Main

Future World Archives

October 6, 2017

Reflections of Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Epcot turned 35 this week. I first visited EPCOT Center on October 3, 1983. It was more open then. Nothing in front of Spaceship Earth except a water fountain. No advanced dining reservations back then. You had to either go to the restaurant's podium early in the morning or use a video kiosk where a Cast Member would take your reservations "face to face". I rode Horizons that day only two days after its official opening.

Years later Disney renamed the park just Epcot. I finally got a digital SLR camera in 2006 just over 10 years ago. Let us return to that time now.

EPCOT in 2006, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
EPCOT in 2006.

From Left and Clockwise: Spaceship Earth had Mickey Mouse's wand with the word Epcot, Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps performed in front of the American Adventure, Off Kilter was on the Canada pavilion's stage and the Lights of Winter tunnel lead you from Future World to World Showcase during the holidays.

Except for Spaceship Earth, the other three can no longer be enjoyed at Epcot. Though Mickey's wand is gone, thankfully.

Fast forward to today...

EPCOT in 2017, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
EPCOT in 2017.

From Left and Clockwise: Disney is celebrating Epcot35 in the Odyssey Restaurant, Monorail moves over Flower and Garden Festival decorations, Spaceship Earth still is the icon of Epcot and Mission: Space has replaced Horizons.

I have watched Epcot change over the last 34 years. Have I always agreed with the changes? No, but change Epcot and Walt Disney World will always do, must and will.





September 5, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Souvenirs for Kids

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This week's theme is Souvenirs for Kids. In my mind, plush toys are the most popular toys which kids want at any Disney themepark. Sized and priced for newborns all the way up to the kid in all of us. Shops like MouseGear in Epcot have shelves and even whole rooms filled with them. I mean, who can resist a soft, huggable Winnie the Pooh toy?

Winnie The Pooh Plush Toys found at the MouseGear shop in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Winnie The Pooh Plush Toys found at the MouseGear shop in Epcot.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, ISO 220, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here to share her favorite Disney Souvenir for Kids photo tomorrow.





September 1, 2017

Returning to Future World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Spaceship Earth illumination at dusk in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth being illuminated at dusk in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125s, f/2.8, ISO 5000, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length.

I will be flying down to Walt Disney World next week to take in all the wonders of new lands, attractions, shows and rides since my last visit. If you have anything you would like me to photograph, let me know. I will return with my results and give details on how I captured the photos. Use the Comments link below. I will not post them this time. Looking to help out my fellow Disney photographers.





August 22, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Epcot Landscape

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Okay, I cheated this week for Epcot's Landscape Photography photo. Yes, I choose this photo from The Land's Soarin' Around the World presentation using the widest lens I own, a 15mm Fisheye lens.

Soarin' Around the World in The Land pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Soarin' Around the World in The Land pavilion.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1/125s, f/2.8, ISO 6400, EV 0.

The characteristics of a Fisheye lens is on full display here as it curves everything around it's center focal point. Using the people's feet above and the edge below you get a grand view of Monument Valley. Hope you can forgive my cheating here.

Deb will be here to share her Epcot Landscape photo tomorrow. I bet she does not cheat.





July 19, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: 1980s

Deb's Digest Blog

The 1980s... sadly I never stepped foot in the Magic Kingdom or Epcot during the 80s. So, once again I have to go elsewhere for a photo.

Did you know Epcot once had real elephants in Future World? It did, in a special event called the Daredevil Circus Spectacular.

Here is a photo a friend of mine recently found of said spectacular...

kay-daredevil-circus.jpg

If you are sitting there scratching your head about this, here's a link to a Jim Korkis article you'll find informative.


June 16, 2017

Muppet Mobile Lab in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Sticking with the Muppets theme this week, I was able to photograph Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and his assistant, Beaker, entertaining guests on their Muppet Mobile Lab under the large shades near Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World. I decided to put my camera in a portrait orientation as the Mobile Muppet Lab is taller than it is long.

Muppet Mobile Lab in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Muppet Mobile Lab in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 100, EV -0.3, 48mm Focal Length.

As I often do, I like to get in close which I was able to do using the Nikon 28-300VR Super Zoom lens without having to move from my location.

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and his assistant, Beaker, entertaining guests on their Muppet Mobile Lab in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and his assistant, Beaker, entertaining guests on their Muppet Mobile Lab in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/800s, f/7.1, ISO 100, EV -0.3, 116mm Focal Length.

Do not forget you can change your camera's orientation which is very handy for a subject like the Muppet Mobile Lab, Disney characters and people.

June 2, 2017

Test Track Zoom Zoom at Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Riding Test Track in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Riding Test Track in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1.3s, f/8, ISO 6400, EV 0.

Life for Scott lately has been zooming by so he is taking a break the next two weeks. He will be back soon to share more photography tips for and from Disney.

May 5, 2017

Watch Your Edges at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Many new photographers make a common mistake of concentrating on their subject and not looking around the subject. Especially the edges of the frame. It is very easy to overlook objects and people creeping in from the sides, top and bottom of a camera's viewfinder edges.

Below is a photo of Spaceship Earth on a beautiful Flordia day. I turned around and focused on the big geodesic sphere and got the photo you see below.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth with Edge Distractions.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 125, EV 0, 16mm focal length.

Well, I looked at my camera's LCD to review the photo and saw all the edge distractions of palm tree fronds, tree branches and people walking past. Not what I remember shooting. To get the photo I really wanted, I moved out from underneath the trees and raised my camera's angle upward.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth without Edge Distractions.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm focal length.

This was the photo I wanted to capture at the time.

Let us review, I noticed all the edge distractions in the camera's LCD. I moved and changed the angle to Spaceship Earth and before pressing the shutter button, I checked all around the viewfinder to make sure I had elminated any distractions. This is good practise to do whenever you are photographing.

April 28, 2017

Geometrics at Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

An image having a strong organization of shapes and forms, which is essentially the geometric elements of the photo, will create a strong composition. When I think Disney and geometric elements, I think Epcot's Future World.

The architecture of the pavilions use many geometric shpapes starting with the triangles on Spaceship Earth. In fact there are 11,324 individual triangles which make up the exterior of Spaceship Earth. Each one is an isosceles triangle meaning two of the three sides must be of equal length.

Triangle surfaces make up the exterior of Spaceship Earth at Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Triangle surfaces make up the exterior of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 1600, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length.

Looking at the glass structure of the Imagination pavillion, notice the steel framework. They are all parallelograms which repeat over and over.

Parallelograms framework on Imagination pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Parallelograms framework on the Imagination pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length, tripod, HDR Image.

Getting away from straight lines and angles, Epcot's Mission Space pavilion is more rounded with curves and spheres.

Curves and spheres of Mission Space in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Curves and spheres of Mission Space.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 450, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length.

You can find geometrics everywhere around us not just in Man-made structures but in Nature, too. Look for them the next time you are out photographing at Walt Disney World or in your backyard.

April 18, 2017

Disney PIc of the Week: Monorails

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

After a long and fun day at Epcot, seeing a monorail entering the station for the trip back to the Ticket and Transportation Center before heading to the Magic Kingdom to catch a late fireworks show is a very welcome sight. The seats are comfortable and the ride smooth.

Monorail Green entering the Epcot station, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail Green entering Epcot station.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/160, f/6.3, ISO 1600, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

Raise your hand if you have ever fallen asleep on the Epcot to TTC track or visa versa. I know I have.

Deb will be here tomorrow with her monorail photo.

March 29, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Photographers Choice

Deb's Digest Blog

Epcot's 25th Anniversary. One of my favorite photos from the re-dedication ceremony is this one of Disney Legend Marty Sklar with Spaceship Earth as the background.

sept0751.jpg

Hard to believe that was 10 years ago as Epcot celebrates 35 in October!

March 24, 2017

More Epcot Yesterland: Rainbow Tunnel

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Looking through old prints for this week's Epcot Yesterland topic, I came across this photo of my daughters from 1998 in the Rainbow Tunnel or Corridor. This area was called ImageWorks and had all kinds of interactive activities for guests to enjoy.

Young guests in the Rainbow Tunnel in Epcot's Journey Into Imagination pavilion from 1998, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Young guests in the ImageWork's Rainbow Tunnel in Epcot's Journey Into Imagination pavilion from 1998.

Did you take a photo like this? I did not have a tripod with me back then so the colors are very muted here. Guessing I was using my trusty Nikon 8008s film SLR here with a 50mm lens.

March 21, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Epcot Yesterland

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Remember the hysteria as the year 2000 approached? People were worried computers would stop working and computerized systems from air traffic control towers to thermostats would cause all kinds of problems. I sure do as I was running the computer systems for a manufacturing company. Meanwhile, Disney proudly waved a Mickey-handed wand over Spaceship Earth proclaiming the coming of the 21st Century (even though technically it didn't start until 2001), I was holed up in my company's computer room just in case something happened. Luckily, nothing did and we all went on with our lives.

Not at Epcot, however, as I took this photo in October 2001, way after 2000 had come and gone. Do you remember what came after this?

Spaceship Earth with the Mickey wand from 2001 in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth with the Mickey wand of 2000.

Since digital, for me, was still a few years down the road, this was taken with a Nikon 8008s SLR camera and a Sigma 24-70mm lens as I used it until the lens literally fell apart.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her Epcot Yesteryear photo.

March 15, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Test Track

Deb's Digest Blog
EXHILARATION!

Remember that very first time you rode Test Track??.

You exited the building and took off on the track, veering left and right, and ramping hard left as you went past the front of the building.....

test-track.jpg
WOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

March 14, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Test Track

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The "crash test" in Test Track is a cool way to exit out onto the high banks especially after it got the Tron Effect-like updates back in 2012.

Test Track pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Test Track pavilion in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/250s, f/4, ISO 10000, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her Test Track photo on our tour of Epcot's Future World.

March 8, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Journey Into Imagination

Deb's Digest Blog

I had the recent opportunity to examine the Journey Into Imagination Press Kit by Kodak and was able to scan the photos. See if you know the area of the pavilion this photo is from. Scroll down for answer. If only I had a digital camera back then.

jjji-press-photo.JPG

"The Magic Palette, one of several color video painting and drawing devices, entertains Dreamfinder and Figment as they experiment with the attractions in Image Works at Journey Into Imagination Epcot Center. The row of palettes is one of eleven different activities in the Image World, a hands-on special-effects area of the pavilion presented by Kodak"

March 7, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Imagination

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I was pleased when Disney decided to bring back my pal, Figment, to the Imagination pavilion. You can see him again inside the pavilion and outside, too.

Imagination pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Imagination pavilion in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 560, EV 0, 26mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her Imagination photo on our tour of Epcot's Future World.

March 1, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Universe of Energy

Deb's Digest Blog

Here's an interesting photo I found of the outside of the Universe of Energy. At one time, in the early 2000s, the Flower and Garden festival would feature larger than life insects and bugs. From spiders to bees, to lady bugs.. they were great sculptures to see.

Here is one in the water feature out front of the Universe of Energy.

JUNE3-0203-universe.jpg

February 28, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Universe of Energy

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Back when Epcot first opened in 1982, the concept of using solar panels to produce electricity was still a new and expensive proposition. The Universe of Energy's roof is filled with such panels which partially power the huge vehicles filled with guests through the attraction teaching when, where, how and what energy is.

Universe of Energy pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Universe of Energy pavilion in Epcot's Future World in HDR.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1/320, f/9, ISO 100, EV 0, Cropped.

Today, Tesla will soon be selling solar roofs which look no different then non-solar ones. "Now, that's progress!", to quote another famous Walt Disney created attraction.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her Universe of Energy photo on our tour of Epcot's Future World.

February 22, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Mission Space

Deb's Digest Blog

I'm the first to admit I am not a fan. I wanted to be! I always dreamed of going into space as a kid growing up with Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. I will say Mission Space allowed me to experience a rocket launch but that's about it. The rest is a blur.

Here's a nod to the past:

Fastpass-2004.JPG


Oh and if you want to check out my report "To Boldly Go Where I Will Never Go Again", here you are!

February 21, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Mission: SPACE

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

With clouds above, I used a set of 5 photographs from -2EV to +2EV to create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image of Mission: SPACE in Epcot's Future World.

Mission: SPACE pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mission: SPACE pavilion in Epcot's Future World in HDR.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, f/16, ISO 220, EV 0, 19mm Focal Length, HDR Image.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her Mission: SPACE photo on our tour of Epcot's Future World.

February 17, 2017

A Visit to Club Cool in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In 2005, Coca Cola re-imagined their popular Ice Station Cool in Epcot into Club Cool.

Last year I brought in my camera with a Fisheye lens attached to photograph the coolest club in Epcot. The entrance to the Coca Cola beverages has moved and its space has gotten a bit bigger. Still with same theme of serving International soda/pop/soda pop flavors and free to try, too.

Entrance to Club Cool in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Entrance to Club Cool in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 450, EV 0.

Inside, there are soda fountain stations and cups to use for all to try out all those wonderful International flavors. As you can see, you have eight different flavors to try.

Inside Club Cool at Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Inside Club Cool at Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1/125s, f/2.8, ISO 2500, EV 0.

I did a 5-shot HDR set of photos and got some interesting effects. The software did a really good job for the most part with the moving people including the family trying out the sodas.

Inside Club Cool in HDR at Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Inside Club Cool in HDR at Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, f/2.8, ISO 2500, EV 0, HDR Image.

For anyone who may have never stopped in at Club Cool but, have heard about it, this is what it looks like. It is up to you to find out what it tastes like.

RELATED LINKS:
** Try the Beverly

** Disney Pic of the Week: Club Cool

** Beverly Strikes Again at Club Cool

February 15, 2017

Disney Photo of the Week: Living Seas

Deb's Digest Blog

While not an opening day attraction, the Living Seas grand opening was held in January 1986 with Michael Eisner, Diver Mickey Mouse and Diver Frank Wells.

In the early days of the Living Seas, you walked along banister lined curves that displayed historical photographs and artifacts of famous undersea explorations. Here was one the displays from the movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

102-0266-living-seas.jpg


February 14, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: The Seas with Nemo & Friends

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Seas of the world are ever moving, always in motion. I really liked how Disney captured that trait of the sea at The Living Seas when it first opened and kept it with the re-imagined The Seas with Nemo & Friends in Epcot's Future World. The sign to the attraction sits in the middle of a rugged sea shore reminisent of the western United States. "Waves" randomly splash up onto the rocks around the sign. Sea Gulls from the movie, "Finding Nemo", declare nearby, "Mine, mine, mine" ad nauseam.

The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Seas with Nemo & Friends pavilion in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Polarizer Filter .

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her The Seas with Nemo & Friends photo on our tour of Epcot's Future World.

February 10, 2017

Photographing a Disney Icon: Spaceship Earth

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I missed a Disney Pic of the Week a couple of week's ago. You know how it goes sometimes. I got busy, was traveling...yada, yada, yada...I ended up missing the post.

I want to make it up to you today. The one I missed was for Spaceship Earth. I figure it is my second most photographed object at Walt Disney World. Cinderella Castle being by far and away the first one. I went through my photos and found three different ways I photographed the big ball which I thought you would enjoy.

I talked about how to use objects for framing other objects awhile back. I even used a similar photo as this one. This was a wide angle photo I cropped in post-processing to bring everything in a little closer.

Spaceship Earth seen through the Red Torii Gate at the Japan pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth seen through the Red Torii Gate from the Japan pavilion.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/1000s, f/5.6, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Cropped.

When I looked over my shoulder while walking to World Showcase from Future World I saw this composition. I noticed how the trees along the walkway leads you right to Spaceship Earth behind the people, monorail rail and water fountain.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/1000s, f/8, ISO 100, EV 0, 122mm Focal Length.

In this last one, I liked the composition and the contrast between the living palm tree and the metal triangles of Spaceship Earth behind it.

Palm tree in front of Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Palm tree in front of Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 62mm Focal Length.

Hope you will forgive my transgression and this gives you some ideas on how to photograph other familiar subjects you know of.

February 8, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: The Land

Deb's Digest Blog

Like most of Future World, I get lost looking through my photo galleries for each pavilion and start remembering times past and things that would make me smile. I've always loved The Land, there is/was so much do to in one building. One of my favorite "original" attractions is still there, the Living with the Land boat ride. Although I do miss the live Cast Member narrating, change is inevitable and at least the attraction is still there. (Yes, I love Soarin' but I go back to the early days.)

There was one small "attraction" that was very cool back in the 2000s... the Junior Chef Program, presented by Nestle Toll House. A small area in the back of the pavilion was set up as a mini kitchen where a couple times a day junior chefs would make Nestle Toll House cookies.

This photo was taken November 2005. Does anyone have additional information about the Junior Chef Program? How long it was in the Land? Other specifics? Please share them in the comments below.

juniorchef.jpg

February 7, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: The Land

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The old adage when visiting Walt Disney World is to always look up when inside a pavilion, attraction and even shops. In The Land pavilion at Epcot's Future World, the huge atrium has balloons "floating" high above the seating area for the Sunshine Seasons food court. I have taken many photos of them from the walkways but never from directly below them until now.

Season Balloons in The Land pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Season Balloons in The Land pavilion.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1/125, f/2.8, ISO 100, EV 0.

Each of the balloons circling the Earth balloon depicts a season.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her The Land photo as we continue our tour of Epcot's Future World.

February 1, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Spaceship Earth

Deb's Digest Blog

From aerial photos we turn our attention to Epcot for several weeks. Today, Spaceship Earth!

Spaceship Earth is arguably the most photographed building in all of Epcot, perhaps only 2nd to Cinderella's Castle in all of Walt Disney World. I enjoyed going back through my gallery of photos. From beautiful topiary displays, the magical wands of "2000" and "Epcot", the Lights of Winter Arch, to the Fountain of Nations dancing water... there is much to love. And I haven't even talked about the attraction yet.

Here is one photo that just stood out to me as I looked through all my pictures:

spaceship-earth.jpg


January 17, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Epcot Aerial

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The aerial subject this week is Epcot. I am recycling an image I took during Epcot's 30th Anniversary celebration which still represented much of what I remember seeing when I first visited 29 years prior.

Future World from the monorail over Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Future World from the monorail over Epcot.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.6, 16mm focal length.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her Epcot aerial photo.

January 3, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Best of 2016

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

As we begin 2017, Deb and I looked back and picked each other's favorite Disney Pic of the Week photo from 2016. I really liked a lot of them but after a few years of not being at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival, this photo of a monorail cruisng over the colorful flower beds in Epcot kept catching my fancy. For me, it brings the two things I love most about being at Epcot: color and the promise of a bright future for all of us.

Monorail Yellow moves over the Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail Yellow moves over the 2016 Flower and Garden Festival.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 180, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her Favorite Disney Pic of the Week photo from 2016.

November 18, 2016

Fisheye Awakening at Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Lately, when I want to use a prime lens these days at Walt Disney World, I put the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens on my full-frame digital SLR. A Nikon D750 in my case. This is the third time I have featured this lens on the blog. Let's get started.

Spaceship Earth is my Cinderella Castle for Epcot. It is my second most photographed object next to the Magic Kingdom landmark. In this photo, I put it at the top third of the composition as I featured the flower bed as you walk into Future World from World Showcase. It's almost like Spaceship Earth is rising from behind the flowers.

Spaceship Earth rising behind a flower bed in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth rising behind a flower bed in Epcot.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 280, EV 0.

Next, I took a trip back in time. I mean way, way back with Ellen and Bill Nye the Science Guy in the Universe of Energy. The ride vehicles do not go very fast so I used 1/60th of a second shutter speed with the aperture set to wide open at f/2.8. The D750 can go as high as ISO 12,800. Lightroom did a good job of cleaning up the noise.

Dinosaurs inside the Universe of Energy in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Dinosaurs inside the Universe of Energy.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm, 1/60s, f/2.8, ISO 12800, EV +1.0.

Next, it was my first ride on Soarin' since they updated to a new flight plan. Disney does allow photography without a flash. I requested to sit in the middle of the three rows of seating on the "plane". With the fisheye, this allowed me to frame the photos using people's legs and feet.

Flying towards the Taj Mahal in Soarin' inside The Land pavillion at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Flying towards the Taj Mahal in Soarin' inside The Land.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm, 1/125s, f/2.8, ISO 6400, EV 0.

The Fisheye Lens is not for everything or everybody. I like to use it to get my creative photographic juices going as it does take forethought to use it correctly.

For reference, here are the other two blog posts on the Fisheye:

Fisheyed Disney

Return of the Fisheye Lens to Epcot

November 8, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Artisans at Work

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Back in 2011, I had the pleasure of photographing the famed Disney character artist, Don "Ducky" Williams, during the "Everything's Just Ducky!" 15th Annversary AllEars.net Event in Epcot's Odyssey restaurant. He talked for nearly an hour all the while producing sketch portraits of Disney characters. It was a joy to watch a person who clearly loved his job. So much so that he keeps showing up years after his "retirement".

Don 'Ducky' Williams, famed Disney character artist, with a finished a portrait of Ariel during an event in Epcot's Odyssey restaurant, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Don "Ducky" Williams, famed Disney character artist, with a finished a portrait of Ariel during an event in Epcot's Odyssey restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 2500, EV 0, 200mm Focal Length, Bounced Flash.

Ducky makes the perfect person for the Disney Pic of the Week about Artisans at Work.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her Artisan photo which will really blow you away.

November 1, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Gardeners

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This week's theme was to focus attention to all those wonderful Gardeners who keep Walt Disney World looking colorful and lush from the resorts to the themeparks and the roadways in between. I did not find any photos of them in my archives nor did I locate any on my last trip. Instead, I will show you the results of one of my favorite locations in Epcot.

Behind Spaceship Earth, there is a garden which changes throughout the year. During the annual Flower and Garden Festival, it gets particularly colorful as it was last March.

Flower garden behind Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Flower garden behind Spaceship Earth in Epcot.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/50s, f/16, ISO 6400, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

I shall keep my eye out for WDW gardeners on future trips as I do enjoy the results of their fabulous work.

Tomorrow, Deb will share the quintessential gardener.

August 19, 2016

September Trip and a Meet & Greet

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Got a couple of announcements to make...

I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!

I may be closing in on 60 but I still get excited when I get to visit Walt Disney World. It's only been a few months and a lot has changed: Frozen Ever After opened in Epcot's Norway pavilion, new Star Wars fireworks show in Disney's Hollywood Studios, new restaurant and night time events at Disney's Animal Kingdom and a new castle show at the Magic Kingdom. Lots to cover and photograph. I will work on a Shot List (as mentioned in last week's post) over the next couple of weeks.

I am also taking suggestions. If you have something you would like me to photograph. I will feature it in a future blog post and explain how I did it. Tell me your suggestion in a Comment below.

Continue on after a short photographic break for the second announcement.

Hot air balloons above the Sunshine Seasons food court in The Land pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hot air balloons above the Sunshine Seasons food court.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/4.5, ISO 5600, EV 0, 58mm Focal Length.

EPCOT ALL EARS MEET & GREET

I will be at the All Ears Meet and Greet on Friday, September 9, at the Sunshine Seasons in the Land. The meet starts at 10am and Deb will be there with lots of swagger..er, I mean All Ears Swag (aka freebies) and the ever popular Trading Cards to pass out to those attending. Also joining the fun are AllEars Team Members Jack Marshall, Kristin Ford and Linda Eckwerth! Click the link for the FaceBook event page for full details.

Looking forward to seeing some of you!

April 19, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Flower and Garden Festival

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Each year's Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot features a different display in front of Spaceship Earth. in 2016, Daisy Duck was part of the display with her own vegetable stand.

Daisy Duck's vegetable stand in front of Spaceship Earth at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Daisy Duck's vegetable stand in front of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 280, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Intensify CK.

Deb will show you patriotic Flower and Garden pics tomorrow.

April 12, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Topiaries

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Each year during the annual Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, Disney brings out many topiaries to decorate both Future World and World Showcase.

The topiaries come in many sizes from very small to extremely large like the Dragon I photographed in Epcot's China pavilion in front of the scaled replica of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest.

Dragon topiary in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in the China pavilion at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Dragon topiary in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in the China pavilion.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 25mm Focal Length, Intensify CK.

Last week's theme was Spring and I missed posting it so I have added it for this week. So you get a Two-fer from me today.

When I think of Spring at Walt Disney World, the first thing that comes to mind are the floating flowers in the ponds between Epcot's Future World and World Showcase. Thought I would throw in a monorail in Spring yellow, too.

Monorail Yellow moves over floating flowers in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail Yellow moves over floating flowers in Epcot.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/250s, f/16, ISO 160, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length.

Deb will travel back in time for her topiary photo tomorrow.

March 18, 2016

Flower and Garden Festival Monorails

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Colorful flowers on land and water at the annual Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Colorful flowers on land and water at the annual Flower and Garden Festival.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 160, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length, Panorama.

I spent a day recently at Epcot's annual Flower and Garden Festival. I wanted to capture the beauty and color of the festival. Above, I used four photographs stitched together to create a panoramic. As much as I like this photo and it does show how colorful Epcot gets, it is missing an important element which would make you think "That's Epcot" immediately. In the photos below, I waited and captured it.

Monorail Yellow moves over the Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail Yellow moves over the Flower and Garden Festival.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 180, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

Monorail Yellow was a bit shaded and I dodged (lightened) it a little to pull out its color. After taking this photo, I walked over to the path between the Imagination pavilion and World Showcase to get a front lighted photo of the next monorail. Notice the difference in the exposures.

Monorail Green moves over the Flower and Garden Festival in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail Green moves over the Flower and Garden Festival.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

Monorails come through the Epcot loop more or less on a regular basis. A lot depends on how busy the parks are as to how often you see a monorail moving overhead as you walk around Future World. On this day, these two monorails ran ten minutes apart.


March 15, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Yesterland Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Of all the changes that has occurred at Walt Disney World since I started visiting back in 1983, Future World in EPCOT (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) as it was known then has changed the most. In my opinion, not for the better. I remember it as a place of hope and openess. The plazas around the lands were open just like I envisioned future cities to be. The monorails moving quietly overhead and around the futuristic buildings. Walking through the gates and up to Spaceship Earth's geodesic sphere was humbling and exciting. Today, the plazas have been closed in with paths and the Leave a Legacy stones. I hear guests thought the openess made the park feel to large and intimdating.

I really miss the EPCOT symbol water sculpture in front of Spaceship Earth. Today, there is nothing but a rock water fountain. While it is nice, I feel there should be something more there...like it was in 1989.

Epcot symbol water sculpture in front of Spaceship Earth in 1989, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Epcot symbol water sculpture in front of Spaceship Earth in 1989.

Tomorrow, Deb is combining her Yesterland's posts for the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. Some really cool stuff!

February 23, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Panorama

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have written about how to create a proper panorama photo in the past and how NOT to create them. I did fail to mention the easiest way to create what I call pseudo-panoramics.

A pseudo-panoramic is done by cropping an image taken with a wide angle lens in a panoramic aspect ratio like 16x9 or 18x6. While you could use any lens to do this, a wide angle image works out better. The photo below of Epcot's Spaceship Earth at night was done in the 16x9 ratio or sometimes referred to as the HD (High Definition) ratio as that is the ratio used for High Definition televisions.

Spaceship Earth at night in Ecpot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth at night in Ecpot's Future World.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 10s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -1.0, 16mm focal length, cropped.

Many smartphones and cameras today have panoramic modes. Look to see if your's does.

Deb will share her panorama tomorrow.

February 5, 2016

Return of the Fisheye Lens to Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Back in 2013, I wrote about my ideas for using a Fisheye lens. What I did not say was how easy it was to leave the Fisheye lens on the camera. Case in point was this day in Epcot. My family started the day with a FastPass+ at Test Track. I had an idea for the Fisheye lens for ride shots. Why I was not thrilled with the ride photos I got, I did really like using the Fisheye on the cars in the show room area of the attraction.

Chevrolet Corvette on display inside Test Track in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Chevrolet Corvette on display inside Test Track through a Fisheye lens.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm, 1/25s, f/4, ISO 6400, EV 0.

After Test Track, we walked across the plaza on our way for our lunch dining reservation and I could not resist this photo. It is not often I have gotten such nice clouds in the middle of a Florida day on my visits.

People walk past Pin Central in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
People walk past Pin Central through a Fisheye lens.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm, 1/640s, f/8, ISO 100, EV 0.

Call me lazy or creative but I left the Fisheye lens on my camera for our lunch at the Garden Grill in The Land pavilion. I especially liked how the distortion of the lens worked with Pluto's nose.

A couple gets a hug from Pluto in the Garden Grill restaurant in Epcot's The Land pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A couple gets a hug from Pluto in the Garden Grill through a Fisheye lens.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 5600, EV 0.

What's a day at Epcot without a monorail photo? Right, not a good one so here it is. Yep, never did take the Fisheye off as we headed out of the park.

Monorail Green heading into Epcot over the entrance to the park, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail Green heading into Epcot through a Fisheye lens.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm, 1/320s, f/8, ISO 100, EV 0.

One of the best exercises a photographer can do is take a prime (non-zoom) lens and use it all day. If the prime lens happens to be a Fisheye lens, then enjoy the day!

October 28, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Spaceship Earth

Deb's Digest Blog

In order to keep construction employees and support personal working at the Epcot Center Site well informed, a publication entitled "Epcot Center Construction News" was published periodically beginning February 1982. The 4 page basically black and white publication was full of construction photos including many of the employees.

This photo of Spaceship Earth under construction is from the initial publication. I hope you enjoy it.

My collection of this publication has several holes. If anyone has other issues of this publication and is willing to send me scans, please contact me via the comment form below and I'll email you back. Much appreciated!

SE.jpg

October 27, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Spaceship Earth

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Though we continue with Epcot, Deb and I are now going to be sharing photos of each Walt Disney World park "castle" or icon for the next four weeks. Starting with Spaceship Earth.

Like a grand and miraculous spaceship, our planet has sailed through the universe of time; and for a brief moment we have been among it's passengers.

So begins the narrative as people travel through time and space inside Spaceship Earth. Riding in time machine vehicles, guests learn about the history of human communication and how it has served to take Man from caves to today's technology, which allows us to get information and to communicate almost instantly anywhere on Earth. Spaceship Earth was the first ride I went on in Epcot and still remains one of my favorites even as the script and the ride technology has changed over the years.

Late day sunlight mixes with lighting on Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Late day sunlight mixes with lighting on Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D750/Tokina 1-28mm, 1/125s, f/2.8, ISO 5000, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length.

Tomorrow, Deb is going to take you for a trip back in time to the beginning of Spaceship Earth.


October 20, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: The Seas with Nemo and Friends

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Like Test Track, The Seas with Nemo and Friends evolved from the original The Living Seas pavilion which opened with Epcot back in 1982. The popularity of the movie, Finding Nemo, made the transition an easy one for Disney. It was nice to see people of all ages enjoying this pavilion on my last visit.

A Yellow Tang swims in one of the aquariums inside The Seas with Nemo and Friends in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Yellow Tang swims in one of the aquariums inside The Seas with Nemo and Friends.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 3600, EV 0, 85mm Focal Length.

Which character in Finding Nemo was a Yellow Tang and where did we first see it?


October 14, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: The Land

Deb's Digest Blog

Let's do another Step Back in Time. This black and white photo is from a press kit I own called "The Land, Presented by Kraft". It only has three photos but lots of press releases about the pavilion.

When the Land opened on October 1, 1982, the highlights were:

Listen to the Land Boat ride
Harvest Theater - playing Symbiosis
Farmers Market (counter service dining)
The Good Turn Restaurant (now known as Garden Grill)
The Kitchen Kabaret

My photo of the week is of the Kitchen Kabaret, a musical revue on basic nutrition featured at The Land,

land-kk.jpg

Learn more about Kitchen Kabaret in our Epcot Archives!

Til next week.....

October 13, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: The Land

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Land pavilion in Epcot's Future World is the home to the popular Soarin' ride. It is also the home to the best and healthiest quick service restaurant, Sunshine Seasons. After checking out the wall menu (see below), you can get your food at one of the stations. With such a variety, everyone traveling with you should find something good to eat.

The wall menu for Sunshine Seasons counter service restaurant at The Land in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The wall menu for Sunshine Seasons counter service restaurant in The Land pavilion.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 4500, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

I find Sunshine Seasons a nice alternative to the other quick service locations at Walt Disney World.


October 9, 2015

Spaceship Earth at Night in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Before a trip to Walt Disney World, I will browse through photos on flickr and Google in search of ideas. I found this composition and put it on my shot list for the trip. Though the photo which was the inspiration for the photo of Spaceship Earth below was taken during the day, the rest of the image was similar.

Spaceship Earth at night in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth at night.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Tripod, HDR Image.

Besides being photographed at night, I noticed it was hard to control the light on the top of Spaceship Earth and still get detail in the fountain and underneath the structure. That is when I decided to produce a High Dynamic Range image. I took three photos one stop apart at these shutter speeds: 15 seconds, 30 seconds and 60 seconds. Merging the photos using Photomatix Pro, created the image. This opened up the lower part of the frame while still retaining the detail of the sphere. The bonus was all the colors over the time it took to take the three photos. The long exposures created the fantasy look of the flowing water of the fountain.

Next time you are looking for photography ideas at Walt Disney World or any other travel destination, search and browse to see what others have done in the past.

October 7, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Test Track

Deb's Digest Blog

For my Test Track blog, I'm going to share a pre-opening photo and also a couple photos from the Cast Preview held in December.

This first photo is of the huge banner that was outside the pavilion during construction. Many people, myself included, were anxious to see what this new attraction was all about.

ttr3.jpg

In the Spring 1997 issue of the Magic Key Newsletter (for Magic Kingdom Club Holders) the headline said "Test Track on Track for Summer 1997! Of course, we all know now, that date slipped on by and no new attraction.

Finally in December 1997, a Cast Preview was held.

ttr18.jpg


I was very fortunate to be able to ride Test Track during the soft opening. During that time, a Test Dummy was greeting folks at the exit. I have no idea if the "Dummy" stayed around during the early days, as it was months before I would return to WDW.

ttr4.jpg

Want to relive more of the original Test Track? Visit our archives!

Or check out the lastest 2.0 version if you haven't visited in a while!

So there you have my photos (from my old film camera) for this week's Pic of the Week - Test Track!


October 6, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Test Track

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Not everyone likes to see changes at Walt Disney World. I do as I like to see today's Imagineers try to out-imagine their predesessors. Take today's Test Track in Epcot's Future World. Test Track was the successor to the World of Motion which was one of the original attractions when Epcot opened on October 1, 1982. It was a delightful ride through the history of Mankind motion from the discovery of the wheel to a breathtaking IMAX sized launch of a NASA Space Shuttle.

The first version of Test Track, call it 1.0, was about the testing of cars. The queue had all kinds of displays showing how cars, car parts and people (played by crash dummies) were tested. The ride continued the story as you rode a test vehicle through all kinds of road, environmental and high speed tests. It was very popular. Guests loved going around the banked curves at up to 65 miles per hour.

The lastest version, 2.0, of Test Track sponsored by Chevrolet is about designing vehicles. In the queue, you see all kinds of concept vehicles (like the one pictured below) and what went into their design. There are interactive displays along the way to show the start of the design: A Line. Before going on the ride, your party designs the car or truck of their dreams and take it for a ride on the Test Track.

Chevrolet concept car in the queue for Test Track in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Chevrolet concept car in the queue for Test Track.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 720, EV +0.3, 32mm Focal Length.

I really like how Test Track has evolved over the years. Exactly how I feel a Disney attraction should.


September 29, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Mission: SPACE

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

For the next few weeks, Deb and I will be exploring Epcot's Future World pavilions. Starting with the modern version of a trip to Mars.

Mission: SPACE in Epcot's Future World is a very good re-enactment of a trip to Mars for a themepark environment. I know when it first opened it was a little intense for a lot of people. Disney had gotten the help of NASA astronauts in development of the ride. To those astronauts, Mission: SPACE probably seemed tame. Goes to show you the difference between people like us and them.

After a few tweaks, most people started to really enjoy the experience. While some, as Deb will tell you tomorrow, never did.

Mission: SPACE in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mission: SPACE in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 1250, EV -0.3, 55mm Focal Length.

I have always liked this late day photo I took back in 2011 of Mission: SPACE.

June 26, 2015

macPhun with Spaceship Earth at Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Today, photo editing software comes in three flavors: Expensive, Cloud based subscriptions and bits and pieces (aka apps). The exception would be Adobe Elements. An excellent choice as it has most of the photo editing capabilities of Photoshop. I am still considering my next move in photo management software. Apple's Aperture 3.x software is no longer being supported by Apple and it will be interesting to see for how long Aperture will continue to run as OS X continues to evolve. Currently, the new Photo App does not meet my needs (though it may yours).

Thankfully, there are companies who thrive on creating add-ons to programs like Aperture, Lightroom and Photoshop. Macphun is one such company which I highly recommend if you are a Mac user. Over the last few years they have put together a very impressive list of photo applications. If they ever come out with the missing photo management piece, that could be my solution going forward. For right now, I use Macphun's applications as external tools to Aperture.

Today I want to show you how I used two of them, Intensify Pro and Noiseless Pro, to edit a photo. I use the Pro versions as they support running directly out of Aperture (or Lightroom or Photoshop). The do create a different version of the image so as not to destroy the original and then put it nicely back into your editor's library. In the case of Aperture, it creates a Stack or Set with the original photo.

As I was walking towards Spaceship Earth in Epcot after sunset one evening, I noticed this composition. I did not have a tripod with me so I did the best I could hand held. The original photos lacks punch and is very dull.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Original (unedited) version of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 2800, EV -0.6, 28mm Focal Length

Of of the main reasons I use Macphun's products is they save me a lot of time. When I open an image for editing in Intensify Pro, I get a series of Pre-Sets or Filters which I can select and see how each affects the image. Once I find one I like, I can change the pre-set's effects between 0 (no affect) to 100 (full effect). I found myself using some pre-sets more than others so I can select them as Favorites and quickly get to them in a separate selection tab. Favorites is something found in each of Macphun's products. For the Spacehip Earth photo I went with one of my Favorites, HDR Soft. I backed it up to 80.

After saving it back into Aperture, I found the noise or grain got enhanced by Intensify Pro. Never fear as Macphun recently came out with a superb noise reduction product called Noiseless. I really like how you can easily select between the different noise reduction settings. The before and after split screen view quickly shows you the effects of the selected setting on the image. For this image, I used the Medium setting at 90.

Back in Aperture, I finalized the image by opening up the shadows and reducing any hot spots (blown out highlights) before adding a final sharpening.

Here is the result.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Edited version of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 2800, EV -0.6, 28mm Focal Length

Macphun currently only has applications for Macs and iOS products. They are easy to use, save a lot of time and are not expensive.

April 29, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Daisy

Deb's Digest Blog

As Scott mentioned yesterday, my photo archive is also short on photos of Daisy! How can that be?

Here is a colorful photo of Daisy that I took last year in Tokyo. Here she is in Tokyo Disney Sea in the Arabian Coast.


daisy.jpg

The folks in Asia LOVE their characters!!!!

January 16, 2015

Focus on Epcot Photowalk

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Focus on Epcot Photowalk, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Focus on Epcot Photowalk

As I mentioned awhile back, I will be traveling to Walt Disney World a couple of times this year. My first trip is next month and I have planned an All Ears Photowalk around Epcot's Future World. The focus (pun intended) will be on these three photographic items:

  • Hyperfocal Distance or Hyperfocus (Landscape Mode)
  • Selective Focus (Portait Mode)
  • Using a Polarizing Filter

The Photowalk will be held on Monday, February 9, 2015, from 9:30AM to 11:30AM. Meeting location will be outside the Nikon Camera Center. The location is across from Spaceship Earth on the right side as you walk in from the Future World entrance. While you may attend by just showing up, if you think you will be at the photowalk, add a comment to this post. I will not be publishing the comments but will use the emails to correspond with everyone interested.

Click here for Focus on Epcot Facebook Event Sign Up

Before the Photowalk, I will be posting blogs about each of the items to be covered. Note, you do not need a polarizing filter but one will be demonstrated along with a special tip.

January 13, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

CONGRATS TO Nicole N. ! You are the lucky winner of an AllEars.net Prize package! Your comment was selected by random number generator! Please go to the Contact Us page (http://allears.net/forms/feedback.htm) and send your shipping address! We must hear from you no later than January 26, 2015, to claim your prize. Thank you!!


Spaceship Earth looms over Epcot at 180 feet (55 meters) in height. The geodesic sphere has a total of 11,520 full and partial silver isosceles triangles on its surface forming 3,840 points. Disney uses light at night to create a multicolored sphere using those triangles and points which is just too hard NOT to photograph. I have photographed this very composition several times over the years. On my last trip, I noticed the orange color for the first time.

Spaceship Earth at dusk in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth at dusk in Future World.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 6400, EV -0.7, 28mm focal length.

What is your favorite structure to photograph at Epcot?

What would YOU like to see in our Disney Pic of the Week for 2015?! We welcome your ideas as we develop our schedule for the upcoming year. Leave your comments below. On January 19, 2015 we will select on person at random who left a comment to receive an AllEars Prize Package! We must hear from you no later than January 26, 2015, to claim your prize.

November 21, 2014

Shopping Around Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Next to dining, my guess would be shopping as the next most popular thing to do at Walt Disney World. This being one week away from Black Friday, America's day to spend freely for the holiday season, I thought I would share with you a few photos from the shops around the resort. Remember, to always be on the lookout for patterns like the Vinylamation collectibles. Colorful sales displays of things like the pyramid of Duffy the Bears make for very pleasing compositions. Shopping is a very human thing to do and I like to include people even if the expensive artwork is only to be looked at. Leading lines of decorative beer steins in Germany takes the viewer on a trip.

Shopping around Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Shopping around the Walt Disney World Resort
See text for more information.

From top left: Duffy the Bear shop display at Epcot, shopping for Disney art on Main Street USA, Vinylmation collectibles on display inside the D Street store in Downtown Disney's West Side and Beer steins in Germany's Der Bucherwurm shop in Epcot's World Showcase.

Besides, photography gives me something to do while the rest of my family shops.

November 18, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Technology

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

We all know Walt Disney loved technology as it gave his vision life. The two Innoventions pavilions in Epcot's Future World present sponsored exhibits showing how today's technology makes our lives better. I took a tour of The Vision House by Green Builder Media which demonstrated the latest in green building methods and how the use of technology saves both energy, resources and money for the family who "lives" there.

If I was to build a house today, I would use many of the ideas found in the Vision House including this Trane ComfortLink™ II XL950 Wi-Fi Thermostat which is an easy-to-use, programmable, digital thermostat controller that gives remote access, live weather and more, all on a beautiful color touch-screen display (Source: trane.com). The smart house is here today and it is much different than what was envisioned back in the 20th century.

A Wi-Fi Digital Thermostat inside the Vision House exhibit at Epcot's Innoventions, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Wi-Fi Digital Thermostat inside the Vision House exhibit.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 2500, EV 0, 24mm focal length.

Deb will be here tomorrow for a peek back at technology used at Walt Disney World.

September 18, 2014

Clouds and Spaceship Earth in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

For eons, our planet has drifted as a spaceship through the universe.

-- Walter Cronkite version from 1986-1994

Spaceship Earth on an Autumn day in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth on an Autumn day in Epcot.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 280, EV 0, 150mm focal length.

I have been riding Epcot's Spaceship Earth since 1983 and have heard every narrator for the attraction. By far, Walter Cronkite's version is my favorite. He was Uncle Walter to my generation who grew up watching his nightly newscasts on television.

For the Disney Pic of the Week on Spaceship Earth Exterior, I share an early Autumn day when the clouds billowed up behind the huge geodesic structure.

September 5, 2014

Epcot Night Portrait

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Ever wonder how the Disney PhotoPass Cast Members get those night photos of people in front of Walt Disney World icons? It is not very hard IF you use the right equipment. You will need a flash, a tripod or an Image Stablized Lens and patient subjects.

For the night portrait below, I did not have my tripod with me so I hand held the camera at 1/15th of a second and dragged the shutter to build up the light of Spaceship Earth and Innovention Fountains behind the couple. I instructed them to stay very still until the flash went off.

Night portrait of a couple in front of Innovention Fountains in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Night portrait of a couple in front of Innovention Fountains.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/15s, f/8, ISO 6400, EV 0, 48mm focal length.

By using a tripod, I could have lowered the ISO but the shutter speed would have been longer. Making it harder for the subjects to stay still this late at night. If you do this around sunset, you will get even better results at faster shutter speeds.

July 20, 2014

Where in the World #341

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!

Stuart Savage, thank you for such a lovely note!

Also, thank you to everyone who voted for Deb Wills as the Best Theme Park blogger! I'm still disappointed that she got second (she's not, she's thrilled! Such a good heart!); she'll always be the best to us!
From Millan.Net

Last week's challenge: number #340
Where in the World #340

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

It's Figment's Melody Maker! Located in the ImageWorks "What If" Labs in Epcot's Imagination! pavilion.

Kristi Strembicki was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Kristi and to all our winners this week! Donna Frank, Jennifer Rowell, The Kertes Family, Jim &Lorie Sonnen, Eric Berger, Jonathan Thomas, Christi Ison, Theresa Rucando, Mary Beth Tarbet, Deb Ragno, Ellen Campbell, Vera Dercole, Kristi Kelly, Lori Rienhardt, Ellen, Olszak Family, Bryant And Ruben O'meara, Jenny Brennan, Shannon Heffern, Tom Swan, Tom Koval, The Gunnels Family, Virginia Pierce, Christy Dehning, Theresa Fontaine, Team Hill, Bethany Angermaier, Tricia Petty, James Warda, Andrew Carrieri, Pati Nystrom, Kelley Madensky, Erin Hammer, Megan Krainski, David Villarrubia, Vera And Izzy Williams, Phyllis, Pollyanna Buff, Kathie Peluso, Beth Richards, Tim Breaux, Ann Dunnington, Demetrios Makres, Stuart Savage (uk), Margot Garofalo, Christine Dagney, Yvonne Marchione, Mary Dieuliis, Danielle Harsley And Agnes Ciotti, Carolrn722, Tinkerbell Wells, Mary Ann Lamay, Mike Haeberle, Todd Johns, Kathy Davies, K Beasley, Laura V., Josh Carney, Sharon Pierce, Rosemarie Novelo, Sarah Francis, Angela Fennell, Jennifer Peterson, Candice Grimes, Tonya Gibson , Debbie, Scott Precise, Ralph Chamberlain, Missy Bremer, Kelly Deleon, Tyler Otts, Desiree Fremer, Kenny, Hobbes And Snorky, Arlene Alejandro-mace, Jennifer Harmon, Lee Deroia , James Wiley, Paul Moore, Susie Howard, Maggie Klotz, Eric Johnson, Karen Schlumpf, Linda Scrivano, Mike Mondoux, Stefanie Vest, Ken Daube, Chuck Sands, Louise Moss, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Beth Pleban, Maureen Handy, Christina, The Kahle Family, Nan Amor, Grumpy's Groupies, Maryann Romagnano, Etcoggins, Al Desimone, Deb Desimone, Tim Johansen, Suzanne Renfroe, Team Bonnie Sue, Les Stewart, The Long Family, Wayne Beck, Jennifer And Elizabeth Geno, Michele Zowacki, Lisa Bufo, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Mike Amor, Caroline Steill, Vanessa Gordon, Josette Gabel, Carrie Mckinney, Russ Morgan, Jizelle Pickering, Julia Marsh, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Kevin Parmeland, Kymie Crews, Gail States, Bonnie Tulenko, Tricia Noble, Carla C, Patti Mccaffrey, Rob Blundin, Rebecca Keenan, Gloria Martin, Evald Olson, Dave Carriere, Karrie Duffey, Caroline Burmester, Nicole Benoit, Kelly, Scott Harrington, Angel Diven, Angela Horan, Mike Malampy, Les Whitten, Les Whitten, Vicki Britt, Jen Tremley, Shannon Murray, Hillary Waldroop, Erin, Betsy Silvestri, Walt Sent Us, Emily Hudson, Karen Adamakis, John Bickers, Kristin Dormuth, Brian Grabowski, Amber Slifer, Tom Higbee, Jane Johnson, Sarah Coleman, Kerry Mccaffrey, Olivia D, and Joan Lindley.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #341 Where in the world is this?

We're staying in the parks again, although not necessarily the same one, for this week's challenge!
 Where in the World #341

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 24th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

June 16, 2014

Where in the World #336

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!

Come on, Claire Gregory! So I'm having a streak of bad luck lately; what could be the worst thing if you flew on the same plane as me?
Snakes on a Plane

Oh.

Marsha Waidelich is also headed for Walt Disney World. With a high school marching band. Um... good luck, Marsha!

Jeff Blank, the Mouse says Hi back!

Now for Challenge #335:
Where in the World #335

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

The sails in Epcot's Future World right in front of the fountain and by the pin central station.

Daniel Record was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Daniel and to all our winners this week! Kristi Strembicki, Jennifer Rowell, Andrea Kruszewski, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney, The Kertes Family, Mary Beth Tarbet, The Koren Family, Sharon Pierce, Jacquelyn Law, The Gunnels Family, Kerri Coggins, Bruce Jones, Mike O'brien, Grumpy's Groupies, Rob Blundin, Lauren Blundin, Bryant O'meara, Sandie Albrecht, Andrew Carrieri, Phyllis, Jen Tremley, Jen Cerce, Paul Dickson, Scott Coleman, Janet Chocky, Courtney Payne, Megan Krainski, Beth Sazama, Mary Dieuliis, Michelle Darabaris, Caryn Schill, Heather Keenan, Liz Moreau, Kevin Jones, Leslie Schmauder, Emily Hudson, Elaine Kleinhenz, Team Hill, Deb Ragno, Tinkerbell Wells, Gail Reller, Candice Grimes, Caroline Steill, Dave Freemyer, Robert Fancher, Karen Ramirez, Timothea Van Doren, Belicia Dawson, Scott Cullen, Jessie Regan, Mary Harpe, Maryann Eckenrode, Donna Begley, Jack And Mike Hulse, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Jennifer Shoulders, Melissa Such, Kathryn Perkins, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Brian Miller, Gina Falzone, Virginia Pierce, The Lenz Family, Kirsten Miller, Laurie Dalesio, Gina Smith, Donna Frank, Debbie Desimone, Barbara Remele, Becky Norman, Carla C, Juliet O'hare, Mike Haeberle, Jennifer Snook, Jason Hocker, Allie Beecy, Michael Mclucas And Jackie Mclucas, K Beasley, Lee Dyches, Lynette Cadwallader, Eric Johnson, Duskin Henard, Laura V., Lynette Michalos, Jennifer Harmon, Lynette Michalos, Penny, Lauren Kemble, Ryan Mccorristin, Claire Gregory, Pollyanna Buff, Diane, Ed Suscreba, Hunter Armstrong, Valerie Lunsford, Elizabeth And Dan Johnston, The Murr's , Pati Nystrom, Hobbes And Snorky, Ruth Senecal, Maureen Handy, Lee Anastasi, Natasha Gareau , Jim &Lorie Sonnen, Liz And Dave Fullerton., Jim &Lorie Sonnen, Kris Nixon, Karen Schlumpf, Chuck Sands, Mickey Eckert, Evald Olson, The Kahle Family, Heidi Goodhue, Heidi Goodhue, Carolyn Como, Clay Anthony, The Reichl Family, Phil Vickers, Shari Prater, Craig, Theresa Lucotti, Tommy Montgomery, Jim Thompson, Maggie Klotz, Kara Jones, Morgan M., Andrew Swiatowicz , Bill Cudney , Jim Curley, Chris Kelly, Scott Greenbaum, Randi Balch, Marsha Waidelich, Bill Mckim, Bob Ruer, Gail States, Larry Sprenkle, The Long Family, Les Stewart, Tammy Rice, The Pearsall Family, Bruce Hinterleitner, Betsy Silvestri, Roxanne Kliebert, Tom Hermes, Madie Hovan, Patti Mccaffrey, Margaret Boone, Tom Buck, Christina Trigiani, Doug Olson Family, Scott Precise, Kye Layton, Brendan Abel, Heather Pedulla, Mike Malampy, Jeff Blank, Michele Johnson, Team Bonnie Sues, Rob Hepler, Jeremy Hardy, Eric Enli, Art Hutchinson, Carly &Colin, Robert Hildebrandt, Robert Wescovich, Christopher Hall, Barclay Bakkum, Chuck Everson, Chuck Everson, Chris Bauman, John Bickers, Rebecca Keenan, Jeremy Reichelt, Shelly Borella, Matt Wildey, Herb Miller, Stephanie Dollar, Patrick Broaddus, Sara Alaimo, Tom Swan, Josh Carney, Alison Rosenberger, Michele Zowacki, Fran Rendulic, Carri Marotto, Wayne Witherspoon, Dave Carriere, Matt Holley, Alan Mize, Tricia Noble, Terry Blair, Grumpy's Groupies, Erin Connell, Anastasia Macneil, Matthew Jadro, The Hutchinson Family, The Patterson Family, Diana Grady, Ron Harper, Diane Ramos, Smitty, Nathan York, Scott Sangston, Cheryl Edwards, Hillary Waldroop, Jim Finley, Eileen Miller, Brian Adams, Mark Proper, Jodi Trosclair, Lauren Thomas, Terry Fleming, Dennis O'reilly, Renee Hardiman, Gerald Skanes, Amanda Campbell, Les Whitten, Luis Rodriguez, Kerry Mccaffrey, Janet T Thorn, Brian Grabowski, Noah Schweizer (10 Years Old ), Erin Hammer, Kevin Parmeland, Kelly Smith, Pj Popsuj, Gallagher Family, Kate Fischer, The Parker Family, Nicole Benoit, Mark Franklin, Tim Johansen, Nan Amor, Shannon Murray, Pat Schwier, Tyler Otts, Heather Sabatino, Chloe Mayhew, Vera And Izzy Williams, Joseph M. Zafia, Kyle Burdo, Shirley Garcowski, Tom Higbee, Cheryl Costello, Jennifer Bogdan, Annie Snodgrass, Vicki Britt, Haylee Smolek, Margie Larmon, Ken Rhinehart, Josh Weiss, Davida, Stacy Guarracino, Jane Johnson, Alex Gamill, Jackie Klafeta, and Dawn Bach. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #336 Where in the world is this?

Switching parks, Players

 Where in the World #336

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 19th, by clicking on the blue box below.

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

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

June 3, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Space Exploration

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Walt Disney, as most Americans did back in the 1950's, had a fascination with space exploration. Disneyland, followed by Walt Disney World, had attractions which took guests to the Moon and later Mars. It was not until 2003 when the ride technology would finally be able to give people a taste of what it would be like to actually leave Earth and venture into Space. Mission: Space in Epcot's Future World opened at that time. It might have been a little too real at first, in fact. Still, it is the closest most people can come to feeling the kind of forces astronauts encounter during spaceflight.

As crew members wait for their launch team designation, relics from the history of Manned space exploration is on display in the queue of Mission: Space. An Apollo era Moon Buggy can be seen overhead.

An Apollo Moon Buggy on display in the queue for Mission: Space in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
An Apollo Moon Buggy on display in the queue for Mission: Space.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/10s, f/3.5, ISO 6400, EV +1.0, 28mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share an out of this world Disney Pic of the Week about Space Exploration.

April 13, 2014

Where in the World #327

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!

Guess what? My husband surprised me with a birthday trip to Walt Disney World this June! He worked with John Ames at MEI Travel to set it up and then showed me the trip on My Disney Experience! Afterwards, he said, "I should have waited until the night before to tell you." I, of course, handled the announcement with grace and elegance.
Squee

Now for Challenge #326:
Where in the World #326

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

"Beautiful sight, isn't it? Something to dream about on the way to Mars." Because we are looking at Mission:Space in Epcot! I had a fantastic group of people the last time I rode this attraction. When they told us we would be in hypersleep for three months, the woman next to me said, "Thank god, I need a nap!"

Susie Howard, is it wrong that I did this when I read the story about your husband:
From Millan.Net

Bruce Jones were the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Bruce and to all our winners this week! Jennifer Rowell, Kristi Strembicki, Donna Frank, Beth Mcmeekin, Jim And Lorie Sonnen, Rob Blundin, The Koren Family, Ed Elder, Team Hill, Linda Scrivano, Kerri Coggins, The Kertes Family, Tricia Petty , Nan Amor, Claire Gregory, The Kertes Family, Tom Hermes, Phyllis, Jennifer Harmon, The Kahle Family, Jen Cerce, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Kerry A., Mary Beth Tarbet, Dee Dee Kenney, Christina, Chris Kelly, Ed Suscreba, Karen Schlumpf, Melissa Such, Erin Connell, Robert Vadovic , Phil Vickers, Tina Kahl, Reasha Kling, Linda Ranatza, Judy Simonsen, Darlene Haven, Carol Ney, Jenny Brennan, Brenda Harrington , Deb Ragno, Andy Hickey, Sheryl Hicks, Mike Haven, Michelle Darabaris, Jon, Todd George Blosser, Rick Rollins, Nicolle Clement, Torrey Beasley, Robin Fitts, The Parker Family, Trish Roam, The Pearsall Family, Jennifer Jacobs, Claudette Laferriere, Kerry Hill, Mary Virginia Clause, Tom Donnelly, Kimyartta Mckines, Theresa Lucotti, Eric Johnson, Belicia Cullen, Kristina Rohrbach, Jack Lynch, Tim Johansen, Tim Thompson, Scott Cullen, Dennis O'reilly, Michele Smith, Trish Roam, Stuart Savage, Paul Knott, Morag Lemon, Taylor K, Matt Wildey, Bill Schmid, Angela Jones, Erin Peterson, Nicole Garon, The Gunnels Family, Ellen Sullivan, Sharon Pierce, Laura V., Megan Krainski, Jim Finley, Wendy Hupp, Karey Brown, Carol Lyons, Maggie Klotz, Cindy Pink, Jim Nitschke, Jodi Lupp, Jackie Cannata, Jodi Lupp, Kathy N Brooke, Donna Begley, Mike M., Amber Penske, Vicki Britt, Steve And Ruby Jordan, The Fosbender's, Tommy Montgomery, Sarah Orman, Pam Vanaustin, Kevin Wagner, Paul Dickson, The Emich Family, Evald Olson, Crystal King, Susie Howard, Brendan Abel, Kaja Durkis, Leigh Mertz, Bruce Hinterleitner, Robin Robinson , Katie Bray, Heather Long, Carla C, Tammy Kallenbach, Ken Jackson, Gina Smith, Richard Beverly, Julia Wickware, Michele Zowacki, Bill Mckim, Ken Maikowski, Rebekah Johnson, Weaselmouse, Maggie Biederman, Paula Massarelli, Kathy Wilkerson, Michelle Gurn, Olszak Family, Carol Collins, Duskin Henard, Katina Dehart, Robert Wescovich, Robert Wescovich, Les Whitten, Jeremy Hardy, Dan Cozby, John Stella, Jen Tremley, Dave Freemyer, Jim Martin, Tinkerbell Wells, Mary Dieuliis, Debbie Desimone, Mandie Hubbard, Al Desimone, Skip Broome, Stefan Owens, Antoinette Leblanc, Lauriebeth, Liam And Fiona Odonnel, Rita Henderson, Vera And Izzy Williams, Kenny, Peg R, Hunter Armstrong, Lana Hauth, Lana Hauth, Craig, Tom Koval, Hobbes And Snorky, Mike Malampy, Tammy Rice, Patty Carty, Daniel Record, Karen Costa, Virginia Pierce, Melissa Rymer, Pecosace, Christopher Thacker, Betsy Silvestri, Krista Serpi, Ken Clark, Laua Spangler, Derek Carty, Heather Pedulla, Patti Gumiela, Irene Ng, Eleanor Taberski, Eleanor Taberski, Juliet O'hare, Bruce Nash, Matt Petty, Heather Capraun, A. Beaulieu, Brian Mcwithey, Eric Berger, Kathryn Perkins , Jamesd (dzneynut), Arlene Vicek, Andrew Swiatowicz , Jackie Purcell, Kris Nixon, Chuck Sands, Colette Stanton , Joe Armeni, Anna Otts, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Josh Weiss, Lee Anastasi, Mary Ann Eckenrode, Leach Family, Chris Nichols, Diane Furtado, Wayne Chadourne, Ian Falk, Kameo Crea, John Menjes, Kelly Sroka, Doug Jacobs, Dawn Miller, Craig Livingston, Frank Abbamonte, Michael Pyle, Jonathan Thomas, Vicki Christensen, Anjanette Tournillon, Carolyn Como, Teri Jo Fuson, Maryann Romagnano, John Bickers, Terri , Theresa Maradei, Russ Morgan, Jeff Blank, Kevin Jones, Karen Ramirez, Terry Blair, Herb Miller, Les Stewart, Kelly Smith, Dallas Hamilton, Christian Langtry, John Dupre, Sarah And Chris, Mark Proper, Morgan M., Melody Odonnell, Christopher Hall, Kate Fischer, Matt Holley, Jeremy Reichelt, Chris Bauman, Richard Smith, Holmes Family, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Carri Marotto, Eric Raygor, Scott Sangston, Gail States, Karrie Duffey, Shelly Borella, Davida, Jeff Richardson, George Mundy Jr, Terry Fleming, Rebecca Keenan, Andy Schumacher, Michelle Palazzo, Matthew Jadro, Anastasia Macneil, Amber Slifer, Smitty, Nathan Gray, Matt Earl, Fred Shakeshaft, Herb Reeves, Jeff Finger, Tim English, Jan Rosato, Hannah Crowley, Alison Rosenberger, Cathy Connors, John Snider, Kim Paulakos, Jennifer Chartier, Team Meeker, Jeff Stetson, Lauren Pinder, Sean Diven, Darlene Collins, Matt Ciccone, Dayna Guay, Mike Haeberle, Steve Mills, Ron Harper, Theresa Rucando, Mickey Eckert, Kirsten Miller, Bryant And Ruben O'meara, Jorge Caso, Josh Carney, Karla Callen, Team Bonnie Sue, Luis Rodriguez, Franki Larocca, Brian Grabowski, Emily Hudson, Bobbie Mills, Lorine Landon, Jim Thompson, Hillary Waldroop, Liz Weiter, Scott Greenbaum, Mark Franklin, Annie Snodgrass, Tracy Discher, John Pasqueralli, Jo Ann Bailey, John Foggo, Michael And Kelly Barnes, Jennifer Fasy, April Stinson, Caitlin Lewis, Gallagher Family, Robert P. Flaherty, Lindsay Coram, Joseph M. Zafia, Cheryl Costello, Shirley Garcowski, Grumpy's Groupies, Jackie Graebel, Barclay Bakkum, Tom Higbee, Lynn Torre, Nathan York, Dave Carriere, Robin Meredyk, Stacy Guarracino, Tom Armstrong, Lynne Reiter-truby, Pat Morin, Darrin Diaz, Lori Rienhardt, Karen Ford, Steve Gayman, Kyle Burdo, Melissa Kirk, Patti Mccaffrey, John Teehan, Margie Larmon, Heidi Goodhue, Jennifer Bogdan, Heidi Goodhue, Danielle Harsley, Agnes Ciotti, and Jane Johnson. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #327 Where in the world is this?

Hi Ho! Hi Ho! It's off to another park we go! (But singing this song is not a clue.)
 Where in the World #327

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

April 11, 2014

Down Under Spaceship Earth

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The entrance to Spaceship Earth at night in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The entrance to Spaceship Earth at night.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 10s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -1, 15mm focal length, tripod.

This is a fun and popular composition when photographing around Epcot's Spaceship Earth. Use a wide angle or fisheye lens under Spaceship Earth and place its bottom at the top of the frame. I really like the photos at night when Disney "paints" the reflective triangles with golden and purple colors.

I do not know about you, this photo makes me feel the weight of the geosphere above it. The next time you find yourself underneath Spaceship Earth, remember this fact: it weighs 15,520,000 Pounds (7,040,000 Kilograms) or 7,760 Tons.

April 8, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Club Cool

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Club Cool in Epcot's Future World is famous... or infamous, depending on your taste buds. Sponsored by Coca Cola, you can sample for free sodas or pops or soda pops (depending on where you live) from all over the world. Like foods, people's tastes in sodas from other countries can be very different. Just ask anyone who has tried Beverly from Italy during their tastings at Club Cool.

Inside Club Cool in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Inside Club Cool in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125s, f/2.8, ISO 1100, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length.

Which soda/pop/soda pop is your favorite at Club Cool?

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her experiences with the Disney Pic of the Week about Club Cool.

February 11, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Test Track

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Walt Disney pioneered the use of sponsored attractions in his theme parks. When Epcot was built, sponsorship was taken to a new level. The latest version of Test Track is innovative, educational and fun. It is also the coolest showroom for Chevrolet automobile models in the world. This coming from a Ford guy.

Take this photo of a yellow and black Chey Camaro display themed to a city street in the post queue area of Test Track. I used a fisheye lens and got permission from the Cast Member to get in real close. I used an old landscape trick to start low and slowly move to a higher position over the subject to include the background. Works best with wide angle lenses.

Yellow Chevrolet Camaro inside Test Track at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Yellow Chevrolet Camaro inside Test Track.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm, 1/125s, f/2.8, ISO 1250, EV 0.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her Disney Pic of the Week on Test Track.

January 17, 2014

Highway in the Sky over Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Keeping with this week's photo theme, here is another iconic symbol of not only Epcot but all of Walt Disney World: the WDW Monorail System known as the Highway in the Sky. Each day, monorails transport thousands of resort guests around the Seven Seas Lagoon on either the Express or Resort track back and forth to the Magic Kingdom. You can also transfer to the Epcot track at the Ticket & Transportation Center (TTC) for further service to Epcot.

Monorail Pink in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Monorail Pink passing by the Imagination Pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 180mm focal length.

I took this from the walkway between the Odyssey restaurant and World Showcase. I waited for a few minutes for a monorail to pass by. This is one of those reference photos I take to remind me to revisit this location in the future when the Sun is close to setting.

Monorails give a very relaxing, smooth and air conditioned ride even if you have to stand. Remember...Por favor mantenerse al lado de las puertas! at each stop.

January 14, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Epcot was the first park I visited at Walt Disney World some 30 years ago. While attractions have come and gone, new countries have sprung up around World Showcase and the trees have gotten taller, Spaceship Earth has endured to become the iconic symbol of Epcot.

Spaceship Earth as seen from Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth as seen from Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 280, EV 0, 150mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her Disney Pic of the Week from Epcot.

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.

October 17, 2013

Sunshine Seasons in Epcot's The Land

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The atrium in The Land pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
People inside The Land pavilion in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 900, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

People sitting at tables inside The Land pavilion in Epcot's Future World enjoying a variety of foods from the Sunshine Seasons counter service restaurant. A colorful Disney Pic of the Week about The Land.

July 21, 2013

Where in the World #289

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!

It's a big day, Players! A Big, big day! Does everyone have everything for the party? Then let's go! Celebrate!

From Millan.Net From Millan.Net From Millan.Net From Millan.Net From Millan.NetFrom Millan.NetFrom Millan.Net

It's the SIXTH ANNIVERSARY OF WHERE IN THE WORLD PHOTO FUN!

Why didn't we celebrate the fifth anniversary, I hear you ask. Because: I didn't think to look up when it started until this year. :) We can call it:
THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of WHERE IN THE WORLD PHOTO FUN TURNING FIVE!

Barrie Brewer began the game with this description:
"The magic is in the details.

A visit to Disney World is like no other experience. From the moment you arrive you are engulfed by the atmosphere. Seems like every step you take provides a new treat for your senses, from the sound of beating drums to the sight of spectacular colors in every direction. There's so much to absorb that your brain focuses on the big picture rather than on the details. And that's the plan - Imagineers don't just create a set for us to look at, they immerse us in the set so that we actually feel something magical. For them it's is all about the detail. It wasn't until I started photographing Disney World that I really began to see the amazing intricacies of their work."

As I searched for the game's history, I discovered Jack Spence very nicely mentioned us on his blog:

"Each Sunday, under the "Picture This" section of the AllEars Blog Central page, Erin Blackwell presents "Where In The World." It's a great game that I play regularly. I can usually guess the location, but Erin is definitely capable of stumping me on occasion. If you haven't played this game, I recommend that you give it a try. "

Several of you were equally nice in commenting how much you liked the game.

Thank you, everyone, for all your support every week. It means so much to me and AllEars!

Here's how we're going to celebrate: TWO challenges, a call for action, and a special drawing!

But before we go any further, let's answer last week's challenge:

Challenge #288:
Where in the World #288

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

Elizabeth Johnston? "What is Ellen's Energy Adventure for $500, Alex?" That's right! The dinosaur section of Ellen's Energy Adventure in Epcot! Or as Karen Schlumpf says, "It's one of those mean ole dinosaurs who are either chewing with their mouth open or who sneeze on you :o)" As as Claire Gregory added: "Okay, everybody put on your widest bell bottoms and sparkliest disco tops, and sing along!! Here we go, see it glow....its the universe of Energy!" Finish it up, Matt Holley and The Hulse Family: "stupid Judy, stupid Energy."

Jeff Blank, the smellitzers and fog in this area was great, wasn't it? Added so much to it.

Justin Clavet was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Justin and all our winners this week! Amy Weber, Candice Grimes, Jodi Civill, Tammy Wright, Kate Nejman, Dawn Davis, Mary Ann Lamay, Leah Bailly, Jennifer Rowell, Andrew Carrieri, Maureen Handy, Sally Fralix, Jim, Melissa Such, Deme Grabert, Kim Miller, Kathy Morris, Allison Forson, Paul Knott, Laura V., Susan Burks, Trisha Johnson, Darlene Haven , Bill Cudney , Betsy Silvestri, Agnes Ciotti, Karen Ramirez, Chris Masse, Dave Wang, Jennifer Rowell , Leigh Mertz, Dawn Bach, Mary Beth Tarbet, Heather Arnold , Bruce Jones, Tricia Petty, Jason and Melinda Lenz, Patti Mccaffrey, Tom Koval, Christie Haskin , Luke Acquaro, Tracy Ludwig, Clare S, Ed Elder, Thetesa Rucando, Keith Rogers, Julie Canaday, Kathy Opitz, Denise Cayz, Kathy Wicks, Sharon Pierce, Janet Stavrides, Jill Sisk, Kathy Davies, Tinkerbell Wells, Fran Rendulic, Chris Matejka, Dave Freemyer, Vanessa Stjohn, Scott Cullen, Virginia Pierce, Sam Rossman, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Kristi Strembicki, Belicia Cullen, Lisa Eyer, Kelley Madensky, Chris Nichols, Angela Fennell, Robert Hildebrandt , Ed Suscreba, Craig Grillo, Jennifer Page, Jenny Brennan , Karen Schlumpf, Axel Beer, Monica Hatch, Deb Ragno, Team Hill, Lindsay Coram, Kris Nixon, Kertes Family , The Strukel Famil, Tim Mcnulty, Mitzi Idziorek, Josh Weiss, Kim Shilkuski , Vera Dercole, Erika Murphy, Sharon Lucia, Chris Kelly, Leach Family, Pamela Gerdes, Ken Jackson, Mary Thatcher, Kye Layton, Kisha Garcia, Paul Gera, Deedee Kenney, Jacquelyn Law, Donna Frank, Justin Foss, Ashley P. , Erin Hammer, Karen Tuso, The Kahle Family, Tom Buck, Yvonne Marchione, Lynette Michalos, Jeff Schoeling, Olszak Family, Maggie Klotz, Steve And Ruby Jordan, Kenny, Scott Greenbaum, Lori Jordan, Jason Hocker, Julie Wickware, Karen Adamakis, Wendy T Faler, Janet Fishman, Noah Schweizer (9 Yrs Old), Wade, Duskin Henard, Janet Thorn, Daniel Schweizer (13 Yrs Old), Christopher Treece, Al Ganter, Sandie Albrecht, Kirsten Miller, Antoinette Leblanc, Emily Hudson, Pollyanna Buff, Bob Patterson, The Parker Family, Double Family, Sarah And Chris, Stephanie Henry, Tracey Mayfield, The Malesky Family, Laura Zale, Anjanette Tournillon, Kerri Coggins, Josh Carney, Jonathan Thomas, Lauren Thomas, Cynthia Hitchcock, Christina Rotella, Curtis Bille, Staci Plunkett , Pat Schwier, Jeremy Hardy, Paige, Theresa Fontaine, Lynn, Ronald Delorey, Morgan M., Irene Ng, Kaylie Seeley, Hobbes And Snorky, Bruce Hinterleitner, Liz Moreau, Tammy Kennedy, Trina Noggle, John Bickers, Tim Johansen, Stefan Owens, Linda Ranatza, Crol Ney, Evald Olson, Stefan Owens, Maryann Eckenrode, John P, Jeff And Cheryl Simmons, Brenda.r., Clay Anthony, Stacy, Shannon Stitzel, Hillary Waldroop, Rob Blundin, Kerry A., Larry Sprenkle, Claire Gregory, Annie Snodgrass, Ellie Argaluza, Kelly Cummings , Steve Morin, Jim Riddle, Eneli, Billie Jean Albolino, Emily Dagney, Christine Dagney, Carolyn Como, Kay Eidt, Anna Keene, The O'meara Family, Mike Malampy, Herb Miller, Sarah Calvario, Roxanne Kliebert, Kerry Mccaffrey, Gail States, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Ron Harper, Daniel Record, Jenn Crosby, Josette Gabel, Jenny Brams, Jeff Blank, Olivia, Nigel Mcquire (wales Uk), Craig, Cameron Lange, Les Stewart, Russ Morgan, Erika Loboda, Jodi Cook, Heather Hynes, The Patterson Family, Karen Costa, Melodi Clark, Mark Franklin, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Tricia Noble, Charles Everson, The Foley Family, Nathaniel Clements, Kate Fischer, Eva Mayhew, Dee Riccio, Shelly Borella, Jeff Stetson, Alison Rosenberger, Matt Holley, Ken Rhinehart, Andrew Pettit, Jim Finley, Michelle Boykin, Anastasia Macneil, Terry Fleming, Chris Bauman, Andrea Kruszewski, Maryann Romagnano, Matt Petty, Terry Blair, Stephanie Dollar, Carla C, Rebecca Keenan, Stephanie Linares, Dale Knight, Matt Ciccone, Suzanne Denham, Nancy Johansen, Ainsley Poe, Karen Smith, Diane Ramos, Anita Jodouin, Kristan Bertelmann, Mickey Eckert, Elizabeth Johnston, Stephanie Davis, The Hulse Family, Vera Williams, Nancy Cole, Amy Scott, Carolyn Duff, Melesia Love, Timothy Hutchinson, Melissa Littman, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, Payton Dross, Robert P Flaherty, Melissa Rappley, Michael Gunnels, Chris Connors, Michael Pennington, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Carrie Kwiat, Kathryn Perkins, Peter Boguszewski, Team Bonnie Sue, Christina Meyer, Paul Dickson, Heidi Goodhue, Linda Scrivano, Elaine Kleinhenz, Jen Cerce, Steven Pluff, Sharon Leitgeb, Jane Johnson, Jared Orth, Joseph M. Zafia, Rachel Taylor, Kate Flanagan, Amanda Campbell, Terri Thornton, Shirley Garcowski, Allison Dibiase, Christian Lewis, Barclay Bakkum, David Ballard, Carrie Rampy, Craig Lordan, Mike Venere, Brendan Abel, Edward Haja, Angela Johnson, Team Meeker, George Mundy Jr, Madeline Davis, Emily Harper, Stacy Vasilak, Gloria Martin, Carri Marotto, Peggy Saeger, Marie Seilus, Marie Phillips, Jen Tremley, Caroline Burmester, Dave Carriere, Kathryn Hughes, Robert Wescovich, Barbara Ingrm, Tom Higbee, Ashley Collins, Sonnen's, Paul Scimeca, Gallagher Family, Vicki And William Edwards, Mike Haeberle, Theresa Rucando, Vickie Scioneaux, and Lori Rienhardt. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #289 Where in the world is this?

First, our Special Challenge:
AllEars Where in the World Special Challenge

This was the very FIRST Challenge posted six years ago! Can you guess where this is in the parks without looking up the answer in the photo blog?

Remember, you don't have to know both challenges to send in an answer. If you don't know this one but you know the next, just say so in your answer.

Now for our regular weekly challenge and the rest of our celebration:

The highest number of answers we've ever had was 555! I want to see you beat that, Players! I'm calling for everyone to show Barrie Brewer and Deb Wills how glad we are that they started this game as part of AllEars. BLOW THE DOORS OFF THIS GAME! As Eva Mayhew will tell you, I will happily enter 700 winner names if that's how many we have! And to help make this happen, I made this challenge Player friendly!

We are outside the parks! Do you know what this 'iconic' Walt Disney World thing is? There's more than one, but you only have to give me the general name. For example: if I posted something of a Disney bus, just say "A Disney bus", you don't have to give the bus number. :)

 Where in the World #289

Somebody answer for The O'meara Family; because they are going to DISNEY! Whoo hoo! Have a great time! From Millan.Net

And now to sweeten our celebration: we are having a special SIXTH ANNIVERSARY DRAWING! I will randomly draw a winner just like I do for the monthly ones. That means you get a chance to win TWICE this month! And you are still eligible for the monthly drawing even if you win the Sixth Anniversary special!

Let the challenges begin!

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 25th, 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!

July 16, 2013

Disney Pic of the Week: Fish

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Fish have been a part of Disney movies and parks from the beginning. No Disney fish have had a bigger impact then the characters from the movie, Finding Nemo. They became so popular, Disney Imagineers made over a whole pavilion in Epcot called The Seas with Nemo and Friends. Inside you will meet Nemo and his friends as you ride a clam-mobile. As you explore the pavilion further, you will find the real inspirations for the movie's characters in living reef displays. That is where I found a Blue Tang. Can you tell me which character this fish reminds you of?

A Blue Tang fish swims in a reef tank inside the Seas with Nemo and Friends in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Blue Tang fish swims in a reef tank inside the Seas with Nemo and Friends.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/4.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 58mm focal length.

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

June 14, 2013

Looking Up at Spaceship Earth

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This week we visit Epcot and its "castle", Spaceship Earth. You will often hear Walt Disney World fans say to Look Up when walking around the parks. I took the saying to heart when I walked up to one of the pillars which hold up Spaceship Earth and looked straight up its edge. I leaned my camera right against it and looked through the viewfinder to see this...

Looking up at Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Looking up at Spaceship Earth in daylight.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 1600, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length,.

Leading lines, reflections, geometric and repetitive shapes in silver popped right at me. If someone had never seen Spaceship Earth, they might thing this was an abstract image.

As Walt Disney World fans, you all know once the Sun goes down, the parks become transformed. Spaceship Earth is no different. I repeated the same photo here...

Looking up at Spaceship Earth in Epcot at night, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Looking up at Spaceship Earth at night.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/50s, f/2.8, ISO 6400, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length,.

The gold and yellow lighting gives it a different feel don't you think?

While this is an extreme case of Looking Up, it is a good idea to do anywhere you find yourself photographing.

April 19, 2013

Being Creative with Crowds at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Here's a fun way to approach photographing in busy tourist attractions like Walt Disney World. Be creative! Easier said than done I can hear you saying. Really, when confronted with people everywhere, start looking from different angles, get low, get high or just tilt your camera.

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you how I used guests watching a show in front of Cinderella Castle to create a good travel photograph. The photo today was taken a little before that one. I tilted my camera to eliminate most of the people and included the Partners Statue with the castle as a backdrop.

A creative view of the Partners Statue in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A creative view of the Partners Statue.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/400s, f/10, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

There is almost no such thing as an unique photo taken at Walt Disney World anymore. Many people told me this was until I told them I had seen this idea done by another photographer. I got down on my stomach in front of Spaceship Earth and, using Aperture Priority mode, dialed in an f/18 aperture to get lots of depth of field. I know those are people's legs and feet in the photo. Can you recognize any of them?

A low view of people walking towards Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A low view of people walking towards Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length, tripod.

Disney park fans have a saying, "Look up, look down". I have an addition for Disney park photographers, get LOW, get HIGH and look ALL around. Let your creativity go and enjoy the magic!

I will conclude this series next week with something Disney has always been famous for. Can you guess?

April 7, 2013

Where in the World #275

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!

Welcome back, Players! Here's hoping we are finally entering Spring!
From Millan.Net

Here's last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #274

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

Hidden Mickey display stand in MouseGear in Epcot!

I'll be right back. Claire Gregory, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, and Mary Bethtarbet have to do some browsing in this store. :)

Chris Kelly, I'd be thrilled if Steve Barrett was proud of me. Like Claire said, his Hidden Mickey is amazing (and I'm thrilled his apps are now available); if you ever get a chance to meet him, you'll see what a wonderful man he is who will be equally happy to meet you!

Shannon Savoia was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Shannon and all our winners this week! The Kertes Family, Fred Shakeshaft, Wtmontgomery, Paul Moore, Craig, Amanda Campbell, Cheryl Costello, James Steele, Zach Szymko, Paul Dickson, Tinkerbell Wells, Doug Olson Family, Dee Dee Kenney, Sharon Pierce, Melissa Thomas, Ed Elder, Palmer Family, Rob & April - Team Vanderpool, Nancy Johansen, Deme Grabert, Deb Ragno, Tricia Petty, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, John & Rhonda Nottell, Steve And Ruby Jordan, Bill Mckim, Caryn Schill, Bob Patterson, Team Hill, Les Stewart, Tom Koval, Chris Dagney, Emily Dagney, Lauren Thomas, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Louise Barton, Olivia, Mickey Eckert, Zachary Falcone, Hobbes And Snorky, John P, Marguerite Garofalo, Christina Rotella, Pinder Family, Anne Marie Cronin, Daniel Record, John Bickers, Emily Hudson, Claire Gregory, Maureen Handy, David Tarbet, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Agnes Ciotti, Paul Knott, Mary Bethtarbet, John Dupre, Jeremy Reichelt, Bonnie Cummings, Robert Wescovich, Josh Carney, Brian Nale, Anastasia Macneil, Elizabeth And Vicki Edwards, Kameo Crea, Stephanie Linares, Carla Leger, Leigh Mertz, Cheri Palmisano, Noreen Rachuba, Betsy Silvestri, Nathalie Periard, Patti Mccaffrey, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Heidi Goodhue, Tracy Discher, Kat Sievers, Hoekzema Family, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, Jim Finley, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney, The Patterson Family, Karen Smith, Marcia Aulenback, Jennifer Bogdan, John Arena Jr, Sue Anne Kennedy, George Mundy Jr, Chris Kelly, Jennifer Shaw, Lisa Zitek, Kelsi, and Chris & Maranda Nichols. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

It's time to announce the monthly winner! And the March 2013 winner is: Jeremy Mccaffrey! Congratulations, Jeremy! Deb Wills will be sending you your prize in the mail!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #275: Where in the world is this?

Players, we are leaving the parks!
 Where in the World #275

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, April 11th, 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 5, 2013

Cropping People from Walt Disney World Photos

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last week I discussed using guests, tourists if you will, as part of photos in a crowded Disney park. I know, many do not like to see other people in their vacation photos. You can take some of those photos and crop out distracting subjects, like people. You could do this while you are photographing by checking your LCD screen and retaking the photo to eliminate any people. Sometimes it is not an option or hard to tell in those small camera screens.

Here is an example from a photo I took of Spaceship Earth in Epcot. I decided I would like to see this photo without the people you see underneath the attraction. The Leave A Legacy granite structures are a bit overwhelming, too.

Guests are framed between Leave A Legacy structures near Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests are framed between Leave A Legacy structures near Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

A little cropping of the photo and, using the Rule of Thirds, I came up with this version. I like how Spaceship Earth is now the dominate subject and it is set off by the blue sky and clouds above with the Leave A Legacy tops below.

Cropped version without the guests of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cropped version without the guests of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

I do like how the people are framed between the Leave A Legacy "monoliths" and Spaceship Earth in the first photo. Both photos are winners in my book. What do you think?

It is best to "crop" in camera as you get the best quality image, if possible, cropping in post-production is still a very useful tool to create your vision.

March 15, 2013

Shopping in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Do you like to shop? Even when on vacation at Walt Disney World? When traveling with my wife and two daughters, shopping is a part of the trip. I do like to shop though not as much as they do. Luckily, I have a camera with me and find my own kind of shopping...capturing details of shops imagineeered and themed as much as any Disney attraction or ride is.

The Tea Caddy shop sells specialty tea items, candies and chocolates found in the United Kingdom. I found this item particularly fitting, a tea pot featuring Aice in Wonderland characters.

Alice in Wonderland tea pot in Epcot's United Kingdom pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Alice in Wonderland tea pot for sale in The Tea Caddy shop.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5, ISO 200, EV +1.0, 40mm focal length, bounced flash.
In Germany's Die Weihnachts Ecke shop, it is always time for Christmas shopping for beautiful ornaments.
A mouse ears Christmas ornament in Die Weihnachts Ecke shop in the Germany pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A mouse ears Christmas ornament in Germany's Die Weihnachts Ecke shop.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/50s, f/5, ISO 1600, EV 0, 78mm focal length, bounced flash.

In Mouse Gears, the merchandise carts are kept together with unique nuts and bolts.

Nut and Bolt display fixture in Mouse Gear at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nut and Bolt display fixture in Mouse Gear.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 320, EV 0, 230mm focal length.

So, if you find yourself a little bored with your travelmates shopping habit, pick up your camera or camera phone and capture the experience.

February 15, 2013

Travel Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Really, Scott? Isn't the title redundant? We all take travel photos at Walt Disney World, don't we?

Well, yes and no. While photos taken at any Disney property can be considered travel photographs, do they tell a story? Do they give someone looking at the photo a sense of place? Travel photography should do both.

Last fall, Ocean Spray and Disney combined to create the Cranberry Bog Exhibit. My photo below shows the location of the exhibit in Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival. I used a small aperture of f/16 to keep everything in focus from the flowers all the way back to Spaceship Earth including the guests surrounding the exhibit. This is called using hyperfocus.

Ocean Spray's Cranberry Bog Exhibit at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Ocean Spray's Cranberry Bog Exhibit at Epcot.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 320, EV 0, 28mm focal length.
To show you this technique works with a telephoto setting, I again used a small aperture photographing a Motor Cruiser on the Seven Seas Lagoon as it was leaving the Magic Kingdom. The Grand Floridian Resort in the background adds to the story.
Mermaid I Motor Cruiser leaving the Magic Kingdom on the Seven Seas Lagoon, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Mermaid I Motor Cruiser on the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 170mm focal length.

Most good travel photographs include people or imply people. Such is the case of the photo below. The seating area behind the Flame Tree Barbecue restaurant is a quiet, peaceful location. While there are not people in the photo, the empty tables and chairs in the background tell you this is a place for them.

Waterfall in the seating area behind the Flame Tree BBQ in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Waterfall in the seating area behind the Flame Tree BBQ.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/5s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

For this photo, the small aperture of f/22 not only gave me a large depth of field but slowed down my shutter enough to give the smooth look to the waterfalls.

Next time you are out photographing at a Disney park or in your own backyard, look for story telling travel scenes.

February 12, 2013

Disney Pic of the Week: Journey Into Imagination

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Imagination pavilion in Epcot's Future World is the home to the most famous Disney character who was never in an animated short or movie, Figment! I first meet Figment, the little purple dragon, back in 1983 when Dreamfinder created him using his Dream Catcher. Figment disappeared for a short time but came back when Dr. Nigel Channing opened the Imagination Institute.

What has not changed is the outside of the Imagination pavilion with its jumping water pods which facinate every person no matter their age as water leaps from one pad to another in a seemingly random pattern.

Imagination pavilion in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Jumping water pods outside the Imagination pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/100s, f/5.6, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 22mm Focal Length

Come back on Thursday when Lisa shares her Disney Pic of the Week for the Journey Into Imagination.

December 27, 2012

Three Favorite Photos of 2012

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In reflecting back on my two trips to Walt Disney World and a Disney Dream cruise, I found these three photos illustrated my favorite times from each of the three different Disney adventures.

The first trip was broken up by the cruise in the middle and featured two Star Wars Weekends. If you are even a casual fan of the Star Wars movies or the animated television series, you should consider attending one of these fun filled days. You can visit with many of the popular Star Wars characters, celebrities from the franchise are on hand to sign autographs or take part in special behind the scene presentations and shows and see the amazing Hyperspace Hoopla performed each night. Below is a photo I feel shows the fun of Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Janga Fett signs his autograph during Star Wars Weekend in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Janga Fett signs his autograph during Star Wars Weekend in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/18, ISO 200, EV 0, 116mm focal length, fill flash.

As a couple, my wife and I enjoyed a 4-night cruise on the Disney Dream. We found that even on a cruise ship full of families, an adult couple can find plenty of magical and romantic things to do on a Disney Cruise. Below is the Disney Dream sandwiched between the smaller Disney Magic and another cruise ship at Nassau, Bahamas.

The Disney Dream (middle) and Disney Magic in Nassau, Bahamas.
The Disney Dream (middle) and Disney Magic in Nassau, Bahamas.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 170mm focal length.

Later in the year, I returned to Walt Disney World for Epcot's 30th Anniversary and reminisced about the EPCOT Center I first saw back in 1983 compared to the one I visited 29 years later. While things have changed in the photo below of Future World, the mission of Epcot remains the same: to entertain, inform and inspire.

Future World from the monorail over Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Future World from the monorail over Epcot.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.6, 16mm focal length, fill flash.

Hope you enjoyed my Disney Pic of the Week of My Favorite Three Photos of 2012.

2012 was a very good Disney year for me and I look forward to 2013 with plans to return to Walt Disney World and to take a trip to Anaheim, California to enjoy and photograph all the new and old wonders of Disneyland and California Adventure. Happy New Year!

November 29, 2012

EPCOT30 Pins

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Cast Member showing guests the Limited Edition Epcot 30th Anniversary Pins outside of Mouse Gear in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
ast Member showing guests the Limited Edition Epcot 30th Anniversary Pins.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/4.5, ISO 200, EV 0, 40mm focal length.

While waiting in line for EPCOT30 merchandise, Cast Members were showing guests waiting in line for Mouse Gear these photos of the Limited Edition Epcot 30th Anniversary Pins which were worth the three plus hour wait to buy. I mean, they must have been to make it my Disney Pic of the Week about Pins. Right?

November 9, 2012

Cast Member Magic at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney parks are wonderful.The attractions and rides are second to none in the world. As Lisa would remind us, without the Cast Members, the MAGIC we all associate with a Disney vacation would not exist. On my last trip, I meet three such Cast Members which created magic for my family and other guests.

While eating at Trail's End Buffet, I watched Chef Stephen going over foods on the buffet for a guest who had special dietary needs. Disney chefs are very good at helping guests with health concerns enjoy good meals at Disney restaurants. After he was finished, I talked with him a bit and asked if I could take his photo. He obliged, though a bit surprised. Thanks, Stephen!

Chef Stephen at Trail's End Buffet at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Chef Stephen at Trail's End Buffet.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 500, EV +0.3, 45mm focal length, bounce flash.

After enjoying a performance by the Voices of Liberty in the American Adventure, one of the performers noticed my daughter singing along and sought her out. My daughter was thrilled as she has sung in choirs since grade school.

Voices of Liberty Singer in Epcot's American Adventure, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Voices of Liberty Singer with guest in the American Adventure.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60, f/8, ISO 800, EV +1, 36mm focal length, bounced flash.

If any of you visited Walt Disney World towards the end of September this year, you know how hot and humid it was. So, it was with delight and relief when I entered the Fountainview Cafe in Epcot's Future World to order up a strawberry ice cream cone. The server was a College Program Cast Member who took pride in getting the ice cream correctly in the cone so it would not fall out. I know this as I had been watching her. Look at her concentration.

Fountainview Cafe Server making an ice cream cone in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Fountainview Cafe Server making an ice cream cone for a guest.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/4.8, ISO 1600, EV +0.3, 62mm focal length.

These cast members helped make my last trip magical and give me and my family three reasons to keep going back.

November 2, 2012

EPCOT30 Celebration

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Future World from the monorail over Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Future World from the monorail over Epcot.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/125, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.6, 16mm focal length.

A few things have changed in this view of Epcot's Future World from the monorail since the park opened in 1982. The trees and landscaping have been expanded. There is a water play area and the Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure kiosk along the promenade between Future World and World Showcase now. Oh, and nobody had come up with the idea of a Food & Wine Festival so there was no Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog setup.

Pavilions have come and gone in Future World and a couple of countries were added to World Showcase since Epcot opened. Landscaping has been used to create avenues instead of the wide open terraces around Future World. Horizons and World of Motion have been replaced by Mission: SPACE and Test Track. Morocco opened in 1984 and Norway made its appearance in 1988 to fill out the current eleven countries in World Showcase. (edited after guest comment was received, see comments below).

On October 1, 2012, Walt Disney World celebrated Epcot's 30th Anniversary. It was a beautiful sunny day and unusually hot and humid for early October. Thousands of people lined up at the turnstiles to enter at opening. Cast members passed out special EPCOT30 pins and park maps.

People lined up on either side of the dedication plaque flagpole outside Epcot on October 1, 2012, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
People lined up on either side of the dedication plaque flagpole outside Epcot on October 1, 2012.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.6, 28mm focal length.

Below is a close up of the dedication plaque which reads:

"To all who come to this place of joy, hope and friendship, welcome.

"Epcot Center is inspired by Walt Disney's creative genius. Here, human achievements are celebrated through imagination, the wonders of enterprise, and concepts of a future that promises new and exciting benefits for all.

"May Epcot Center entertain, inform and inspire. And, above all, may it instill a new sense of belief and pride in man's ability to shape a world that offers hope to people everywhere."
- E. "Card" Walker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Walt Disney Productions, Oct. 24, 1982

Close up of Epcot's dedication plaque outside the front entrance, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Close up of Epcot's dedication plaque outside the front entrance.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/4.8, ISO 200, EV -0.6, 65mm focal length.

Many of the people there were looking to buy limited edition EPCOT30 merchandise. Disney released pins, t-shirts, shirts, hoodies, mobile phone accessories, shot glasses and other things to only be sold on October 1st. Other kinds of merchandise was only available for a few days before and after the 1st. As you can image, the line to buy this merchandise was long. My party waited three hours to get into the special 30th Anniversary section of Mouse Gears.

Epcot30 merchandise on display at Mouse Gear in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Epcot30 merchandise on display at Mouse Gear.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.3, ISO 3600, EV 0, 112mm focal length, polarizer filter.

When photographing through windows either on a monorail or a store, use a Cicrular Polarizing Filter (CPL) to cut down on reflections.

If you were not at Epcot on October 1st, you can enjoy the special events on Deb Wills' blog here: Epcot's 30th Anniversary.

September 16, 2012

Where in the World #247

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

To all who come to this photo trivia game, Welcome! Along the way, the photos can make us relive memories and see details Walt's Imagineers put into everything we love in Walt Disney World!

Thank you, Players, for your continued Good Wishes for my health, like the notes I got from Mary Beth Tarbet, Danielle Ciotti,Susan & Mike Hill, Agnes Ciotti, and Kerry A.! Smiley from millan.net

Here was the September 9th challenge:
 Where in the World #246

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

It's the mural in the Living with the Land attraction in Epcot. Everybody sing!

Smiley from millan.net
Just make believe you're a tiny little seed,
a tiny little seed that's reaching up to meet your need.
With the right amount of faith and the right amount of earth
you'll grow to see the sunshine on your day of birth.

Let's listen to the land we all love.
Nature's plan will shine above.
Listen to the land, listen to the land.

I LOVE that song!

Amy Schweizer was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Amy and to all the readers who got the answer right: Gabriella And Matthieu, Alex And Carol Gamill, Paul Jeffers, Anne Marie Cronin, Liz, Mickey Eckert, Louise Barton, Colette S, Rob Anderson, Jenny Stoneburner, Dee Cote, Nick Bentz, Vicki, Elizabeth And William Edwards, Ruth Senecal, Kerry A., Morgan M., Paul Ignudo Jr., Clay Anthony, Callie Conrad, Chuck Everson, Patrick Broaddus, Jim Finley, Karen Ramirez, Emily Hudson, Carla Nale, Allie Reckendorf, Jan Rosato, Kristy Garrity, Carol Eaton, Rob Blundin, Cynthia Hitchcock, and Danielle Ciotti. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #247: Where in the world is this?

I thought last week's Challenge was going to be easier, but I realized that it depended on what I showed in the thumbnail. So let's try it better this week! We're still in the parks.

 Where in the World #247

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

August 10, 2012

Prime Epcot

Prime Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When I am in a photography funk and want to challenge myself, I take my favorite zoom lens off my camera and put on my Nikon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. What I call the Nifty-Fifty. I did this for a day at Epcot and came away with some of the best photos I have taken there.

Prime lenses are fixed focal length, tend to be sharper than zoom lenses and have a larger aperture range. The aperture range allows for extreme selective focus by using it wide open like on this lovely flower I found near Spaceship Earth.

Blue flower near Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Blue flower near Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/640s, f/1.8, ISO 200, EV +0.3.

Without the ability to zoom in with the lens, I had to "zoom" with my feet. During a performance of the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps in front of the American Adventure, I walked up and photographed the Fife player from three feet away. I did this quickly as I knew others were photographing the performance with their zoom lenses.

Fife player in front of the American Adventure in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Fife player in front of the American Adventure.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/250s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3.

Another place I had to move in close was at Germany's Karamell-Küche shop where I found these scrumptious chocolate covered strawberries with Werther's Original Caramel wrapped around them.

Chocolate Strawberries in Germany's Karamell-Küche shop in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Chocolate Strawberries in Germany's Karamell-Küche shop.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/2.8, ISO 200, EV +0.3.

Prime lenses are your best bet when it comes to dark rides like the Gran Fiesta Tour inside Epcot's Mexico pavilion. Here I photographed Donald Duck photographing me during the relaxing boat ride.

Donald Duck is one of the Three Caballeros of the Gran Fiesta Tour in Epcot's Mexico pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Donald Duck is one of the stars of the Gran Fiesta Tour.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 640, EV +0.3.

I switched to Shutter Priority mode while watching the Matsuriza, the Taiko Drummers, in Japan to show the motion of the entertainer's arms and drum sticks. I could not get as close as I did for the Fife player so I used leading lines to draw viewers to the drum and drummers.

Taiko Drummers performing at Japan in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Taiko Drummers performing at Japan.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/20s, f/14, ISO 200, EV +0.3.

As you can see, prime lenses will challenge you and make you think before pressing the shutter. If you have used a prime lens at a Disney themepark, let me know your thoughts.

July 31, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Monorails at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Monorails are a favorite subject on the Picture This! blog and are my favorite "ride" at Walt Disney World. I have been known to plan my day to take advantage of the long monorail line between Epcot and the Magic Kingdom or around the Seven Seas Lagoon. How about you?

Monorail Lime passing Spaceship Earth on approach to the Epcot station, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Monorail Lime passing Spaceship Earth on approach to the Epcot station.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 300mm Focal Length.

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

July 27, 2012

Spaceship Earth Triptych

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A triptych is a work of art which is divided into three sections. I took a photo of Spaceship Earth looking right up one of the pylons. I decided to use FX Photo Studio to make a few special effect versions of the Spaceship Earth photo and create a triptych from them.

A triptych of Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A triptych of Spaceship Earth.

In this case I used the same photo of Spaceship Earth. I could have used three different photos of the same subject or of different subjects if they worked together. For me, it means the three subjects should relate together in some way.

June 7, 2012

Inside Spaceship Earth: Gutenberg Press

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Johann Gutenberg examining a page from his printing press inside Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Johann Gutenberg examining a page from his printing press inside Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 6400, EV +1.0.

The Gutenberg Press scene inside Spaceship Earth shows a page of the Bible that Johann Gutenberg is examining. The page is an exact replica of one from the Gutenberg Bible on display in the Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Another example of Disney detail and makes for a cool Disney Pic of the Week from Inside Spaceship Earth.


May 18, 2012

Disney Land and Sea

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney Land and Sea, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Disney Land and Sea.

Scott is on vacation this week. This time he is doing a Land and Sea trip to Walt Disney World which will include a 4-night cruise on the Disney Dream followed by a stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. He'll be back next week with more Disney photography information and tips.

You can follow Scott on his Disney Twitter feed @Scottwdw or on Google+ at Scott Thomas as he will be posting comments and photos during the trip.

May 4, 2012

Disney through a Crystal Ball

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A crystal ball is believed by some people to aid in the performance of clairvoyance like witches and wizards. At Walt Disney World, the most famous crystal ball is found in the Haunted Mansion where the ghost of Madame Leota is calling spirits from the world beyond. Crystal balls are a fun prop to create very unique photos.

Spaceship Earth as seen through a crystal ball in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth as seen through a crystal ball.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/400s, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 230mm focal length, flipped, cropped.

Here are some tips for using a crystal ball in photography:

1. Things are upside down or inverted when looking through a crystal ball so you must flip them in your photo editor (see below).

Crystal ball being held up in front of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Crystal ball being held up in front of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV 0, 230mm focal length.

2. Focus sharply on the crystal ball image and let the background go out of focus.

3. If you can not levitate the crystal ball (I wish I could learn how to do that!), find a secure place for the crystal ball or get the aid of an assistant to hold it (see above).

4. Lens choice is up to you but ones that can focus closely are easier to use.

5. Be careful when using a crystal ball in the Sun. They get very hot, very fast!

6. Find an interesting subject like maybe a fantasy castle.

Cinderella Castle through a crystal ball in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle through a crystal ball.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 68mm focal length, cropped, flipped.

If you would like to procure your own crystal ball, check out the Crystal Company and have some fun!

April 6, 2012

Flyer Mickey at Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Flyer Mickey on a t-shirt in a shop across from Soarin' inside Epcot's The Land pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Flyer Mickey on a t-shirt in a shop across from Soarin'.

Scott is on vacation this week as he seeks out all manner of historic aircraft at the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museums in Washington, DC. He will return next week to continue with his weekly photography tips from Disney parks.

You can check out Flyer Mickey and other aviation merchandise like this t-shirt in the kiosk across from Soarin' inside Epcot's The Land pavilion.

March 23, 2012

Illuminations over Imagination in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I follow many photographers who enjoy perfecting their craft in Disney parks all over the world. These men and women come up with many photo ideas I often make note of these photos to try an attempt myself. These help to push my photographic skills as I try to master new techniques and see things differently.

Once a person has photographed the many Disney fireworks shows from the traditional viewpoints, one looks for different angles and perspectives. I had seen versions of the photo below. To photograph it, I found this position across from the Journey into Imagination pavilion's famous reverse waterfall a few minutes before Illuminations started. I setup a tripod and put a three-stop neutral density filter on a wide angle lens. Unlike when I can hear the show music, I had to wait for the bursts to emerge high enough to open the shutter.

Illuminations firework bursts behind the Imagination pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Illuminations firework bursts behind the Imagination pavilion.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 8.6s, f/9, ISO 400, EV 0, 16mm focal length, 3-stop ND filter, tripod.

If you are looking for alternative places to photograph firework shows at any of the Disney parks, websites like flickr have thousands of images for you to get inspiration from.

February 24, 2012

Photographing in the Rain at Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Rain on vacation can be a bad thing if you let it. When it starts raining at Walt Disney World there is lots to photograph if you are prepared. It can go from sunny to storming in central Florida in a manner of minutes. I carry large zip locked bags with me to protect not only my camera but cell phones and small electronics. For point and shoot cameras, a small ziplock bag will work.

If you want to photograph in the rain. I suggest asking a family member to help by using an umbrella to keep you and your camera dry while photographing in the rain. If no one is available, a tripod can hold your camera while you use the umbrella like I did when photographing the rain dropping into the reflecting pool in front of the Universe of Energy.

Rain drops in the pool in front of the Universe of Energy in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Rain drops in the pool in front of the Universe of Energy.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/10s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 18mm focal length, tripod.

Another way to protect your camera in the rain is to put on a poncho like thousands of guests do at Walt Disney World when it begins to rain. Optech Rainsleeves are inexpensive plastic coverings designed for digital SLR cameras with or without a flash unit attached. They protect your equipment while giving you access to the camera's controls. They come in handy during long rainy days or when photographing around fast water or waterfalls.

People in Disney ponchos walking in the rain at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
People in Disney ponchos walking in the rain at Epcot.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/50s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.33, 18mm focal length, tripod.

If you would rather stay out of the rain, Epcot has lots of interesting indoor locations to photograph from attractions like Spaceship Earth to these ideas around World Showcase:

Indoor Tour of World Showcase, Part I

Indoor Tour of World Showcase, Part 2

Don't let rain stop you from enjoying photography at home or while at a Disney themepark.

February 10, 2012

Inside Spaceship Earth at Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Dark rides are very hard to photograph at Walt Disney World. Not only is the lighting very moody and low but the ride vehicles move so you have to keep your shutter speed around 1/60th of a second. Remember, you can not use flash in a dark ride. Disney Cast Members will interrupt the ride experience with announcements if you do. Really breaks the magic of the ride for your fellow guests.

I am nowhere near close to getting the excellent results of other Disney photographers seen on flickr and Google+. On this trip, I rode through Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World to see if I can improve. I did get better results using a Nifty-Fifty (Nikon 50mm f/1.8) lens than in the past. At it's maximum aperture of f/1.8, it is the fastest lens I own. My camera, a Nikon D700, is pretty good with high ISO photography. Still, I needed to add some noise reduction via Noise Ninja to the photos below.

Oh, and the audio-animatronics figures move, too!

Renaissance Players scene of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Renaissance Players scene of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/80s, f/1.8, ISO 6400, EV +0.3
Renaissance Artists scene of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Renaissance Artists scene of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/80s, f/1.8, ISO 6400, EV +0.3.

I know what you are thinking. This is NOT Lieutenant Uhura of the Star Ship Enterprise though one has to think Disney Imagineers must have known we would all think it is.

Mainframe Computer scene of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Mainframe Computer scene of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/80s, f/1.8, ISO 6400, EV +0.3.

As you can see, these are not the best photos of inside Spaceship Earth on the web. Just goes to show you, we all need to continue to practice, experiment and strive to do better.

January 27, 2012

Lighting up a Monorail in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have seen other photographers sharing photos of Walt Disney World Monorails at night in Epcot using a single flash unit to illuminate the moving vehicle. Without a flash, one could only get a blurred monorail late at night. You know me by now, I had to see if I could light up a monorail using my trusty Nikon SB-600 Speedlight flash unit.

I set up a tripod near the Universe of Energy so I could use Spaceship Earth for a backdrop when a monorail came by. Another reason for this location is the monorails slow down when they enter Epcot allowing me to use slower shutter speeds. The Universe of Energy is closed at night even if Epcot has an EMH night making it quiet enough to hear when a monorail was approaching. When a monorail appeared I tried to wait for it to get to the T in the track (see photos). I got better with each monorail.

I set my camera to use Rear-sync flash (sometimes called second curtain) where the flash is fired at the end of the exposure. This freezes most everything being photographed even if it is moving. Bright lights, like a monorail's headlight, will still show a streak. The flash's power was set to full power (+/- 0).

I put my camera in Manual mode and set the aperture to f/5 and ISO to 3200. I used my zoom lens on the scene until I found 82mm gave me a good composition. Used auto-focus to set focus and turned it off. By doing so, the focus will not change unless I moved the camera or hit the tripod. I used a remote shutter release to eliminate touching the camera. The flash was in the hot shoe on the camera.

The first monorail was orange and I took it at 1/30th of a second. I was a little quick on the shutter and the flash did not cover as much of the monorail as I had hoped. I liked how Spaceship Earth looked.

Monorail Orange passing Spaceship Earth at night in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Monorail Orange passing Spaceship Earth at night.
Nikon D300/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 82mm focal length, rear-sync flash at full power, tripod.

Monorail Green was the second one to enter Epcot. I changed the shutter speed to 1/15th of a second. Notice how the headlight has become elongated in this photo. Spaceship Earth is better exposed and more of the monorail has been lighted. I hit my mark, too.

Monorail Green passing Spaceship Earth at night in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Monorail Green passing Spaceship Earth at night.
Nikon D300/28-300VR, 1/15s, f/5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 82mm focal length, rear-sync flash at full power, tripod.

Monorail Blue was the next one and has an even longer headlight streak from the longer exposure at 1/4th of a second. The monorail is well lighted and Spaceship Earth looks great behind it. The mark is a bit late but I liked it better. I cropped it to a 4x5 (8x10) ratio.

Monorail Blue passing Spaceship Earth at night in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Monorail Blue passing Spaceship Earth at night.
Nikon D300/28-300VR, 1/4s, f/5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 82mm focal length, rear-sync flash, tripod at full power, cropped.

I now know it can be done. I will try it again with a whole monorail as it crosses the World Showcase walkway from Future World. Others have done it with off-camera flash. Something I want to try at Walt Disney World in the future.

January 24, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Monorails

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Monorails at Walt Disney World are not ride vehicles. They are an example of what public transportation could be. I remember growing up and reading the city I lived near was considering monorails and how excited I got. Sadly, the cost of a monorail system for even a small city is very high. That is too bad as riding the monorails in Walt Disney World is a future which people back in the 1950's, Walt Disney included, thought would be a staple of modern cities in the 21st Century. Basically, monorails are just plain cool! Especially orange ones quietly moving overhead through Epcot's Future World.

Monorail Orange in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail Orange in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/8, ISO 3600, EV +0.3, 62mm focal length.

Barrie and Lisa will be here on Thursday and Saturday with their Disney Pic of the Week photos of Monorails in the Disney parks.

November 22, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week: Trees

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I remember when I first visited EPCOT Center (as it was known as in 1983) all the landscaping was perfect and the trees where from 8 to 15 feet high. As the years have gone by, many of the trees have grown very tall. In searching out a photo for this week's theme, I really noticed these palm trees near Mission: Space. It is unlikely these trees where here back in 1983 when this location was welcoming guest to ride in Horizons but I am sure some of the other ones nearby were.

I tried to recall a quote from Walt Disney about trees. It wasn't until I got home and searched for it that I found it:

I've always wanted to work on something alive, something that keeps growing. I've got that in Disneyland, even the trees will grow and be more beautiful every year. -- Walt Disney
Tall palm trees near the entrance to Mission Space in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Tall palm trees near the entrance to Mission Space.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 1000, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length.

The same can be said for Walt Disney World, Walt!

Barrie and Lisa will be here on Thursday and Saturday with their Disney Pic of the Week photos of Trees in the Disney parks.

You too can now join in the fun of our Disney Pic of the Week themes on Google+. Add the hashtag of #disneypic-trees to the text of your post. Then share it publicly so we can all see it. Search for #disneypics-trees in Google+ to see everyone's pictures.

September 4, 2011

Where in the World #193

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Karen Schlumpf and Ashley P., I'm so glad you're enjoying Where in the World!

I'm curious: I know Jeremy who plays is 9. Can I hear from our other Where in the World players who are under 18? It'll be fun to see the age range!

This was Challenge #192:
 Where in the World #192

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2010 Erin Blackwell Canon Powershot SD890

This Donald Duck is part of the wall art in my favorite room in the MouseGears store in Epcot! I love the Sorcerer Mickey wand that moves on the ceiling and I especially adore the two original songs written just for this area! I call them the Cog song and "Hey, Hey Mickey". I wish they'd put them on a theme park CD.

Ed Suscreba was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Ed and to all the readers who got the answer right: Chris Masse, Rob Blundin, David Tarbet, Misty Mehelic, Kye Layton, Dee Dee Kenney, Larissa Huda, Evanna Huda, Lauren Thomas, Jeremy Coto, Sharon Pierce, Dylan Weidner, Sharon Dale, Double Family, Kenny Gutierrez, Antoinette Leblanc, Courtney &Maryann Eckenrode, Alan Mize, Jen Cerce , Lorine Landon, Jonah Rigby, Erin Dagney, Christine Dagney, Carol Baranowsky, Theresa Rucando, Katie Bray, Nicole Duddy, Linda Scrivano, Diane Ramos, Laurie Walker, Kahle Family, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Sam Fritz, Kelli Reedy, Kellie Harpel, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Dawn Burns, Jane Bradley, Paul Dickson, Evan Rapone, Jarett Rutsky, Kyler S., Anna Keene, Vicki , Elizabeth, William And Thomas Edwards, Stephanie Visco, Mark D, Abigail Grasso, Mackenzie D., Patti Mccaffrey, Clay Anthony, Shaun Leake, Carolyn, Jared Orth, Tom Koval, Luis Rodriguez, Amanda Campbell, Pollyanna Buff, Ed Elder, Carrie Henderson, Karen Schlumpf, Bob Patterson, Diane Curfman, Erin Rix, Dale Knight, J Brizzle, Kelly Mager, Scott Price, Claire N, Anastasia Macneil, Cheri Palmisano, Carla Leger, Jeannine, Paul Ignudo Jr, Linda College, Linda Mac, Jennifer Tremley, Dan Owens, Lori Rienhardt, Karen Smith, Louise Barton, Derek Carty, Heidi Goodhue, Leslie Stewart, Rebecca Keenan, Shelly Borella, John Sheridan, Christi Ison, Caroline Burmester, George Mundy Jr, Kelsi B., Ros, Kevin Miller, Emily Harper, Patti Deluca, Christopher Barnes, James Berry, Kathy Berry, Ashley P., Nathaniel Clements, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Sherri Pell, Steve Bieniek, Kerry Mccaffrey, Sarah Holodick, Chris Stockton, and Madi M. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.I

That leads us to: It's time for our monthly drawing! This month's big winner is Jo Ann Bailey! Congratulations, Jo Ann, you are the lucky recipient of a fabulous Disney book and some really cool AllEars® swag!
__________________________________________________________________________

Challenge #193: Where in the world is this?

Let's leave the parks this week. Do you know you this is and where you see his cute face?
 Where in the World #193

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, September 8st, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

See you next week, Worlders!

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 and a cool Disney book!

August 26, 2011

FX Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 14, 2011

Monorail Playset in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Monorail Playset running in Epcot's Test Track Specialty Shop, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Monorail Playsets in Epcot's Test Track Specialty Shop.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/30s, f/2.8, ISO 2000, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length.

I know Buzz Lightyear is a cool toy but who does not want a Disney Monorail Playset running around in their home? I have seen them set up under Christmas trees and, with accessaries, as part of miniature Disney parks in people's homes. I found this one running in Epcot's Test Track Specialty Shop as I was exiting the ride.

Monorails are cool and make for my Disney Pic of Week on Toys.

May 17, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week: Cast Members

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Since joining AllEars.net to contribute to the Picture This! blog, I have taken more notice of the wonderful Cast Members at Walt Disney World thanks, in part, to Lisa. She has always encouraged Barrie and I to get to know the cast members and to interact and photograph them when they are "on stage". This week, Lisa, Barrie and myself introduce you to some of the people who create the magic for us when we are visiting a Disney themepark or property for our Disney Pic of Week featuring Cast Members.

Cast Member in the Disney College Program answers questions from a young guest in Epcot's Seas with Nemo and Friends, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cast Member in the Disney College Program answers questions from a young guest at the Seas with Nemo and Friends.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/4, ISO 1600, EV 0, 40mm focal length, flash

As this cast member, a member of the Disney College Program, was feeding the stingrays in Mr. Ray's Lagoon inside the Seas with Nemo and Friends, she answered questions from the young guests waiting to see Turtle Talk with Crush.

May 15, 2011

Where in the World #177

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Brian Grabowski, thanks for the great note!

This was Challenge #176:
 Where in the World #176

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2009 Erin Blackwell Canon PhotoShot SD890 IS, 9mm, 1/40s shutter, f/3.5, ISO 3200 (ISO 3200 Mode)

It's Figment's Open House sign in Journey Into Imagination With Figment in Epcot. I enjoyed seeing how many people put "I love Figment" or "I love Figgy!" in your answers and listed this as a favorite ride.

And here's to David who "sang" the right verse for this part of the ride! So let's all sing it together now!

With just one spark of inspiration,
I've made my house an innovation!
Imagination really clowns around,
Makes downside up and upside down!

Bruce Jones was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Katie and all other readers who got the answer right: Chris Mase, Denise Cayz , Jaime Thomson, Hillary Waldroop, Lee Anastasi, Erin Dagney, Cindy Jensen, Christine Dagney, Leslie Curol, Adam Milks, Marjorie Gvist, Mary Beth Tarbet, Larissa Huda, Maryann Eckenrode, Stephanie Visco, Amy Young, K.l. Beasley, Sharon Pierce, David, Patti Mccaffrey, Elaine Johnson, Mike Haeberle, Evanna Huda, Kelly Mager, Scott Otis, Barbie Lawless, Sammi Jo Albucker, Tina Albucker, Caroline Duprãcopy, Ken Jackson, Joshua Weiss, Beth Mcmeekin, Herb Miller, Ed Aleszczyk, Cara Richards, Melody Salemi, Sharon Dale, Lori Rienhardt, Vicki And Elizabeth Edwards, Clare C, Kelsi B., Sharon Lee, Stephanie Canales, Patty Newton, Patrick Reagan, Ken Fischler, Jeremy Reichelt, Leslie Stewart, Jim Finley, Nicole Duddy, Erica Sipich, Karrie Duffey, Melesia Love, James Greene, Victoria Finnegan, Marissa D'ambrosio, Mickey Eckert, Kelly M, The Perras Family, Linda College, James Berry, Kathy Berry, Katie Simmons, Kelly Kobiela, Katie Bray, John Arena, Jr, Jullie Pudem, Brian Grabowski, Margot Garofalo, Chloe Williams, Timmy Saunders, Harrison Grasso, Jamie Difatta, Theresa Rucando, Chuck Sands, Chris Stockton, Caroline Burmester, and Katie Bowling. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________________________________________________

Challenge #177: Where in the world is this?

We're staying in the parks, Worlders!

 Where in the World #177

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, May 19th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

See you next week, Worlders!

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 and a cool Disney book!

May 6, 2011

Framing Spaceship Earth in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last fall I spent a few hours with Disney photographer extraordinaire Bob Desmond at Epcot. Bob has been photographing for Disney for over 20 years. After meeting with Bob near Japan in World Showcase, I asked him what he found to photograph after so many years. He gave me a couple of things right off the bat. The first was looking for details most people when vacationing miss. I know when I see photos in Disney brochures and websites, I often see things I have walked by and missed.

With that in mind, we set off in search of such photos. Bob leading with me, the learner, by his side. We first stopped at a location in front of Japan. Bob was patiently waiting for guests to give him a clear shot at Spaceship Earth across the water. I took a slightly different angle and used a tree to naturally frame Spaceship Earth.

Spaceship Earth from World Showcase in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Naturally framed Spaceship Earth from World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 34mm focal length.

Bob liked our first attempts but we continued around World Showcase until we came upon the Venetian canals and bridges on the water across from Italy. Here, Bob explained how he liked to get in close using some brightly colored flowers. Get in close is something I have mentioned here a time or two. After Bob was done, I moved in and immediately liked the composition he had found.

Spaceship Earth from World Showcase in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Flower framed Spaceship Earth from World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/640s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 125mm focal length.

You will notice I decided on a different photographic approach for this photo. I used a long focal length and opened up the aperture to soft focus the foreground flowers as I focused carefully on Spaceship Earth. In both photos I used a circular polarizing filter to enhance the sky.

Next week I will show you the other thing Bob likes to photograph at Epcot.

March 8, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week - Monorail

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

The Monorail is such a favorite mode of transportation that some would even call it an attraction! In fact, I'd go as far to say that it's a symbol for the Disney Parks in the U.S. Its "elevated" status has led us to declare it the topic for this week's Pic of the Week. Come back on Thursday and Saturday to see Lisa and Scott's images of this iconic Highway in the Sky.

Monorail Circling Epcot's Future World
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/2500s shutter, f4.2, ISO 200

If you've been collecting AllEars® Trading Cards, then you'll recognize my Pic of the Week, the blue Mark VI Monorail train. Here it circles around Future World in Epcot.

February 20, 2011

Where in the World #165

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Wow... my first week here at the Where in the World contest! Thank you to my friend, Barrie, who entrusted me with this. Thank you to Scott for welcoming to the photo blog, and to Lisa who welcomed me to the cool kids and then asked if I paid my membership fee to get in. And, of course, to Deb Wills who says the team loves me despite everything. :)

Now, this week's contest!

This was Challenge #164:
 Where in the World #164

And here's the answer:
Dreamfinder's vehicle in MouseGears in Epcot
Copyright © 2010 Erin Blackwell, Canon PhotoShot SD890 IS, 7mm VR, 1/60s shutter, f/3.2 , ISO 320 (Interior SCN Mode)

You will find the answer at Epcot in MouseGears (one of my favorite spots; my husband says I consider MouseGears and the Emporium as attractions). It's the original Dreamfinder's vehicle from the first incarnation of Journey into Imagination.

Bob Patterson was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Bob and all the other readers who got the answer right: JDale Knight, Scott Otis, Mckinley Yeaman, Daniel Record, Carla C., Sarah Holodick, Tim Rachuba, and Noreen Rachuba! Each of the winners will be entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_______________________________________________________________________

Challenge #165: Where in the world is this?

 Where in the World #165

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 24, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

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 and a cool Disney book!

February 17, 2011

Dinosaurs of the Universe of Energy

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Audio-animatronic brontosaurus dinosaurs inside the Universe of Energy in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Audio-animatronic brontosaurus dinosaurs inside the Universe of Energy.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 1000, EV -0.3, 18mm focal length.

I have only had two rides at Walt Disney World get stopped while I was on them in all my trips. The Universe of Energy in Epcot's Future World was one of them and the only one I was asked to leave the ride vehicle to be escorted out of the ride. This gave me an opportunity to photograph the large audio-animatronic brontosaurus dinosaurs without worrying about being in a moving ride vehicle (you can see the ride's track in the lower right of the photo). The diorama makes for a unique Disney Pic of the Week about the Universe of Energy.

February 15, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week - Universe of Energy

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Universe of Energy
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 18-200mm VR, 1/500s shutter, f11, ISO 200

The Universe of Energy is one of Epcot's opening day attractions and our choice for Pic of the Week. Today it houses Ellen's Energy Adventure, whose ride vehicles are partially powered by the solar panels that sit on the roof of the building. Be sure to check out Jack Spence's great in-depth blog about this pavilion and then come back here on Thursday for Scott's interpretations. Lisa is playing hooky this week.

January 6, 2011

Following Nemo and his Friends in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Follow Nemo and friends to the Seas in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Follow Nemo and friends to the Seas in Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D70/50mm, 1/60s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3

I followed Nemo and his friends to the entrance to the Seas for my Disney Pic of the Week on The Seas with Nemo and Friends.

January 1, 2011

Hanging around Test Track in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Test Track crash dummy hanging around the ride queue in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Test Track dummy hanging around the ride queue.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 200mm focal length

For my Disney Pic of the Week on Test Track, I caught this crash dummy hanging around the ride queue. He better be careful, they might put him in the barrier test with the guests for goofing off.

December 17, 2010

TRON Legacy

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

TRON Legacy monorail going past the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
TRON Legacy monorail going past the Imagination Pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length

TRON: Legacy opens today in the United States as the long anticipated sequel to Disney's 1982 TRON. Earlier this year, the TRON Monorail started running between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot to promote the film. The monorail has two sides, one with a yellow lightcycle and the other side you see above with a blue lightcycle.

I thought it was great synergy between the themeparks and motion picture divisions of the Disney company. Not everyone thought the TRON monorail was a good idea. To those people, I surmise Walt Disney would have done such a promotion in a heartbeat. He wasn't one to miss an opportunity to create a buzz about a new film his company was making.

October 23, 2010

Slow - Curve Ahead!

Focus on Disney World by Barrie Brewer

Test Track
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D300, 11-16mm, 1/5000s shutter, f2.8, ISO 400

Test Track in Epcot's Futureworld will get your blood pumping! The climax of this attraction is a high-speed test that sends guests screaming into a 50-degree banked curve at 65 MPH.

October 19, 2010

Disney Pic of the Week: Future World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I first visited Epcot's Future World a year after it opened. EPCOT Center, as it was known then, had its critics but I was not one of them. I remember watching when Walt Disney introduced the Florida Project to the world a few months before his death. I still had the heart of the 7 year old as I marveled at Spaceship Earth geodesic sphere. Back then the Innovention Fountain did not put on a show to music as it does today.

The lighting on the fountain and Spaceship Earth at dusk shows the beauty of Walt's vision.

Innovention Fountain with Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Innovention Fountain with Spaceship Earth at dusk.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/5.6, ISO 800, EV -0.3, 145mm Focal Length

Look on Thursday and Saturday for Barrie and Lisa's Disney Pic of the Week on Future World.

September 18, 2010

NFT

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Spiral Nutrient Film Technique seen during the Living with the Land ride in Epcot's The Land pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spiral Nutrient Film Technique seen during the Living with the Land ride.
Nikon D70/50mm, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV +0.3

Spiral Nutrient Film Technique is a version of hydroponics and can be seen by taking the Living with the Land boat ride in Epcot's The Land pavilion. NFT is just one way we can grow food in a safe and efficient way and makes for my Disney Pic of the Week on The Land.

May 25, 2010

Disney Pic of the Week: Spaceship Earth Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

As the iconic symbol of Epcot, Spaceship Earth has been photographed almost as much as Cinderella Castle. Trying to find a unique way of presenting it is nearly impossible. In fact, the photo below is me doing something I saw on flickr by another photographer. This "on the ground" prospective with the dividing concrete line leading your eyes (right?) into the photo came out better than I had hoped. Not having the entire geodesic sphere in the frame and emphasizing all the guests walking towards it, to me, reminds me of Spaceship Earth's theme of Human Communications.

Barrie and Lisa will be here on Thursday and Saturday with their views on Spaceship Earth.

Guests entering Epcot walking towards Spaceship Earth, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A beetle's view of guests walking towards Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length

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.

February 25, 2010

Spinning Globe

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

Using a slow shutter speed and rear-sync flash, you can see the Mission: Space sign's globe in motion for my Disney Pic of Week on Mission: Space.


December 18, 2009

Walt Disney World in HDR

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 27, 2009

Photographing Christmas Lights at Disney II

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 30, 2009

Project Tomorrow

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

After riding the latest version of Spaceship Earth, I was pleased to see the exhibit area being used again. The new sponsor, Siemens AG, has created Project Tomorrow: Inventing the Wonders of the Future. As you enter the exhibit, you can not help but notice the huge Earth before you. In a bit of technological wizardry, the photo that was taken early in the ride of you has now appeared indicating the location where you live. Project Tomorrow houses interactive exhibits featuring various Siemens AG technology. These interactive displays and games allow guests to see the future of medicine, transportation and energy management.

Project Tomorrow exhibit area in Spaceship Earth, Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Project Tomorrow exhibit area in Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/30s, f/2.8, ISO 1400, EV +0.3, 11mm Focal Length

How I took this photo: You will notice I was standing in the middle of the ramp from the ride exit (you can see the railings on the far left and right of the photo). As much as I would have liked to set up a tripod, I doubt Disney security would have approved. I had on a fast lens, the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, set to it's widest aperture of f/2.8 and focal length of 11mm. My camera, a Nikon D70, was set to Auto ISO which only allowed the shutter speed to go as slow as 1/30th of a second. At this exposure, the camera set the ISO at 1400. I took this hand held using Da Grip. This is one of several images I took in burst mode and the best of the lot. I had good timing as I did not get run over by any other guests coming off the ride.

September 18, 2009

Nifty-Fifty

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The definition of a Nifty-Fifty is an inexpensive 50mm prime lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8. The Nikon 50mm f/1.8 and Canon 50mm f/1.8 both come in at under $140 and work on most Nikon and Canon digital SLR cameras. Most other camera systems have this focal length in a prime lens also. A prime lens has a fixed focal length versus a zoom lens that has a variable focal length. My 18-200VR zoom lens, for example, goes from 18mm to 200mm and all focal lengths in between.

What makes these Fifty's so nifty? Because they are a fixed length lens, they tend to be much sharper, lighter in weight, smaller in size and FAST. Most consumer zoom lens' start at f/3.5 and vary up to f/6.3 extended to their full focal length depending on make and model. These 50mm lenses also makes you think when you are using them. If you want to fill your frame more with the subject, you have to move closer and visa versa. The depth of field is a lot more apparent when apertures are opened up to f/2.8 or f/1.8 so focus on your subject is very important.

A couple of notes on my camera with a 50mm lens. Since the Nikon body I use has a crop factor of 1.5, the 50mm is actually a 75mm lens in 35mm terms. I have used a 50mm on 35mm SLRs in the past and that's the only difference. The photos below are great examples of what this type of lens can do.

Using the hyperfocus setting at an aperture of f/22, the lens' smallest aperture, it brought the shutter speed down to 1/50th of a second even in the bright mid-day Sun of Florida. You can see how sharp and colorful the Innovention Fountain and Spaceship Earth are in this photo. When I first looked at this scene I was too close and had to do a Chris Berman and back, back, back up about 25 steps.

Innovention Fountain in Epcot's Innoventions Plaza, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Innovention Fountain performing in Epcot's Innoventions Plaza.
Nikon D70/50mm, 1/50s, f/22, ISO 200, EV +0.3

Selective focus is where you open the lens to it's largest aperture and the only thing in sharp focus is the subject. The rest of the objects in front of and behind are thrown out of focus. With an aperture of f1.8, a 50mm lens creates extreme selective focus images like this one. Notice how the guests in the background are totally out of focus and the Mickey shaped tomatoes which are in focus leave no doubt as to the subject of the photo.

Mickey shaped tomatos in Mickey's Country House garden in Toontown Fair in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Mickey shaped tomatos in Mickey's Country House garden in Toontown Fair.
Nikon D70/50mm, 1/250s, f/1.8, ISO 200, EV +0.3

Look for more examples of selective focus next week on the Picture This! blog.

When someone says the lens if fast, they are referring to it's largest aperture. The smaller the number, the larger the aperture, the more light is allowed in by the lens to the digital camera's sensor. Even when the light is low, a 50mm lens at f/1.8 brings in four times the light as a zoom lens at f/3.5 and twice as much as an f/2.8 lens. The Nifty-Fifty lenses are a Disney photographers best friend for the dark rides at a Disney park. For instance, Pirates of the Caribbean is a ride I never even tried to photograph until I got a 50mm lens. Though I still had to use some noise reduction software at an ISO of 1600, the exposure and focus was right on for the auction scene.

Pirates of the Caribbean Auction Scene in the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Pirates of the Caribbean Auction Scene.
Nikon D70/50mm, 1/25s, f/1.8, ISO 1600, EV +1.0

For more on using a Nifty-Fifty, click this link on You're only 50mm Away from Becoming a Better Photographer.

Check out my flickr set called the Nifty-Fifty for more examples of the 50mm f/1.8 lens. Have fun!

June 2, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Innoventions

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When I first visited Epcot back in 1983 (then known as EPCOT Center), I was thrilled with the Communicores as they had many displays featuring the most modern products and technologies of the day. Most seem silly now 26 years later but part of the charm that is Walt Disney World of the past.

The Communicores where re-invented as Innoventions in 1994 and now feature displays which are more interactive and entertaining yet still present the best in modern technologies by some of the world's most future thinking corporations. This was one of Walt Disney's dreams for his EPCOT and I am happy today's Epcot keeps this dream alive. For this week's Disney Pic of the Week will feature Innoventions.

Innoventions entrance sign in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Innoventions is part of Epcot's Future World.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/20, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

May 23, 2009

Monorail View of Spaceship Earth

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Spaceship Earth as seen from the Monorail in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth as seen from a Monorail.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/320s, f/9, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

Epcot's Spaceship Earth is as iconic as Magic Kingdom's Cinderella Castle. Riding the monorail around Epcot's Futureworld, I concentrated on Spaceship Earth's geodesic shape. This image has good light, good sun angle, height of the monorail track lifting me above all the guests in the park, great clouds for a background and a bit of help from the monorail's darkened windows which acted like a huge polarizer filter and is my choice for our Disney Pic of the Week on Spaceship Earth.

March 10, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week - Snacks!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

If you can not pass one of Walt Disney World's popcorn carts after smelling the fresh popped goodies or need an ice cream upon seeing a Cast Member loading up a cart on a hot Florida afternoon. Then this Disney Pic of the Week on Snacks is for you. One of the first memories of Epcot for me was getting ice cream from the carts that were frozen hard to last in the Florida heat long enough to eat. Of the six snacks this CM was selling, Minnie's Strawberry Bar is what I'd choose.

An Epcot Cast Member reaches in to take out one of a half-dozen frozen treats, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
An Epcot Cast Member reaches in to take out one of a half-dozen frozen treats for a guest.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/50s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 50mm Focal Length

Come back on Thursday and Saturday to see which snacks Barrie and Lisa would eat at Walt Disney World.

March 5, 2009

Golden Earth

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A lighted close up of the panels on Spaceship Earth in Epcot's Future World, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A lighted close up of the panels on Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/8s, f/3.5, 1100 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

Abstracts are not my strong point when it comes to photography. I am more along the lines of a photojournalist so this week's Disney Pic of the Week theme on Abstracts was a tough one. I wanted to make sure if you were a fan of the parks you would recognize it being from Walt Disney World. As I was walking under Spaceship Earth one evening, I looked up and there it was. Beautiful lighting transforming the daytime silver panels to a golden glow. The walk was close enough where I didn't need to zoom in allowing the widest aperture the lens had. I braced myself against the short fencing and got my abstract. Hope Barrie is proud of me!

February 17, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: MouseGear

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Let's see, I introduced Restaurants, Merchandise and now Shops for the Disney Pic of the Week. I'm sensing another kind of theme myself here. Barrie? Lisa? Care to comment? Well, since I used the Epcot Pin Station for Merchandise, I'll stay in Epcot with a photo of the neon lighted MouseGear store which is the second largest shop on Walt Disney World property.

MouseGear is located in Epcot's Innoventions East, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
MouseGear is located in Epcot's Innoventions East.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/4.2, 900 ISO, +0.3 EV, 29mm Focal Length

Barrie and Lisa will be showing you their favorite Shops at Disney this Thursday and Saturday.

February 13, 2009

Rule Breaking with Symmetry

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Symmetry in it's purest sense is an object which, if cut directly down the middle, would be mirror images of each other. It's one of the ways to break the Rule of Thirds correctly. Hope that doesn't confuse you. It's easy to find a symmetrical object but the images I've chosen to show you here are symmetrical but not mirror images. They are close enough to show you how to use symmetry in your photography.

The first is of the Swan Resort taken from a room in the Dolphin Resort. Like a lot of buildings, the Swan, itself, is symmetrical as is the landscaping and walkways leading up to and away from it. I think the surrounding foreground and background of the buildings and the Friendship boat dock add to the photo.

Swan Resort in the Boardwalk Resort area, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 20mm Focal length

The next one is from the Pop Century resort. The large Mickey Mouse phone is symmetrically placed between the resort buildings and the Fooseball men. This is not close to being perfectly symmetrical, yet a pleasing composition with the main subject in the center of the photo.

Mickey Mouse Phone icon at the Pop Century Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D70/18-70D, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal length

The last example was taken during the 2007 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The Prince and Cinderella topiary was placed in the center of a sea of flowers flanked by trimmed flowering and green bushes and trees.

Prince and Cinderella topiary in Epcot during the 2007 International Flower & Garden Festival, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D70/18-2000VR, 1/160s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 18mm Focal length

When taking these photographs, I kept telling myself I was breaking a photography "rule". That is the something I want you to take away from this article. It's okay to break rules in photography when it works (as in the above photos) and you know you are doing it. Just putting something in the middle of your viewfinder does not make it symmetrical.

January 23, 2009

Case for Using a Polarizer Filter

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In this age when photo software can duplicate almost any effect film photographers used filters for, I still find one filter very useful. The Polarizing filter does just what polarizer sunglasses do, they cut down on the glare from the sun. Most people use a circular polarizing filter which means the filter moves once it is mounted on your lens in a circular motion. This gives you various amounts of polarization which you can see in your viewfinder.

In the photos below of the Dolphin resort in Disney's Boardwalk area, I used a Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens with a 52mm circular polarizing filter by Hoya. The top image is with the polarizer in it's weakest position with no affect on the light. The bottom image is after I rotated the filter to it's strongest position giving the very deep blue sky color. Notice the loss of light hitting the camera's sensor. In this case, the shutter speed and aperture both decreased for a combined loss of 1 stop (see Exif data in the caption).

Dolphin Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Polarizing Filter Effect.
Top Image: Nikon D70/50mm, 1/80s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3
Bottom Image: Nikon D70/50mm, 1/60s, f/10, ISO 200, EV +0.3

I know what you are thinking. Even the most rudimentary photo program can deepen a blue sky. True, but I didn't have to take the time. It takes a second or two to move the filter into the position I wanted. Besides, that's not the only thing a polarizer filter can do.

Reflections can be greatly cut down and even eliminated using a polarizing filter. Check out the photos below where Spaceship Earth is reflected in one of the water pools near The Land pavilion in Epcot. The one on the left is with the polarizer filter at it's weakest position. The one on the right is at it's strongest position. In this case, only a half stop of light was lost thanks to a very bright Florida sun. You will notice how the reflection is diminished so you can see the rocks on the pool's bottom. This works on reflections through glass, too.

Spaceship Earth reflection in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Water reflection Polarizing Filter Effect.
Left Image: Nikon D70/50mm, 1/60s, f/13, ISO 200, EV +0.3
Right Image: Nikon D70/50mm, 1/60s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3

Reflections are a bit harder to get rid of in software. At least in the time it took me to rotate the polarizing filter.

Like any filter, circular polarizing filters come in various sizes to fit over many different lenses. Some are cheap, while others are more expensive. Other alternatives is to check a local photography shop to see if they have any used ones or on eBay. Make sure you know the size, in millimeters, of the lens you are buying for.

January 9, 2009

Wide World of Disney

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A wide angle lens for a digital SLR camera is usually considered a lens of focal length 24mm lens or less (for full frame SLR it's about 1.5 times more or 35mm). Wide angle lenses can take in a wider field of view then normal, telephoto or telephoto zoom lenses. On my last trip to Walt Disney World, I brought an Ultra Wide Angle zoom lens made by Tokina with a range of 11 to 16mm. This lens comes in Nikon and Canon flavors and work only on digital camera bodies. These lenses are a lot of fun to use and give new ways to photograph familiar subjects.

The best way to get the most ouf of a wide angle lens is to put something of interest in the foreground, middle area and background so a viewer's eye can be lead into the photo. In this photo I took from the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad queue (you can see the roof in the upper left hand corner) at 11mm in the Magic Kingdom, the rock shelf is in the foreground, the train and mountain is in the middle area and the trees and sky is in the background.

A train returns from it's wild ride on Big Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A train returns from it's wild ride on Big Thunder Mountain.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/400s, f/10, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 11mm Focal length

Ultra wide angle lenses are great for sweeping landscapes. I know at Walt Disney World there's not a lot of places for landscapes in the parks. I found the resorts and waterways a better choice. I took this of the Grand Floridian while riding the resort monorail (you can see the monorail's windows being reflected in the sky) for a kind of photo you normally do not see of a Disney resort.

The Grand Floridian from the resort monorail on the way to the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Grand Floridian from the resort monorail on the way to the Magic Kingdom .
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/125s, f/11, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 11mm Focal length

Again, notice the three elements used. The water in the foreground, the Grand Floridian resort in the middle area with the clouds and sky in the background. Also notice the location of the horizon in the bottom third of the photo to give emphasis to the sky.

I know you hear a lot about how third party lenses (lenses not made by a camera manufacturer like Nikon or Canon) are not as good. However, I have used two Tokina wide angle lenses (and own the 11-16mm) and have no reservations about recommending them to you.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot at 11mm, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

December 19, 2008

Epcot Christmas Greetings

Epcot Christmas Tree, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Epcot's 2008 Christmas Tree.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/8s, f/3.5, 640 ISO, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length

Being as this is the last Photographic Innoventions before Christmas, I wanted to wish you and yours a safe and peaceful holiday season no matter where you live in the world. Merry Christmas, Everyone!

I'll be back in two weeks with some more great tips and techniques from my recent trip to Walt Disney World!

November 14, 2008

Photographing Christmas Lights at Disney

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Ready for Christmas yet? Shopping all done? Gifts wrapped? Yeah, me neither. Here is something you can start doing at Walt Disney World today. Taking pictures of the fabulous Christmas decorations in the themeparks and resorts. With more coming by the end of November with the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Christmas parades and special events held all through the holiday season.

Planet Hollywood restaurant sign in Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
How best to capture the millions of lights Disney Imagineers use is our topic for today and I have a some tips for you. Let's start with something people often overlook as it gets dark so early in November and December. Take photos of lighting displays during the magic hour after sunset when the sky and lights become balanced. Though it's not a Christmas display, the photo of the Planet Hollywood sign demonstrates what I am talking about here. I used AWB (Automatic White Balance) here while others will say to switch to a Tungsten or Incandescent white balance for best results. A tripod would be useful but I get good results shooting down to a quarter second (1/4s) with image stabilized lenses. The key is to wait for the sky and lights to come together. Keep taking shots until you start to see the results you are looking for. The provided link will go into more detail.

Now you are saying to yourself, who has time to wait for the light at Disney besides it's mostly full night when you are there. The lights are so pretty, there's got to be a way to photograph them. Well, you are right. Below is a technique you can use called "Dragging the Shutter". This technique is used a lot in wedding photography to allow for room lighting to be seen instead of stark dark backgrounds in large banquet halls.

Christmas Donald Duck Topiary in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D70/18-70D, 1/30s, f/4.5, ISO 400, +0.6 EV, 46mm Focal length

On camera and external flash are normally synced at shutter speeds between 1/60 and 1/250 of a second. When you use a flash and purposely use shutter speeds below the normal flash sync speed, it allows more time for ambient light to be captured by the camera's sensor. This gives a more pleasing and natural look to the photograph as you see on the right hand photo of the Donald Duck topiary I took at Epcot during Mousefest 2006. Both photos were taken the same way except for the use of flash. This can also be called Slow Sync in your camera manuals.

Using flash for photos of large areas is not practical. For best results, we have to use long shutter speeds (of less than 1/60th of a second), high ISO speeds of 800 or greater and find a way to stabilize our cameras. In the photo of Main Street USA, I was able to do all three.

Magic Kingdom's Main Street USA all decked out for Christmas, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Magic Kingdom's Main Street USA all decked out for Christmas.
Nikon D70/18-70D, 1/20s, f/4.2, ISO 1600, +0.3 EV, 35mm Focal length

As you can see, I am using a very high ISO of 1600 (my camera's highest available), a shutter speed of 1/20 of a second and I stabilized the camera by leaning against a garbage can and using my elbows to form a human tripod. I took several images to make sure I had a few which would come out sharp. If I had a real tripod, I could have used even slower shutter speeds and smaller apertures but I'll leave that discussion for another time.

By using these tips both at Disney or at home, your Christmas light photography will make your friends and family envious of your talents. Click this link for more tips on capturing the spirit of Christmas photographically. That's my gift to all of you!

November 7, 2008

An Odd Rule

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Here is a photography rule which I read about when researching the previous blog on the Sunny 16 Rule I wrote about last time. This one is called the Rule of Odds. The rule states an odd number of objects should be sought out for a shot. This results in a natural framing of the objects, adding comfort and depth to the artwork.

Okay, though I tend to put 1, 3 or more odd numbered subjects in my photos than even numbers, I pay more attention to the Rule of Thirds when I am composing in the viewfinder. However, it looks like Disney Imagineers use this rule. Below is a photo of the five balloons which hang from the ceiling in Epcot's Land Pavilion. The middle one represents Earth while the four surrounding balloons represent the seasons: Yellow for Summer, Orange for Fall, Blue for Winter and Green for Spring.

The five balloons hanging from The Land pavilion's ceiling in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The odd numbered balloons hanging from the ceiling of The Land pavilion in Epcot.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4.5, 200 ISO, 36mm Focal length

Again, I don't purposely go out and look for an odd number when I am composing my photographs. Since this is a compositional rule and, like all rules in photography, they are more like guidelines anyway (now, where have we heard that before?), I wouldn't go out of my way to do this. It's something to keep in mind when you have time to do so.

October 17, 2008

Metadata Revisited

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When I was talking about adding metadata and how to use it. I seemed to have confused some people about how much work it takes to add captions and keywords. While it does take time to add them, it's not as time consuming as it sounds. Photo management software like Apple's Aperture 2, Adobe's Lightroom 2 and others let you change metadata on more than one photograph at a time. This is called batch processing as you change a whole batch of photos at once.

To return to the example I was using. When loading or ingesting from a memory card onto my computer using Aperture 2, I give pretty general captions and keywords which cover all the photos. After I go through and edit the day's photos, discarding those I do not want, I'll add more keywords. Again, I'll use Spaceship Earth as my subject. I'll select all the Spaceship Earth photos I took and then open up a metadata window. Your program may call it something else like a tab. I click on the keyword field which already has the general keywords added earlier and add more of them. You have to use a comma to separate the keywords. Then press the Change or Update button to process the batch of selected photos with the additional keywords. The same can be done for any of the metadata fields available.

Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Partial view of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/400s, f/10, 200 ISO, EV -0.6, 52mm Focal length

Adding keywords can be even easier. Applications like Apple's iPhoto pulls up all your defined keywords in a window and you can click on the ones you want to add to a photo or group of photos. It pays to research what your photography software can do when it comes to saving time while entering metadata information.

September 26, 2008

The Digital Darkroom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Before I go on talking about organizing our digital library of photographs, I want to introduce you to the new breed of software that were released a couple of years ago I refer to as digital darkroom programs. These programs assist you in organizing, editing and outputting (either files or prints) your digital photos in one place. You no longer need more than one program to do each of these tasks.

The two programs I want to talk about are Adobe Lightroom 2 (PC and Mac) and Apple Aperture 2 (Mac only). Now, I know there's a lot of discussion on which one to use in photography forums. I think both do a great job. If you have not looked at either of these programs, you can download free trials from Adobe and Apple.

Photo management software from Adobe and Apple.

What these programs do is import your photos from your camera or memory cards and place them into one image database. If you've been following this series, you know I put my photos into specific folders on my computer system depending on the year and month they were taken. Both of these programs will allow you to keep such a system and give you the freedom to create projects or collections within their image database or library as I like to call it. I use Aperture 2 and as an example I want to show you how I use Aperture's organizational power.

I set up a Project called Walt Disney World. Inside this project I have each of my trips in a folder labeled WDW_YYYYMM (so far I haven't stayed over a two month span yet but I would still separate the photos on my hard drive into separate folders). My last trip from May, 2008 is in folder WDW_200805 and has a few thousand photos. I have some albums in the WDW project I have set up for various reasons. One is called POTW (for the Picture This! Picture of the Week theme) where I have past and upcoming photos for the themes Lisa, Barrie and I have come up with. An album consists of photos I have moved into it. The photos are not actually in the album or folders but point back to the photo's location in the library. ONe photo can be in multiple projects, folders or albums. Luckily, I don't have to worry about where the photos files are as Aperture takes care of all that for me. I just drag and drop.

I can also search for a group of photos and this is where metadata comes in very handy. Let's say I want to create an album with just my photos of Epcot's Spaceship Earth. Since I have added the keywords, spacehip earth, to all my photos I have taken of this attraction, I can pull up a view of all of those photos easily by typing it into the search box. Once I have that view, I can create an album with a simple click of my mouse. If I had not added keywords, it would have taken me a long time to look through each of my WDW folders and pick out all the Spaceship Earth ones.

If you are looking to easily organize, process and print your digital photographs and have not looked at either Aperture or Lightroom, I think you will be very surprised at how versatile these programs are. Both have come out with second versions in the last few months with vast improvements over their first editions.

June 21, 2008

Test Track High Banks

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

At speed on Test Track's high banked turns in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
At speed on Test Track's high banked turns in Epcot.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/40s, f/8, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

I'm a big NASCAR fan. I even did Richard Petty's Driving Experience once at Walt Disney World. For my Disney Pic of the Week featuring a Ride, I picked the next best thing to feeling like you are on a big track which is riding the high banks on Test Track in Epcot's Future World. In this picture I sat in the back seat to get more of the car, slowed the camera's shutter speed down to capture the motion of the car on the track and rode it late in the day for better lighting. I secured the camera with the strap around my neck and looped around my wrists.

March 14, 2008

Photographic Innoventions: Before the Moment

Last week, I talked about Joe McNally's book, The Moment It Clicks. However, to start making photographs instead of snapshots, you have to think a bit before clicking the camera's shutter. It takes practice. So, when you are in a Disney park or an event and things start to happen fast or you are with family or friends and have to work fast, they become second nature to you to check the following:

1. Is my Shutter Speed correct to capture my subject properly?
2. Is my selected Focal Length or my Positioning optimal to capture my subject?
3. Have I chosen the proper Depth of Field to best highlight my subject?
4. Is my subject in Focus?
5. Have I checked the Edges of my frame to minimize distracting elements?

These were taken from 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Tripping the Shutter.

I would have put "Is my subject in focus" in the number one slot. For me, if the main subject of a photo is not in focus, it takes away from the impact. Sometimes it's not always possible to get all of your subject in focus. In that case, select the most important part to you. For example, for people or animals photos, always try and get the eyes sharply focused.

If you are photographing action subjects like sports, shows or parades. You want to capture the action at it's peak points. By using your camera's burst mode to shot many frames per second, you can shot an entire sequence. Later, you can find all the gems you got. Try this the next time you are photographing the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular action scenes. For something moving repetitively, like a themepark ride, it's easy to find a place and wait for the action to come to you.

In the photo below, while I like it, I wish I had waited for the light to fully fill the "rocket thrust". I'll get it next time!


Mission Space...To Infinity and Beyond. © Scott Thomas Photography 2008
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, 0 EV, 32mm Focal Length

Further Reading: More Questions to Ask Before Pressing the Shutter (Some of these are redundant but not all.)

November 30, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Photo Cropping

Monarch Butterfly. Copyright© Scott Thomas Photography 2007
In the days of film, it was expensive and time consuming to go about cropping photos. With digital photography that is no longer the case. Even the most rudimentary photo editing software will let you crop. While it's easier to "crop" in the camera, it's not always possible. The only restriction is the size of the digital image where if you crop too much, the size of the image becomes too small.

So, why do we need to crop? Sometimes we want to adjust an image to use the Rule of Thirds, eliminate unwanted parts caught around the subject or enlarge a subject to bring it front and center. Keep in mind, cropping is NOT resizing the entire image but taking a part of the image to make a better photo.

In Minnie's Magnificent Butterfly Garden, I took this photo of the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) during Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival. The original you see above is a bit too centered so I wanted to change the orientation from a landscape to a portrait and make the butterfly even more the main subject. To do this, I used a photo editor to select a 5x7 crop size and rotated to make it a portrait then aligned it as you see below.


Monarch Butterfly. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, 200 ISO, -0.7 EV, 170mm Focal Length

Further Reading: Cropping Photos :: Every Picture Tells a Story

August 10, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Light Sensitivity

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Spaceship Earth. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/10s, f/5.6, 1600 ISO, -1 EC, 135mm Focal Length

Many people have sent in questions about how to get good low-light and night photography pictures at Walt Disney World. The key is to get enough light to your digital camera's sensor to record a well exposed image. You can do this a couple of ways. Use a tripod and increase the shutter speed or increase your camera's sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO setting, the more sensitive the sensor becomes and less light needed to record an image. Instead of using a tripod at ISO 100, you can dial in a higher setting like 400, 800 or 1600 and get a faster shutter speed. Thus, letting you hand hold in low light or in getting fast action shots like themepark rides, children playing or sporting events.

Epcot's Spaceship Earth is a favorite subject of many photographers during the day but, at night, the geodesic sphere takes on a surreal quality. To successfully show this, I increased my ISO setting to 1600. This is the highest my camera, a Nikon D70, can go. There are digital cameras today that go as high as 3200 ISO. I still needed a steady hand, propped elbows on a fence and a vibration reduction lens to shoot at 1/10s. To increase my chances of getting a great photo, I took a series of them with this being the best of the lot.

Shooting at such high ISO settings does bring about an increase in noise. Noise looks like color speckles and is noticed in uniform colors like the black sky in the Spaceship Earth photo. While it is a concern in digital photography, noise is a lot less apparent then with high ISO films. Those would show large grain in the processed prints. There are many software products available to reduce any noise which does creep into our photos.

Obviously, the less noise the better so, the lower the ISO, the finer the images your camera will produce. Check out your camera's manual to see how you can change the ISO and how high and low the settings are.

Quick Tip: Some digital cameras have an Auto ISO Setting. My Nikon D70 does and it allows me to let the camera pick the best ISO for the available light. This comes in handy as the light changes throughout the day into night or going in and out of buildings and rides at Walt Disney World.

July 28, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Creative Uses of Aperture

As we learned earlier, aperture is the size of the opening in the camera's lens measured in f-stops. I know it sounds weird but the smaller the f-stop number the larger the opening. I want to show you today how you can take advantage of apertures to create outstanding photographs.

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Maximum Depth of Field or Hyperfocus. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/500s, f/11, -1.3 EC, 18mm Focal Length

The first technique is called hyperfocus and getting the maximum depth of field in a photo. This is where everything in the photo is in focus from the closest to the farthest objects out to infinity. Searching on hyperfocus will bring up all kinds of calculators on how to figure out where to focus when using a certain focal length (18, 28, 35, etc. in mm) and f-stop. By setting the aperture to an f-stop of f/11 or f/16 and focusing on a close subject, you'll get the hyperfocus effect. In the photo taken from Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival of the floating flowers, I wanted people to view this photo starting with the floating flower pot at the bottom and continue upwards to the clouds in the sky. This is how imagineeers use forced perspective throughout the parks to makes things look bigger than they actually are.

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Selective Focus. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, -0.3 EC, 200mm Focal Length

What do you do if the background of the subject you want to photograph is busy? If you used a high f-stop, your subject could get lost in that busy background. For this situation you want to use a smaller f-stop or do, what is called, shooting with your lens wide open. This is done by setting the aperture at it's lowest f-stop. For my 18-200mm VR zoom lens at 200mm, it's wide open f-stop is f/5.6, which is what I used to separate and selectively focus on the meerkat at Disney's Animal Kingdom from the foliage in the distance. In this way, you are focused on the meerkat and not what is behind him. This is a great way to take human portraits at Walt Disney World and not get all those other humans in the background.

Quick Tip: I know some of you are thinking how do you set apertures using a digital camera. You do this by setting the camera's shooting mode to Aperture Priority. Refer to your camera's manual on how to do this. Once done, you set your f-stop and the camera calculates the shutter speed. Be careful here. If the aperture chosen is making your shutter speed to long, you may need to either make your aperture bigger or use a tripod.

July 13, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Mechanics of Exposure

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Cinderella topiary at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/160s, f/11, 200 ISO, -0.3 EC, 18mm Focal Length

In digital photography, exposure is the total amount of light allowed to fall on to an image sensor. It's really quite simple even though there's a lot of science and engineering behind how your camera does it. I leave that to the engineers and enjoy the fruits of their labors.

In the time ahead, I will be going more in-depth into the photographic terms of exposure and how they effect our photographs. These terms are: Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO (or Sensor Sensitivity) and Exposure Compensation.

Aperture is how wide the lens' iris is opened. Like your eye, a lens has an iris. You can tell how wide it is by the f-stop number. Those funny numbers you see on your lens or through your viewfinder often designated with an f/ in front of them. In the photo of a topiary taken during Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival, the aperture setting is f/11. The lower the number, the wider the aperture is and the more light is transmitted through the lens. Reciprocally, the higher the number, the less light comes through. Aperture controls the zone of focus or depth of field in your images and can be used in very creative ways.

Shutter Speed is how long the camera's shutter stays open to expose it's sensor to the subject being photographed. Most of the time it's just a short fraction of a second. The photo above used a shutter speed of 1/160th of a second. The dimmer the light, the longer the shutter speed is to get a well-exposed picture. Low light and night photography can sometimes take seconds or minutes to capture a scene. For fast action like children playing or theme park rides, you'll want to use fast shutter speeds like 1/500th or faster to capture the action. Playing with various shutter speeds is a lot of fun!

ISO is how sensitive your digital camera's sensor is to light. You want to use the lowest ISO you can to get shootable apertures and shutter speeds. The higher or faster, as it is referred to, ISO number, the more sensitive your sensor is to light. With a lot of light available, the topiary image was taken with an ISO of 200. As day turns into night, I will increase my ISO from 200 to as high as 1600. This does increase what's called noise (they look like little specs) into the images. Unlike film, the noise is not nearly as bad as film grain was and there are software products available, which can clean up most of the noise.

Exposure Compensation or Bias is a way for digital photographers to dial in their exposure. Most digital SLR and some advanced Point & Shoot cameras have an exposure compensation button which allows you to do slight adjustments to your cameras image sensor. Usually in one half to one third intervals, this little button can make the difference between an image with too light or too dark areas into a properly exposed gem. In this blog's photo, I made a slight -1/3 (or -0.3) adjustment to keep from over exposing or "blowing out" the light background behind the topiary.

For an excellent book on this subject, I highly recommend Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure which has been updated for digital photography.

Return to Blog Central

About Future World

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

World Showcase is the next category.

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