did you know? You guys!
From Millan.Net
to me!
Does this mean I can go back to Disney World?

Chris Masse, I am floored by your note! THANKS!

Here's Challenge #283:
Where in the World #283

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

The guitar tuning pegs at the attraction archway for The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, a favorite for some many of us!

Ooo, Duskin Henard! You said "bumfoozling"! From Millan.Net

Steve and Ruby Jordan was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Steve & Ruby and all our winners this week! Daniel Record, Paul Dickson, Erin Hammer, Kye Layton, Andrew Carrieri, Janet Thorn, Jen Tremley, Kristi Strembicki, Debbie Connors, The O'meara Family, Scott Cullen, C.j. Connors, Team Hill, Belicia Cullen, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Caryn Schill, Tommy Montgomery, Sharon Pierce, Tami Howerton, Christie, Dulcie Hayes, Charlie Zimmerman , Emily Hudson, Ed Hogan, Kate Flanagan, Freemyer Family, Jim Riddle, Patti Gumiela, Vicki And Elizabeth Edwards, Chris And Sarah, Jennifer Noble, Melissa Such, Tina Powell, Tricia Petty, Les Whitten, Mike Rotkiske, Yvonne Marchione, Mike Walter, Dawn Burns, Amanda Campbell, Samantha Raucci, Brendan Abel, Carolyn Lobel, Julie Signor, Paul Moore, Maggie Klotz, Ariana Stowe, Orange Bird, Stuart Hale, Nick Bentz, Angie Blair, Brian Gallant, Joe Calomeni, Malesky Family, The Moore Family, Cathy Connors, Bruce Jones, Stefan Owens, Carol Becker, Chris Kelly, Alan Mize, Megan Krainski, Kenny, Larissa Huda, Maureen Handy, Adr, Marcus Davies , Laney, Joe Mangini, Pam Vanaustin, Amy Schweizer, Ladonna Tisdale, Clay Anthony, The Kahle Family, Judy Simonsen, Rob Jacob, Claire Gregory, Eileen Miller, Jennifer Harmon, Ed Suscreba, Cynthia Hitchcock, Jim Dewalt, Rob Blundin, John &Rhonda Nottell, Andrew Swiatowicz, Gail States, Chuck Sands, Kirk Hardy, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Katie Wood, Brian Skinner, Julie Wickware, Vera Williams, Randi Balch, Karen Ramirez, Mike Malampy, Doug Olson Family, Gallagher Family, Bill Cudney , Carol Ney, Joe Jennings, Emma Poprock, Jeff Blank, Erika Loboda, Len Beebe, Charles Everson, Jennifer Shaw, Dallas Hamilton, Philip Badcock, Jenny Brennan, Anastasia Macneil, Wayne Witherspoon, Mike Cerce, Tricia Noble, Craig Lordan, Sandra Edwards, Chris Bauman, Russell Hamlin, Noah Schweizer, Daniel Schweizer, Kerri Coggins, Matt Holley, Mary Beth Tarbet, Terry Fleming, Anna Keene, Mackenzie D., Nancy Cole, Dick Smith, Nancy Cole, Mark Franklin, Annmarie Arlauckas, Amy Park, Kara Morton, Duskin Henard, Brooke Whitlatch, Carla Leger, Michael Gunnels, Cheri Palmisano, Randy Thomas, Amy Kleinfieldt, Matt Ciccone, Capt James K, Morgan M., Ashley Elizabeth, Mickey Eckert, Ronald Delorey, Vicki Vaught, Kris Nixon, Amber Slifer, Nicole Shuler, Les Stewart, John Pasqueralli, Sonnen's, Patti Mccaffrey, Agnes Ciotti, Tammy Kennedy, Chris Nichols, Donna Hawkins , Nathaniel Clements, The Holmes Family, Jennifer Barbour, Bill , Dwayne Fontenot, Tom Buck, Jason Skow, Heidi Goodhue, Morag Lemon, Fred Shakeshaft, Kara Cummings, Jenny Mcqueen, Elizabeth Scarborough, Jeff Brashear, Brooke Sifferman, Emily Harper, Larry Sprenkle, Kate Fischer, Melodye Berry, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Lindsey Nozal, Denise Cayz, Earl Wilcher, Carolyn Comp, Laura Labadie, Vicki Yarnell, and Brent Lollar. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #284 Where in the world is this?

Orange Bird said the challenges are too easy: so... everyone say it together, Players!
It's a DOUBLE CHALLENGE WEEK!

Extra tough challenge:
tough challenge

And regular Challenge #284: staying in the parks again!
 Where in the World #284

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 20th, by clicking on the blue box below.

Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer

_______________________________________________________________________

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

April 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.

February 21, 2013

Pocahontas on the Fantasmic! Mountain

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Pocahontas appears during Fantasmic!in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Pocahontas appears during Fantasmic!.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/25s, f/5.6, ISO 1600, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

As the fighting between the settlers and her American Indian tribe escalates, Pocahontas appears high up on the mountain to the music of Colors in the Wind to stop the conflict. One of many breathtaking scenes during Fantasmic!, the nighttime water and fireworks show at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater in Disney's Hollywood Studios and is my Disney Pic of the Week about Fantasmic!.

February 3, 2013

Where in the World #266

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!

Stephanie Dollar and her family are in Disney! Have a great trip, Stephanie!
blue balloon mickey ears

Here was the challenge last week:
 Where in the World #265

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

The Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage in Disney's Hollywood Studios! The climatic scene where the Beast is dying, but will be saved and transformed back to the Prince.

Look at the great seat I had, Players! Front row! I just got lucky. :)

Apologies to The Hoekzema Family: the challenge made them stay up late figuring out the answer. Go to bed now. Nighty night!
Nighty night

Kimberly Kusser was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Kimberly and all our winners this week! Leigh Mertz, Les Stewart, Leigh Mertz, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Brian Miller, Kris Nixon, The Kahle Family, Claire Gregory, Belicia Cullen, Chris Kelly, Scott Cullen, Megan Krainski, Laura Winn, Mindy Loupe, Melissa Such, Nicole Ruzinski, Patti Gumiela, Team Hill, Sarah Williams, Jamie K, Mackenzie D., Amanda Campbell, Emma Poprock, Scott Precise, Kara Cummings, Kelly Cummings, Ronnie Mehelic, Denise Montgomery, Mickey Eckert, Mike Bandru, Karen Ramirez, Ed Elder, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Larissa Huda, Madison Hovan, Tim Johansen, Christina Trigiani, Antoinette Leblanc, Craig, Christine Dagney, Chris And Alison, Rich Kacprowicz, Pam Vanaustin, Brenda Rosazza, Joseph S Gallagher, Sharon, Hayley Valk, Andy Raffel, Becky Hosinger, Meredith Rule, Nicole Shuler, Corbett Scimeca With Help From Mom, Dad And Ryan, Nathalie Periard, Al Desimone, Deb Desimone, Rebecca Smith, Nancy Ahlsen, Katherine Gast, Vanessa Gordon, Christine Stockmal, Shelly Borella, Karen Davis, Jullie Pudem, Wendy T Faler, Karrie Duffey, Anastasia Macneil, Ken Rhinehart, Sara Holloway, Deb, Stephanie Dollar, Olivia, Chrissy, Paul Moore, Kelly R., Cheri Palmisano, Susan Higginbotham, Caryn Schill, Nancy, Chris &Maranda Nichols, Josh Carney, Lily-pierre Couet, Carla Leger, George Mundy Jr, Patti Mccaffrey, Kerry Mccaffrey, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Agnes Ciotti, Michelle, Katerina Purdy, Hoekzema Family, Monica Owens, Melissa Kirk, Jillian Domings , Randy, Dianne Gerth, and Elizabeth Gillardi. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

In fact, it's time to announce the monthly winner! The winner for January 2013 is Josh Carney! Congratulations, Josh! Deb Wills will be sending your prize soon!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________
Challenge #266: Where in the world is this?

Paul Moore, this week's challenge is for you!
 Where in the World #266

Just kidding!! Here's the real challenge:
 Where in the World #266

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 7th, 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 13, 2013

Where in the World #263

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!

Bon Voyage to the The Kertes Family on a special Disney birthday trip! And hello to Patti and Kerry McCaffrey who are in Walt Disney World now.

I wish I was in Disney, too, Patti Gumiela and Karen Smith!

Jill Hauth and Hunter Armstrong knows what we mean as Jill and the Armstrong family are going through the post-Disney vacation blues. From Millan.Net

Here was the challenge last week:
 Where in the World #262

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

It's the seating at The Sunset Ranch Market at Disney's Hollywood Studios where you will find Rosie's All American Cafe, Fairfax Fare, Toluca Legs Turkey Company, and Catalina Eddie's. It's inspired by L.A.'s Farmer's Market and right by Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and Beauty and the Beast. You can read all about its history in Jack Spence's blog (thanks to the Hoekzema Family for the reference)!

And! The site of quite a few meet and greets for the AllEars Team, like in this 2010 picture, marking the start of 2013!

I hope you think it is a good choice for the first one of the year, Cheri Palmisano!

Susan and Mike of Team Hill was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Susan and Mike and all our winners this week! Debbie Desimone, Al Desimone, Paul Scimeca, Diane Curfman, Karen Gates, Mary Beth Tarbet, Mario De Lepper , Andrea Fifield, Jennifer Shoulders, Denise Stevenson, Stephen Heywood, Sheila Lees, Christine Homer, Andy Schumacher, The Kertes Family, Tara Druckenmiller, Cindy Derosa, Tina G., Brandi Benedict, Lori Juliff, Colette S, Donna Quinno, Shannon Wright, The O'meara Family, Julie Westberg, Bill Mckim, Julie Westberg, Megan Krainski, Karen Doshier, Michaela O'brien , Denise Sawicki, Shannon Savoia, Kenny, Tim Johansen, Mike O'brien, Roger Vollmer, Karen Ramirez, Monette Gardner, Larry , Gay Lynn Brown, Robert Hildebrandt, Brenda Mcguire, Pollyanna Buff, Andrew Swiatowicz , Kevin Carter, Diane Morris, Jonathan Thomas, Paul Knott, Kelly Cummings, Chris Masse, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, Phyllis Masse, Keitjh, Chloe Simmons, Beth Mcmeekin, Patti Gumiela, Craig, Deme Grabert, Ed Hogan, Paul Moore, John Nottell, Ladonna Tisdale, Weaselmouse, Andrea Kruszewski, Rob Blundin, Krysten Toth, Lindsey S., Chris Kelly, Scott Precise, Brian Miller, The Malesky Family, Sharon Pierce, Pam Vanaustin, Kara Cummings, Vera Williams, Jennifer Smith, Hobbes And Snorky, Anjanette Tournillon, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Kris Nixon, Les Stewart, Tom Koval, Karen Schlumpf, Linda Scrivano, Doug Reichl, Jennifer Rupert, Julie And Kody Rider, Hoekzema Family, Chris &Maranda Nichols, Diane Furtado, Mare Aehlich, Jeff Blank, Bob Patterson, Kathy Morris, Brian Grabowski, Jason Skow, Dallas Hamilton, Bonnie Tulenko, John Dupre, Jeff Beauchamp, Alison Rosenberger, Bob Henriksen, Karrie Duffey, Jeremy Reichelt, Marguerite Garofalo, Zachary Ott, Melody O'donnell, Chloe Mayhew, Shelly Borella, Heather Hynes, Janet Thorn, Patrick Broaddus, Josh Carney, Terry Fleming, Tricia Noble, Hillary Waldroop, Kameo Crea, Jullie Pudem, Hannah M, Stephanie Linares, Karen Smith, Carri Marotto, Hunter Armstrong, Tom Armstrong, Jill Hauth, Lana Hauth, Victoria Finnegan, Stephanie Dollar, Jennifer Suhr, Derek Carty, Heidi Goodhue, Vanessa Gordon, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Morgan M., Morag Lemon, Tom Buck, Carla Leger, Cathy Mager, Cheri Palmisano, Wendy Hupp, Jolynn Digiallonardo, John Pasqueralli, Palmer Family , Jeff Powell, Kirsten L Rodriguez, Patti Deluca, Emily Hudson, Elaine Kleinhenz, Chuck Sands, Jennifer Bogdan, Paul Ignudo Jr, Monica Owens, Caroline Burmester, Cindy Pennau, Jon Solomonson, Noreen Rachuba, Jim Kovacs, Mark Russell, Paul Dickson, Joanne Labbe, Chris Hills, Marie Seilus, Patti Mccaffrey, Kerry Mccaffrey, Jane Johnson, Agnes Ciotti , Danielle Ciotti Harsley, and Vicki Edwards. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #263: Where in the world is this?

We're in a different park!

 Where in the World #263

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

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

October 19, 2012

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in HDR

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

For those of you who have attended a special event at Disney's Hollywood Studios like Star Wars Weekend or maybe an ESPN Weekend, you know about the area past Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and to the side of the Tower of Terror. I had only been back there during the day previously.

Three weekends ago, I attended the Villain's Bash Party in conjunction with the inaugural running of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler by runDisney. This gave me an opportunity to bring in my tripod and do some shooting for a couple of hours before my daughter, who ran in the race, crossed the finish line.

First, I want to show you what I considered the best one shot exposure. As always, the Exif data is below the photo.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Night.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 13s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 40mm focal length, tripod.

From that setting I bracketed around it eight more exposures in one stop intervals (1/2s, 1s, 2s, 4s, 8s, 25s, 60s, 120s). The last two are approximate as I was using my Apple iPhone's Stop Watch App to know when to close the shutter. I processed the nine photos in Photomatix Pro 4 Plugin for Aperture. I applied a favorite preset, adjusted to my liking and finished processing in Aperture 3.4 photo management and editing software.

The final image looks is a bit more HDR-ish than I was looking for.

An HDR Image of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
An HDR Image of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Night.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 40mm focal length, tripod.

You can see how the shadowed areas were opened up and the combined exposures caught light changing over the time it took to take the photos which was done manually. I have been struggling with night time HDR images for awhile now. Still a work in progress. Any suggestions or comments are appreciated.

October 5, 2012

Tower of Terror 10 Miler at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I attended the inaugural Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler and Disney Villains Hollywood Bash last weekend. The weather was not the best for running with temperatures in the mid-70's F and very high humidity even though the race was run from 10pm to past midnight. The runners checked in at Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot. There were a few large displays runners were posing for photos with.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Inaugural 10 Miler sign in the Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror Inaugural 10 Miler Sign.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125, f/2.8, ISO 2800, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length.

While the runners were out on the course being cheered on by runDisney people, cast members, volunteers and even Disney Villains, us party goers took advantage of short lines at Star Tours, MuppetVision 3-D, Toy Story Mania and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster. Using my smartphone, I followed a lot of the runners and getting updates on one special runner, my daughter.

A runner in the cool down lane after finishing the Tower of Terror 10 Miler in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A runner in the cool down lane after finishing the Tower of Terror 10 Miler.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 0.4s, f/5, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length, tripod, slow sync flash.

There she is. Standing proudly with her medal as other runners walk past. After she drank the water and snacks supplied, we all went for a ride on the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

The technique I used was setting my flash to rear sync. This means the flash goes off just before the shutter closes. I had my daughter stand very still as other runners walked past. They show movement over the exposure while my daughter did not.

September 14, 2012

Advanced Dark Ride Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have talked about my attempts at photographing Disney dark rides in the past. I have not been satisfied with my results thus far. So, I contacted an expert. Michael Besant is an accomplished dark ride photographer and I asked him for his secret. Turns out I was not the only one to inquire and he had decided to write up how he photographs and processes his dark ride photos. I will reference the link soon.

First, I want to outline it for you:

Equipment

The better a camera handles high ISO settings the better its ability to capture dark ride images. If you get good images up to ISO 3200 or higher, your camera will work.

A fast lens is a must. The one I recommend is the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens as it is very affordable. Other lenses with wide open apertures like f1.4, f/2 and f/2.8 are in longer focal lengths and thus are more expensive. Many kit lenses are too slow in the f/3.5 to f/5.6 aperture range.

Photography

As in all photography, the better exposed your photo is, the better you will be able process the images. Michael gives excellent tips on how to do this. One which helped me was to switch from my normal use of JPEG images to the camera's RAW image capture. RAW files contain a lot more information in which your photo editor can use in pulling out details in photos.

Other tips are to use Shutter Priority mode to keep the shutter speed manageable. He recommends a shutter speed of at least 1/40th of a second (I try to keep it at 1/60th of a second, if possible), use continuous and single point focus settings and put your camera in burst (continuous) mode. Single point focus allows you to move the focus point to lock in on the brighter locations of the scene you are photographing. Lastly, set exposure compensation to +0.3 to slightly overexpose your photos. This will help in post processing.

Post Processing

I am going to give you the short version which Michael shared with me recently. For a detailed account you will need to visit his Dark Ride Shooting Tutorial (see link at end of article). He uses Adobe Photoshop software which is expensive but is the industry standard and for a good reason as you will see. I used Apple Aperture 3.3 which is like Adobe Lightroom 4.

Michael will open an image in ADOBE CAMERA RAW He always will 'open' it up with the exposure slider to see what details are lurking in the shadows. Then he starts with the WHITE BALANCE. This is done on multiple levels, the first being the normal adjustments. Before he takes it further and goes into selective color and remove or tone down the HOT colors.

Depending on the image, Michael will adjust with either the RECOVERY or the FILL LIGHT slider followed by SHARPNESS/NOISE REDUCTION (NR) tab to adjust the sharpness and NR at that point. From there he finishes up using the CURVE tool.

If any of this sounds confusing, check your photo editing software's Help to learn how to use them.

For my processing, I had to substitute the NR part with a trip to another program called Noise Ninja. Once done, I returned back to Aperture for the final steps.

Below are photos I took in Mexico's Grand Fiesta ride and the Tower of Tower. I sent copies of the RAW files to Michael so as to compare my processing to his.

The Aztec Pyramid on the Grand Fiesta ride at Epcot's Mexico pavilion in World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Aztec Pyramid on the Grand Fiesta ride by Scott.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 12,800, EV +0.3.

The Aztec Pyramid on the Grand Fiesta ride at Epcot's Mexico pavilion in World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Aztec Pyramid on the Grand Fiesta ride by Michael Besant.

You will notice right off the difference in the Aztec Pyramid's color which I left more in keeping with the lighting on the ride and I opened up the colors above the pyramid by using a dodging (lighting) brush. Both versions are fine with the differences being artistic and not technical.

Ghosts beckon during the Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Ghosts beckon during the Tower of Terror by Scott.
Nikon D700/70-200VR, 1/40s, f/2.8, ISO 12,800, EV +0.3, 92mm focal length.

Ghosts beckon during the Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Ghosts beckon during the Tower of Terror by Michael Besant.

Michael was able to pull out a lot more detail in the ghosts. I tired brushing in a few different effects but never got them as good as he did. Keep in mind Adobe Photoshop is a $600 photo editor and is considered the gold standard in professional photo editing. Apple Aperture is a $90 program which does a very good job.

I will say this is the best I have done with dark ride photos thanks to Michael Besant's Dark Ride Shooting Tutorial. I hope it will help you, too.

If you have any questions, leave them in the Comments.

August 26, 2012

Where in the World #244

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!

Smiley from millan.net STOP the presses, Players! Carolyn Conway is getting married this weekend! Her fiancee proposed in Walt Disney World while watching the water electrical pageant on the balcony at the Grand Floridian! WOW!

Here was the August 19th Challenge:
 Where in the World #243

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

Soooo... I honestly thought this would stump everyone. I full expected to get 3 answers this week, but I got a little more than that.

560.

LOL!

Ken Maikowski and Lee Anastasi, you did a great job of explaining this: Walking towards Mexico and looking across the World Showcase lagoon, you see the Minaret in Morrocco in Epcot and the back side of the Hollywood Hotel in Disney's Hollywood Studios (Tower of Terror). Curtis Bille, could you finish about the Imagineers? Imagineers realized you would be able to see the back of the Tower, so they painted it and worked the facade so it would like part of Morocco.

I meet a lot of people who have no idea about this, but obviously those people aren't Where in the World Players. :-) In fact, Noah and Daniel Schweizer, part of the AllEars next generation pointed out all of you would figure this out. Thumbs up, guys! Not to mention, Deb Ragno's mother-in-law who lived in Morocco let her know, and I'm not arguing with that kind of knowledge!

Claire Gregory got a Cliff Claven reference in her answer. That is so awesome, Claire! Smiley from millan.net

Kenny was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Kenny and to all the readers who got the answer right: Chris Masse, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Misty Mehelic, Ellie Argaluza, Diane Tredore, Mike M., Agnes Ciotti, Jennifer Rowell, Emily Hudson, Kris Nixon, Virginia Pierce , Stephanie Newell, Heather Young, Mackenzie D., Walter Fletcher, Bill Mckim, Scott Mitchell, Jack Foley, Mary Beth Tarbet, Tinkerbell Wells, Claire Gregory, Amy Schweizer, Tom Hermes, Karen Schlumpf, Ed Elder, Daniel Schweizer, Ed Suscreba, Christina R, Kathryn Perkins, Noah Schweizer, Cindy Dore, Dawn Bach, Evanna Huda, Dawn Bach, The Kahle Family, Julie Wickware, Erin Hammer, Larissa Huda, Linda College, Steve Smith, James Ankathy Berry, Erin Dagney, Christine Dagney, Kelly Mager, Vera Williams, Leigh Mertz, Jennifer Harmon, Chris And Alison, Mark Benton, Sodrosky Family, Jim Logue, Kameo Crea, Stuart Hale, Debbie Desimonecraftydjd, Jen Tremley, Amy R., Matt Holley, Kristi Strembicki, Curtis Bille, Jennifer P, Megan Krainski, Ken Maikowski, Froneberger Family, Kye Layton, Dave Wang, Craig, Melissa Such, Leanne Brownlee, Kait, Cindy Nagel, Deb Ragno, Shannon Milair, Krystal Pound, Kristie Bazile, David B, Brandon Emerson, Colette S, Brian Wojtowicz, Lindsay Leach Age 9, Jenny Brennan, Amanda Campbell, Christopher Barnes, Leach Family, Lynette Michalos, Jennifer A Walker, Mailin Pares, Tom Koval, Jon Landis, Kerri Coggins, Craig Livingston, Starr Cookson, Ellen Sullivan, Becky Coppola, Keith Maser, Jamie K, Steven Mickholtzick, Jay Burkhart, Harley Coleman, Tiffany Gibb, Pat Daly, Lori Gautreaux, Liana Imbrogno, Casey, Scott O'donnell, Brian Gallant, K. Beasley, James, Stephanie Davis, Renee Delk, Shannon Sheek, Team Hill, Jim Oneil, Paul, Michele Leite, Karen Ramirez, Marsha Waidelich, Kelli Simpson, Sam Magri, Kelly Sage, Nate, Janet, Brian Yesutis, Mark, Erin, Laurie Nicholson, Lynman99@aol.com, Lynette Michalos, Meredith Dean, Bob Hendrix, Reagan Herman, Katie Bray, Josh Carney, Heidi Summers, Jenny Stoneburner, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Michelle Raimist, Robin C Hood, Nora Martinez, Allie Reckendorf, Wendy T Faler, Alan Mize, Janet Thorn, Steve Toponak, Melody Salemi, Kelly Deleon, Mandy Kromer, Julie And Kody Rder, Kristin Hoover, Michael Joel Gainey, Fiona Knight, Wayne Alexandre, Mike O'brien, Dave Cole, Jeremy Hardy, Lindsay Coram, Jerry Felder, Dana Camp, Melanie Horton, Jennifer Mccurry, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Dan Mangini, Daniel Meagher, Stacy Wilson, Courtney Payne, Jeffrey Dunne, Anne Marie Cronin, Hobbes And Snorky, Jim Vandenberghe, Bonnie Cola, Louise Barton, Scott Precise, Mike Hulse, Morgan M., Nathalie Periard, Tim Jeltes, Jennifer Snook, Dale Knight, Becky Hosinger, Emery, Sharon Record, Diane, Kristen Clegg, Jeffrey Martin, Maureen Hanlon, Caryn Scjill, Angie Young, Donna Currier, David W., Carolyn Como, Stephanie Visco, Eric Enli, Carla Nale, Wendy Snelgrove, Shannon Brueggemann, Morag Lemon, Diane Curfman, Jason Hocker, Mike Walter, Gabriella &Matthieu, The Kertes Family, Laurie Walker , Josh Lind, Scott, Wendy Crober, Vicki, William , Elizabeth And Thomas Edwards, Sara Holloway, Sherrie Morse, Chambers Family , Ruth Woodhouse, Derek Carty, Candy Dadswell, Brianne, Hannah Couture, Candice Grimes, Linda Scrivano, Brian Miller, Jerry Weldon, Betsy Silvestri, Debbie, Lily-pierre &Mathieu, John P, Double Family, Mike Malampy, Joe Bateman, Pam Vanaustin, Kelly Feeko, Daniel Mills, Kristi, Addison Welp, Madi Mertz, Clare S, Rebecca Keenan, The Parker Family, Josh Weiss, Jorge R. Caso, Maggie Klotz, James Greene, Debra Moscara, Patty Carty, Vicki Vaught, Brian Haas, Abigail Grasso, Tina Wells, Chris Forner, Richard And Lisa Palmer, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Andrew Swiatowicz , Kevin Scott, Erin Connell, Bruce Jones, Lindsey Schlaud, Steve Bieniek, Kelsi, Pamela Carlson, Scott, Denise Cayz, Rob Blundin, Amanda Perkins, Sarah Hyman, Elyssa H., Mickey Eckert, Clay Anthony, Trina Noggle, Carrie, Audra Miller, Kevin Miller, Erin Loring, Nick Bentz, Sharon Dale, Megan , Chris Kelly, Walter N. Clark, Cynthia Hitchcock, Robert Jacob, Travis Grim, Hoekzema Family, Luis Rodriguez, Nigel Mcquire (wales Uk), Gareth Molyneux, Carrie Henderson, Sharon Pierce, Brian Grabowski, Bob Patterson, Kristyn Scibienski, Kerrie Hogan, Jason K, Andrea Kruszewski, Anthony Lipinski, Jessica Folan, Annette Nuenke, Jullie Pudem, Kevin O, Andrew Pettit, Barbara, Anne Hainsworth, Zachary Ott, Monica Owens, Steve Narel, Chris Bauman, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Kate Fischer, Alison Rosenberger, Carla C, Cameron Lange, Jenn Steele, Kristen Mccoy, Tim Johansen, Jim Thompson, Michelle Roth-smoot, Melody O'donnell, Karrie Duffey, Wayne Chadourne, Isabelle Boivin, Dee Dee Kenney, Jenifer Moyer, John Snider, Chrissie Smith, Jeremy Reichelt, Dan Huebner, Diane Ramos, Andy Schumacher, Anastasia Macneil, Carri Marotto, Betsy Dross, Payton Dross , Andrew Weed, Stacey Creed, Phil Thach, Patrick Broaddus, William Sharp, Lynda Brothers, Austin Oblenis, Scott Sangston, Natalie Hackney, Kurt Knappman, Annie Snodgrass, Kevin Weidenweber, Kristen Carde, Stephanie Linares, Matthew Earl, Lisa Zitek, Gallagher Family, Mike Schultz, Stephanie Dollar, Dan Owens, Mark Grosso, Bruce Lawson, Bob Henriksen, Mark Franklin, Ian Falk, Lori Rienhardt, Jeff Onorato, Meredith Rule, Karen Davis, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Carrie Rampy, Jeff Finger, Christine Mckay, Mark Proper, Brian Sheets, Ainsley Poe, Deborah Wolfe, Matt Ciccone, Jennifer Cline, Mike Pennington, Melissa Dye, Angela Horan, Melissa Kirk, Sam Thomas, Eileen Miller, The Perras Family, Cathy Mager, Paul Latella, Jason Skow, Susan, Shelly Borella, Erika Loboda, Heidi Goodhue, Jim Curley, Phil Vickers, Wendy Palmquist, Kris Blamphin, Karen Smith, Bob Smith, Jessica Iglesias, Jennifer Greene, Mitchell Holmes, Barbara Sims, Hannah M., Russ Morgan, Madison Hovan, Al Desimone, Kerry Mccaffrey, Michele Mongeon, Evald Olson, Jeff &Cheryl Simmons, Mona Hornbuckle, Patti Mccaffrey, Olivia D, Chrissy D, Maryann Y, Christine Def, Sam Cridlin, Greg Berg, Lynn Lofton, Nancy, Chris Straw, Debbie Hicks, Nicole Shuler, Jen Cox, Sandy Kanigowski, Dave Kanigowski, Mary Jo Gallion, Teresa Cole, Karen Bellamy, Michael Schelfhaut, Timothy Hutchinson, Les Stewart, Christina Rotella, George Mundy Jr, Ron Harper, Paul Conry, Mike Cerce, John Foggo, Timmy Saunders, Miguel Gonzalez, Ashley Deitchler, Duane Wisniewski, Joy, The Moore Family, Karen Adamakis, Kelly Barnes, Ashley Pizzino, Mary Virginia Clause, Sandie Albrecht, Trish Babler, Liz Moreau, Peggy Saeger, Amanda, Patricia Newton, Nathaniel Clements, Jane Johnson, Robert P. Flaherty, Karrie Trotter, Nicole Amidon, Robert Anderson, Bill Cudney , Danielle Howells, Clinton Dickinson, Chip Vermette, Hillary Waldroop, Angela Fennell, Joy Ousterout, The Patterson Family, Melodye Berry, Stefan Owens, Terri Thornton, Dan Johnston, Tom Higbee, Marc Lorenzo, Tara Weaver, Tammy Henry, Suzanne C Denham, Carolyn Conway, Dotti Chesney, Dotti Chesney, Lee Anastasi, Kristin Dormuth, Mike Venere, Matt Carrera, Barclay Bakkum, Wendy Barney, Paula B, Tracy Discher, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Lindsay Kasawski, Jodi Cook, Chris Connors, Lizanne Fisk, Mukta Mohapatra, Jan Rosato, Dave Carriere, Allison Caputa, and Rebecca Baker. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________
Challenge #244: Where in the world is this?
In case this one is tough, here's a hint: it's somewhere in Walt Disney World. :)

 Where in the World #244

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, August 30th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

August 21, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Rain

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

During the months of May and June this year, Walt Disney World had many days of rain. Not the usual afternoon thunderstorm but full days of rainy weather. I had first hand experience during my trip last May when I photographed a couple of my fellow guests walking past the Yellow Cab on Sunset Blvd. I wrote a series of blogs with suggestions on photographing in the rain which you can access via his article: Photographing in the Rain at Epcot.

Guests clad in rain gear walking past the Yellow Cab in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Guests clad in rain gear walking past the Yellow Cab on Sunset Blvd.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 220, EV +0.6, 116mm Focal Length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with her Disney Pic of Week about Rain.

August 9, 2012

Star Wars Weekend Merchandise

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Yoda plush toys in Darth's Mall at Disney's Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekend, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Yoda plush toys in Darth's Mall during Star Wars Weekend.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 12500, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

During Star Wars Weekends this year, Darth's Mall could be found in behind the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and was filled with every imaginable Star Wars and Disney tie-in merchandise. I found this bin of Mickey Mouse earred Yoda plush toys to be a perfect Disney Pic of the Week on Merchandise.


July 1, 2011

Lost in Disney's Hollywood Studios on Route 66

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Guests stop to ponder a map of Disney's Hollywood Studios on Route 66, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Guests looking lost on Route 66 in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/80s, f/14, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length.

I throughly enjoyed the Disney/Pixar movie, Cars 2, this week and it reminded me of this photo I took in Disney's Hollywood Studios on Sunset Blvd. of some guests checking out their park maps. Almost looks like they are lost on Old Route 66 doesn't it? When I am touring the parks I am always on the lookout for strong human element photos that tell a story.

April 8, 2011

Riding the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This week I am taking you on one of my favorite rides, the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith in Disney's Hollywood Studios. I know some people may have never ridden RnRC so here's your chance.

After waiting in the queue (hopefully you used FastPass), you are ushered into a recording studio where Aerosmith is listening to a classic mix of one of their hits.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster pre-show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Aerosmith gives us backstage passes but we need to get across town.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 5600, EV -1.7, 28mm focal length.

Soon, their manager comes in and tells them to get going or they will be late for the concert across town. However, the band wants their fans (you being one) to have backstage passes. Their manager has to make it happen and calls for a stretch limo. Tells us to move out to alley as she got us a really fast car.

Out in the alley you get in the limo and pull down the safety restraint and off you go around a tight corner as a Disney cast member waves happily. You might wonder why she is smiling.

A cast member waves to guests as they head to the on-ramp of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A cast member waves to guests as they head to the on-ramp of the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/5s, f/3.5, ISO 8000, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length.

You get a fun countdown and when the green light turns on, you are launched from 0 to 60mph in less than 3 seconds. Don't forget to smile as this is when your ride photo is taken. Your limo's radio is locked on the special Aerosmith ride mix station.

Guests are given the green light to enter the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster ride in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A Super Stretch Limo ride vehicle is launched into the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster..
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/5s, f/3.5, ISO 1600, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length.

After a couple of inversions and speeding over California highways you arrive at the concert. Your heart will be pumping from the exhilarating ride. There's a red carpet here to take you to the "concert" cleverly disguised as a store where you can pick up your ride photo ( you did remember to smile, right?) and other Rock 'n' Roller Coaster goodies as Aerosmith tunes continue.

Arriving backstage after a ride on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Arriving backstage after a ride on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 5600, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length.

Finally, you make your way out the backdoor of the concert as sponsor banners fly overhead. Already ready to get right back on so you can hear a different song on your next cruise to a concert.

Fans exit the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Fans exit the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, ISO 8000, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length.

Notice the ISO settings of these photos. I used a noise reduction program called Noise Ninja to clean up the digital noise such high ISO's create. A few years ago, I never would have imagined using ISO numbers above 3200.

April 1, 2011

Hollywood Studios in Chrome

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In the past I have told you about how to use selective focus. Further, I have said it is a good way to make busy backgrounds disappear into a soft blur called bokeh. In looking over my past posts, I never showed you an example.

Have you all seen the car on Sunset Boulevard under the canopy in front of the Legends of Hollywood shop? Thanks to Nanette Jamieson from flickr for allowing me to use this photo.

The Golden Era by Nanette Jamieson.
The Golden Era by Nanette Jamieson.
Sony A200, 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 100, EV 0, 11mm focal length.

The car, a gold 1941 Cadillac Series 62, fits the era of Disney's Hollywood Studios and sports a large chrome hood ornament. I set my lens to its largest aperture of f/5.6 at 300mm to completely throw the large Labor Day crowd out of focus and put the ornament in very sharp focus.

Cadillac hood ornament at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Cadillac hood ornament with blurred background.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

That blurred bright background is what a few dozen people look like out of focus. Leaving the hood ornament as the main subject in all its reflective glory of days gone by.

December 3, 2010

Picture if you will

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When using an ultra wide angle lens like the Tokina 11-16mm remember to get up close to the main subject of the photo. That is what I did when I photographed the ride photo kiosk you see upon getting off the Tower of Terror elevator. I was a mere six inches from the Picture if you will... sign when I took the photo you see below.

The Tower of Terror ride photo area in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Picture if you will... The ride photo kiosk in the Tower of Terror.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11/16mm, 1/13s, f/2.8, ISO 8000, EV 0, 16mm focal length

Click here for 10 More Tips on Using a Wide Angle Lens.


November 26, 2010

Grab the Light

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have harped on always being ready and alert when you are touring the Walt Disney World resort. Here's another example. After leaving the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, I was headed over to see the finale show of the American Idol Experience. I looked around and noticed a very interesting sky. Storm clouds to the east with a low Sun to the west. Knowing such weather conditions brings about great lighting, I looked around the park both high and low as I walked. I saw the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in the distance being hit with golden sunshine.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in golden sunshine at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in golden sunshine.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV 0, 300mm focal length

I got two more photos before the Sun got covered up by a bank of clouds leaving the Tower in some not so golden light.

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror under clouds at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror under clouds.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 300mm focal length

When you see something you want to photograph and the light is just right. Stop for a minute and do so. You many never get the chance again. Then apologize to your family and continue on your way.

May 7, 2010

Walt Disney World at f/2.8

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 9, 2010

The Red Beast

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Bad White Balance
Remember this photo? This is how my photos looked when I first attempted to photograph Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage with my Nikon D70 camera. Up until then, the camera's automatic White Balance setting was handling photographing around the Walt Disney World resort a breeze. I was able to save this photo via an online photo editing site. But you and I both know, it is best if you can get it right in the camera itself.

The next time I found myself in the Theater of the Stars for this production, I set my camera's image quality to RAW. This allowed me to alter the photo's white balance in a photo editor later. This worked well but I still was not totally pleased with the results. Reds continued to be blown out with reddish skin tones.

You might be wondering why I have such trouble with this show? Actually, I had trouble with a lot of Disney's stage productions and here is the reason: They use a lot of colored lighting during the show. Red being one they use a lot. My camera is always setup to capture vivid colors. When my camera and those red lights meet...Pow! Red heading off the charts or, in my case, the histogram.

I did some research on how I can best handle this situation and came across some articles about the Expodisc Filter by Expoimaging. This white opac filter fits over the front of your lens and, by telling your camera to take a custom White Balance setting, you point your camera and lens towards the light source. I emphasize "towards" because in your camera manuals you are told to point your camera at a white or middle gray surface to set a custom white balance. I do not understand the science behind the Expodisc but I do know that it works very well.

Before the show started, I popped on the Expodisc onto the front of my lens, set my camera to get a custom white balance and aimed it at the lights in the theater. I clicked the shutter and my LCD told me I had gotten a Good White Balance setting. I took off the Exposdisc filter and I was ready to go. I must say, with this simple solution, I got photos right out of the camera with near perfect color.

For the photo below of Belle singing during the opening number of the show, you see her bathed in white light with good skin color while some of the village's people behind her are in red light. This is as I saw it on stage.

Belle singing during the opening number of Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Belle singing during the opening number of Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV +0.6, 200mm focal length

Next up was Gaston's outfit. In the past I have returned with Gaston in neon red shirts and capes. After using the Exposdisc, I got the correct red for the one guy in town who's got all of it down. And his name's...Gaston.

Gaston singing his praises during Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Gaston singing his praises during Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV +0.6, 200mm focal length

Here are a couple more of my favorites from the show. Taken with the custom white balance via the Expodisc filter.

The library scene with Belle and the Beast in the Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The library scene with Belle and the Beast.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV +0.6, 200mm focal length
Belle blowing a kiss to the audience at the end of the Beauty and the Beast, Live on Stage in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Belle blowing a kiss as the curtain falls to end the show.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV +0.6, 200mm focal length

The authentic Expodisc Filter by Expoimaging may seem expensive but I have used it in a lot of settings since I took these photos. It's fast, simple and gets closer than anything else I have tried when faced with tricky lighting conditions like a stage show at Walt Disney World.

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.

August 28, 2008

Inside the Tower of Terror

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Tower of Terror Lobby in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Tower of Terror Lobby.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, 800 ISO, -0.6 EV, 18mm Focal length

For years I tried to take indoor photographs at Walt Disney World with very little success until I got the combination of the Nikon D70 digital SLR and the Nikon 18-200VR lens. Between the camera's ability to take acceptable images up to an ISO of 1600 and the lens' vibration reduction technology allowing shutter speeds as low as 1/15th of a second, handheld, I am now able to get some excellent low light photos in places I never would have tried with a film SLR or Point & Shoot digital cameras.

This was the setup I used to take a picture of the Tower of Terror lobby from an angle looking out from behind the hotel's front desk as my Disney Pic of the Week for the theme of Indoor.

May 23, 2008

P for Program Assist

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The past couple of weeks I've showed you how to control depth of field with Aperture Priority mode and to slow or freeze motion in Shutter Priority mode. What if I was to tell you about a mode which automatically selects a good exposure (aperture (f-stop) and shutter speed) to start with and allows you to change them for more depth of field OR slow or faster shutter speeds just by moving a control dial. Interested? I thought you might. The mode I am talking about is the P setting on the Mode Dial and stands for Program mode or Program AE mode, where AE stands for Auto Exposure. This mode differs from AUTO mode in that it does not change the camera's ISO number, Metering and White Balance (WB) settings giving you more control of your photography.

This is how I use Program mode. I set up my camera in Program mode, ISO starting at 200, White Balance at Auto -3 and Matrix metering. This gives me great flexibility for most shooting conditions I might encounter. (Note: I also use my Nikon D70's Auto ISO feature which starts at ISO 200 but when light falls off in a building or as day turns into night, the camera will raise the ISO for me. You may have to remember to change your ISO setting when shutter speeds go below 1/30 of a second.) Now, when I see something I want to photograph, I set my focus and see what exposure the camera calculates. If I don't agree, I can turn the command dial to vary the aperture and shutter speeds. It still gives you the same exposure but by turning the dial you can increase or decrease the f-stop controlling the depth of field. Like in Aperture Priority mode, the shutter speed will be changed for you. The reverse is true for moving the command dial to alter the shutter speed. The f-stop will be changed for you. When moving the exposure away from the camera's chosen one, an asterisk is seen next to the P on the upper LCD (for Nikon) to tell you you have selected a different exposure. It looks like this: P*. After pressing the shutter, the camera does not return to the starting exposure unless you move the command dial back to that position. This may be different for your camera so, again, check your manual to see how Program mode is implemented.

In the photo below of Sunset Blvd. in the Disney Hollywood Studios, Program mode initially gave me an exposure of 1/500s at f/5.6. I wanted more depth of field and moved the command dial until it showed 1/250s at f/8 which, for a focal length of 50mm or less, gives great depth of field. The slower shutter speed lightens up some of those deep Florida sun shadows, too.

Walking down Sunset Blvd. in the Disney Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Walking down Sunset Blvd. in the Disney Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, 200 ISO, 0 EV, 46mm Focal Length, Matrix Metering, Auto -3 White Balance

The Disney Imagineers did a wonderful job on Sunset Blvd in the Disney Hollywood Studios. By using short utility poles and trees of the same height, they make the Tower of Terror look even bigger and with nice leading lines for us photographers to take full advantage of in our compositions.

Program mode is a great way to quickly get a good exposure to capture those moments we come upon at a Disney park, family event or walking around your hometown. It also lets you be creative by easily being able to change both aperture and shutter speed with the turn of a dial. However, Program mode does have it's limitations. It can't always reach the extreme slow or fast shutter speeds or smallest apertures your camera is capable of. In those cases, I still find both Aperture and Shutter Priority modes very useful.

For more information on Program Mode, follow this link: Mastering Your dSLR Camera: Program Mode

October 26, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Online Photo Editing

Running applications on the Internet has come a long way since portals like Yahoo and Google introduced Online Email. Now you can run spreadsheets and word processors as well as figure out when you can call for your Advanced Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World.

NOTE: Since the publication of this post, Picnik has been shut down. Today (April 29, 2014), I would recommend this online photo editor: iPiccy.

Just recently, a new online photo editor was officially launched called Picnik which lets you do many general edits to your photos as well as add special effects, shapes, text and frames. Picnik has two versions. A Basic version which is free to use and a Premium version for $24.95 annually. Picnik currently interfaces with some of the more popular photo sharing websites such as Flickr, Picasa Web Albums, Photobucket, Webshots and even Facebook. You'll find links on the Photo Tab of Picnik for more information on how to use photos from those sites.


Before Editing.
© Scott Thomas Photography 2007

After Editing.
© Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/11, 400 ISO, -0.3 EV

I wanted to see just how good such an application might be so I created a free Picnik account and got started. Since this is an Internet application, it doesn't matter whether you are using a Windows, Linux or Mac operating system. As long as your browser supports Picnik, you'll be fine. I had no trouble using Picnik in Internet Explorer or Safari. If you don't use any of the services Picnik interfaces with, you can do what I do and upload a photo directly from your computer. You can only work on one photo at a time.

For our example, I choose a photo I took of Disney Hollywood Studio's Beauty and the Beast Stage Show where I had the wrong white balance setting causing a very reddish cast to the actor's faces. Picnik has tabs across the top for Home, Photos, Edit, Create and Save & Share (see screen shot below). The Edit tab is where you start to improve your images. You can Rotate, Crop, Resize, and even fix Red-Eye. You'll find adjustment tools for Exposure, Color and Sharpen on this tab, too.

To fix my image, I started with the Exposure tool. To enter any of the tools, just click on the corresponding button. In Exposure you can add or subtract exposure and contrast using sliders. An Advanced tool is also available which shows a Histogram and adds sliders for Highlights and Shadows. In this case, I added a little exposure to lighten up the photograph. This is a good place to note that all your editing is done on the entire image. You don't have a way to selectively edit like you would in Photoshop and other similar PC based photo editing applications.


Picnik Application (click for larger image)

The major fix I needed for this example was for color. Under the Color tab, you have Auto Color, Neutral Picker and sliders for Saturation and Color Temperature. Knowing the white balance was my main concern, I slid the color temperature slider to the left which adjusts the color cast towards the blue end of the spectrum. I had to slide it a long ways and ended up at a -65. It looked good but not quite good enough. I hit the Reset button to start over. This time I used the Auto Color button and while it looked a bit washed out at a setting of -84, the skin tones were much better. All the tools in Picnik have a Reset button. In that if you find what you are doing gets a bit odd looking, it's easy to start over. Clicking the OK button, retains the edits. I added a little sharpening in the Sharpen tool, too.

Now the fun begins. While I liked the photo, it needed "something". I entered the Create tab of the Picnik application and started trying various effects. After adjusting the color temperature earlier, I noted the photo looked a bit washed out. Using the Boost tool, I added some color back in adjusting the slider to 5 percent. This brought back a little redness to the faces but it looked more natural. I found I liked the look of adding a Matte around the subjects. You can control the size, strength and color of the matte effect. I emphasized the golden color of Belle's dress and the Prince's suit trim this way. Next, I went to the Shapes tool and added the heart shape. I changed the heart's location, size, color and fading before adding the text in the Text tool.

Once I was satisfied with everything, I went to the Save & Share tab and saved the new image back to my computer's hard drive. Be careful here. Picnik will use the same name for the edited version. Picnik might think about adding some sort of extension in a future update.

I was very impressed with how far Picnik has come in the last three months when I first discovered it. The developers keep adding new tools, controls, effects, shapes and fonts all the time. Being an Internet application, you can access it from any computer in the world. Might come in handy for doing edits from a hotel room in Walt Disney World for all you bloggers and webmasters out there. I suggest giving Picnik a try the next time you need to do some photo editing and see if it might work for you.

October 12, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Collage of Terror

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Tower of Terror collage. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon Coolpix 995, 1/360s, f/7.5, 100 ISO, 0 EV

I love creating new artistic works from my photographs. This one I am particularly proud of as it came together over a couple of years. I first took the picture of the Disney Hollywood Studio's Tower of Terror during a trip back in 2004. I liked the clouds overhead. On a return trip a year later, I was in an hour wait queue to ride the Tower of Terror. Since I had my trusty Nikon Coolpix 995 with me, I passed the time by taking pictures of things I came upon in the queue. Disney Imagineers do a wonderful job of detail and I wanted to capture some of it.

Fast forward a couple of months and I came upon a speciality photo software package called LumaPix FotoFusion which made it very easy to create photo collages. If you are a scrapbooker, you may also want to take a look at this software. FotoFusion has frames in all shapes and sizes. There are backgrounds to choose from or you can use your own graphics or photos as was the case with mine here. It makes it easy to get started creating a collage by selecting the photos you want to use and pressing the Auto Collage button. If you don't like the first layout it comes out with, press it again. Once you see something you like, you can take over for the final arrangment of the images, change sizes of the images, put different frames and borders on them, add text in any font your computer has and use special effects like shadowing and blurs.

Taking my Tower of Terror image from 2004 as the background and grabbing a few from my queue photos in 2005, I started putting together my collage. It's a lot of fun moving the images around, selecting frames, colors and effects, even rotating them. After I got done, I wanted something more. The font wasn't creepy enough. It didn't take me long to find a Twilight Zone font on the Internet which gave an authentic look to the final product.

Photo collages are a great way to create new images from photos you had no idea what to do with.

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About Sunset Blvd.

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