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October 24, 2014

Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro Italy in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

One never knows when a new photographic opportunity will present itself. At Walt Disney World, it could happen while talking with friends in one of Epcot's countries. This happened to me last week while in Italy. A fanfare of drums and trumpets was heard before a parade of colorful men came into the pavilion with large flags. I quickly surmised this was the new show Disney said was coming.

The four flag bearers and four musicians paraded up the stairs to the circular center stage of the pavilion. People were drawn around the stage and I quickly went to the stairs and sat down in front. The stage is elevated and getting low did a couple of things for me: it cleaned up the background as my field of view was over most spectators heads and gave a more dramatic angle to the entertainers.

Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro show at Epcot's Italy pavilion in World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro Show in Italy.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

Being an entirely new show, I did not know what to expect. I will say the costuming was excellent. The colors of the flags did not clash with the Italy pavilion colors in anyway. Making the performers and the flags stand out.

Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro show at Epcot's Italy pavilion in World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro Show in Italy.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

Again, not knowing what to expect, I found myself clicking at almost every move the performers made. This resulted in a lot of images I discarded later.

I used a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. The day was bright enough to still have a good Depth of Field aperture in the f/9 to f/10 range. Next time, I would like to try slower shutter speeds when the performers are standing still while waving the flags.

Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro show at Epcot's Italy pavilion in World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro Show in Italy.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV 0, 31mm Focal Length.

What this show does do, is a lot of repetition. Which means if you miss a move, a toss or a jump the first couple of times, be patient, as they will repeat it again in a few seconds. The move you see above was about the fourth or fifth jump in the routine.

Since I photographed this show, I found out the group is called Flag Wavers of Sansepolcro. If you click on the link, you will see more of my photos from the show and a video of an early performance. I suspect the show will evolve over the next few weeks but the video will give you a good idea of what to expect.

October 19, 2014

Where in the World #354

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!

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian Players! I hope you had a lovely holiday!
From Millan.Net

Mike and Susan Hill & Christopher Hall are in Disney World this week! That's two separate trips: the Hills and the Hall's. Wait, I just got that! Maybe you guys are traveling the Food & Wine Festival together. If you are, don't talk bad about me. And have a magical trip (separately or as a group)!
From Millan.Net

Patti Mccaffrey, I'll be thinking of you on Tuesday. *hug*

Last week's challenge: number #353
Where in the World #353

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

We're at the Sommerfest entrance of Epcot's German Pavilion! But now I keep thinking of the Biergarten's buffet; haven't been there in awhile. And by the way:
From Millan.Net

Dori's Friend Vicki: did you get me a cream puff? I could use a cream puff. Well, after my diet. Sigh...

Thanks for that, Jeff Blank. Now I have the Hogan's Heroes theme in my head.

Sarah And Chris, I completely forgot about that Full House episode! I definitely think you should be able to hold out your hand and have birds land, like you were Disney royalty!

The Murr Family was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to The Murres and to all our winners this week! The Sands Family, Kristi Strembicki, Tim Johansen, Diane Tredore, Andrea Kruszewski, The Kertes Family, Jennifer Rowell, Betsy Silvestri, Andrew Carrieri, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney, Mike Amor, Julia Wickware, Andy Hickey, Ed Elder, Sharon Pierce, Becky Norman, Christi Ison, The Gunnels Family, Ken Maikowski, Mike Haeberle, The Strukel Family, Kenny, Nan Amor, Deb Ragno, Eric Berger, Theresa Rucando, Jason Skow, Team Bonnie Sue, Melissa Such, The Tisdale Family, Janet T Thorn, Judy Simonsen, Kris Nixon, Lori Rienhardt, Grumpy's Groupies, Brian Mcwithey, Bob Patterson, The Parker Family, Linda Scrivano, Team Hill, Susie Howard, Robert Wescovich, Claire Gregory, John Bickers, Kye Layton, Sydney Von Schriltz, Lynette Michalos, Team Hill, Lyn Johnson, Timberly Aymond, Jamie Newell, Phyllis, Kate Nejman, Ellen Sullivan, Lori Elias, Amber Penske, The Koren Family, Walter Johnson, Elisabeth S, Molly Sawyer, Dawn Simpson, Ken Savage, Brian Miller, Karen Schlumpf, Tiffany Gibb, Rider Family, Kelly Van Eerden, Dave Freemyer, Carla C, Andra Truitt, Liz Moreau, Linda College, Beverly Carr, Brenda Mclean, Pat Schwier, Adam Lucas, Fiona Knigh, Tommy Montgomery, Christina Trigiani, Cheryl Chambers, Mike Haven, Cheryl Gattudo, Megan Krainski, Rachelle Desjardins, Steve Shadle, Maryann Eckenrode, Kathy Dockham, Tom Swan, Cindy Pink, Rebecca Emery, Bruce Hinterleitner, K Beasley, Al & Kerry Ganter, Tammy Rice, Andrew Eckert, Maryann Romagnano, Theresa Lucorri, Matt Wildey, Stefanie Vandiver, Paula Massarelli, Rebecca Smith, Maureen Handy, Leach Family, Morag Lemon, Chris Horne, Beth Mcmeekin, Ruben O'meara, Rex Biederman, Dawn Fiege, Eric Enli, The Long Family, Valerie Yoder, Maggie Klotz, The Double Family, Hobbes And Snorky, Rebecca Keenan, Jeremy Hardy, Eric Johnson, Timothy Gallany, Pete Dragstrem, Joseph M. Zafia, Tracy Davis, Stefanie Vest, Stefanie Vest, Evald Olson, Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Dawn Bach, Tracy Davis, Mary Ann Lamay, Rob Hepler, The Kahle Family, Jonathan Ward, Heather Capraun, Brian Gallant, Lisa Pinder, Herb Miller, Suzanne Denham, Suzanne Denham, Scott Precise, Vera And Izzy Williams, Chris Guilmett, Christine Dagney, Stefan Owens, Bethany & Dan Angermaier, Trina Noggle, Antoinette Leblanc, Peg Readinger, Lisa Bufo, Ken Jobin, Jen Peterson, Duskin Henard, Lisa Dreher, Jen Snook, Paul Dickson, Tanya Riggio, Mike O'brien, Demetrios Makres, Phil Vickers, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Elaine Kleinhenz, Anastasia Macneil, Larry Sprenkle, Diane Burke, Carolyn Como, Tracer Kascak, Cheryl Costello, Kyra C., Michele Mongeon, Chloe Mayhew, Karen Costa, Theresa Maradei, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Nicole Benoit, Jessica Gruhlke, Gallagher Family, Lisa K., Lizzy & Dave Fullerton, Luis Rodriguez, Owen States, Anna Tietje, Cathy Welsh, The Foleys, Mary, Dee Dee Kenney, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Josh Carney, Blake Schmidt, Margie Bigelli, Dori's Friend Vicki, Jeremy Reichelt, Karen Spreitzer, Patrick Broaddus, Kate Fischer, Annie Niece, Mark Proper, Kristan Bertelmann, Christopher Hall, Carri Marotto, Chris Bauman, Karrie Duffey, Lee Anastasi, Scott Sangston, Al Sandal, Mildred Popp, Tammy Alweis Family, Smitty, Dave Carriere, Tricia Petty, Darrell Shortt, Vicki Britt, Lizanne Fisk, Tyler Otts, Jim Finley, Tricia Noble, Andreas Beer, The Patterson Family, Mary Jo Gallion, Karen Bellamy, Mickey Eckert, Kathleen Bast, Terry Fleming, Daniel Record, Ashley Collins, Matthew Frey, Ed Adams, Arlene Vicek, David Dunkle, Les Whitten, Laura Whitten, Sheryl Hicks, Lorine Landon, Melissa Hendrix, Emily Hudson, Ron Harper, Jairo Caso, Christine Kahle, Jeff Blank, Terry Blair, Virginia Pierce, Paul Scimeca, Gina Dounelis, Caitlin Lewis, Davida, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Matt Holley, Jennifer Mercier, Diana Grady, Curtis Bille, Patti Mccaffrey, Mary Beth Tarbet, Jo Ann Bailey, Rob Blundin, Heidi Goodhue, Elise, Doug Olson Family, Jackie Graebel, Les Stewart, Jane Johnson, David Ballard, Carol Collins, Kyle Burdo, Thomas Higbee, Kevin Jones, Jamie Steiner, Hillary Waldroop, Trish Babler, Sherry Trapp, Ken Rhinehart, Alan Mize, Barclay Bakkum, Lindsay Coram, Michael & Jackie Mclucas, Jackie Klafeta, Kelly Smith, Wendy Palmquist, Heidi Goodhue, Erin Rix, Robert Hildebrandt, Deborah Wolfe, Sarah And Chris, Danielle Harsley And Agnes Ciotti, Caroline Burmester, Maja Kodani, Stacy Guarracino, Carol Bertolo-gamill, Marcie Soderlund, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Sandie Albrecht, Tanya Keene, Shannon Murray, Heather Pedulla, and Robert P. Flaherty!
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #354 Where in the world is this?

We're getting tougher this week! I think it's tougher.
Where in the World #354

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, October 23rd, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

October 2, 2014

Farewell to Epcot's Red, White & Blue Spirit of America

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps performing in front of the American Adventure in Epcot's World Showcase., Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps performing in front of the American Adventure in Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 32mm focal length.

Like many Walt Disney World fans, I was surprised at the announcement to replace Off Kilter, Mo’Rockin’, World Showcase Players and the group I choose to highlight for the Disney Pic of the Week on Epcot Entertainers.

The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps has been a part of my Epcot experience since 1983. It will be hard to not see them perform their American patriotic music and introduce the Voices of Liberty before each American Adventure show. They were as much a part of the American Adventure as the show was to me.

September 14, 2014

Where in the World #349

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!

Kameo Crea and her husband will be celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary soon!
From Millan.Net

Last week's challenge: number #348
Where in the World #348

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

Wethers mural in the German Pavilion's Karamell-Küche shop! MMMMM, the lovely scent of caramel in the air!

Ed Elder was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Ed and to all our winners this week! Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Kye Layton, Stuart Savage, Antoinette Leblanc, Sandie Albrecht, Andrew Carrieri, Tricia Petty, Kristi Strembicki, Katie Parker, Joyce S, Elaine Kleinhenz, The Gunnels Family, Brian Miller, Jen Peterson, Pollyanna Buff, Kevin Wagner, Sharon Pierce, Linda Scrivano, Ellen Sullivan, Jen Tremley, Margot Garofalo, Helen Graves, Britta Andrews, Kris Nixon, Bet Pleban, Mary Beth Tarbet, Tom Hermes, Donna Frank, Tammi Price, Tim Johansen, Linda G., Laurie Walker, Lori Rienhardt, Paul Dickson, Becky Chapman, Double Family, Hillary Waldroop, Bill Schmid, Christina Trigiani, Vera And Izzy Williams, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Bruce Hinterleitner, Laura Zuidema, Beth Mcmeekin, Stefanie Vest, Stefan Owens, Clay Anthony, Phyllis, Duskin Henard, Andrew Eckert, Robert Wescovich, Tammy Rice, Kristy Balbuena, Sands Family, Kyra C., Kameo Crea, Leach Family, Carol Collins, Michele Zowacki, Jeremy Hardy, Karen Adamakis, Bethany Angermaier, Andie Harman, Kevin Jones, Brian Gallant, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Mike Mondoux, Elizabeth Scarborough, Trina Noggle, Maureen Handy, Al & Kerry Ganter, Eric Johnson, Betsy, Carolyn Como, Vicki And Elizabeth Edwards And William, Jen Eacret, Hobbes And Snorky, Linda College, Jeff & Cheryl Simmons, Krista Serpi, Carol Gamill, Christina Rotella, Mary Ann Lamay, The Rider Family, Craig, Amy Maddox, Trisha, Penny Urell, Mickey Eckert, Theresa Rucando, Les Whitten, Gail States, Maryann Romagnano, Chloe Mayhew, Claire Gregory, Anastasia Macneil, Jonathan Ward, Virginia Pierce, Mike Malampy, Stephanie Peterson, Josh Carney, Allison Scholes, Christopher Hall, Kristyn Scibienski, Terry Blair, Phil Vickers, Cameron Lange, Sarah And Chris, Kevin Parmeland, Tricia Noble, Melissa Littman, The Hutchinson Family, Chris Bauman, Rob Blundin, Ed Adams, Jed Orth, Kristie, Lindsay Clayton, Kate Fischer, Jim Riley, Tom Swan, Jamie Steiner, Kathryn Hughes, Smitty, Ron Harper, Pam Lorenz, Gloria Martin, Michael Haeberle, Ashley Collins, Kerry A., Lorine Landon, Brian Grabowski, John Dupre, Schuyler Etheridge, Maja Kodani, Amy Fleming, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Jo Ann Bailey, Jane Johnson, Kerri Coggins, Susan Doucette, Sheila And Kelly Barnes, Jennifer Mercier, Angela Johnson, Colette Stanton, Darrell Shortt, Susan Linder, and Vicki Britt.

__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #349 Where in the world is this?

Still in the parks!
Where in the World #349

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, September 18th, 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 4, 2014

Flag Bearer outside the American Adventure

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps member carries the Spirit of '76 flag in front of the American Adventure in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps member carries the Spirit of '76 flag in front of the American Adventure.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/250s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3.

Today, the United States of America is celebrating its 238th year since America declared its independence from England. Each day in front of the American Adventure in Epcot's World Showcase the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps perform fifteen minute shows of patriotic songs and songs of the colonial era throughout the day.

TIP: After the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps finishes, the Voices of Liberty, an a cappella group, will then be performing in the rotunda of the American Adventure pavilion.

For my fellow Americans, have a safe and fun holiday weekend.

July 1, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Flower and Garden Festival

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Each year the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival transforms the park into a display of natural colors and shapes of favorite Disney characters using over 100 topiaries to decorate both Future World and World Showcase. This year, Disney brought in a couple of new celebrities who were promoting their new movie.

Kermit the Frog serenades the love of his life, Miss Piggy, surrounded by posters from their lastet movie, Muppets Most Wanted. The topiaires can be seen between Germany and Italy around Epcot's World Showcase.

Kermit the Frog serenades Miss Piggy between Germany and Italy in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy topiaries during the 2014 Flower and Garden Festival.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 1000, EV 0, 40mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her whimsical view for the Disney Pic of the Week on the Flower and Garden Festival.

June 12, 2014

Flowers and Trolls in Norway

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Troll topiary pops up out of a field of flowers in Epcot's Norway pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Troll topiary pops up out of a field of wildflowers.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO 2200, EV -0.3, 24mm focal length.

Appropiately, a troll pops up among beautiful wildflowers in Epcot's Norway pavilion during the Flower and Garden Festival. A bright and beautiful Disney Pic of the Week about Flowers.

June 8, 2014

Where in the World #335

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!

When we talk next Sunday, Players, I will be in Walt Disney World! Well, depending on what time you're reading it. :)

Thank you for all the good wishes on my broken ankle. I also got tonsillitis this week, but I'm better now and hoping my karma will be better!
From Millan.Net

But don't worry! I'd have a great time at Disney if I had to jump on my husband's back and ride him like Seabiscuit. He'd have some complaints though. :)

Chloe Mayhew left for her Disney trip on Friday and Shelly Borella will be there when I am. Not that we're rubbing it or anything. Shelly, if that large group of yours needs all that time for bathroom breaks, at least use the Tangled restrooms. :)

Patti Mccaffrey, I never heard of that! Ouch, your poor ankle! From Millan.Net

Now for Challenge #334:
Where in the World #334

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

We're looking at the American Adventure pavillion in Epcot's World Showcase as Smitty so aptly said.

Vera And Izzy Williams, do you mean the song “America with your Golden Wings”? My husband loves that song: he once had it on replay for 5 times in a row or more. Sarah And Chris, you've seen people wave their cellphone lights during this song? I never have but I would love to see that!

Shout out to Rosemarie Novelo: your story made me laugh!
From Millan.Net

The Kertes Family was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to The Kerteses and to all our winners this week! Diane Tredore, Kristi Strembicki, Dee Dee Kenney, Donna Frank, Jim And Lorie Sonnen, Nan Amor, Bruce Jones, Ed Suscreba, Mary Beth Tarbet, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney, Laurie Walker, Kenny, Jorge Caso, Phyllis, The Gunnels Gang, Betsy Silvestri, Melissa Such, Andrea Kruszewski, Daniel Record, Steve And Ruby Jordan, Courtney, Sharon Pierce, Craig Mitchell, Donald Leblanc, Janet T Thorn, Patti Odom, Robin Robinson , Kristi Paraday, Theresa Rucando, Kye Layton, Andrew Carrieri, Allison Caputa, Heather Keenan, Mary Ann Lamay, Kathleen Glovna, Jennifer Page, Ashley R. , Rosemarie Novelo, Kara Cummings , Sandie Albrecht, Cecilia Cocucci, Bridget, Michelle Boykin, Marguerite Garofalo, Vera And Izzy Williams, Rick Lahmann, Beth Sazama, Tricia Petty, The Parker Family, Mike Mondoux, Patty Carty, Mike Walter, Mike Amor, Chris Horne, Craig, Patti Gumiela, Eric Enli , Lenz Family, Wayne Beck, Jennifer Rowell, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Mike O'brien, Terri Vicknair, Maureen Wahtera, Tara Weaver, Eric Johnson, Jd Conti, Josette Gabel, Christine Brown, James Johnson, John Bickers, Tim Johansen, Deb Cumpstone, Lee Deroia, Mary Harpe, Pollyanna Buff, Bryan Fencl, Deb Ragno, Stefanie Vest, Lorine Landon, Pat Schwier, Melissa Gundrum, Laura V., Brian Mickle, Scott Greenbaum, Bruce Hinterleitner, The Long Family, Derek Carty, Brian Miller, Ryan Mccorristin, Jason Hocker, Emily Hudson, Carla C, Linda Scrivano, Maria Boyer, Lauren Kemble , Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Cathy Derecola, Sheryl Hicks, Heather Sabatino, Katie Bray, Lisa Pinder, Jon Landis, Amy Guerrini, K Beasley, Paul Dickson, Dennis O'reilly, Team Hill, Paul Scimeca, The Pearsall Family, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Gallagher Family, Cindy Pink, Trish Roam, Chris Kelly, Trish Roam, Cathy Connors, Ellen Sullivan, David Forister, Robert Wescovich, Robert Wescovich, Jim Finley, Maureen Handy, Julie Harris, John Stella, Herb Miller, Candice Grimes, Lisa , Amanda Campbell, Leach Family, Bill Schmid, Kerri Coggins, Kathryn Perkins, Bill Bingham, Chloe Mayhew, Dave Freemyer, Hobbes And Snorky, Dan Mangini, Louise Barton, Jeremy Hardy, The Kahle Family, Tom Koval, Judy Simonsen, Caroline Elliott, Bill Mckim, Lynette Michalos, Stan Kolis, Karen Ramirez, Cindy Tanner, Hilary Metzger, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Paul Newbiggin, Elaine Kleinhenz, Kris Nixon, Rob Blundin, Cynthia Hitchcock, Tyler Otts, Vicki Shearman, Claire Gregory, Sandy Reedy, Rob Hepler, Fran Rendulic, Diane Furtado, Virginia Pierce, The Emich Family, Haylee Smolek, Gerald Skanes, Larry Spernkle, Melanie Dalton, Bruce Nash, Grumpy's Groupies, Liz And Dave Fullerton, Mickey Eckert, Kirsten Miller, Grumpy's Groupies, Dawn Bach, Josh Willner, Maggie Klotz, Carolyn Como, Heather Pedulla, Demetrios Makres, Brenda Strohmeyer, Kerry A., Luis Rodriguez, Les Stewart, Bethany Angermaier, Chris Joyce, Doug Olson Family, Koren Family, Team Bonnie Sue, Cheryl Chambers, Morag Lemon, Terry Blair, Palicia Tipton, Wayne Chadourne, Al Sandal, Susie Howard, Sarah And Chris, Kevin Parmeland, Linda College, Shannon Murray, Amy Mccullough, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Jennifer Harmon, Lauren Thomas, Christopher Hall, Josh Carney, Wendy Barney, The Olszak Family, Sara Alaimo, Clay Anthony, Terry Fleming, Karrie Duffey, Shelly Borella, The Patterson Family, Jim Thompson, Maryann Romagnano, Courtney Moran, Darrell Shortt, Scott Sangston, Diana Grady, James Dezern, Hunter Armstrong, Caroline Burmester, Anastasia Macneil, Karen Bellamy, Team Meeker, Matt Holley, Kim Paulakos, Dave Carriere, Mike Cerce, Patti Mccaffrey, Gail States, Wade A. Williams, Christina Trigiani, Smitty, Mark Proper, The Hutchinson Family, Linda Bowles, Tyler Haeberle, Cathy Fleming, Gina Falzone, Andy Hickey, Shari Prater, Jonathan Ward, Tracy Discher, Jeff Blank, Julia, Leigh Mertz, Brian Grabowski, George Mundy Jr, Murr Family, Ron Harper, Josh Weiss, Joseph M. Zafia, David Ballard, Jennifer Bogdan, Heidi Goodhue, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Randi Balch , Jane Johnson, Timmy Saunders, Kyle Burdo, Barclay Bakkum, Shirley Garcowski, Kim Watson, Stephanie Dollar, Tom Higbee, Chris Bauman, Jeremy Reichelt, Amy Schweizer, Nicole Benoit, Vicki Britt, Jackie Klafeta, Terry Fleming, Jackie Graebel, Les Whitten, Fred Shakeshaft, Jo Ann Bailey, Danielle Harsley And Agnes Ciotti, and Tom Buck. Each of you are entered in this month's winners’ drawing.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #335 Where in the world is this?

Staying in the parks.
 Where in the World #335

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 13th, 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 27, 2014

Where in the World #329

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

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

I'm watching WDW Resort TV from the 100 Years of Magic Celebration: It's the Zip A Dee Doo Dah Tip of the Day! Today's tip is:
Don't be like me and totally miss discussing Easter. LOL I hope you had a good one!
From Millan.Net
^Get it? :-)

Danielle Harsley And Agnes Ciotti are going to Disneyland for the first time! Stop at the window of Walt's apartment and at his bench for me! Ride the subs! And the posh train car! Sit in the rear bubble of the monorail as well as trying to get up front! And definitely go to the Wonderground Gallery!

Carol Gamill, you do need to go home! And I completely understood that you meant home to Disney! I raise a Grand Marnier Slush to you. :)

Congratulations to Sarah Thomas for signing up for her first Disney marathon! Good for you, Sarah! Wear your Disney medal proudly:
From Millan.Net

Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu: Bonjour! That's all the French I know, other than food like croissant. :) As I said to the Cast Member in the France Pavilion: “I apologize if I butcher your language when I pronounce what I want to order.”

The Gunnels Family: I'm the youngest of seven kids, just like your family. :)

Now for Challenge #328:
Where in the World #328

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © Barrie Brewer
Chris Kelly, you risk taker you! You're right: it's Chefs de France in Epcot's France Pavilion!

Also some of the fountain. :)

Yes, I know the restaurant's name is in the picture. I thought it was too hard without something in it!

Janet T Thorn, I would love to join you for lunch or dinner! Ashley Collins, come with us!
Mickey Eckert, I am a freak for crème brulee! I'll meet you at Les Halles Boulangerie and Patisserie.

Davida, I walked into a trash can when I was a kid! I was backing away from the Big Bad Wolf and went right into the can. My mother, of course, was very concerned --- after she was done laughing. I still haven't forgiven the Wolf. ;)

Kristi Strembicji were the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Kristi and to all our winners this week! Eric Berger, Daniel Record, Bruce Jones, The Kertes Family, Tricia Petty, Emily Hudson, Betsy Silvestri, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney, Judy Simonsen, Mary Beth Tarbet, Team Hill, Curtis Bille, Sandie Albrecht, Phil Vickers, Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Sharon Pierce, Carol Gamill, Mike Haeberle, Vera And Izzy Williams, Ed Suscreba, Virginia Pierce, Kris Nixon, Ruban And Bryant Omeara, Christine Dagney, The Parker Family, Scott Greenbaum, Kye Layton, Phyllis, Diane Tredore, Al Ganter, Mike O'brien, Amy Filliben , Josh Weiss, Maryann Eckenrode, The Gunnels Family, Donna Frank, Colette Stanton, David Manning, Les Whitten, Kenny, Mike Haven, Katie Bray, Carla C, Cheryl Costello, Kerry A., Deborah Wolfe, Annette Nuenke, Murr Family, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, K Beasley, Deb Ragno, Bill Cudney , Lori Rienhardt, Belicia Cullen, Tiffany Gibb, Ashley Collins, Tim L, Scott Cullen, Ellie Argaluza, Jennifer Harmon, Leach Family, Mike Amor, Karen Schlumpf, Matt Wildey, Mommybat, Tinkerbell Wells, Dave Freemyer, Beth Mcmeekin, Andrea Kruszewski, Jen Eacret, Patty Carty, Lorine Landon, Bill Mckim, Louise Barton, Paul Knott, Paul Knott, Melissa Such, Bruce Hinterleitner, Karen Bellamy, Dennis O'reilly, Phil Badcock, Kathryn Perkins , Megan Krainski, Laurie Walker, Morgan M., The Emich Family, Michael Mclucas And Jackie Mclucas, Hillary Waldroop, Tom Koval, Vicki Britt, Jeremy Hardy, Koren Family, Maureen Handy, Elaine Kleinhenz, Karen Adamakis, Craig, Janet T Thorn, Debbie Desimone, Al Desimone, Mary Virginia Clause, Long Family, John Menjes, Hobbes And Snorky, Kerri Coggins, Joe Calomeni, Angie Young, Rita Henderson, Antoinette Leblanc, Dee Dee Kenney, Hunter Armstrong, Erin Hammer, Lana Hauth, Julia Wickware, Olszak Family, Gerald Skanes, Chris Kelly, Sarah Calvario, Les Stewart, Linda College, Robert Wescovich, Russ Morgan, Chloe Mayhew, Trina Noggle, Elizabeth And Dan Johnston, Karen Ramirez, Tara Weaver, The Kahle Family, Juliet O'hare, Brian Richmond, Demetrios Makres, Rob Blundin, Kirsten Miller, The Tisdale Family, Jeff&cheryl Simmons, Nan Amor, Jen Cerce, Lauren Thomas, Jonathan Thomas, Nicole Amidon, Stefan Owens, Jim Finley, Clay Anthony, Cheryl Chambers, Betsy Dross, Haylee Smolek, Andy Hickey, Heather Pedulla, Julie And Kody Rider, Theresa Maradei, Christopher Thacker, Andrew Carrieri, Jan Rosato, Carolyn Como, Paul Dickson, Team Bonnie Sue, Jeff Blank, Robert P. Flaherty, Maggie Klotz, Kev Marriott , Stephanie Mcnamee, Dusty Cheatham, Theresa Rucando, Wade A. Williams, Rosanne Williams, Duskin Henard, Terry Blair, Dallas Hamilton, Sarah And Chris, John Dupre, Brian Mcwithey, Jeremy Reichelt, Kerrie Hogan, Wayne Witherspoon, Paul Moore, The Holmes Family, Alison Rosenberger, Kate Fischer, Melesia Love, The Patterson Family, Kim Paulakos, Rebecca Keenan, Anastasia Macneil, Kevin Parmeland, Josh Carney, Tricia Noble, Melody Odonnell, Sara Holloway, Matt Holley, Mark Proper, Gail States, Ken Maikowski, Amanda Campbell, Davida, Christopher Hall, Cathy Connors, Diane Ramos, Tom Hermes, Maryann Romagnano, Matthew Jadro, Michelle Wilinski, George Mundy Jr, Michelle Palazzo, Wayne Chadourne, Smitty, Luis Rodriguez, Scott Sangston, Mike Venere, Erin Loring, Michael Dale Pennington, Tim Johansen, Diane Furtado, Pat Schwier, Gloria Martin, John Pasqueralli, Erin Connell, Jonathan Ward, Claire Gregory, Brian Grabowski, Sarah Thomas, Pecosace, Doug Olson Familey, Ldp, Nigel Mcquire (uk Wales), Paula Massarelli, Kelly Smith, Karrie Duffey, Jullie Pudem, Terry Fleming, Carri Marotto, Beth Josuweit, Maja Kodani, Nathan York, Jennifer Mercier, Matt Cofone, Grumpy's Groupies, Patti Mccaffrey, Teri Michalski, Jan Rosato, Jodi Cook, Jo Ann Bailey, Sharon Lightfoot, Evald Olson, David Ballard, Jackie Graebel, Liz Moreau, Lisa Cash, Heidi Goodhue, Jane Johnson, Gallagher Family, Double Family, Jennifer Bogdan, Joseph M. Zafia, Julia Marsh, Kyle Burdo, Robin Meredyk, Caitlin Lewis, Shirley Garcowski, Mark Franklin, Tom Higbee, Kirk Hardy, Tom Armstrong, Team Meeker, Cameron Lange, Barclay Bakkum, Shannon Murray, Dave Carriere, Ron Harper, Jackie Klafeta, Christi Ison, Mickey Eckert, Barry Sklenar, The Hutchinson Family, Timmy Saunders, Ken Rhinehart, Stacy Guarracino, Danielle Harsley And Agnes Ciotti, and Tom Armstrong. Each of you are entered in this month's winners’ drawing.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #329 Where in the world is this?

Some people complained last week was too easy. So.... you know what that means! DOUBLE CHALLENGE!

The toughie:

Where in Walt Disney World is this?
 Where in the World #329a

For the regular challenge:
Wow, we're at the end of April already. Grab some form of Disney transportation because we're switching parks!

 Where in the World #329

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, May 1st, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

March 28, 2014

World Showcase Details

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Epcot's World Showcase is a treasure trove of photographic opportunities. I find new things to photograph in the countries with every trip. Here are three examples.

I photograph lots of t-shirts when traveling. I like to use them for online galleries and slideshows. This t-shirt I found in an outdoor kiosk at the Canada pavilion would be a good one for an introduction slide to Canada.

TA t-shirt for sale in the Canada pavilion n Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A T-shirt for sale in the Canada pavilion.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/80s, f/4.5, ISO 200, EV +0.3.

When people think of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, I believe the famous Gargoyles which "guard" it come to mind. Outside the entrance to Impressions de France at the France pavilion sits a replica of the Spitting Gargoyle which may be the most famous resident of the cathedral.

Spitting Gargoyle replica at the France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spitting Gargoyle replica at the France pavilion.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 900, EV +0.3.

The Morocco pavilion is one of the most detailed around the World Showcase. The tile work is beautiful and colorful. Add a touch of falling water and I could not resist.

Water fountain at the Morocco pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Water fountain at the Morocco pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/40s, f/8, ISO 6400, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Keep your senses peeled as you walk and explore Epcot's World Showcase pavilions and share with us what you find.

March 12, 2014

Remembering the Tapestry of Nations Parade

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Puppet and puppeteer in the Tapestry of Nations in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Puppet and puppeteer in the Tapestry of Nations Parade.

As long as we are waxing nostalgic this week, I also came upon this photo from the Tapestry of Nations Parade in Epcot's World Showcase from 2000. I saw this parade many times during its run and never got tired of it or the wonderful musical score.

March 9, 2014

Where in the World #322

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!

Sara Holloway, here's your Mickey Ice Cream bar! Don't worry about the outside temperature. Wrap yourself up, nice and cozy, and enjoy!
Mickey ice cream bar

Wait! Jonathan Ward: you're telling me that Epcot has caramel apple oatmeal cookies?! And Alan Mize says they have croissant doughnuts?! Why didn't someone say so sooner! This is what happens when I don't work on menus for awhile. AND I need a Tiki Tankard! (Thanks for letting me know, Claire Gregory!)

From last week: Challenge #321:
Where in the World #321

And here's the answer:

Copyright © Erin Blackwell

The Gardeners' Cottage in the Victoria Gardens at the Canadian Pavilion in Epcot. Imagine if you could stay there! Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu gave more details: “We think it's our home country of Canada (Epcot) in the Victoria Gardens, which is called Butchart Gardens here in Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.”

Rebecca Siimith, if your garden looks like this, can I stay with you this Spring? If not, we can go to Cindy Pinki's. Her place is going to look like this. Dibs on the cottage!

Judy Simonsen, Jack Spence is a wonderful person and a great blogger! I'm hoping to be him when I grow up. :)

Davida, I didn't know that! Now I'll have to look for pictures of the house near Niagara Falls to how much the cottage looks like it!

Jen Tremley were the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Jen and to all our winners this week! Craig, Kristi Strembicki, Linda Ranatza, Phyllis, The Kahle Family, Sharon Pierce, Donna Frank, Mary Beth Tarbet, Murr Family, Trina Noggle, Chris Kelly, Bill Mckim, Kenny, Kirsten Miller, The Kertes Family, Kirsten Miller, Laura V., Antoinette Leblanc, Melanie Emmons, Andreas Beer, Adam Lucas, Carol Gilliland , Andrew Carrieri, Tim English, Marian Sefcik, Julia Wickware, Mary Walsh, Lexi Franquiz, Carol Ney, Nancy Ahlsen, Rebecca Smith, Cindy Pinki, Nicole Doney, Pamela Csonka, Melissa Thomas, Vanessa Stjohn, Brigitte Fagan, Cathy Derecola, Crystal Ellis, Becky Norman, Patti Gumiela, Dave Freemyer, Dave Cole, Tinkerbell Wells, Ken Daube, Rob Blundin, Theresa Lucotti, Ellen Sullivan, Sisk Family, Jennc, Candice Grimes, Kelly Sroka, Susan Lawrence, Mark Deroia, The Parker Family, Janet T Thorn, Michele Zowacki, Disney Bob, Samantha Fontana, Shari Prater, Liz Paxton, Ken Maikowski, Jon Landis, Tyler Otts , Andrea Kruszewski, Ellie Argaluza, Keirsten Sangster, Trish Roam, Jen Cerce, Trish Roam, Marielle Montoro, Tammy Wilson, Suzanne Renfroe, Tom Steveley, Team Hill, Michelle Bunton , Katherine Pretzman, Chris England, Pat Schwier, Melissa Rymer, Liz & Dave Fullerton, Katie Bray , Les Stewart, Scott Precise, Jamie Tauer, Holly Liska, Tony Stevens, Michelle Darabaris, Jacquelyn Law, Dee Dee Kenney, Maryann Eckenrode, Christi Ison, Mildred Popp, Vera And Izzy Williams, Tim Johansen, Terry Blair, Deb Ragno, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, The Pearsall Family, Amiee Augustine, Pat Morin, Danielle Rennicks, Judy Simonsen, Beth, Bryant And Ruben O'meara, Tom Mcgrew, Elaine Kleinhenz, Ryan F, Melodye Berry, Popek Family, Kris Nixon, Carolyn Como, Anne Heffentreyer, Kathy Wilkerson, Taylor Kmiech, Karen Ramirez, Tricia Petty, K Beasley, Sarah Orman, Pam Manseau, Gerald Skanes, Jan Benton, Doug Olson Family, Heather Pedulla, Jodi Lupp, Kathleen Thornton, David Forister, Ed Suscreba, Scott Greenbaum, Amanda Campbell, Megan Krainski, Kathy Love, Roger Vollmet, Susie Howard, Jennifer Rowell, Julie And Kody Rider, Gina Smith, Kerry A., Lori Rienhardt, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Ashley Collins, Barbara Ajak , Pam Lorenz, Dennis O'rrilly, Janet Harp, Charissa Troup, Maggie Klotz, Mike O'brien , Sarah A, Michaela O'brien, Karen O'brien , Brian Miller, Sandie Albrecht, Lindsay Arlene Clayton, Helen Amer, Emily Hudson, Dawn Bach, Nan Amor, Ron Harper, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Gail States, Ruth Senecal, Lisa Zitek, Maureen Handy, Melesia Love, Chris Nichols, Patrice Hollenshead, Leach Family, Donna Currier, Stefan Owens, Renee Hardiman, Frank Kishel, Tracey Mayfield, Darlene Haven, Jonathan Ward, Diane Furtado, Mary Sanderson, Blake Schmidtd, Jennifer And Elizabeth Geno, Eric Enli, Nathaniel Clements, Lesli Rendall, Paul Dickson, Darrin Brooks, Rob Hepler, Duskin Henard, Stacey Kiefer, Vanessa Gordon, Wendy Snelgrove, The Hoekzema Family, Kerri Coggins, Nathan York, A. Beaulieu, Michele Mongeon, Bob Patterson, Dallas Hamilton, The Patterson Family, Matthew Jadro, Mike Haven, Patrick Broaddus, Tricia Noble, Josh Carney, David Wang, Kevin Parmeland, Angie Grimes, Melody Odonnell, Wendy Markwood, Mickey Eckert, Betsy Silvestri, Alex Gamill, Carol Gamill, Kelly Smith, Cameron Lange, Maja Kodani, Anastasia Macneil, Sharon Dale, Terry Fleming, Barclay Bakkum, Mark Proper, Patti Mccaffrey, Michael & Jackie Mclucas, Kay Moss, Alison Rosenberger, Randy Thomas, Vicki Shearman, Rebecca Keenan, Scott Sangston, Lizanne Fisk, Theresa Rucando, Mike Amor, Amy L Santapau, Reagan, Jan Rosato, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Kirk Hardy, Amy Guerrini, Tom Koval, L Dean, Andy Schumacher, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Jullie Pudem, Becky, Kris Nixon, Terry W., Carrie R, Matt Holley, Alan Mize, Claire Gregory, Karen Ford, Luis Rodriguez, Vicki Britt, Jo Ann Bailey, Jennifer Bogdan, Vickie Scioneaux, Jane Johnson, Team Bonnie Sue, Joseph M. Zafia, Cheryl Costello, Shirley Garcowski, Pamela Vanaustin, Bonnie Cummings, Penny Urell, Tom Higbee, Douglas Florey, Steve Thorpe, Jill Davoll, Collette Beuther, Peggy Saeger, Heidi Goodhue, Jim Thompson, Larry Brooks, Davida, Hillary Waldroop, Jenny Leek, Kimberly Stephens, Margie Larmon, Rachel Hoover, Danielle Harsley, and Agnes Ciotti. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #322 Where in the world is this?

Going to a different park. Who is this? Remember: you can't just tell me what park!
 Where in the World #322

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, March 13th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

January 10, 2014

Looking Above the Trees at Walt Disney World

Prime Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

As veterans of many trips to Walt Disney World, Lisa and I have often said to always look up and down when visiting the resort. Most of the time you will find wonderful details and even a Hidden Mickey. You may discover a composition you never noticed before. In reviewing photos from my last couple of trips, I came upon these photos which were taken in different parks and at different times but have similar properties.

The first was taken as I walked from Japan to Morocco late in the day. I noticed the low Sun angle was giving the Hotel du Canada of the Canadian pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase a nice golden glow. I decided to crop the photo leaving out any indication of the people and lamps at the bottom of the original photo. I wanted people to see the beauty of the Hotel du Canada framed between green trees and a cloudy sky.

Hotel du Canada in the Canadian pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Late afternoon sunshine illuminates the Hotel du Canada.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 1100, EV +0.3, 300mm focal length.

While walking the bridge between the entrance to Adventureland and Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom late at night, I looked up at the spires of Cinderella Castle illuminated above the trees. Not seeing the entire castle created a new composition for me.

The spires of Cinderella Castle illuminated at night in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Spires of Cinderella Castle illuminated at night.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/13s, f/5.6, ISO 5600, EV 0, 200mm focal length.

While I often do not mind including people and other elements in my Walt Disney World photographs, I liked how I cropped or composed these two photos to eliminate any distracting elements.

January 3, 2014

Best of Walt Disney World in 2013

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 22, 2013

Photographing Tutto Italia Desserts in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When Travel and Food Photography mix, I like to include members of my party in my food photos. In this case, my daughters presented their dessert choices after our meal at Tutto Italia in Epcot's Italy pavilion.

My youngest decided she did not really like what Tutto Italia had for dessert. The server was kind enough to get her a simple ice cream dessert with a chocolate cookie stick. As you can see, she was very happy with it.

Ice cream dessert at Tutto Italia restaurant in Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Ice cream dessert being presented at Tutto Italia restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 1100, EV +0.3, 72mm focal length.

My eldest ordered the Gianduja-Chocolate Torta which is a chocolate and hazelnut torte with whipped cream and raspberry sauce. She determined it to be delicious.

Gianduja - Chocolate Torta dessert at Tutto Italia restaurant in Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Gianduja - Chocolate Torta dessert being presented at Tutto Italia restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/4.5, ISO 560, EV +0.3, 52mm focal length.

I also got a more traditional food picture of the Cannoli ordered by another member of my party. It must have been good as it was gone before I got a second shot at it.

Cannoli dessert at Tutto Italia restaurant in Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cannoli dessert at Tutto Italia restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 1100, EV +0.3, 72mm focal length.

Remember to include members of your dining party in your visits to any of the wonderful Walt Disney World restaurants. Not just the Character Meals. They make for fun and memorable photographs.

November 3, 2013

Where in the World #304

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

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

I forgot a very important celebration last week (facepalm). I hope everyone celebrating Día de Muertos had a very special time!
From Millan.Net

Thank you to everyone for the lovely anniversary wishes! Kerri Coggins, you're right. I should put the hubby in touch with Paul Moore about how to plan a celebratory Disney trip! Oh honey?!

Claire Gregory, I'll be in touch about plans for our secret mission.

From last week: Challenge #303:
 Where in the World #303

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

The Mariachi Cobre band performing inside the Mexico pavilion! Their page on the official WDW website gives their schedule for each day!

Or you can ask Jane Johnson because she is besties with them! She knew who each one was just by their feet!

And we have Barrie Brewer fans amongst us! I'm so happy about that. You knew from the thumbnail that this was her photo!

Karen Ramirez says, “So glad you put this challenge from my country. Greetings from Mexico City! Viva Mexico!”

Viva Mexico! From Millan.Net

Thomas Beebe was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Thomas and all our winners this week! The Kahle Family, Matt Wildey, Kristi Strembicki, Sarah Orman, Bethany Mattiuz-king, Theresa Rucando, Julia B. Meyer, Phyllis, Jeannette Ayoob-urban, Mary Beth Tarbet, Tim Thompson, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney, Tim Jeltes, Donna, Matt Petty, Rob Blundin, Heather Brennan, Marguerite Garofalo, The Pearsall Family, Jim Finley, Wendy Beaudoin, Ed Elder, Tricia Petty, Belicia Cullen, Ellen Sullivan, Ryan Mccorristin, Barbie Tupua, Rebekah Schultz, Lindsey Nozal, Scott Cullen, Keirsten Sangster, Charlene Stauch, Phil Vickers, Kerri Coggins, Agnes Ciotti, Joey Bessman , Cindy Pink, Hayley Valk, Sean Eggleston , Juliano Bergo, Judy Simonsen, Carol Domangue, Dee Dee Kenney, Ken Clark, Leach Family, Virginia Pierce, Tina Cason, Chris Nichols, Cheryl Chambers, Amber Slifer, Susie Howard, Kathy Morris, The Parker Family, Kara Cummings, Torrey Beasley, Betsy Silvestri, Alicia Seeley, Mike Rotkiske, Lee Deroia, Tammy Scott, Colette Stanton , Mike Walter, Paul Knott, Janet T Thorn, Elaine Kleinhenz, Andrew Carrieri, Melissa Such, Ken Jackson, Emery Fellows, Andrea Flanders , Double Family, Candice Grimes, John Gately, Deborah Brister , Ruby Roberts, Deb Ragno, Brian Miller, Jen Cerce, Team Hill, Dylan Weidner, Maryann Eckenrode, Pam Isbell, Drew Eckert, Kate Bocko, Jane Bogan, Sharon Pierce, Gina Smith, Ken Maikowski, Josette Gabel, Larry Drum, Darlene Harmon, Kerrie Hogan, Chris Kelly, Tony Deluccio, Pam Vanaustin, Jason & Melinda Lenz, Annie Snodgrass, Kelly Turner, Josh Weiss, K Beasley, Louise Barton, Maggie Klotz, Liz Moreau, Ronald Delorey, Ashley P. , Jason Hocker, Vicki Edwards, Ed Suscreba, Jackie Kirner, Jane Threlfall , Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Marie Summers, Patty Carty, Shannon Savoia, Pollyanna Buff, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Karen Adamakis, Craig Livingston, Deb Gallo, Terry Blair, Amanda Campbell, Laura V., Wayne Chadourne, Kate Nejman, Wendy Markwood, Gerald Skanes , Claire Gregory, Deme Grabert, Antoinette Leblanc, Sheryl Hicks, Kerry A., Bob Patterson, Bruce Hinterleitner, Dawn Bach, Darren Morehead, Linda Mac, Heather Long, Bill Mckim , Pat Schwier, Kenny, Ruben O'meara, Robert Wescovich, Barbara Mazzarella, Kristi Kempton, Vera And Izzy Williams, Cathy Derecola, Joe Derecola, Tracey Mayfield, Maureen Handy, Carolyn Como, Jeremy Hardy, Gina Shaw, Katie Bray, Angie Young, Tim Johansen, Robert Hildebrandt, Karen Schlumpf, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, Ashley Hill, Andrea Kruszewski, Carla C , Stefanie Vandiver, Teala Van De Ven, Suzanne Baker, Hobbes And Snorky, Dave Freemyer, Jen Eacret, Mike O'brien, Dusty Cheatham, Julie Wickware, Chuck Sands, Chris Hambleton, Craig, Vicki Gelb, Caryn Schill, Andrew Swiatowicz, Nicole Amidon, Jimvan18, Robin Robinson , Larry Sprenkle, Maryannlamay, Roxanne Kliebert, Lisa Zitek, Kris Nixon, Diane Furtado, Trisha Johnson, Gail States, Maryann Romagnano, Stefan Owens, Brian Gallant, Linda College, Lisa Hudson, Clay Anthony, Barbara Schmitt, Billie Jean Albolino, Kathryn Perkins, Carol Collins, Josh Carney, Brenda Strohmeyer, Rapunzel, Lynette Michalos, Kirsten Miller, Scott Greenbaum, Wayne Beck, Kerry Mccaffrey, Steve Morin, Mickey Eckert, Jeff Blank, Nigel Mcquire (wales Uk), Lynn, Nancy Crossman, Jared Orth, Duskin Henard, Karen Costa, Brian Mcwithey, Nathaniel Clements, Matt Holley, Jeremy Reichelt, Fishman Family, Tommy Montgomery, Karrie Duffey, Anastasia Macneil, Zachary Ott, Jennifer Mercier, Sara Alaimo, Chuck Everson, Rob Hepler, Chuck Everson, Tom Hermes, The Holmes Family, Mary Jo Gallion, The Patterson Family, Les Stewart, Terry Fleming, Scott Sangston, Karen Davis, Dan Potts, Lindsey Schlauderaff, Sara Holloway, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Brian Richmond, Barclay Bakkum, Curtis Bille, Matthew Jadro, Team Meeker, Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Herb Miller, Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Knapp, Alan Mize, The Hutchinson Family, Morgan M., Diane Ramos, Michelle Holloway, Ron Harper, Penny Urell, Mark Proper, Jim Thompson, Christine Dagney, Erin Dagney, Lori Rienhardt, Daniel Record, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Heather Pedulla, Terri Thornton, Randi Balch, Dwayne Fontenot, Karen Ramirez, Cheryl Costello, Lorri Gumanow, Steve Stubbs, Hunter Armstrong, Sophia Clifton, Alison Rosenberger, Michael Pennington, Vicki Britt, Vicki Shearman, Nancy Cole, Al Desimone, Paul Moore, Jeff Beauchamp, Karen Smith, Stephanie Visco, Carri Marotto, Tom Buck, Lisa Pinder, Joanne O'brien, Robert P. Flaherty, Jo Ann Bailey, David Ballard, Jackie Graebel, Karen Hotchkiss, Joseph M. Zafia, Russ Morgan, Tom Koval, Maryann Daly, Sherry Trapp, Caroline Williams, Tom Higbee, Craig Thorn, Shelly Borella, Angela Johnson, Sherri Pell, Sharon Minock, Morag Lemon, Julie And Kody Rider, Shirley Garcowski, Shannon Wright, Robert Bostic, Rachel Hoover, Hillary Waldroop, Ann Muckle, Karen Bellamy, Team Bonnie Sue, Jackie Klafeta, George Mundy Jr, Jacquelyn Law, The Kertes Family, Lauren Blundin, Gunnels Family, Jane Johnson, Kyle Burdo, Kate Fischer, Gallagher Family, Cameron Lange, Betsy Dross, Stacy Guarracino, John Pasqueralli, Evald Olson, Patti Mccaffrey, and Roye Ann Morris. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Hey, Betsy Dross, could you come here? I need to tell you something. You're the monthly winner for Where in the World Photo Fun! Deb Wills will be sending you a prize!

_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #304 Where in the world is this?

Still in the parks. I think it's harder, but you tell me, Players.
 Where in the World #304

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, November 7th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

October 4, 2013

Canadian Rockies in Epcot's World Showcase

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Canadian Rocky Mountains in the Canada pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Canadian Rocky Mountains in the Canada pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/29, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 34mm focal length.

This week Scott is photographing in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado which are simliar to the Canadian Rockies you see in Epcot's Canada pavilion. You can continue to follow Scott's adventure on his Twitter account @sthomasphotos or his personal photoblog at Views Infinitum.

As always, you can follow @Scottwdw on Twitter for his Disney feed.

September 29, 2013

Where in the World #299

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!

Rob And April Vanderpool, thank you for your note!

Patti Mccaffrey, oh no! I hope you're feeling better!
From Millan.Net

From last week: Challenge #298:
 Where in the World #298

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © 2013 Erin Blackwell

This is one of the phone boxes in the UK Pavilion in Epcot! Can you believe I didn't know you can CALL them?! One Player thinks the numbers have been disconnected; I'll try to find out. OR! If one of you who is in the World could find out and report back, we'd be grateful!

You Players are impressive! You used the hinges, reflections in the windows, and more to pinpoint where this one was. Wow!

I read an article saying some communities in the UK are converting these to free small libraries where you “Take A Book, Leave a Book” since public phones aren't needed with mobiles. Good for you!

In the UK pavilion, one of them has been converted for the Agent P adventures; if you haven't tried this yet, this pavilion has a great one. And the others are great photo ops and for pretending to call places like the Ministry of Magic.

I have the Mickey t-shirt where he's using one of these phone boxes. Love it. :)

As for me, Stacy Lee and John Bickers, we keep hoping this will show up:
From Millan.Net

The Kahle Family were the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to The Kahle Family and all our winners this week! Theresa Rucando, Ed Suscreba, Linda Ranatza, Phyllis, Carol Ney, Dee Dee Kenney, Bruce Jones, Donna Frank, Chris Nichols, Team Hill, Ashley Arndt, Jeff Schoeling, Steve And Ruby Jordan, Paul Dickson, Josh Carney, Tina G, Kris Nixon, Christina Lutes, David Dawson, Andrea Lai , Meghan Gleason-vollmer, Chris Horne, Melissa Such, Trisha Johnson, Jamie Stepp, Melissa Darling, Roger Vollmer, Vanessa Stjohn, Michael Nelson, Robert Graham, Tammy Wright, Dianne Mercer, Dave Wang, Fishman Family, Laura Nicholes, Joy Serio, Colette Stanton , Sara Colwell, Jon Landis, Kristi Strembicki, Mike M., Cheryl Jung, Jennifer Walker, Jennifer Newhouse , Ken Clark, Jodi Civill, Robert Wescovich, Morgan M, Carrie Kiger, Paige Meeker, Russ Morgan, Carla C, Hayley Lawson, Janet Stavrides, Dylan Newhouse , John Sharpe, The Kertes Family, Andrew Carrieri, Laura, Lucy, Janet T Thorn, Heather Odom, Tom Koval, Sharon Sejda, Shea Martin, Kenny, Kelly Beckner, Mike Mondoux, Barbra Crabtree, Nancy B, Leach Family, Chris Schrider, Dave Gerber, Karen Ramirez, K Beasley, Jimmy Wiley, Richard Atwood , Kathy Davies, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Lynette Michalos, Sharon Pierce, Marcus Davies, Jd Conti, Mike Rotkiske, Cindy Pink, Tammy Tidmore, Vera Williams, Mike Walter, Liz Moreau, Sharynne Smith, Scott Greenbaum, Bill Cudney , Donald Leblanc, Vera Dercole, Barb O'malley, Jennifer Rowell, Jenna Setticasi, Demetrios Makres, Ken Maikowski, Ed Elder, Leigh Mertz, Jill Sisk, Lorine Landon, Jennifer Page, Tammy Wilson, David Uchtman, Tim Jeltes, Cory Wilson, Debbie Desimone, Wendy Barney, Al Desimone, Virginia Pierce, Brittany Jaynes, Gabrielle Carpino, Ellen Sullivan, Linda College, Ann Wittemann, Patty Carty, Lauren Wambach, Andrew Mulino, Kye Layton, Terry Blair, The Parker Family , Erin Hammer, Lindsay Coram, Jonathan Ward, Robert Hildebrandt , Lyle Stevens, Jen Cerce, Mike Haeberle, Tina Himaya, Sydnee Tisdale , Lori Rienhardt, Stuart Hale, Anne Heffentreyer, Pam Vanaustin, Noah Schweizer, Christina R, Wayne , India, Lois Lynch, Robert Fancher, Jeanette Luce, Double Family, Debbie Marielle, Josh Weiss, Amber Penske, Kerry Mccaffrey, Louise Barton, Betsy Silvestri, Jen Eacret, Matt Hanlon, Ed Hogan, Deb Ragno, Elizabeth And Vicki Edwards, Kathy Huckabee, Wendy Beaudoin, Amy Filliben, Elaine Kleinhenz, The O'meara Family, Melissa Beatty, Carol Gamill, Stefan Owens, Belicia Cullen, Tinkerbell Wells, Stefan Owens, Scott Cullen, Lisa Bohannon, Jason & Melinda Lenz, Laurie Walker, Kathy Morris, Mickey Eckert, Ruth Woodhouse, Anjanette Tournillon, Mildred Popp, Nathalie Periard, Karen Adamakis, Marshall Stevens, The Malesky Family, Marguerite Garofalo, Brittany Chichester, Sheri Hall, Chris Kelly, Maureen Handy, Ellie Argaluza, Maryann Romagnano, Anita Jodouin, Antoinette Leblanc, Michelle Wilinski, Lynne Lafrance, Amanda Campbell, Diane Tredore, James Steele, Julie Wickware, Kelly Cummings, Heather Young, Erin Hendricks, Annette Nuenke, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Mary Ann Eckenrode, Wayne Chadourne, Marisa Swinford, Pollyanna Buff, Stefanie Vandiver, John Bickers, Carolyn Poirier, Brenda Strohmeyer, Paula Massarelli, Pat Morin, Brian Miller, Bruce Arnold, Paul Scimeca, Deb Audette, Deme Grabert, Joann Albrecht, Michelle Boewe, Chuck Sands, Eric Enli, Jeremy Hardy, Phil Badcock, Sandie Albrecht, Zach Szymko, Nicole Nimon, Megan Krainski, Michael Mclucas And Jackie Mclucas, Scott Precise, Matt Wildey, Kerryann , Jessica B., Dusty Cheatham, Hobbes And Snorky, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Dana Hall, Jenny Stoneburner, Pat Schwier, Ashley Martz, Amber Slifer, Aaron Sakovich, Brian Mickle, Lee Deroia, Darlene Haven, Larry Scarafile, Jeffrey Hunt, Andrea Kruszewski, Sharon Emich, Rob Blundin, Mary Ann Lamay, Roxanne Kliebert, Lisa Cash, Janet Chocky, Chris Connors, C.j. 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Flaherty, Walter N. Clark, Evald Olson, Wendy Snelgrove, Christi Ison, Jo Ann Bailey, Nicole Paniccia, Joseph M. Zafia, Melissa Littman, Remus , Barb Welshhans, Amanda Garrett, Karen Hotchkiss, Abigail Grasso, Nancy Crossman, Shirley Garcowski, Karen Ford, Emily Hudson, Margie Larmon, Mike Venere, Sherri Pell, Stacy Guarracino, Alan Mize, Dee Riccio, Colin Jones, Wendy T Faler, P.j. Popsuj, Ashley Collins, Nathaniel Clements, Peggy Saeger, John Pasqueralli, Cheryl Costello, Lisa Z., Kyle Burdo, John And Tracey Roerty, Alicia Littleton, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, Heather Pedulla, Melissa Bradley, Betsy Dross, Sandra Loveless, Ronald Delorey, and Jackie Klafeta. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #299 Where in the world is this?

Changing parks again!
 Where in the World #299

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, October 3rd, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

September 19, 2013

Moroccan Light in Epcot's World Showcase

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Colorful light fixture in the Fez House in Epcot's Morocco, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Colorful light fixture hanging in the Fez House.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/4.8, ISO 1400, EV 0, 65mm focal length.

I kind of paniced when I saw the subject, Light Fixture for the Disney Pic of the Week. I was not sure I had one but a search of my Disney photo library came up with this very colorful lighted lamp hanging from the ceiling of the Fez House in the World Showcase pavilion of Morocco at Epcot. Lisa almost had me stumped, almost.

September 5, 2013

Eat to the Beat Celebrity Concert

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Mik Kaminski of The Orchestra performs during an Eat to the Beat concert in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Mik Kaminski of The Orchestra performs during an Eat to the Beat concert.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 720, EV -1.0, 300mm focal length.

Mik Kaminski is the violin player for the band, The Orchestra, at an Eat to the Beat concert in Epcot's World Showcase on Thursday, October 20, 2011. Mik is one of the former members of the original Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) from the 1970's and 1980's. Eric Troyer is on keyboards and vocals in the background. A musical Disney Pic of the Week for Celebrity Concert.


August 30, 2013

Anchoring Your Disney Photographs

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In Landscape Photography, the use of an Anchor Point is commonly used in compositions. An anchor point is an item in the foreground that is in focus that the eye can lock on to and then wander out into the photograph. You can use this concept in your Disney photos to improve your compositions and bring a professional quality to your photography.

The anchor point in the photo of the Victoria Gardens in Epcot's Canada pavilion in the World Showcase is the plaque rock. Notice how you see the rock first before your eyes move into the flowers and trees beyond.

Victoria Gardens tribute in Canada of Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Victoria Gardens Plaque Rock is the Anchor Point.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 560, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length,.

In nature landscape photography you will often see rocks, trees or flowers used as anchor points as I did at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC). I only needed to wait for a monorail to complete the picture.

Monorail Green leaving the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) on the Resort Hotel line, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The flowers anchor this photo of Monorail Green leaving the TTC.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/16, ISO 720, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length,.

In Disney parks, anchor points could be anything.

The Partners statue in the hub in front of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
What is the Anchor Point of this photograph?
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/160s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 15mm focal length,.

For instance, the Partners statue in front of Cinderella Castle. Next time you are out photographing, try to compose photos using anchor points.

August 11, 2013

Where in the World #292

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, Mickey Eckert! I think it's cool that we broke the record too. A Disney Balloon for everybody! Disney blue balloon

Congratulations to new DVC owner, Sarah Thomas! From Millan.Net

Challenge #291:
 Where in the World #291

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, f/2.7, 4 mm, ISO-1000, 1/20 sec

This was a toughie!

It's the framed letter from George Washington to His Majesty Mohamed III of Morocco in Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco pavilion in Epcot. Morocco was the first ally America had in their Revolutionary War. This letter is a reproduction; the King still has the original that's been handed down through the generations. I love that.

From Millan.Net From Millan.Net

Mike and Susan of Team Hill were the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Mike and Susan and all our winners this week! Kerry A., Vicki Britt, Jill Davoll, and Jane Johnson. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #292 Where in the world is this?

Staying in the parks!
 Where in the World #292

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, August 15th, 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 11, 2013

United Kingdom Kidcot Fun Stop

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

World Showcase Cast member decorates a Duffy cutout for a guest in Epcot's United Kingdom pavilion, Orlando, Florida
World Showcase Cast member decorates a Duffy cutout for a guest in Epcot's United Kingdom pavilion.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 200, EV 0.

Kidcot Fun Stops in Epcot's World Showcase pavilions give young guests an opportunity to meet Cast Members from all over the world in a fun and creative way. In the United Kingdom last year, cast members were decorating the back of Duffy, the Disney bear, cutouts with the Union Jack flag.

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

July 5, 2013

Declaration of Independence in the American Adventure

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Ben Franklin listens to Thomas Jefferson reading from the final draft of the Declaration of Independence in a scene from the American Adventure in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Scott is off this week. Probably recovering from a good old American cookout in celebration of the 4th of July holiday in the United States of America. He wanted to share this scene from Epcot's American Adventure to remind his fellow patriots of the history behind our annual day of celebration and fireworks.

Scott will return in two weeks with more Disney photos to share.

June 18, 2013

Disney Pic of the Week: World Showcase

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have enjoyed returning to Epcot's World Showcase going on 30 years this year. The changes over that time have given the perpetual world's fair renewed life with grand festivals in the Spring and Fall. Musical entertainment in the pavilions and featured acts on the America Gardens Theater stage throughout the year. And the evolution of Illuminations fireworks show which is performed each and every night (weather permitting, of course).

Yet, it still gives my a huge smile when I see a little blond girl in a blue dress dash off into the garden behind the shops looking for a white rabbit. I bet you would to.

Alice looking for a white rabbit in Epcot's United Kingdom pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Alice looking for a white rabbit in the United Kingdom.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 92mm focal length.

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

April 12, 2013

Play the Waiting Game at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Returning to Epcot for another tip on photographing in busy tourist attractions using Walt Disney World examples. This one can be tough if you are traveling with children but not impossible. Even as busy as a Disney themepark can be, if you wait a bit, an opportunity will present itself.

The first photo of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in the China pavilion, I took at 6:27PM. People were still going in and out and walking about the area.

People are seen entering the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in the China pavilion at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
People are seen entering the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in the China pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 18mm focal length, tripod.

I really wanted a people free photo so I waited. It only took 20 minutes and the Cast Members had closed the doors to the attraction. People would still walk up to the building but not very often. I was able to capture the scene a few times without anyone entering or leaving the frame.

A quiet Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in the China pavilion at Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A quiet Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in the China pavilion at Epcot.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 30s, f/18, ISO 200, EV 0, 18mm focal length, tripod.

The added benefit of waiting was the start of Blue Hour which added color to the sky. Next time, take a few added minutes to see if where you are photographing clears of people, even at Walt Disney World.

April 9, 2013

Disney Pic of the Week: Norway

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Norway is a mysterious country and its pavilion in Epcot brings that out. You meet trolls in the shops and attractions. Roofs are made of grass and flowers. The exhibits inside the Stave Church tell the story of Norway's Vikings.

One night as I was waiting for Illuminations to start, I turned around and noticed people walking by behind me. I set my camera to shutter priority and created ghosts with a long exposure. Will have to try this again with a tripod. For now, envision the ghosts wearing Viking helmets.

Guests look like Ghosts as they pass the Stave Church in Epcot's Norway pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
People look like Ghosts as they pass the Stave Church at night.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/3s, f/5.6, ISO 1250, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length.

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

March 22, 2013

Photographing at Night in Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I recently read an article about photography tips for busy tourist attractions. I think Walt Disney World qualifies as such a place. The first tip was to get up early to avoid the crowds. I have to agree this works for many tourist areas in the world but Disney parks are not accessible in the early morning. The exceptions being if you get an early dining reservation for a character breakfast in the Magic Kingdom or Epcot before they are open to guests.

For the most part, the best way to not get other guests in your photos is to stay after hours. This works especially well on Extra Magic Hour nights as many people leave before the park closes.

After Illuminations, people stream out of the World Showcase area and is a favorite time for photographers to enjoy people free time with the pavilions. Such was the case when I set up a tripod in France just fifteen minutes after the fireworks show ended.

France pavilion at night in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
France pavilion at night in Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 30s, f/14, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, tripod.
While attending Extra Magic Hours in the Magic Kingdom, I noticed the Hall of Presidents was still open around midnight. The lobby was empty and the Cast Members did not mind me setting up a tripod to take some photographs. A few guests would come through once in a while. For the most part, the place was empty.
Hall of Presidents foyer in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Hall of Presidents foyer in Liberty Square.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 5600, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length, tripod.

I know for many people, staying late is not an option. I will be back next week with more ideas.

March 21, 2013

Epcot's Mexico Pyramid

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Mexico pyramid in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mexico's Aztec Pyramid in Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length, polarizer filter.

Florida has lots of blue sky which sets up the warm tones of Mexico'a pyramid in Epcot's World Showcase. I used a Circular Polarizing filter to deepen the sky's color even more for my Disney Pic of the Week on Mexico.

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.

March 10, 2013

Where in the World #271

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 I realized? I've been doing Where in the World Photo Fun for two years! Barrie handed me the hostess duties on Feburary 13, 2011. Can you believe it? All of you have been so wonderful to me this past 2 years; sometimes when a popular person leaves, the following leaves with them. But you Players have been loyal to AllEars and what Barrie started, and just very supportive of me. Thank you!
Thank You smiley From Millan.Net

Here was last week's challenge:
 Where in the World #270

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

This one was a toughie. It's Christopher Robbins bedroom where you meet Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the UK Pavilion in Epcot.

I bet a lot of you aren't very pleased with me right now, because when I quoted “March comes in like a lion...”, it looked like a clue. Mea Culpa, Players! Blushing smiley From Millan.Net

And then there's Maranda Nichols who laughed in the face of the challenge and said bring it on! :)

Mike Rotkiske was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Mike and all our winners this week! Tina Wells, Christina Rotella, Maranda & Chris & Amanda Nichols, and Rob & April Team Vanderpool. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #271: Where in the world is this?

We're changing parks! Why? Because we can.
 Where in the World #271

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Friday, March 14th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

February 22, 2013

Vacation Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last week we talked about what makes a good Travel Photograph. This week, I am talking about what makes a good Vacation Photograph. It will not surprise you to hear they both are very much a like. You want them to tell a story and to give a sense of place or where you were on vacation. The added element are people and, specifically, members of your traveling party. For my examples, I will be using my own family.

Here you see my wife and daughters at the Port of Bay Lake in front of the Magic Kingdom. While we were waiting to board a Motor Cruiser to Fort Wilderness for a meal at the Trail's End restaurant, I spotted this nice photo location. The story is nautical and it sure does tell the viewer we were at Walt Disney World.

Members of a family getting ready to board a Motor Cruiser at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Members of Scott's family getting ready to board a Motor Cruiser to Fort Wilderness.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 65mm focal length.

Look for ways to connect a person's history or interests in your vacation photos. My daughter meet up with her high school French teacher at Epcot during this trip. I thought it appropriate to have them pose with Epcot's France pavilion behind them.

People posing with Epcot's France pavilion in the background, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Scott's daughter and her French teacher with Epcot's France pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV 0, 40mm focal length.

Let us not forget the most fun kind of vacation photos, the embarrassing kind! My wife loves pandas. I used these props found just across from the China pavilion in Epcot to show that love. She was a dear to allow me to do this. Of course, she did not think I would be sharing it with all of you at the time. Sorry, honey!

Vacationer posing at the China pavilion in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Scott's wife at Epcot's China pavilion with a panda puppet.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Be creative and have fun photographing your vacation whether it is at a Disney park or anywhere else in the world.

TIP: All of these photos were taken using Fill Flash to cut down the harsh shadows and to brighten the subjects.

February 7, 2013

Germany Chocolate Covered Snack in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Chocolate covered strawberry snack from Germany in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Chocolate covered strawberry snack from Germany.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV +0.7.

My wife loves the chocolate and caramel dipped strawberries from Germany's Karamell-Küche shop. It is her favorite snack so I had to use it for my Disney Pic of the Week on Snacks

January 24, 2013

United Kingdom Guitar Solo in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

British Revolution band performer playing at the United Kingdom's pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
British Revolution band performer doing a guitar solo in the United Kingdom pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/5.6, ISO 500, EV 0, 250mm focal length.

The British Revolution play throughout the day in the United Kingdom pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase. They bring all the energy of British Rock from The Beatles to The Who. Most sets feature a crowd pleasing guitar solo and makes for my Disney Pic of the Week on Musical Performances.

January 15, 2013

Disney Pic of the Week: Illuminations

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The current Illuminations fireworks show, Reflections of Earth, is a fabulous show right in the heart of Epcot's World Showcase Lagoon. I believe it it the closest guests get to a Disney fireworks show at Walt Disney World.

I recently shared with you photography tips and a new favorite location for Illuminations. For this Disney Pic of the Week on Illuminations, I have a unique photo I took when I was with a group of photographers. I had come late to the meeting location and got in behind a few of them. Not getting the best view, I decided to include one of the camera's photographing the show. I set my focus for the show to get nice fireworks streams. Hope you like it.

Illuminations camera at Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida
Illuminations camera at Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 17.3s, f/9, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, 3-stop ND filter.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with her Illuminations photo.

January 10, 2013

Epcot Flowers

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Hanging flowers in front of the Italy pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hanging flowers in front of Epcot's Italy pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, polarizer filter.

It was a beautiful Autumn day in Epcot's World Showcase when I took this photo featuring these beautiful flowers in hanging pots in front of the Italy pavilion. I used a small aperture of f/16 to get everything in focus from the lamppost to the Friendship boat and Norway and China's pavilions in the background. I used a polarizing filter to deepen the colors of the water and sky.

A very colorful Disney Pic of the Week on Flowers.

December 7, 2012

Illuminations from Showcase Plaza

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

As you walk from Future World to World Showcase in Epcot along the central promenade, there is an open area between the two stores called the Showcase Plaza. The plaza angles downward to the edge of the World Showcase Lagoon. At night, some of this area may be roped off for special groups and events for Illuminations, the nightly fireworks show.

While it is great to photograph Illuminations along the fence especially in Italy and, if available, in the plaza between the United Kingdom and France. I liked setting up my tripod at the top of the Showcase Plaza "hill". There is enough elevation to shoot over the heads of the people in front of you. My only regret was not getting there early enough to line up my camera between the two pillars. Instead, you will see one of them in my photos below.

I used a Neutral Density or ND filter and remote shutter release. I set my camera in Manual mode and used the Bulb shutter setting. This allowed me to control how long the shutter was left open. Click Here for more details on how to use an ND filter for fireworks. I placed a wide angle lens on my camera as I wanted to capture the fireworks which come in from the sides of the lagoon. I cropped as needed.

Illuminations fireworks show in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Illuminations fireworks show in Epcot.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 32.8s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length, tripod.

On this one below, I cropped it vertical. I like how the fireworks stacked up in layers over the long 41 second exposure time. You can also see the lasers coming from the American Adventure in the smoke.

Illuminations fireworks show in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Illuminations fireworks show in Epcot.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 41.5s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length, tripod.

These last two use much shorter shutter speeds as the show was approaching the grande finale and there was a lot more fireworks being launched. The arching firework streams from the side is what I was looking for.

Illuminations fireworks show in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Illuminations fireworks show in Epcot.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 20s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length, tripod.
Illuminations fireworks show in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Illuminations fireworks show in Epcot.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 17.7s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length, tripod.

I know there are other popular locations to photograph Illuminations from. However, seeing it from the Showcase Plaza location, you do not have some of the obstructions which are in front of the country pavilions. The sloped plaza makes it easier for people to see the show even if there are lots of other guests in front of them. Give it a try the next time you visit Epcot.

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 6, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Canada

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Canada pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase is home to the O'Canada CircleVision 360 Theater. The movie got a make over in 2007 and is hosted by Canadian actor Martin Short. He does liven up the movie a lot and most of the imagery from the original movie is still used including a scene were the Royal Canadian Mounted Police encircle the audience during a filmed performance.

A quick trivia question for you. Do you know what the National Sport of Canada is?

Canadian Mounted Police circling the audience in Epcot's Canada pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Canadian Mounted Police circling the audience in Epcot's Canada pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 6400, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

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

October 9, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: United Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Unitied Kingdom pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase is home to the Rose & Crown Pub and Yorkshire County Fish Shop restaurants. People can shop for British sporting goods, clothing, ancestry, tea and music. Speaking of music, the Hide Park garden in the back of the pavilion is the new home of the British Revoluion band who get guests rocking with British pop hits of the 1960s to the 1980s.

The British Revolution rocking the United Kingdom pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The British Revolution rocking the United Kingdom pavilion.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 560, EV +0.3.

Lisa will be here on Thursday sharing her Disney Pic of the Week of United Kingdom.

October 7, 2012

Where in the World #250

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!

Thanks for your wonderful messages, Carolyn Como and Karen Ramirez! I appreciate that!
I actually leave for Walt Disney World in 3 weeks, Patti Mccaffrey. My husband and I are going to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary! We're dressing up and having our picture taken in front of the castle; we even have bride and groom mouse ears for the picture. :)

On the other hand, Rob & April Vanderpool, Sharon Pierce, and Caroline Burmester are going through the “My Disney vacation is over” blues. Come on, Players, bring it in for a group hug. (Guys, you can give a manly chuck on the shoulder if that would be more comfortable for you.)

Penny Urell, look! It's your name again! :)

Here was the September 30th challenge:
 Where in the World #249

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

The Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
in Epcot's Norway pavilion! Home to Princess Storybook Dining which draws a sea of tiny Disney Princesses and their families there to meet their heroines in person!

Patterson Family, look at you speaking Norwegian! I'm impressed!

Brian Gallant was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Brian and to all the readers who got the answer right: Ed Elder, The Kahle Family, Kenny, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, The Kahle Family, Louise Barton, Lorine Landon, Jennifer Rowell, Chris Landon, Ashley Johnston, Kelly Zanauskas, Anna Warburton, Theresa Rucando, Kerry A., Carol Gamill, Pollyanna Buff, Jennifer Harmon, Curtis Bille, Jackie Kirner, Cindy Smith, Colette Stanton, Kristen Kempf, Jamie K, Melissa Bacon, Anne Marie Cronin, Dave Wang, Deb Ragno, Mary Beth Tarbet, Emily Jabas, Paul Dickson, Olivia Def, Robert Avnet, Stuart Hale, Lee Jourdan, Melyssa Mignone, Lee Jourdan, Noah Schweizer, Janet Thorn, Brian Nale, Lynette Michalos, Paula Massarelli, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Vera Williams, Christine Dagney, Erin Dagney, Emily Dagney, The Omeara Family, Gabriella & Matthieu, Kristen Moody, James And Kathy Berry, Lee Anastasi, Theresa Lucotti, Mike O'brien , Carolyn Como, Tommy Montgomery, Ken Maikowski, Nathalie Periard, Audra Miller, Kevin Miller, Linda "the Pooh" scrivano, Katie Marshall, Ken Clark, Mike Walter, Veronica Peterson, Angie Young, Kelly Cummings, Kara Cummings, Scott Welch, Dave Kanigowski, Hoekzema Family, Robert Noecker, Maureen Handy, Eva Mayhew, Gerald Skanes, Chris Connors, C.j. Connors, Debbie Connors, Jennifer Snook, Griffin Harpel, Emily Hudson, Jen Tremley, Patty Carty, Kim Skanes, Maggie Klotz, Chris Kelly, Cynthia Hitchcock, Ruth Woodhouse, Linda College, Morgan M., Laura V., Susie Howard, Patti Mccaffrey, Pam Vanaustin, Carri Marotto, Mackenzie D., Staci Plunkett, Teresa Plunkett, Nancy Johansen, Sandie Albrecht, Julie And Kody Rider, Erica Zielewski, Kim Mobley, The Kertes Family, Kathy Huckabee, Laurie Walker, Hillary Waldroop, Christopher Barnes, Les Stewart, Jenny Stoneburner, Mickey Eckert, James Chris Nichols, Heidi Burke, Evanna Huda, Clay Anthony, Karen Ramirez, Melodye Berry, Morag Lemon, Craig, Chloe Mayhew, Dan Johnston, Mike Haven, Sandy Kanigowski, Tricia Noble, Gallagher Family, Ashley Hill, Amber Slifer, Kristen Mccoy, Dale Knight, Jeremy Reichelt, Kristen Carde, Andrea Kruszewski, Betsy Silvestri, Anastasia Macneil, Andy Schumacher, Jennifer Cravener, Matthew Jadro, Nathaniel Clements, Rebecca Keenan, Patrick Broaddus, Emily Watson, Al Desimone, Debbie Desimone, Scott Sangston, Claire Gregory, Christopher Dotzman, Doug Andrews, Karen Martin, Kevin Jones, John Pasqueralli, Pecosace, Kelly Smith, Hobbes And Snorky, Lori Rienhardt, Walter N. Clark, Heidi Goodhue, Sharon Dale, Caryn Schill, Jim Fonseca , Jim Fonseca , The Hicks Family, Rob Jacob, Eric Holmes, Stephanie Dollar, Mike Sosnovich, John Menjes, Alan Mize, Matt Holley, Jack And Bill Foley, Mike Haeberle, Kelly Chipmunk Barnes, Rob & April Team Vanderpool, Kerrie Hogan, Kate Flanagan, Nancy, Jason Skow, Kerry Mccaffrey, Dawn Bach, Agnes Ciotti, Ruth Cookson, Jenny Brennan, Maryann Daly, William Edwards, Emma Ramsey, George Mundy Jr, Sharon Pierce, Caroline Burmester, Jenn Steele, Wendy T Faler, Trish Babler, Fred Shakeshaft, Paula B, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Mark Proper, Kristin Dormuth, Taylor Pocopanni, Annie Snodgrass, The Patterson Family, Mark Franklin, Kirsten Miller, Gerald Buford, Carolyn Duff, Lisa Zitek, Karen Smith, Ed Bene, Kyler Scott And Kevin Too, Emily Henderson, Ana Petersen, and Kathryn Willer. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

That closes out September, which means: TIME TO DRAW THE MONTHLY WINNER! And the September 2012 winner is: Heidi Burke! Congratulations, Heidi! You win AllEars swag from Deb Wills!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #250: Where in the world is this?

Staying in the parks!
 Where in the World #250

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

September 25, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: The Three Caballeros

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Three Caballeros are the stars of the Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride inside the Mexico pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase. Panchito, José Carioca and Donald Duck or, as Lisa would remind me, Pato Donald make up the famous trio featured in Walt Disney's animated movie of the same name. José is the one on the right.

The Three Caballeros entertain guests riding on the Gran Fiesta Tour inside Epcot's Mexico pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Three Caballeros entertain guests riding on the Gran Fiesta Tour.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 720, EV +0.3.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with her take for our Disney Pic of the Week about The Three Caballeros.

September 14, 2012

Advanced Dark Ride Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

First, I want to outline it for you:

Equipment

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

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

Photography

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

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

Post Processing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 6, 2012

China's Stone Dragons

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Dragon stone carving in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest at China in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Dragon stone carving in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest at China.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/1600s, f/2.5, ISO 200, EV +0.3.

I am constantly surprised at the amount of detail I find in all the pavilions in Epcot's World Showcase. I found this craved dragon of stone in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest for my Disney Pic of the Week about China.


August 26, 2012

Where in the World #244

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

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

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

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

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

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

560.

LOL!

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

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

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

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

 Where in the World #244

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

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

August 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 26, 2012

Italian Volcano Ovens in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Chefs work to feed the three wood fired ovens at Via Napoli in Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Chefs work to feed the three wood fired ovens at Via Napoli.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 400, EV +0.6

Napoli restaurant has become my favorite restaurant in Epcot's World Showcase. On my last trip I got in low at the large communal table leading up to the open air kitchen featuring the three wood fired ovens named Stromboli, Vesuvius and Etna after the three active volcanoes in Italy. Fitting for my Disney Pic of the Week on Italy.


July 17, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Disney Maps

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When planning my very first trip to Walt Disney World back in 1983. Websites like this was still more than a decade in the future. I had to rely on a book called Birnbaum's Walt Disney World which showed detailed maps of both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The only two parks at the time. I spent hours with that book to make sure I got the most out of my vacation (which doubled as my honeymoon).

Today, you can find maps of any Disney themepark in the world online. Click this link for maps of Walt Disney World here on AllEars.net. When you enter any Disney park there are maps and entertainment guides readily available and in many languages. Shops and carts will have them, too. One of those things we take for granted by must cost Disney plenty to keep updated and fresh.

If you could not see, all these maps are of no use to you. In each Walt Disney World park there are braille maps for the blind and visually impaired. This one is located at the International Gateway entrance to World Showcase in Epcot.

Braille map of Epcot at the International Gateway entrance to World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Braille map of Epcot at the International Gateway entrance to World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 1100, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with her Disney Pic of the Week photo about Maps in the Disney parks.

July 12, 2012

Blue Hour in Epcot's Morocco

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Koutoubia Minaret at night in Epcot's Morocco in the World Showcase,Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Koutoubia Minaret at night in Epcot's Morocco in the World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/25s, f/3.5, ISO 6400, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Blue hour is a special time for photographers. While the human eye can not detect it easily, a long exposure will build up the deep blue sky color. I like to put lighted buildings or areas with blue hour as I like the yellow lights against the blue. Such was a night in Epcot's Morocco pavilion with the Koutoubia Minaret, prayer tower, in golden light against the twilight sky. Hope you enjoyed my Disney Pic of the Week on World Showcase at Night.

July 6, 2012

Patriotism at the American Adventure

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Member of the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps saluting the American flag in front of the American Adventure in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Member of the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps saluting the American flag in front of the American Adventure.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/13, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

When it comes to American Patriotism, the Walt Disney Company is a master at bringing on such feelings for the citizens of the United States. Performances of the Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps occur several times a day in front of the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase.

June 28, 2012

Maelstrom Trolls in Norway

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Guests meet trolls on the Maelstrom ride in Norway at Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Trolls warn guests riding Norway's Maelstrom ride.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 12800, EV +0.3

In norse mythology, trolls are rarely described as helpful or friendly. The trolls guests meet on the Maelstrom ride in Norway send them into an exciting and backwards ride through a dark forest and almost over a waterfall. Not a very helpful trio are they?

This is an example of an extreme high ISO image for my Disney Pic of the Week on Norway.


May 24, 2012

San Angel Inn in Mexico

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

San Angel Inn restaurant inside the Mexico pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
San Angel Inn restaurant inside Mexico.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16mm, 25s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 11mm focal length, tripod.

The San Angel Inn restaurant inside the Mexico pavilion always looks so inviting. Nice rich colors and an awesome atmosphere which was I why I chose it for my Disney Pic of the Week on Mexico. Problem is I am not a fan of Mexican food. Or, as I was told once, I never had good Mexican food. I am asking you for some help. If you were to take me here, what would you recommend I order? Click Here for the San Angel Inn Menu.

May 10, 2012

Juggling Entertainment at World Showcase in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Interactive juggler Sergio entertaining guests at Italy's pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Interactive juggler Sergio entertaining guests at Epcot's Italy pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV 0, 58mm focal length.

Sergio, the International interactive juggler, entertains guests in the World Showcase pavilion of Italy five days a week. Check the Epcot entertainment guide when you enter the park for specific times. As you can see by his title and the photo, Sergio gets guests involved in his act and is my Disney Pic of the Week on World Showcase Entertainers.

April 17, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: American Adventure

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

As an American, it is hard not to feel a huge sense of pride when visiting the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase. The Disney Imagineers did a monumental job in fitting together the history and elements of the United States of America in its art, accomplishments and architecture.

The pavilion itself was done in classic English Georgian style. Elements of the building were inspired by Independence Hall, Boston's Old State House, Monticello, and Colonial Williamsburg. The structure's 110,000 bricks are handmade from Georgian clay, which were then colored and aged to make them look authentic. The roof is made of slate and the floor of marble and copper.

Even at night, the American Adventure shines between Italy and Japan.

The American Adventure at night in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The American Adventure at night in Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 20s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.7, 95mm focal length, tripod.

Lisa be here on Thursday to salute the American Adventure for the Disney Pic of the Week.

April 12, 2012

Hall of Flags inside the American Adventure

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Hall of Flags inside the American Adventure in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hall of Flags inside the American Adventure.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/30s, f/3.5, ISO 800, EV +1, 18mm focal length.

After being allowed to enter the walkway to the theater inside the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, you walk up stairs or take the escalators through the Hall of Flags. These flags were displayed at different times throughout the history of the United States and include flags used by state and federal governments. They make for a colorful and historic Disney Pic of the Week on Flags & Banners.

March 16, 2012

Rockin' Around Epcot's World Showcase

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Epcot's World Showcase features live musical entertainment daily and seasonally. Canada, Japan, Morocco and the United Kingdom have permanent stages while Mexico and the American Adventure have roving musicians. Today I am showing you the Rockin' part of World Showcase.

First up is the Celtic Rock band in Canada, Off Kilter. Lead by singer and bagpipe player, Jamie Holton (upper right below), Off Kilter's unmistakable sound pulls people in and their fun on stage presence keeps them there. Along with Jamie, (from top left) bass guitarist Mark Weldon, master guitarist Randy Holbrook and keyboardist Tony Escapa. Not pictured is drummer Scott Zymowski. Click the Photo for a Larger Version.

Off Kilter on stage in the Canada pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Off Kilter on stage in the Canada pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase.

Morocco is our next stop where Mo'Rockin take Arabic rhythms into a contemporary flair. I must admit while the music is good and lively. When the dancer appears, the interest of those around increase and she enjoys teaching little ones to dance, too. Click the Photo for a Larger Version.

Mo'Rockin entertaining in Morocco in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mo'Rockin entertaining in Morocco in Epcot's World Showcase.

Twice a year, Epcot hosts festivals with special musical acts at the America Gardens Theatre in front of the American Adventure. In the Spring, there's the Flower and Garden Festival with a series of concerts called Flower Power. The Fall festival called Food and Wine has the Eat to the Beat concerts. These concerts feature bands from the 1970's and 1980's.

Last Fall, I enjoyed seeing one of my favorite bands from my college days. The Orchestra has former members of the popular band Electric Light Orchestra also known as ELO. If you are at Walt Disney World this May from 4th to the 6th, stop by and enjoy their unique rock sound featuring violinist Mike Kaminski (see below). Click the Photo for a Larger Version.

Former members of ELO make up The Orchestera performing during an Eat to the Beat concert at the America Gardens Theatre, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Former members of ELO make up The Orchestera performing during an Eat to the Beat concert at the America Gardens Theatre.

To make sure you catch all the entertainment found around Epcot, pick up an entertainment guide as you enter the park or in any shops or kiosks.

March 15, 2012

Morocco Belly Dancer

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Dancer entertaining guests inside Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Dancer entertaining guests inside Restaurant Marrakesh.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5, ISO 6400, EV 0, 48mm Focal Length, bounce flash.

A few times a day, traditional Moroccan music is played and a belly dancer invites children and adults to join her on the floor inside Restaurant Marrakesh in the Morocco pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase. Sometimes she even comes to your table which made for this exciting Disney Pic of the Week on Morocco.

March 2, 2012

Canada Waterfall in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Waterfalls are a favorite subject of photographers everywhere. Ever wonder how they get the water to look so silky even in the middle of the day? First, they use the lowest ISO on their digital camera around 100 to 200 depending on the camera. Second, they select small apertures like f/16 or f/22. This gets them the slowest shutter speed possible. Slow shutter speeds does require the use of a tripod to keep everything sharp.

That is what I did below. The water is still too detailed for the look I wanted. A longer shutter speed would be needed.

Canada's Rocky Mountain waterfall in Epcot without an ND filter, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Canada's Rocky Mountain Waterfall without an ND filter.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

To cut down the amount of light for longer shutter speeds, I used Neutral Density (ND) filters in different strengths. If you recall, ND filters act like sunglasses.

Canada's Rocky Mountain waterfall in Epcot with ND filters, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Canada's Rocky Mountain Waterfall with ND filters.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Leaving the aperture and ISO the same, you can see above the effects of each Neutral Density filter I used.

  • ND2 (or 0.3) filter cuts 1 stop of light and increased the shutter speed to 1/30s.
  • ND4 (or 0.6) filter cuts 2 stops of light and increased the shutter speed to 1/10s.
  • ND8 (or 0.9) filter cuts 3 stops of light and increased the shutter speed to 1/3s.

Do you see how the water got silkier the slower the shutter speed became? Not bad for a mid-afternoon in central Florida. But...I wanted more.

Canada's Rocky Mountain waterfall in Epcot with stacked ND filters, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Canada's Rocky Mountain Waterfall with stacked 2 & 3 stop ND filters.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 2s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

To get the shutter down to a whole 2 seconds, I stacked my two strongest ND filters, the ND4 and ND8, to create one 5 stop filter. When you stack filters, you may get some vignetting which was the case here. I simply cropped that out.

You can get stronger ND filters or photograph in the early morning, late in the day or when the weather is cloudy and/or rainy.

Click here to learn how to use Neutral Density filters for fireworks and themepark rides.

February 28, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week: Fences

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Ah, Canada! A country in World Showcase full of lively music, hockey merchandise, cold beer and the popular steakhouse, Le Cellier. It is also the home to the most unique fencing found around World Showcase as it is not made out of metal. Wooden fencing decorated with red maple leafs, a national symbol of Canada, aline the pavilion facing the World Showcase lagoon.

Looking over Canada's fence at World Showcase in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Looking over Canada's fence at World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/16, ISO 6400, EV 0, 16mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday with a familiar take on the Disney Pic of the Week about Fences.

February 17, 2012

A Jolly Holiday with Mary in the United Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Been awhile since I have mentioned using Fill Flash to open up the shadows on those bright sunny days we encounter at Walt Disney World. Fill flash came in handy when I photographed Mary Poppins who was wearing a very pretty hat in the United Kingdom pavilion.

Mary Poppins at United Kingdom in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Mary Poppins being supercallifragilisticexpialidocious in Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 170mm, fill flash at -1.0 power.

February 9, 2012

Taiko Drummer in Japan

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Taiko Drummer performaing at Japan's pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Taiko Drummer performing at Japan's pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/29, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 230mm focal length.

I wanted to show the speed of one of the Taiko Drummers in Epcot's World Showcase pavilion for Japan. To do that I switched to Shutter Priority mode and selected 1/30th of a second. These performers put their all into it as this photos shows.

January 29, 2012

Where in the World #214

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Happy Belated Birthday, Lauren Thomas! I hope it was magical!

I'm glad you're finally feeling better, Mary Beth Tarbet. Good job on sending that healing pixie dust, players!

Mike Venere, we had snow (your fault), then Spring, and apparently are headed back into Winter. Here's a shocker: I got a cold. ;-)

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #213

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, 6mm, 1/60s shutter, f3.5, ISO 200

Here's something I never noticed until this past December: The old Coca-Cola truck at the African Coolpost (formerly Refreshment Outpost) " next to the African Outpost " in Epcot's World Showcase. I stumbled upon this when my little 18-month old nephew played on the drums nearby.

Way to go, Tiffany Gibb! Let the hubby know he was wrong " nicely. :)

Larissa Huda was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Larissa and to all the readers who got the answer right: Matthew Herman, Mary Beth Tarbet, William, Thomas Elizabeth, Gordon And Vicki Edwards, Peter Strukel, Betsy Silvestri, Tiffany Gibb, Julie Wickware, The O'meara Family, Craig, Karen Ramirez, Dee Dee Kenney, Patti Mccaffrey, Kerry Mccaffrey, Brian Miller, Paul Dickson, Margie Larmon, Karrie Duffey, Evanna Huda, Andrew Schumacher, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Susan Doucette, Sharon Dale, Linda Mac, Scott Price, Ruth Cookson, Emily Hudson, Danny Wags, Tim Schneider, Harry Wilson, Christopher Barnes, and Rob Blundin. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #214: Where in the world is this?

Another one from the parks. (I need to get one from outside the parks for next week...) Anyway!
 Where in the World #214

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 2nd, 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, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

January 3, 2012

Disney Pic of the Week - Germany

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Germany in Epcot's World Showcase is a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Here you can eat and drink as every day is Oktoberfest in the Biergarten restaurant. Beer steins, wine, cuckoo clocks, dolls, pottery and hand-painted eggs by German artisans can be found in the shoppes outside the restaurant.

While most guests leave Epcot after Illuminations, I stayed one night and photographed the Germany pavillion using a tripod.

Germany pavillion after Illuminations in Ecpot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Late night in Epcot's Germany pavillion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 10s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.7, 18mm Focal Length, Tripod.

Barrie and Lisa will be here on Thursday and Saturday to share Germany photos for their Disney Pic of Week.

December 29, 2011

Close Up of an Epcot Butterfly

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Butterfly close up in Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Butterfly close up in a garden in front of Italy in Epcot.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

I do not own a macro lens. Instead, I use my zoom lens to focus in close on small objects. This is what I did with the butterfly I found going from flower to flower in the gardens across from the Italy pavilion in Epcot. Due to the focal length of 300mm, I had to be about two feet from the butterfly to keep him in focus. I cropped the resulting photo about 40 percent to further bring the butterfly in closer for my Disney Pic of the Week for Macro/Close Up Photography.

I must have looked a bit nutty as I stalked this butterfly from flower cluster to flower cluster through two gardens. If you are at Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival held in the Spring, you can visit Bambi's Butterfly House where you can photograph hundreds of butterflies in a more controlled environment.

December 8, 2011

Epcot's Eiffel Tower

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Eiffel Tower in Epcot's France pavilion at dusk, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Eiffel Tower in Epcot's France pavilion at dusk.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/25s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV -0.3, 116mm focal length.

When I think of France, I think of Paris which naturally takes me to the Eiffel Tower. In Epcot, the France pavilion uses Disney's age old trick of forced perspective to make their Eiffel Tower look as tall as the original when it is only one-tenth its size. A fitting photo for my Disney Pic of Week for France.

December 6, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week: France

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I am substituting for Barrie this week who found herself without access to the Internet where she is staying in Florida before coming to Walt Disney World later this week. Barrie will owe me big time for this. ;-)

France, the country, brings thoughts of romance, Paris, the Eiffel Tower, French cuisine and fabulous breads and pastries. The France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase embodies all those thoughts and feelings. Here you can meet Beauty and the Beast and ask them about their tale as old as time. Walk among Paris-styled streets and cafes. See the Eiffel Tower. Eat at the award winning Chefs de France restaurant where you might see a Little Chef at your table or dine upstairs in the elegant Bistro de Paris restaurant. Ah, and my favorite, Boulangerie Paitisserie, where you can enjoy fresh French pastries and breads.

A couple of years back, I found myself photographing around World Showcase past sunset and the photos I was taking showed a beautiful blue sky. Little did I know at the time I had stumbled upon the "Blue Hour". Felt it a fitting color and time for France.

The France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/4.5, ISO 6400, EV -0.3, 55mm focal length.

Lisa and I will be here on Thursday and Saturday with our Disney Pic of the Week of France.

November 27, 2011

Where in the World #205

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Wait a minute, Players, we have a cast member amongst us! John from Animal Kingdom.

That's a good lead-in for me saying: when we talk the next time, peeps, I will be in Walt Disney World! Staying at my home away from home, Fort Wilderness! Maybe I will see some of you there.

While we're talking about the World, Betsy Silvestri, you are NOT weird for missing Snow White's Scary Adventures! I still miss Mr. Toad. And for the first princess to lose her attraction? It's something special.

Susie Howard, when you say you'll be at the Macy's parade with Mickey, do you mean you're a balloon handler? I SO want to do that! I called to volunteer to do it this year and found out you have to be an employee. Wow, how fantastic would it be to volunteer and find yourself working with Mickey?!

I didn't hear from other nations, so here's to the counties that we know play Where in the World Photo Fun! It's a glorious “Salute to All Nations, but mostly America!” Actually, it's USA and Canada!

Smiley from millan.net Smiley from millan.net

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #204

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2004 Erin Blackwell Canon ZR65 MC, 14mm, 1/120s shutter, f/3.2

It's one of the castle/houses at the Germany miniature railroad in Epcot! See, Brian Gallant, you were right. There was a figure there! Like Sharon Dale, this was one of my favorite Hidden Mickeys.

Tim Johansen was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Tim and to all the readers who got the answer right: Kye Layton, Austin Oblenis, Matt Holley, Nicole Parker, Theresa Rucando, Dave Wang, Kathryn Perkins, Jacquelyn Law, Craig, John Hout, Lee Anastasi, Steve Smith, Amanda Campbell, Susie Howard, Gabriella And Matthieu Bruxelle, Sharon Pierce, Will Gallagher, Brian Gallant, Stephanie Newell, Karrie Duffey, Andrew Schumacher, Terry Fleming, Jennifer Mercier, Sharon Dale, Alan Mize, Mike Haeberle, Matt Degrandis, Barrie Brewer, Cheryl Costello, Robert Mccoy, Kelly Zanauskas, Betsy Moquin, Karen Smith, Emily Hudson, Jason Skow, Greg Burke, Kyler Scott, Christopher Barnes, Gretchen Barnes, Robert P. Flaherty, The O'meara Family, Jon Solomonson, Barclay Bakkum, Robert Bostic, and Robert Duncan. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Which leads to.... (that's the drumroll) the monthly drawing! This month's big winner is Ashley Wilson! Congratulations, Ashley, you are the lucky recipient some really cool AllEars® swag from Deb Wills!
__________________________________________________________________________
Challenge #205: Where in the world is this?

Hmmmm.... Well, we're in the parks.... So what could this be?

 Where in the World #205

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, December 1st, 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, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

November 17, 2011

Aladdin with his Princess at Morocco

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Aladdin with Jasmine in front of Morocco at Epcot's World Showcase,Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Aladdin with Jasmine in front of Morocco greeting guests.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/20, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 120mm focal length.

I had a hard time coming up with a photo for the Disney Pic of Week about Aladdin (the movie). I found plenty of photos of Jasmine. I must not have an eye for the Princes of Disney. I did find this one of Aladdin with Jasmine meeting and greeting guests in front of Morocco in Epcot's World Showcase. I guess if there is a princess around, the prince will get in the photo.

October 6, 2011

Moroccan Mimosas at the Food & Wine Festival

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Moroccan cast member mixes up a mimosa cocktail during the Food and Wine Festival in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Moroccan cast member mixes up a mimosa cocktail during the Food and Wine Festival.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/40s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, rear-sync flash.

While visiting the Morocco pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase last year during the Food & Wine Festival, my wife and daughter enjoyed a Mimosa cocktail. Mimosa is a mix of orange juice and champagne. I was told they were very good and makes from my Disney Pic of the Week about the Food & Wine Festival.

September 30, 2011

The Spirit of Norway at Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Norway pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Norway pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 280, EV +0.3, 200mm focal length.

When I visit Epcot's World Showcase, I always enjoy a stop in the Norway pavilion. There you can learn about Norway's mythology, past, present and future by enjoying a dragon boat ride through the Maelstrom. Norway is the home to my favorite snack in Walt Disney World (School Bread at the Kringla Bakeri og Kafe) and the home to Vikings. The mighty Viking below stands outside the Stave Church where an exhibit of famous Vikings and their history resides.

A mighty Viking outside the Stave Church in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A mighty Viking outside the Stave Church.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 78mm focal length.

I know many people walk right through the theater at the end of the Maelstrom ride. If you have never seen the movie or have not seen it in a long time, take the six minutes to view the beauty of Norway and its people.

September 18, 2011

Where in the World Challenge 195

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Jeremy Mccaffrey, I heard I missed your Dumbo answer. I am really sorry about that. I put you in the list of winners, so you are eligible for the monthly drawing. Happy 10th Birthday! I hope you had a magical day!

Hello, Isabel! Since you are 7 years old, you are the youngest person playing “Where in the World”!

Agnes Ciotti, you spent Hurricane Irene better than I did!

Now, everyone, Marissa D'ambrosio is in Walt Disney World this weekend. Let's all wish her a happy trip and let's try to do it without any jealousy creeping in our voices. Bon Voyage, Marissa! (you lucky grumble not jealous at all, no not me)

Jason Skow, thank you for your wonderful note!

Greg Papa, your losing streak is broken. : )

This was Challenge #194:
 Where in the World #194

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2010 Erin Blackwell Canon Powershot SD890 IS, 7mm, 1/6s shutter, f/3.2, ISO 320

Our friendly Troll statue, on the left, is located in Puffin's Roost shop in Norway, Epcot. The lovely woman on the right is currently located in her living room typing this on her laptop. :) A few people asked about his name; I couldn't find anything saying he has one. So, Claire Gregory, your mission when you go to Disney in 45 days is to ask the Norway cast members if he does have a name!

You see, Kevin Weidenweber, not everyone takes the same picture as you. LOL! Although our troll friend has a large fan base with pictures just in our Where in the World readers! Although Danielle Sauthoff's dad thinks like you do, Kevin, because he owns a Norway troll digging for gold. Ha!

Mary Jo Gallion, you got a PhotoPass picture here with viking helmets?! I want one!

Mackenzie D., Mary Jo was honest about the helmets. Now it's your turn. ;)

Kathy Berry, I love the rice cream at the bakery. MMMMMMMM.....

Michelle Thompson, I am not laughing at your son. Just the story. LOL!

Carol Gamill, maybe you'll get picked for “My Yard Goes Disney” and they'll give you a large troll for your yard! Take pictures for me and tell them to come to my house!

Diane Curfman, I salute your husband and his blonde pigtail viking helmet in his classroom. That's true Disney teacher of the year spirit!

Kye Layton was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Kye and to all the readers who got the answer right: . Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

__________________________________________________________________________

Challenge #195: Where in the world is this?

Staying in the parks, do you know where this is?
 Where in the World #195

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, September 22nd, 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!

September 9, 2011

Fireworks Photography eBook Review

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Illuminations fireworks show Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A new eBook shows you how to photograph firework shows like Illuminations in Epcot.

My friends at the Disney Photography Blog (formerly the WDW Photography blog) have released an eBook called Fireworks Photography. The 55-page eBook is something I wished I had when I started to photograph fireworks. It would have saved me much time and money as it took three trips to Walt Disney World before I figured out how to get good photographs of Illuminations in Epcot and Wishes in the Magic Kingdom.

The first two chapters give you all you need to know about photographing fireworks shows anywhere in the world but with particular emphasis on Disney themeparks. They tell you what you need in equipment (yes, folks, you do NEED a tripod) if you are using a digital SLR camera OR a Point & Shoot camera. The principles are the same in both cases. Keep the camera steady for a long period of time and set the correct exposure settings and/or shooting modes to use so as not to get a white blob of light in your photos. Hey, we've all done it.

The third chapter is about composition. Depending on where the fireworks show is being held, interesting compositions can sometimes be a real challenge and the eBook gives good advice on how to do it. If you are photographing in a Disney themepark, it is easy to find elements to include like a castle or other park landmarks (see Illuminations photo above).

A page from the Composition Chapter of the Fireworks Photography ebook.
A page from the Composition Chapter of the Fireworks Photography eBook.

Next the eBook goes into more advanced techniques for photographing fireworks. They go in depth as to what are Neutral Density (ND) filters. The different types and what they mean. How using an ND filter affects fireworks photos and the pros and cons of using them. I learned that you don't have to set your aperture to f/16 or f/22 with an ND filter as it makes the streaks very thin. Something I found in my ND filter firework photographs. I hope to improve the next time I am photographing fireworks with ND filters at Walt Disney World. They also talk about a technique called the Country Shutter which is something I used to do back in film days and still works marvelously with digital cameras.

The last chapter goes into how to process firework shots to get the results you see in Disney brochures. They go step by step using instructions with can be used for many popular photo editing software programs like Adobe PhotoShop Elements, PhotoShop, LightRoom, Apple Aperture 3 and many others. You will see how to maintain detail in the fireworks while keeping all the bright colors you remember seeing in the shows. In other words, you will "Wow" your friends and family both at home and online.

I know what you are thinking. Between this blog and many other websites, you could find all this information for free instead of purchasing Fireworks Photography for $14US. Ebooks are good for a couple of reasons. One, you can put them on your smartphones, tablets, netbooks and laptops and have access to all their information without needing an Internet connection. Two, the topic of the eBook (in this case, fireworks photography) is laid out in one place with examples, details, suggestions and ideas by the authors who are experts. They have done all the searching, researching and compiling for you as well as passing on their knowledge and experience. In many cases, it is far easier and less time consuming for me than doing all the work myself. Well worth the money in my opinion.

July 29, 2011

A Day in the Life of a Disney Photographer

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Day in the Life is our Disney Pic of the Week theme for this week. This is an added bonus post I thought you would all be interested in reading.

In 1978, Bob Desmond was walking up Main Street USA for the first time on his honeymoon. By the time he got to the Partners statue, he had told his new bride he would someday work for Disney as an advertising photographer. At the time, they were living in Massachusetts. Bob made good on his prediction by 1987 and for the next 6 and a half years worked in Walt Disney World's Marketing department. During a managerial reorganization in 1994, when all departments at Disney were told to cut staffing, Bob had the lowest seniority and was let go. As tough as that was, it gave Bob time to pursue another love of his, the making of hand crafted guitars. His former managers did not forget Bob either and he has worked with Disney as a freelance photographer ever since.

After meeting Bob last Fall, I have enjoyed hearing about his adventures and seeing his work from both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. He has been doing most of Disney's character photos over the last 18 months. These are the photos you see in brochures, press releases, websites and signage around the parks. From Aladdin to Tigger (I do not think he has done Ursula yet but give him time), he has been doing what most of us would call a dream job.

Disney photographer, Bob Desmond, working in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Disney photographer, Bob Desmond, working in Epcot's World Showcase.

As you might imagine, it is not all supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Most of the photo shoots with the characters are done inside the parks. This means getting up very early in the morning before sunrise, setting up lighting, reflectors and other props as needed before the characters arrive so as to maximize everyone's time. Often the shoot calls for multiple locations which means having to work fast in a short amount of time as Bob and his crew need to be done before the parks open to the guests. Add the heat and humidity of an Orlando summer and one's energy can get sapped pretty fast.

Bob is an extraordinary person and photographer who delivers the photos requested by Disney in the best quality he can produce. His 20 plus years of working in the Disney parks is a tremendous asset which is why Disney seeks out his talent again and again. He often suggests ideas during the shoots to give Disney even more options and us, the guests, even more photographic reasons to return to the parks.

Disney photographer, Bob Desmond, and friends in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Disney photographer, Bob Desmond, and friends in the Magic Kingdom.

While it is hard work and has its ups and downs like any job, Bob has always told me how lucky he feels to be able to work within the parks and enjoys bringing out the best in the Disney brand with his photographs. In a recent email to me, he shared these thoughts, "I'm still working and shooting for the company that I love. It was intended by God for me to be there. I really feel that way. I have no other explanation for my good fortune."

I hope you enjoyed this special Disney Pic of the Week bonus feature. If you happen to see Bob walking around Walt Disney World, say "hi" and shake his hand for sharing with us some of the magic of Disney as seen through his photographic eye.

June 19, 2011

Where in the World #182

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

Dawn Bach, thank you for such a wonderful note! Have a wonderful trip; I know you and your daughter will have a ball!

And I did mean the 16th, Tom Higbee. LOL!

Quick note: I will be at the AllEars' New York events this weekend and I'm hoping I'll meet some of you! It's my birthday weekend and what a great way to celebrate it: special times with friends. :)

This was Challenge #181:
 Where in the World #181

And here's the answer:


Copyright © 2010 Erin Blackwelli

You can see this is the entrance arch to the Gran Fiesta Tour ride, starring Donald Duck, Panchito Pistoles, and José Carioca of The Three Caballeros. It's my favorite ride in Epcot in my favorite World Showcase pavilion, Mexico!

Here's a couple fun details to look for in the ride, if you don't about them already. In the scene where Donald is taking pictures while wearing a few sombreros, the Aracuan Bird briefly pops up inside the hats! The Aracuan Bird is his nemesis from “The Three Caballeros” and “Disney's House of Mouse” when Panchito and Jose would appear on the show. (Coincidentally, I first fell in love with Panchito and Jose on the House of Mouse!) Also look around the rocks in the scene where Donald is diving with the baby octopus: you'll see his sailor's jacket and drink on the rocks where he left them to go swimming!

A number of Worlders said this same picture is in the queue in Mickey's Philharmagic. I can see where they would be there, and I sort of remember it myself. I'll double check it and add everyone's name to the monthly winners list if it's true, so you will be in the monthly drawing too. I'll let you know next week.

Kirsty Butler was the first to send in the correct answer for the challenge! Congratulations to Kirsty and all other readers who got the answer right: Sharon Pierce, Lee Anastasi, Daniel Record, Theresa Rucando, Susie Howard, Tina Santacroce, Christine, Austin Oblenis, Ed Suscreba, Kye Layton, Cathy Skiba, Cathy Skiba, Christine Dagney, Erin Dagney, Mary Beth Tarbet, Kris Nixon, Misty Mehelic, Jen Cerce, Dee Dee Kenney, Millie Tenreiro, Michael Gainey, Cara Richards, Brian Skinner, Robert Anderson, Amy Schweizer, Erica Sipich, Matt Holley, Evanna Huda, Jennifer Harmon, Brett, Danielle Ciotti, Dawn Bach, Agnes Ciotti, Belicia Cullen, Sharon Dale, Scott Cullen, Larissa Huda, Annette Nuenke, Tammy Kallenbach , Phyllis Masse, Dale Knight, Cynthia Hitchcock, Brendan Abel, Jennifer Rupert, Brian Gallant, Maureen Handy, Linda, Mia W., Don Whiteman, Craig, Ed Hogan, Karen Schlumpf, Ruth Woodhouse, Richard Memmory, Beth Mcmeekin, Shannon Milair, Caryn Schill, Karen Adamakis, Bryan Timko, Bruce Hinterleitner, Jessica Gruhlke, Alex Karr, Jennifer Kaufman, Tim Johansen, Jacquelyn Law, Derek Carty, Gloria Martin, Linda College, Matt Cofone, Pollyanna Buff, Maryann Eckenrode, Heather Young, Leigh Mertz, Ashley Hill, Ken Jackson, Becky Terjung, Louise Barton, Madi M., Jeremy Hardy, James Berry, Kathy Berry, David, Bruce Jones, Katie Bray, Jared Orth, The Perras Family, Elizabeth Howarth, Lauren Thomas, Christopher Barnes, Karen Nelson, Carol Baranowsky, Ashley P., Chris Kelly, Kelly Mager, Laurie , Rob Blundin, Anastasia Macneil, Doug Reichl, Mackenzie D, Vicki Edwards, Jen, Andrea Kruszewski, Elizabeth Macgregor, Debra Kuklinski, Michelle Wilinski, Danielle Aston, Mary Virginia Clause, Mike O'brien, Walter N. Clark, Tim Jeltes, Paul Dickson, Tracey Mayfield, Betsy Silvestri, Jeannine Reid, Amy Filliben, Michelle Thompson, Megan Krainski, Kelly Zanauskas, Jeanette Luce, The Moore Family, Linda Mac, Tracy Discher, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Jim Finley, Steven Bowling, Jenny Leek, Luis Rodriguez, Barrie Brewer, Ed Aleszczyk, Becky H, Gareth Richards, Bob Patterson, Leslie Stewart, Nathalie Periard, Jennifer Tremley, Brittany and Jesse Siminitz, Scott Junkin, Kelly Smith, Nicole Duddy, Jeremy Reichelt, Lori Rienhardt, John Dupre, Kerry Mccaffrey, Wendy Faler, Chris Connors, Karrie Duffey, Sherry Trapp, Kristen Mccoy, Carri Marotto, Patty Newton, Michael Kaczanowski, Chris Bauman, John And Tracey Roerty, Diane Ramos, Christopher Hall, Jullie Pudem, Ken Fischler, Mike Gillardi, Ashley M, Regina Allen, Darrell Shortt, Kameo Crea, Chris And Alison, Anthony Lipinski, Erin Hammer, Brian Yesutis, Caroline Burmester, Chuck Sands, Melanie Dunlap, Elaine Johnson, Alan Mize, Carla Nale, David Gould, Kyler S., The Hicks Family, Sarah Holodick, Chloe Brooke, Jennifer Bourg, Mitch Buska, Sandra Edwards, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Brian Grabowski, Michelle Roth-smoot, Jim Logue, Katie Bowling, Katrina Westervelt, Josh Weiss, Caroline Williams, Jennifer Mccurry, Sheila Saey, Patti Deluca, Jamie K, Elaine Kleinhenz, Margot Garofalo, Liz Moreau, Joseph M Zafia, Thomas Auckland, Jason Skow, Ronnie Schreyer, Sarah Smee, Barclay Bakkum, Shirley Garcowski, Maryann Daly, Jason Lenz, Ruth Cookson, Dan Diehm, Roye Ann Morris, John Foggo, Scott Sangston, Pizazz, Eleanor Karwowski, Denise Mudrey, Robert Burge Jr, Shaun Leake, Caitlin Rush, Hillary Waldroop, Carol J, Paula Massarelli, Claire Gregory, and Veronica Monteiro. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________________________________________________

Challenge #182: Where in the world is this?

Let's stay in the parks for another week:
 Where in the World #182

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 23rd, 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 13, 2011

Scenes of Epcot's World Showcase

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last week I showed you how my friend and Disney photographer Bob Desmond approached finding details at Epcot. He further explained he likes to "build" a photo showing elements of a park. These photos say "Epcot" or "Magic Kingdom" or other Disney park or resort to someone viewing it.

The fun in this for me was finding those elements in the viewfinder. My first photo was a direct result of Bob mentioning he likes to add elements which are non-static. In this case, I waited for a Friendship boat to enter into the mid-ground between the lamp with flowers in the foreground and the China and Norway pavilions in the background.

Hanging flowers on a lamp post in Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Hanging flowers on a lamp post in Epcot's Italy pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

While taking the photo from Italy, I noticed how the China and Norway pavilions worked together in the contrasts between them. As Bob and I continued to walk towards them I kept my eye out for a composition.

Scene from Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Africa, China and Norway in a scene from World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/16, ISO 560, EV +0,.3 135mm focal length.

In the photo above, I compressed the elements with my zoom lens of the Africa outpost, golden roofs of China and Norway's castle as the landscaping of plants, trees and rocks add color balance.

Do you think I found elements which say "World Showcase"?

May 7, 2011

Donald Duck in Mexico

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Sombrero wearing Donald Duck in Mexico's character Meet and Greet location in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Sombrero wearing Donald Duck in Mexico's character Meet and Greet location.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 34mm Focal Length.

As Lisa noted earlier this week, you can find a sombrero wearing Donald Duck in Mexico's character Meet and Greet location in Epcot's World Showcase. Donald is looking good with my daughter at this side for my Disney Pic of the Week about Characters in Various Outfits.

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.

April 5, 2011

Disney Pic of the Week: Anything Goes!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This week's Disney Pic of the Week is titled Anything Goes and needs a bit of an introduction. (Queue Tower of Terror host Rod Serling voice). You will be entering a realm of possibilities this week as Barrie, Lisa and myself feature photos of our choosing without the constraints of a creative theme. Enter, if you dare...

The Slayer of Vanity statue seen below is found in the Spirited Beasts from Ancient Stories to Anime Stars exhibit in Epcot's Japan pavilion of a crow-tengu standing ready to defend. These powerful birdlike spirits wear the traditional robes of Shinto priests. They are skilled warriors and often play mischievous tricks on those who are vain and proud.

Slayer of Vanity statue found in the Spirited Beasts from Ancient Stories to Anime Stars exhibit in Epcot's Japan pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Slayer of Vanity statue found in the Spirited Beasts exhibit in Epcot's Japan pavilion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, ISO 2800, EV 0, 28mm focal length

Tengu are a class of supernatural creatures found in Japanese folklore and are traditionally depicted with both human and avian characteristics. Recently, these mythical creatures have been brought to Japanese children via the popular anime where they continue to teach life values to the young through their stories. (Source: Wikipedia)

March 31, 2011

Norway Polarized

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Polarizer filter creates deep blue sky in Epcto's Norway pavillion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Polarizer filter was used to deepen the blue in the sky above Epcot's Norway pavillion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/13, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 56mm Focal Length, polarizer filter.

A circular polarizer filter is a favorite of mine. It does two things very well. Removes the haze of a blue sky and create a deep blue color and cuts through reflections in glass and water. No need to adjust later in software either.

It was a the polarizer filter which created the beautiful, deep blue of the sky above the Norway pavillion featured here between the sign for Kringla Bakeri og Kafe and the spire of Restaurant Akershus as my Disney Pic of the Week on Filters.

March 25, 2011

Disney in Negative Space

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I never studied art so the concept of negative space has eluded me. I would get comments on my photos saying they had made good use of negative space. Turns out every photo has negative space which is defined as the space around an object of attention. Photos can have little or a lot of negative space. To me, negative space was kind of wasted space. However, negative space generates attention as it puts a stronger emphasis on the subject.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest found in China around Epcot's World Showcase only takes up about a third of the frame yet the contrast of the very ornate structure is easily the main subject of the photo. The blue sky and clouds do work to draw attention to the structure.

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest in Epcot's China pavillion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Negative Space using sky and clouds.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV _0.3, 58mm focal length.

To be honest, I do not think much about negative space and concentrate on the subject. As I compose a photograph with a lot of negative space, I fall back on the Rule of Thirds. This is what I did when I took this photo of the spires and towers of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom.

Spires and towers of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Spires and towers of Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/11, ISO 320, EV 0, 100mm focal length.

Another use for photos with a lot of negative space is for title photos in photo galleries, slideshows and videos. Using the Cinderella Castle spires and towers photo above I made a title photo for a gallery or slideshow to share with friends and family.

Cinderella Castle title photo.
Cinderella Castle title photo.

I read a lot about negative space this week and I will return to this subject later this year after I return to Walt Disney World with the added knowledge. There is more to negative space than empty space. I know this because Disney uses it in their adviertising.

Toy Story Mania billboard outside the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Toy Story Mania billboard outside the entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/125s, f/22, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 24mm focal length.

March 18, 2011

Making Pizzas at Via Napoli

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last fall, I stopped for lunch in Italy's new Via Napoli restaurant which specializes in pizza. They even import water from Italy in the making of the crust. The atmosphere of the restaurant is lively and bright.

Each cast member expertly performed their tasks as I photographed each step in the pizza making process. The pizza crust gets carefully prepared before being passed over for the sauce and fresh toppings to be added per order. Then the pizza gets placed in one of the wood burning stoves named after an Italian volcano. For this pizza, it was Mount Vesuvius.

Making a pizza at Via Napoli restaurant in Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Making a Pizza at Via Napoli Restaurant.

After the pizza is cooked to perfection, young and energetic servers from Italy deliver it to a guest's table like these three men you see below.

Servers posing with a creation from the Via Napoli chefs in Epcot's Italy pavillion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Young Italian servers who brought a pizza to a guest's table in Italy's Via Napoli restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 900, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Each server was in a different stage of their time at Epcot. The one on the left was working his last day after spending two years at Walt Disney World. He was looking forward to returning home and celebrating his brother's birthday. The one in the middle had just started his adventure at Epcot and was being trained to replace the one leaving. I felt he would do well as he was outgoing and very attentive to the guests. The one on the right is in the middle of his time at Epcot but was the most important member of the trio. It was he who brought the large mushroom pizza pie before you. Yes, it was as good as it looks if not better.

Cast members in Epcot's World Showcase countries have fascinating stories about themselves and their homes. Next time you are enjoying a meal at one of the excellent restaurants in World Showcase, ask for more than what is on the menu and get to know a true Disney ambassador.

February 16, 2011

Morocco in Mirrors

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton


Exploring new worlds from behind the lens is intriguing, captivating, and exotic. While many of us haven't traveled the globe far and wide, we have and can get a glimpse of some foreign lands at Epcot. When walking around these detailed pavilions we see so much that it sometimes escapes us. I love going back over and over again and trying to find fresh alternative perspectives.

One thing I tried last year was to attempt something new in as many World Showcase pavilions as possible. In Morocco I found myself catching notice of intricate mirrors as well as what was in them.

In the Fez House, glass and metal lanterns hang overhead. With some tippy toe work, I was able to photograph them in a different manner. I just wish I had some glass cleaner with me for the mirror.

lkb-MoroccoMirrors-lights.jpg

Moving over to the open air marketplace, a long wardrobe-like mirror rested against the wall behind an array of goods for sale. Patiently, I waited for someone to fill the void.

lkb-MoroccoMirrors-Store.jpg

The perfect Cast Member, a Moroccan native gives me the image I wanted.

I used my Canon PowerShot SX100 IS for these photos and made sure to focus on who and what was in the mirror as well as the frame itself. Be sure your f-stop (aperture) is set to at least 8, a higher number like 11 or 16 would be even better. With plenty of natural light and a decent ISO of 200 or 400, you can pull off quick shots.


Look at you. Now look at me on Facebook. Connect with my photography and writing.



January 7, 2011

Scott's Photography Tips

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Lisa asked me to post three of my favorite photography tips to start out the new year with. Great idea, Lisa!

Tip Number One

Fill the Frame
Whether by feet, telephoto/zoom lens or crop, the one tip I can give you to improve your photography immediately is to get close and fill the frame. This is what I did for this portrait of one of the male gorillas on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Male gorilla portrait on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Male gorilla on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 3600, EV 0, 300mm Focal Length

Tip Number Two

Rule of Thirds
This simple rule of composition is easy to learn and will take your photography from simple snapshots to impact photographs. Below is a photo of Off Kilter's Bassist, Mark Weldon, I used to demonstrate the rule of thirds back in 2007.

A photo of Off Kilter's Bassist, Mark Weldon, used to demonstrate the rule of thirds in Epcot's Canada pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A photo of Off Kilter's Bassist, Mark Weldon, used to demostate the rule of thirds in Epcot's Canada pavilion.

Tip Number Three

Read the Manual
This is something many of us fail to do once we get a new digital camera or gadget. We dive right in and start using it. That works for awhile and then we start getting frustrated with the results. I suggest you take the time to read the manual. Learn what all the buttons, switches, dials and menu options do. The more you learn about your digital camera or gadget, the more satisfied you will be with your results.

A young woman reads the manual to her new digital camera.
A young woman reads the manual to her new digital camera..
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/50s, f/5.6, ISO 2800, EV 0, 38mm focal length, rear-sync flash at -0.7 power, bounced off ceiling.

Using these tips and those of Lisa's and Barrie's, will help you to improve taking photos with and using your digital cameras at the Disney themeparks in 2011.

August 13, 2010

Photographing Disney Food

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I enjoy a good meal after spending a day walking around a Walt Disney World park. Thankfully, you have a choice of all kinds of table and counter service restaurants in the parks, resorts and Downtown Disney. I like to photograph the food for future restaurant reviews at the PSCalculator.net website. However, judging by all the photos I see on Disney forums, photographing Disney restaurant food is very popular.

To get really good photos of food with a digital SLR camera, I suggest you bring a flash unit you can rotate the flash head in order to bounce it off a nearby surface to spread and even out the light on the food.

Photographing food is not unlike anything else. Watch your backgrounds and edges along the frame, focus carefully, hold the camera steady and get a good exposure. A couple of other things, don't start eating until after photographing the food and arrange everything the way you want. This is what I did for the lunch buffet plate at the Tusker House restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom.

A plate of food from the Tusker House restaurant lunch buffet in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
A plate of food from the Tusker House restaurant lunch buffet.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/6s, f/3.5, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length, flash at -1 power

I took the photo directly from above as it worked best for the amount of different items arranged on the plate. For the Maine Lobster entree at Narcoossee's restaurant in the Grand Floridian, I photographed as one would see it if they were seating in my place. Yes, the lobster was as good as it looked.

Maine Lobster entree served at Narcoossee's restaurant in the Grand Flordian Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Maine Lobster entree served at Narcoossee's restaurant.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/5, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length, flash at -1 power

In both the above photos, I used the Nikon SB-600 Speedlight flash unit bounced off the restaurant's ceiling with a -1 power setting to give the food the added pop of color and succulent lighting.

When waiting in line at Norway's Kringla Bakeri og Kafe, I remembered Barrie's wonderful photo of the Cloudberry Horns. As I didn't want to duplicate her version, I made the famous Kringla Sweet Pretzels the main subject using the Cloudberry Horns in the softly focused background.

Cloudberry Horns and Kringla Sweet Pretzels at Kringla Bakeri og Kafe counter service restaurant in Epcot's World Showcase Norway pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Cloudberry Horns and Kringla Sweet Pretzels at Kringla Bakeri og Kafe counter service restaurant.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/, ISO 360, EV +0.3, 170mm Focal Length

One last thing, you may have to get down low or stand up above or even look a bit goofy as you find the best angle to get a favorite snack properly framed in the viewfinder. Don't worry, the servers and cast members have seen it all before.

June 15, 2010

Disney Pic of the Week: Park Entertainment

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Our Disney Pic of the Week will feature Park Entertainment.

Walt Disney World is full of technological marvels and rides which immerse us into a place of fantasy. However, it is the people, the Cast Members, who make the parks come alive. In each park there are musical and entertainment cast members and troops which gather guests around them and may even include guests in their performances. Some have planned scripts, some are improvisational and others a little of both.

Take the World Showcase Players, whom I ran across in the United Kingdom pavilion on my last trip, doing the Legend of King Arthur with guests playing the parts of King Arthur, Sir Galahad and Guinevere. While there is a script of a sort. The Players are always on the lookout for a good laugh or two or three at the expense of their guest players and the audience. It is hard to tell who is having the better time, us or them!

The World Showcase Players entertaining guests in Epcot's United Kingdom pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The World Showcase Players entertaining guests in the United Kingdom.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 720, EV +0.7, 18mm focal length

Consult Steve Soares' Walt Disney World Entertainment website for performance times of the World Showcase Players.

Barrie and Lisa will be here on Thursday and Saturday with their favorite Park Entertainment.

May 21, 2010

Indoor Tour of World Showcase, Part 2

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

It is still raining so we will continue our tour around World Showcase and continue in the clockwise direction.

Next up is the American Adventure. There is a lot of photograph inside the World Showcase host pavilion. The Voices of Liberty perform before the show, the American Heritage Gallery and the American Adventure theatre and show. When proceeding to the theater, you ride escalators or hike up a set of stairs through the Hall of Flags. Above you is hung a collection of the flags that have flown over the United States in all of its forms. It includes Revolutionary War flags, Colonial flags, and foreign flags that once had claim to the land. There are 44 flags in all.

There are 44 flags in the Hall of Flags you pass under to see the American Adventure in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
There are 44 flags in the Hall of Flags you pass under to see the American Adventure.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/25s, f/3.5, ISO 1600, EV +1.0, 18mm focal length

In looking through my Disney photo library, I came up short on an indoor photo for Japan. A quick search of my flickr contacts found not many of them had them either. Then I came across this photo taken in the Japan pavilion by Scott Rison who graciously is allowing me to use it here. Scott has recently started a flickr group called Disney's Human Element with the goal of showing what really makes Disney special.... its people.

Scott explains his photo this way, "In Japan's Pick-A-Pearl area, there is already a bit of excitement in what kind of jewel you'll discover (of course you'll get a pearl... but there's also size and color to consider). But to really make you feel like you've come across the "Crème de la Crème", the Cast Member plays a little ditty to celebrate your accomplishment."

A Pick-A-Pearl Cast Member celebrates a guest finding a pearl in Japan's pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Pick-A-Pearl Cast Member celebrates a guest finding a pearl in Japan's pavilion.
Canon Rebel T1i, 1/160s, f/4.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 32mm focal length

The Brass Bazaar is one of the shops you will find in the Morocco pavilion. These shops remind me of the beginning of Aladdin with all kinds of pottery, jewelry, brass, baskets, clothing, carpets and, of course, lamps. You'll find lots of textures, patterns and shapes to photograph. Lighting is good but I still needed a slow shutter speed for a proper exposure.

Shopping in the Brass Bazaar in Epcot's World Showcase Morocco pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Shopping in the Brass Bazaar in the Morocco pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, ISO 640, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length

This side of Epcot seems to have more shops than indoor attractions. France does have a movie but that's hard to photograph with my equipment. Instead, I found the classic souvenir of France: a scale model of the Eiffel Tower.

Eiffel Tower souvenirs in the Souvenirs de France shop in France's Epcot World Showcase pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Eiffel Tower souvenirs in the Souvenirs de France shop in France.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/10s, f/4.2, ISO 1600, EV +0.3, 34mm focal length

Rugby is a huge sport in the United Kingdom. Fans are rabid about it. When I visited England a few years ago, ruby fields were as common as football fields are in the United States. One of the things travel photographers look for in a culture is the sports they play. I bounced my speedlight, a Nikon SB-600, flash off the ceiling of The Toy Story store to soften the light and shadows.

Rugby balls and sweaters in The Toy Soldier shop in the United Kingdom pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Rugby balls and sweaters in The Toy Soldier shop in the United Kingdom.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length, bounce flash

Now we come to the last World Showcase pavilion on our tour, Canada. Again, there is a store and a Circle-Vision movie but not much else indoors. Ah, but if you happen to have reservations at Le Cellier, Canada's restaurant, you will see a Canadian Cast Member come out to call your name when your table is ready. Enjoy the cheese soup!

A Cast Member coming out to call out a party's name to eat at Le Cellier in the Canadian pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Cast Member coming out to call out a party's name to eat at Le Cellier.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, ISO 220, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length

Hope you have enjoyed our tour around Epcot's World Showcase and how to make a rainy day into a many photographic opportunities.


May 20, 2010

Les Chefs de France

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Les Chefs de France pseudo outdoor cafe in Epcot's World Showcase France pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Les Chefs de France restaurant's pseudo-outdoor cafe.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16, 1/3s, f/5.6, ISO 1600, EV +1.0, 11mm focal length

France is known for it's outdoor cafes. Disney added a pseudo-outdoor cafe area to the France pavilion's Les Chefs de France restaurant. The glass enclosed area protects diners from the Florida weather and still gives the feeling of sitting outside. At night, of course, it is even more so and is my Disney Pic of Week on Sit Down Restaurants.

May 14, 2010

Indoor Tour of World Showcase, Part I

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

You wake up in your room at Walt Disney World and look outside and see dark gray sky and rain falling. This can be a bit disheartening especially if you were planning on doing a lot of outdoor photography while your family enjoys the Florida sunshine. For such days may I recommend visiting Epcot. All the attractions are inside (except for Test Track which may not be running on rainy days) and have lots of photographic opportunities. For this week and next, I am going to take you around World Showcase and show you how I enjoyed a rainy day.

I would suggest bringing a tripod or Gorrillapod for low light photography. A flash can be used to add light where you need it, too. Please be courteous to your fellow guests when using either a tripod or flash.

We are going to start in Mexico and work our way clockwise around the World Showcase. The plaza inside Mexico's pyramid is like any lively marketplace with brightly colored Mexican souvenirs and The Mariachi Cobre band serenading guests. I set up my camera on a tripod to overlook the San Angel Inn dining area and zoomed in on the temple and volcano that overlook the restaurant. The long exposure brought out the muted colors.

The Aztec temple and volcano which looms over the San Angel Inn restaurant inside the Mexico pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Aztec temple and volcano which looms over the San Angel Inn restaurant.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 25s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +1.0, 130mm focal length, tripod

Not sure many people take the time to go inside Norway's Stave Church to see the exhibit within. The Viking exhibit is a nice rainy day stop with displays of some of the most famous Vikings like Olaf II, Erik the Red and Rognvald. The model of the Oseberg longship caught my attention. Did you know this is the same longship seen in the opening of the movie, Spirit of Norway, which guests can watch after riding The Maelstrom.

There is not a lot of room in the Viking exhibit so I did not set up a tripod. I did get on one knee for stability and a better angle and used da Grip.

A model of The Oseberg longship is in the Viking Exhibit inside the Stave Church replica in Epcot's World Showcase Norway pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A model of The Oseberg longship is in the Viking Exhibit inside the Stave Church.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16mm, 1.3s, f/2.8, ISO 200, EV +1.0, 11mm focal length

I have wanted to get this shot for awhile of the colorful ceiling inside the Temple of Heaven in China's World Showcase pavilion. I thought I would get on my back and shoot straight up but another photographer told me to instead, put the camera down on the floor and use my camera's timer to fire the shutter. Make sure you keep unsuspecting guests from tripping or kicking your camera if you do this.

The magnificent ceiling inside the replica of the Temple of Heaven found at Epcot's World Showcase China pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The magnificent ceiling inside the replica of the Temple of Heaven.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16mm, 3s, f/8, ISO 200, EV +1.0, 11mm focal length

There's a couple of great indoor places in Germany. You can photograph a village while dining at Biergarten or you can enjoy the many shops of the pavilion. Being a fan of beer, I spotted these jovial beer steins in Der Bucherwurm. With an ISO of 1100, I was able to keep the shutter speed at a very hand-holdable 1/60th of a second.

Beer steins in Germany's Der Bucherwurm shop in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Beer steins in Germany's Der Bucherwurm shop.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4, ISO 1100, EV -0.3, 18mm focal length

Getting into more shopping, I photographed this colorful and extremely expensive glassware in Italy's Il Bel Cristallo shop. If you dine in Tutto Italia, definitely take a tripod as it has very moody lighting but very rich in colors and textures.

Glassware displayed in Il Bel Cristallo store in Epcot's World Showcase Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Glassware displayed in Italy's Il Bel Cristallo store.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4.8, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 50mm focal length

As you can see, there is lots to do, see and photograph around the World Showcase even on a rainy day. Next week we'll finish our indoor tour of World Showcase starting with the American Adventure.

April 30, 2010

Japan Lantern

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney is known for it's attention to detail. After watching Illuminations on my last trip, I stayed to photograph around some of the pavilions of World Showcase. In Japan, this lighted paper lantern hanging from a tree in front of the Mitsukoshi Department Store caught my eye as a strong icon of the pavilion.

A lighted paper lantern hanging from a tree in front of the Mitsukoshi Department Store in Epcot's Japan pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A lighted paper lantern hanging from a tree in front of the Mitsukoshi Department Store.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 6s, f/11, ISO 200, EV 0, 18mm focal length, tripod

This lantern is the kind of detail travel photographers look for and Disney has supplied many of these kind of queues throughout the countries in Epcot's World Showcase. Look for them the next time you are visiting.


April 13, 2010

Disney Pic of the Week: Restrooms

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

You just know this week's Disney Pic of Week on Restrooms was suggested by Lisa. There was a famous thread on a popular Walt Disney World message board of photos of people leaving restrooms. Too bad Lisa wasn't around or I would gotten her doing just that. I settled on taking a long exposure of people entering a busy restroom in Morocco using a quadpod (aka trash can) to help steady the camera.

Lisa and Barrie will be here on Thursday and Saturday with their favorite places to flush.

Restroom entrance in Morocco's Epcot World Showcase pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Restroom entrance in Morocco.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/5s, f/2.8, ISO 1600, EV +1.0, 12mm focal length

April 2, 2010

My Flickr Project Part III

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Hope you have enjoyed this series on how I used flickr, the popular Internet photo sharing community website, to improve my Disney photography. This is the last one for now. I am sure I will re-visit this concept in the future. It was both fun and extremely challenging. Especially this set of photos.

Matt Pasant is considered one of THE best Disney flickr photographers. His photographs are viewed thousands of times each week. He is best known for his fantastic photos of Disney's night time show like Wishes and Illuminations. This time I wanted to really stretch myself and equipment so I picked a couple of Matt's best fireworks photos.

The first one is Matt's tribute to IllumiNations 10th year anniversary. Here I go again complaining about the weather for my attempt. It was a very still night and the air felt "heavy". The smoke from the fireworks hung right over World Showcase Lagoon and got worse as IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth went on. I will point out more differences after I present both photos. First up is mine, then Matt's.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth from the Japan pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth from the Japan pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 3s, f/10, ISO 400, EV 0, 36mm focal length
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth by Matt Pasant from the Japan pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth by Matt Pasant.
Canon 40D, 3s, f/10, ISO 400, EV 0, 26mm focal length

Before I point out the differences. I would like to say I came real close to the time during IllumiNations as Matt's shot. From there the similarities end. Matt was in THE spot, which is the corner of the porch in front of the Tokyo Dining restaurant. I had to settle for a spot about fifteen feet to the left of THE spot as there were other photographers who had staked it out two hours before IllumiNations. I checked, Matt was not one of them. The smoke really took a lot of clarity and color away from my photo. Matt's is outstanding and I hope to do better the next time I'm at Epcot.

My second attempt at one of Matt's best was in the Magic Kingdom. A night shot of the Partners statue with Cinderella Castle lighted behind it with no guests around. That meant staying real late. In fact, I was there so late, the PhotoPass photographers had packed up and gone home. I knew my photo would be different from Matt's as I would have the Dream lights on the castle. That was okay. What wasn't okay was Disney had removed the Partners statue! They were filming the Christmas parade that week and the rainy weather pushed the filming into the weekend. All I had was an ugly platform. The nice decorations you saw behind the performers when the parade aired where not there at night. So, I did my best and set up my tripod in between the statue location and the castle for this photo.

Cinderella Castle decked out with Dream lights for Christmas in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle decked out with Dream lights for Christmas.
Nikon D70/Tokina 11-16mm, 8s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -1.0, 16mm focal length

Here is Matt's with the Partners statue.

Night Partners by Matt Pasant, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Night Partners by Matt Pasant.
Canon 5D Mk II, 30s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm focal length

Matt photographed this with a Canon 5D Mark II camera. That is a Full Frame camera where his 24mm = 24mm. My camera is cropped and to get the same 24mm of Matt's, I set the Tokina 11-16mm lens to 16mm. With my camera's crop factor of 1.5, 16mm * 1.5 = 24mm. I was closer to the castle and it was much brighter with the Dream lights on. I changed my shutter speed and EV accordingly to keep from overexposing the castle. This made the surrounding areas much darker than Matt's. I will be back for this one in the future.

The second fireworks photo of Matt's I wanted to try never happened. The last night I was in Epcot, it rained most of the day. It would let up at times and then rain some more. IllumiNations did go on but without me. I was soaked and decided a nice burger and shake at Beaches and Cream was more appealing. I did not want to not show Matt's work, however. I think it is one of his best and that's saying something.

Illuminations of Imagination by Matt Pasant, Epcot World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Illuminations of Imagination by Matt Pasant.
Canon 5D Mk II, 8s, f/11, ISO 200, EV 0, 27mm focal length

Matt Pasant's flickr photostream is full of Disney photographic gems like these. Tell him Scott sent ya when you leave comments.

I hope you have enjoyed my Flckr Project. I know I learned a lot and I need to learn a lot more in my photographic journey.

My site was nominated for Best Photography Blog!
Vote for Picture This! by signing up and logging into Blogger's Choice Awards and help us take home the gold.

February 26, 2010

Creative White Balance

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Most digital photographers I know try to get the white balance correct in all their photos. I know I fight with it for stage shows at Walt Disney World. If you need a refresher on white balance for digital cameras, visit Lisa's excellent post, Understanding White Balance.

It's easy to forget you can use white balance to create interesting color effects. To demonstrate, I set up my tripod in Japan's pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase to photograph one of Samurai Warrior statues at night. The statue is illuminated by artificial lights and by adjusting the white balance of the camera, I created the following three photos.

First, I used my standard white balance setting of Auto. Most of the time this works just fine.

Samurai warrior statue at night in Japan's pavilion using Auto White Balance, Epcot World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Samurai warrior statue at night in Japan's pavilion using Auto White Balance.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 20s, f/11, ISO 200, EV 0, 18mm focal length, tripod

Not bad. Yellowish color cast as the light source was very yellow. Next, I tried the Fluorescent white balance setting.

Samurai warrior statue at night in Japan's pavilion using Fluorescent White Balance, Epcot World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Samurai warrior statue at night in Japan's pavilion using Fluorescent White Balance.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 20s, f/11, ISO 200, EV 0, 18mm focal length, tripod

Wow...where did the green come from? Fluorescent lighting is greenish so, under fluorescent lighting, the color would have been correct. Lastly, I changed to Incandescent (light bulb) white balance.

Samurai warrior statue at night in Japan's pavilion using Incandescent White Balance, Epcot World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Samurai warrior statue at night in Japan's pavilion using Incandescent White Balance.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 20s, f/11, ISO 200, EV 0, 18mm focal length, tripod

I like this as it gave a more truer color of the scene than the Auto mode. Don't be afraid to experiment with white balance. Just don't forget to change it back to your normal setting or you may end up with some green or blue images you weren't expecting.

February 20, 2010

Brother, can you spare a dime?

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A scene from the American Adventure in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A scene from the American Adventure.
Nikon D70/50mm, 1/50s, f/1.8, ISO 800, EV 0, 50mm Focal Length

Photographing the American Adventure show is a challenge for me and my camera. On my last trip, I was able to sit close enough to use my fastest lens, the Nikon 50mm f/1.8 or Nifty Fifty. That allowed me to get this scene which is the bridge between the Depression and the start of World War II in the show and is my Disney Pic of the Week on The American Adventure.

February 9, 2010

Disney Pic of the Week: Statues

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

There are many statues at the Walt Disney World Resort. You will find them in all the parks, resorts and shopping areas. They depict famous people, animated characters, movie characters and historical places and things. You can find anything Disney from Ariel to Walt Disney, himself.

China, the country, is host to thousands of statues of Buddha, dragons and other mystical creatures. Back in 2007, China, the Epcot pavilion, brought in a re-creation of the Terracotta Warriors who were placed in China's first emperor's tomb to protect him in the afterlife. Located in the gallery inside the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, Tomb Warriors: Guardian Spirits of Ancient China exhibit is captivating. Each figure, wagon and animal is unique. I spent a good hour looking over the statues and feel I found the fiercest warrior among them. He just happened to be in the very front. I believe the emperor is being well taken care of and is a good introduction to this week's Disney Pic of the Week on Statues. Barrie and Lisa will show you their favorite statues on Thursday and Saturday.

One of the statues in Tomb Warriors Guardian Spirits of Ancient China exhibit in the China pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
One of the statues in Tomb Warriors Guardian Spirits of Ancient China exhibit.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 10s, f/11, 200 ISO, +1.0 EV, 170mm Focal Length, tripod

January 19, 2010

Disney Pic of the Week: Canada

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I grew up about 100 miles from the Canadian border in upstate New York and visited Canada often in my youth to play ice hockey. It was always a treat to be in a country which considers hockey it's national sport and everyone would have an opinion about their favorite National Hockey League (NHL) teams. It is the same when I visit the Canada pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase and I enjoy bantering with the cast members in the stores, kiosks and Le Cellier restaurant about how my team, the Montreal Canadiens, are doing against their teams.

With that knowledge, it's no wonder my Disney Pic of the Week for the theme of Canada features all the jerseys of the Canadian NHL teams seen hanging in the Trading Post and Northwest Mercantile store. Well, if you can see the others behind the red Montreal Canadiens jersey that is.

National Hockey League team jerseys of all the Canadian teams in Trading Post and Northwest Mercantile store of the Canada pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
National Hockey League team jerseys of all the Canadian teams.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/4, 1600 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

December 24, 2009

Kiosque à Journaux

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Kiosque à journaux (news kiosk) in the France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase., Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Kiosque à journaux (news kiosk) in the France pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 20s, f/16, ISO 200, EV -0.7, 24mm Focal Length, Tripod

Kiosque à journaux or news kiosk are found throughout Paris. It's a great detail the Disney Imagineers caught and added to the France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase. I thought it would make a good Disney Pic of the Week on France.

December 3, 2009

Fez House Framed

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Entrance to the Fez House in the Morocco pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Entrance to the Fez House in the Morocco pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, ISO 900, EV +1.0, 18mm Focal Length

In Morocco's pavilion is the Fez House, which represents a typical Moroccan home. There are beautiful mosaic tiles, carvings, and artifacts from daily life. If you are quiet when you approach the fountain, you just might hear children playing in the distance. I used the entrance to frame the interior of the Fez House and is my Disney Pic of the Week on Framing. Morocco is full of framing opportunities as I showed a few weeks ago when Morocco was the Disney Pic of the Week.

November 28, 2009

Italy at Night

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A replica of St Mark's Campanile or bell tower dominates Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Epcot's Italy pavilion at night.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 13s, f/16, 200 ISO, -0.6 EV, 18mm focal length, tripod

This Disney Pic of the Week on Italy lets me show you another photo from the night I toured World Showcase with a tripod.

November 13, 2009

Sounds of Liberty

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Photography is a visual art which makes it a challenge to convey the other senses. Walt Disney World on the other hand fills our senses with the smell of buttered popcorn, feel of acceleration on Rock'n Roller Coaster, taste of a pineapple Dole Whip and then there is sound. As soon as you enter a Disney park you hear it. Each area has unique music being played in the background. Sounds are everywhere.

How do you capture sound in a photograph? You can photograph things which reference sound like musical instruments, CDs, iPods, fireworks explosions, cars smoking tires and so on. Another way is to show people playing those instruments, cheering, yelling or singing. The latter is what I did in the photo below of the a cappella group, The Voices of Liberty, who perform approximately fifteen minutes before each showing of the American Adventure.

The Voices of Liberty a cappella group perform in the rotunda of the Epcot's American Adventure pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Voices of Liberty a cappella group perform in the rotunda of the American Adventure.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 800, EV -0.3, 18mm Focal Length

The Voices of Liberty sing American folk songs and patriotic music under the American Adventure pavilion rotunda which was built to enhance sound. If you have never heard them I encourage you to take the time on your next visit to Epcot. As their sound is a beautiful as they look.

Have any questions? My next trip to Walt Disney World is coming up fast. Is there something at the WDW resort you would like to know how to photograph? Let me know and I'll do my best to come back with information and a photo for you. Thanks!

October 27, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Morocco

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Morocco pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase is the only one sponored by its country's government. When it was being constructed, the King of Morocco sent his royal craftsmen to lay all the tile work, carvings and paintings you see in the pavilion. This northern African country makes for a beautiful Disney Pic of the Week.

Tangier Traders sells traditional Moroccan clothing in Epcot's Morocco pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Tangier Traders sells traditional Moroccan clothing.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/13s, f/4.5, 1600 ISO, +0.3 EV, 36mm Focal Length

Barrie and Lisa will be here on Thursday and Saturday with their favorite photos from Morocco.

October 2, 2009

Pano-Magic

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I recently attended a photo workshop where I saw some fantastic panoramic images. As the presenter went through the steps to create them, I got so excited that when I got home last night I searched through my Walt Disney World photos to see if I had any candidates for a panoramic.

Though I did find some including the example I am showing you today, you really need to create images with the panoramic image in mind. Here's a list of tips when photographing for panoramics:

1. Use a level tripod. The key here is to make stitching the images together easier for the software. I will tell you the software I tried was very good a finding a way to match up images even if hand held. So, if you are going out to specifically create panoramic photos, then use a tripod. If you are in the middle of a themepark without one, go ahead and hand hold.

2. Use the same exposure for all images. Again, this will make matching up the images easier. Also, another good use of the Manual mode.

3. Make your exposures as fast as possible. This is help keep all your images even and, if you have any moving subjects, it will keep down the movements of those subjects.

4. Avoid using a polarizer filter. If you are trying to capture a wide expanse of sky, a polarizer will cause different hues as the camera is moved from one image to another and the angle to the sun changes.

5. If using a digital camera, turn off Auto White Balance (AWB). AWB can change the color cast of an image as the light changes from one image to another. If it's cloudy out, use the Cloudy setting. If bright sun, use the Sunny setting, etc.

6. Overlap the Images. For best results, overlap the images about 20% if you are using focal lengths of 35mm and up. If you are using a wide angle lens then increase that to 40 to 50% because wide angles can distort at the edges.

Now, let's create a panoramic of these two photos I took of a sunset at Epcot's World Showcase. As you can see they are level as I was using a tripod. They have enough overlap to make the stitching easy for software or to manually match them up if I choose to do so.

Two images from Epcot's World Showcase for panoramic stitching, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

I have my photos selected. I edited them the same and matched up the sky colors as best as I could. Check to see if the software you use to edit photos with has a panoramic tool built-in. The last few versions of Photoshop has it and is called Photomerge. I tried out a few different programs and liked Arcsoft's Panorama Maker 5 (for PC or Mac) the best. It automatically did the hard work of stitching the photos together and even has virtual framing options available. There are many other programs out there so try them out to see which one is best for you. Here's the final version after Panorama Maker 5 got done with it's magic.

Finished panoramic of a World Showcase sunset, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
World Showcase Sunset Panoramic

Something to keep in mind. While this is a horizontal panoramic, I saw some vertical ones during the workshop which were gorgeous. I'll be looking for panoramic opportunities on my next visit to a Disney resort.

October 1, 2009

Refections of China

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

China's Temple of Heaven and reflection in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
China's Temple of Heaven and reflection.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1s, f/16, 200 ISO, +0 EV, 18mm Focal Length

Epcot's China pavilion features it's own Temple of Heaven complex with the three-tiered, circular Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is a one-half scale reproduction of its counterpart inside the Temple of Heaven complex near Beijing. Many of its architectural details, both inside and out, have important significance to the Chinese people. Inside the hall, there are 12 outer columns supporting the roof. They represent the 12 months of the year and the 12-year cycle of the Chinese calendar. Closer to the center of the room are 4 columns representing the four seasons. These columns support a beam, representing Earth, which is topped by a round beam, signifying Heaven.

This photo was taken earlier on the same day as the one in the Using a Tripod at WDW article. Here I used a portrait orientation to show the reflection in the water pool and makes for a reflective Disney Pic of the Week for China.

September 25, 2009

Make a Travel Poster

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I enjoy not only taking photographs but sharing them through the various mediums which are now available to us via the Internet. From blogs, online galleries, photo essays, slideshows and, in the home, with hanging prints and even on my HDTV. I also like to create images from the original photo. The Castle at Dusk Redo I recently did got me thinking of other things when I came upon the idea of doing travel posters.

Remember going to a Travel Agency and seeing all those large posters on the wall of exotic places like Hawaii, Switzerland, Alaska, New York City, Africa, Paris, England, Austrailia and Canada. Wait, Canada? Yes, even Canada deserves a big travel poster and I found just the perfect one using Epcot's World Showcase's Canadian pavilion. Here's the original image.

Canada pavilion's landmark Hotel du Canada just past sunset in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Canada pavilion's landmark Hotel du Canada just past sunset.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 2s, f/22, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 170mm focal length, tripod

Using Picnik.com, an online photo editor, I added the large capitalized CANADA and made it an orange-red to go with the sky. Then placed the maple leaf, Canada's national symbol, graphic underneath. Ah, a poster fit for a travel agency wall, eh? Which, in today's world, is more likely our own homes. I think I will do one for each country.

So, here's a shout out to my neighbors to the North and the return of the National Hockey League (NHL) next week. GO HABS GO!

A Travel Poster for Canada.
A Travel Poster for Canada.

September 5, 2009

Rose & Crown Pub

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Rose and Crown PUb in the United Kingdom pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Rose and Crown PUb in the United Kingdom pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/160s, f/6.3, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

With it's warm and cozy indoor pub and dining area to it's sought after outdoor seating to view Illuminations in the evening the Rose and Crown Pub is a favorite of many Walt Disney World fans. For me, the extra charm is the cast members from England who serve the wonderful English food, ales and beer. Hope you enjoyed my Disney Pic of the Week on the United Kingdom.

August 4, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Germany

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In this week's Disney Pic of the Week, Barrie, Lisa and I will be showing you photos from Epcot's World Showcase's pavilion, Germany. Modeled after villages in Germany's Bavaria and Rhine regions, you get the feeling of being whisked to a quiet old-world place with friendly people and a unique culture. The shops are full of craftsmanship from Hummel collectibles, crystal to beer steins. The Volkskunst, where these guests are entering, features hand-painted eggs and ornate cuckoo clocks.

Guests entering a shop in Epcot's Germany pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests entering a shop in Germany.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/13s, f/3.5, ISO 640, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length

July 9, 2009

Goju-no-to Pagoda

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Japan's Goju-no-to Pagoda at night in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Japan's Goju-no-to Pagoda at Night.
Nikon D70/18-70G, 1/8s, f/3.5, 1400 ISO, +0.6 EV, 18mm Focal Length

Last time I was in Epcot, the Goju-no-to Pagoda in Epcot's Japan pavilion was shrouded as Disney Imagineers were rehabbing it. I dug into my personal Walt Disney World photo archive and found this one I took back in 2007 for my Disney Pic of the Week on Japan.

Fun facts from AllEars.net: The five 5 levels of the Goju-no-to Pagoda, which is 85 feet tall, represent the elements from which Buddhists believe all things are created: earth, water, fire, wind and sky. Above the pagoda is a bronze, nine-ringed sorin, or spire, with gold wind chimes and a water flame.

July 3, 2009

Focus on the Fife and Drum

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

It is not a coincidence that I am featuring a photo of The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps as Deb Wills did early this month. With this post happening the day before America celebrates it's 233rd birthday on July 4th, 2009, I wanted to add on to Deb's excellent post (psst, Deb I think this is called "synergy") and show you something which surprised me.

I've seen the Fife and Drum Corps on several of my visits yet never had I stopped to watch them. I made it a point to do so on my last trip and enjoyed their preformance immensely. I believe they do several different routines. The one I had the pleasure of seeing included a salute to each of the United States Armed Forces. They played each theme song for the Air Force, Army, Navy and the Marines. It was during their salute to the Marines that they took the formation of the raising of the flag on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. Everyone applauded and it gave me patriotic goose-bumps to hear and see this as I had no idea that was coming.

The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps performing outside the American Adventure in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps performing outside the American Adventure.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/18, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 18mm focal length

Can't end a post without a little tip. You'll notice I used a small aperture of f/18 (remember the larger the f-number, the smaller the opening of the aperture), this was to make sure I'd have a large plane of focus or depth of field. Most good travel photos will use this technique. Another tip, when shooting in bright Florida sunshine, use fill flash. I didn't here and it would have helped to fill in the dark shadows. Next time!

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July holiday to everyone in the United States of America!

June 26, 2009

Belle's Library

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Photos like the one below, taken in the Beauty and the Beast Meet and Greet Library in Epcot's France pavilion showing some of the famous Disney detail, used to come out blurry and underexposed back in the days I shot film on my trips to Walt Disney World. I either didn't have a fast film of ISO 400 or better in my camera or a "slow" lens. With today's digital cameras allowing ISO settings up to 6400 and Image Stabilized lenses, I can now enjoy photographing in low light situations in all the Disney parks and resorts when needed.


Book shelf in Belle's Library inside the France pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Book shelf in Belle's Library inside the France pavilion. See text below for details.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/30s, f/3.5, ISO 1600, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length

Books from left to right are Little Red Riding Hood, Grimm (as in the Brothers Grimm), Perrault (Charles Perrault, the Frenchman who wrote many French fairy tales including Cinderella - he's the reason we have the glass slipper - it's actually a mistranslation from the old French) and King Arthur. Research done by my Disney trivia lovng and French honor student daughter, Krystal.

It doesn't hurt that I've learned to hold my camera very steady, too.

June 13, 2009

EPCOT Sombrero Club

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Members of the  EPCOT Sombrero Club in Epcot's Mexico pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Members of the EPCOT Sombrero Club.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/3.8, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 22mm Focal Length, Flash Used

Are you a member of the EPCOT Sombrero Club? Admit it. Who hasn't put a sombrero on their head when walking around the market inside the Mexico pavilion. They are big and brightly colored. Just perfect for a fun photo of yourself and members of your family. This is my daughter and her boyfriend. He's very tall but reminds me of a Disney character. Can you guess which one? Hope you enjoyed my Disney Pic of the Week for Mexico.

May 12, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: Norway

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas


Norway, in Epcot's World Showcase, is the subject of our Disney Pic of the Week. Like all the World Showcase pavilions, Norway has a lot to explore and many details easily overlooked. Recently, Disney replaced the Viking Ship play area with a flower garden but some of the remains of the ship where kept in remembrance.

What's left of the Viking Ship in Epcot's Norway pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

The remains of the Viking Ship play area in Norway.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/40s, f/7.1, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 32mm Focal Length

April 24, 2009

Using a Tripod at WDW

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Hollywood Studios Entrance, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Hollywood Studios Entrance.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 30s, f/16, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 170mm Focal length, Tripod

I have never carried a tripod into a Walt Disney World park until my last trip. I thought it would be too much trouble and a bother. However, if you plan ahead, it can be done without too much disruption to your family's enjoyment. First, you have to consider how to carry the tripod the times you decide to bring one. For me it started with the choice of tripod. I didn't want one too heavy or big and easy to carry. I settled on a Manfrotto 725B Digi Tripod with Integrated Ball Head and Carrying Bag which is all those things and cost about $135. This tripod has since been replaced by the Manfrotto 7302YB M-Y Tripod and still comes with a ball head and carrying bag at around the same price. The carrying bag allowed me to carry the tripod over my shoulder comfortably. Now, don't get me wrong, I would not carry the tripod all day long. The main reason for using a tripod at Walt Disney World is for long exposure photography in the early mornings, evenings and fireworks.


On the days I planned to use a tripod, I would rent a locker at the parks. The tripod fit easily in a LARGE locker (see photo) so make sure you ask for one of this size. It was also handy to store sweatshirts or sweaters if you are visiting when the nights cool down. This let me go on rides and attractions without having to deal with the bulkiness of a tripod. The lockers are located near the front entrances to the parks so be aware of how long it will take to retrieve the tripod. I tried to plan to be near the front of the park about an hour before sunset. That gave me more than enough time to get to the locations I had in mind.

So, what are the advantages of a tripod besides being able to shoot at long exposures. It lets you use low ISO setting which means less noise and better clarity to your photos. All of my tripod photos were taken at my camera's lowest ISO setting of 200. Tripods, used correctly, give your camera a rock steady platform with no shake. To insure as little or no camera movement as possible use a remote shutter release or your camera's self-timer. Some people even go so far as locking up the mirror (see your camera's manual on how to do this).

Temple of Heaven in the China pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase at dusk, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Temple of Heaven in the China pavilion at dusk.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 8s, f/8, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal length, Tripod

I keep mentioning how I planned to use a tripod and to be at a certain place. Think of it as an extension of your normal planning process and make sure your family is involved so they know what you want to do and expect. For fireworks, your family will probably want to be with you. Other times, they may want to explore while you are waiting through 10, 20, 30 second or longer exposures. It pays to research locations. In previous visits, I would try and take a night photo which just wouldn't work hand-held so I would make a mental note. flickr is a great place to find locations as there are many photographers who specialize in Disney themepark photography.

Sometimes you might just come upon them as you walk around. On a previous trip, I walked the trail between Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Epcot resort area late at night. I looked over the canal to the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror all lit up in very moody colors fitting the theme of the ride and knew I would need to come back with a tripod which I finally did.

Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at night from the walking trail to the Epcot resort area.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 30s, f/11, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 130mm Focal length, Tripod

This was taken late at night which is another way to capture unique night time photos at Walt Disney World when the parks are close to being empty of visitors and there's a chance the water around and in the parks is calm. I had such a night during my last visit and was able to get mirrored images around the Epcot resort area like in this photo of the Swan Resort.

The Swan Resort mirrored in the canal the Friendship boats use during the day, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Swan Resort mirrored in the canal the Friendship boats use during the day.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 30s, f/11, ISO 200, +0.3 EV, 18mm Focal length, Tripod

Using a tripod at Walt Disney World does take some effort and advanced planning but the rewards of capturing photos you could never get without one is worth it. Will I always take a tripod to a Disney park now? That will depend on what I have planned and who will be accompanying me but I will never think of it as a burden. Tripods open up far more opportunities when the Sun goes down.

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March 31, 2009

Disney Pic of the Week: National Treasure

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When I suggested this theme, Barrie and Lisa were not too keen about it. I kept telling them to think about the National Treasure movies and look for them at Walt Disney World. In the meantime, Disney unveiled the National Treasures exhibit in the American Heritage Gallery which is located inside the American Adventure pavilion. This exhibit features over 40 special artifacts on loan to Epcot. From Abe Lincoln's stovepipe hat to items representing the lives of Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, Senator Daniel Inouye and much more.

Below is the National Treasure I choose for this week's Disney Pic of the Week. A part of a moon rock brought back by Apollo astronauts and given by NASA to honor one of their own.

A National Treasure found in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

See Text below for More Information.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/25s, f/4.2, 1600 ISO, +0.3 EV, 32mm Focal Length

Ambassador of Exploration Honor bestowed on astronaut Virgil "Gus" Grissom is currently being displayed as part of the National Treasure exhibit in the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

These Ambassador of Exploration Honors are to recognize the sacrifices and dedication of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts. Each astronaut or a family member was presented a moon rock as part of a special ceremony honoring the 35th anniversary of Apollo 11 at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC on July 16, 2004.

The moon rocks awarded were part of samples returned by the Apollo 17 mission from the Taurus Littrow Valley. Each will be encased in an acrylic sphere and attached to a plaque bearing images of a Saturn V rocket launch, an astronaut (John Young) jumping on the Moon, the planet Mars and the International Space Station.

The lunar samples will remain the property of NASA, but the astronauts and their surviving families, in coordination with NASA, will select a museum or other educational institution where their awards will be publicly displayed in their name to help inspire a new generation of explorers.

February 12, 2009

Guest Services Cast Member

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Guest Services Cast Member outside of Epcot's International Gateway, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guest Services Cast Member processes an Annual Pass for a guest.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/30s, f/4.5, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 36mm Focal Length

Cast Members, or CMs for short, make the magic come alive at Disney themeparks. From entertainers to street sweepers to guest services CMs, they all contribute to make our stay (the Guests) like no other found in the world. The Guest Services Cast Member pictured here outside of Epcot's International Gateway processed my very first Annual Pass (AP) and is my contribution to this week's Disney Pic of the Week on Cast Members.

January 22, 2009

Norwegian Cast Member

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A Norwegian Cast Member pours some spirited beverages at Epcot's Norway Pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Norwegian Cast Member pours some spirited beverages at Epcot's Norway Pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/4.8, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 52mm Focal Length

While waiting for Illuminations to start, I noticed this cart with a nice Norwegian Cast Member serving bear and other drinks in the Norway pavilion. He makes a rather good addition to this week's Disney Pic of the Week on World Showcase Cast Members. It was a cool December night in Orlando but he was all smiles. The carts lighting nicely highlighted his face and colorful costume. World Showcase cast members are very far from their home and appreciate guests inquiring about them and their countries.

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!

October 4, 2008

Norwegian Architecture

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Replica of the Stave Church in Epcot's Norway pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Replica of the Stave Church in Epcot's Norway pavilion.
Nikon Coolpix 995, 1/250s, f/5.2, 100 ISO

My entry for the Disney Pic of the Week on Architecture can be found in Epcot's Norway pavilion. The Stave Church is a replica of the Gol Stave church found in the Norwegian Folk Museum in Oslo, Norway. Don't forget, as the AllEars.net webpage will tell you, there's an exhibit inside where you'll learn about some very famous Vikings.

June 26, 2008

Epcot's Morocco at Night

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Morocco pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Morocco pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase at night.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/10s, f/3.5, 1600 ISO, -0.6 EV, 18mm Focal Length

The Koutoubia Minaret (prayer tower) in Epcot's Morocco pavilion is beautifully lighted every night and makes an excellent Disney Pic of the Week for our Night theme.

June 18, 2008

Canon's Color Accent

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

I dedicate this blog to all my fellow Canon peeps. :secret handshake:

Camera companies are always competing in the sense that one brand's cameras can do something that another's doesn't. One of Canon's specialties is Color Accent. You'll find it in the SD750, SD890 IS, SD 1100 IS, S5 IS, and the G9 just to name a few.

I borrowed my neighbors' Canon Powershot S5 IS (the same camera that Deb Wills shoots with) for my latest Walt Disney World adventure. I can tell you that I already knew I wanted this camera before I even borrowed it. The S5 IS is in high demand everywhere, actually, so if you can find one, buy it.

What Color Accent does it it lets you pick out a single color from those in your picture, before you take it. The remainder of the image will turn black and white with the possible exception of green, which is the default color.

Here's how it works on the Canon Powershot S5 IS.

1. Turn the Mode Dial to SCN (Scene).

2. Press the control pad's right side until you see the icon for Color Accent. icon_color_accent.gif

3. Press the button for ISO.

4. The liquid crystal display (LCD) will show you a bar at the bottom and inside a box, the selected color to retain. The featured color will be the last one you used or it'll be green by default if you haven't used this setting before.

5. Point your camera at the color you want the camera to keep. Make sure that color is in the center of your frame. Now press the left side of the control pad.

6. Press the ISO button again to lock in your selected color.

7. Now take your picture.

Important note: Let's say you aim your camera at a blue shirt in hopes of using blue as your accent color but when you take your photo, it's of something that doesn't have any blue in it, like a chicken. Your image will be black and white without any blue. In order for the Color Aceent to work, the color you select has to be in the image you shoot.

I started off by aiming my camera at this yellow flower.
lkb_coloraccent_original.jpg

I set the camera to pick up the bold yellow and then recomposed my shot and took this picture.
lkb_coloraccent_flowers.jpg
It not only picked up the yellow in the chateua but it retained green, the default color as well.

I then took this shot and you can see a pale yellow in the stones.
lkb_coloraccent_house.jpg

Shop AllEars Net's Amazon store for the Canon Powershot S5 IS.


May 9, 2008

S is for Speed Control

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

On to top of your digital SLR or advanced Point & Shoot cameras is a Mode Dial. On this dial you will find the main shooting modes to let you take more creative control of your photography. Below is a list with a short decription for each one. For more detailed information, consult your camera's manual.

AUTO or A-DEP - this is an SLR's version of a Point & Shoot mode. It will calculate your exposure for you including the ISO, metering mode, aperture and shutter speed (this may vary by manufacturer).

P for Program - calculates the aperture and shutter speed given the camera's settings for ISO, metering mode, and white balance (this may vary by manufacturer).

S or Tv for Shutter Priority - you set the shutter speed manually and the aperture is calculated for you given the camera's settings for ISO, metering mode, and white balance (this may vary by manufacturer).

A or Av for Aperture Priority - you set the aperture or f-stop manually and the shutter speed is calculated for you given the camera's settings for ISO, metering mode, and white balance (this may vary by manufacturer).

M for Manual - you set both the aperture and shutter speed and take full manual control of all the camera settings. You have to be careful here as some other settings may or may not be affected. Check your camera's manual.

With that little primer finished, I'm going to start with the Shutter Priority (S) Mode and continue a series of entries over the next few weeks to cover the rest. Let's climb right into how to use the S-Mode by looking at this photo from Epcot's Canadian pavilion featuring the Rocky Mountains with a very tall waterfall.

Rocky Mountain waterfall in Epcot's Canadian pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Rocky Mountain waterfall in Epcot's Canadian pavilion.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/30s, f/18, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 28mm Focal Length

I took a few images of this beautiful scene with the late day light striking the top of the mountains and the waterfall cascading down the mountain side. For the first ones, I was in P or Program mode and it kept selecting shutter speeds which froze the water. Made the water look very static and uninteresting. Often when taking pictures of moving objects, like water, you want to show it's motion. The best way to do that is to use a slow shutter speed.

To get the effect you see above, I turned the Mode Dial on my Nikon D70 to S putting it in Shutter Priority mode. I now had control of the shutter speed by turning the command dial (this may be different for your camera so check your manual. Sound like a broken record, don't I?). I took photographs at shutter speeds of 1/60, 1/30, and 1/15 of a second. Each time the camera selected the aperture for me based on the other camera settings (refer to the Exif data below the photo).

I'm sure you have seen other waterfall photographs where even longer shutter speeds were used giving the water an even softer look. Those pictures were taken with shutter speeds over multiple seconds and require a tripod to keep the rest of scene in sharp focus. Something I didn't have with me during this visit to Walt Disney World.

If you are taking pictures of action scenes like the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular or Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt shows at Disney's Hollywood Studios, you may want to use a very fast shutter speed to freeze the action. I would start at 1/250 for Indy and 1/500 for Lights, Motors, Action!

For more on the use of shutter speeds, check out some of our past Picture This! entries:

Shutter Speeds and You

Mechanics of Exposure

November 2, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is a compositional rule in photography and other visual arts. The rule states that an image can be divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines. The four points formed by the intersections of these lines can be used to align features in the photograph. This aligning of a photograph's subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the photo than simply centering the subject would. However, like the Pirate's Code, the Rule of Thirds is more like a guideline than an actual rule.

Below is a photograph of Off Kilter's Bassist, Mark Weldon, where I am showing you how the Rule of Thirds applies. (Note, it's not exact as I hand drew in the lines but it's close enough for our purposes.) Notice in three of the four intersections there are strong subjects close by: Mark's tilted head in the upper left and both his hands in the lower two.


Rule of Thirds.

Many people feel the application of the Rule of Thirds turns everyday snapshots into professional looking photographs. I know as I edit my photos, the ones which follow this rule stands out above ones that don't. Especially, when taking pictures of people. For instance, we've all taken pictures of a person or group of people in front of the Magic Kingdom's entrance with the train station and flowers in the exact center of the Mickey symbol. I am guilty of this. Next time, try composing the people in one of the lower intersection points. I think you'll find the photographs will appeal to you more.

Another popular mistake people make is putting the horizon right in the middle of their picture. Effectively disecting the image in two. You should try to put the horizon at either the upper or lower third of your viewfinder when composing.

By practicing the Rule of Thirds, you'll find yourself thinking a bit before pressing the shutter. Recomposing in the viewfinder or retaking an image after looking at the photo you just took. The fun of digital photography is how easy and fast it is to learn to take better pictures. Another fun project is to review past photos which you thought were okay, crop them using the Rule of Thirds and see, if by doing so, makes them better.

Now, I think I owe Mark and all of you an unobstructed look as I captured him jamming to a Celtic tune during my last trip to Walt Disney World. Off Kilter can be seen several times a day at Epcot's Canadian pavilion when scheduled to perform. Check the link for more information about the band and their schedule.


Off Kilter Bassist, Mark Weldon.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, 200 ISO, 0 EV, 200mm Focal Length

September 28, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Google's Picasa

Google's free photo editing software, Picasa, is a simple to use way to enhance, clean up or fix your digital photographs. I have been impressed with what I have learned in the few days I have used Picasa. It has given me a way to fix some high contrast images I took during this year's International Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot.

As most of you are aware, the midday Florida sun is very bright. When I came upon the Donald Duck and Pluto pirate topiaries at the entrance to World Showcase coming from Future World, it was around three in the afternoon. My first attempts had Donald and Pluto well exposed but the bright sky and clouds were blown out. The clouds looking more like unnatural white bloobs due to overexposure. Using the exposure compensation button on my camera, I adjusted it down to -1.3 EV before the sky and clouds became correctly exposed. Unfortunetaly, due to the extreme difference or contrast in the brightness of the sky and the topiaries, Donald and Pluto were now underexposed. In digital photography, it's best to expose for the brightest parts of the scene which is what I did in the photo you see below.

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Donald Duck and Pluto topiaries before editing. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/160s, f/13, 200 ISO, -1.3 EV, 18mm Focal Length

I'm sure you can see why I might toss this image into the trash bin. However, I had downloaded Picasa and had been learning it's capabilities. Maybe I can fix it! With a gleam in my eye, I launched Picasa and went about the task of throwing some added light on to Donald and Pluto.

Picasa has two elements to it. First is the Library which catalogs all your images on your Window's based PC (as of this writing, Picasa does not have a Mac OSX or Linux version available). You scroll through all your images on the right side of the Library's window. On the left you can set up virtual folders and see the aging of other photos by folder. You can watch slideshows, email, print and upload to Picasa Web Albums from the Library.


Double clicking on an image brings it into the Picasa Editor. On the left side, you see Picasa's tools with three tab views entitled Basic Fixes, Tuning and Effects. For my pirate topiary photo, I started out by adding some Fill Light in the Basic Fixes tab, moving the slider to the right until the detail in both Donald and Pluto could be seen clearly. This kept most of the detail in the sky and clouds without blowing them out. For this image, I didn't need any of the Tuning tools and skipped right to the Effects tab. In adding fill light, some of the color of the flowers at Donald's feet got a bit washed out or dull looking. I used the Saturation tool on the Effects tab to bring the color back. Don't overdo this effect unless you want a really cartoonish look to your photo. I applied just a bit here. As you'll read in most photo editing books, I applied sharpening as the last step in the photo editng process. Here again, you don't want to give it too much or the photo looks unreal. I clicked on the Sharpened tool just once.

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Donald Duck and Pluto topiaries after editing in Picasa. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007

All done! What do you think? For a free photo editor, Picasa did an excellent job. Oh, and another thing, when I saved the edited version, Picasa saved my original in a separate folder. Picasa is far from PhotoShop but you can't beat the price for such an easy and useful photo editing tool.

September 21, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Look Up!

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
The Crown and Crest store in Epcot's United Kingdom pavilion. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/15s, f/3.5, 450 ISO, +1 EV, 18mm Focal Length

While "researching" family crests and name histories in the United Kingdom's Crown and Crest store in Epcot, I suddenly remembered the old Walt Disney themepark fan's adage, "Look Up!". I was rewarded with the view you see above of multicolored flags depicting family crests from Ol'England hanging from the wooden rafters.

Did you know most pictures are taken about five to six feet off the ground or eye level of most people? While I was standing for this photograph, many times after taking an initial photograph, I pause and think how I can make it better. Would a different angle help? What if I move closer? Or farther away? Would getting down on my knees or belly give the picture more impact? How about from above? Is it possible to come back at another time of day when the sun is low or at night?

Now, I do know it is very hard to do this at Walt Disney World with the crowds, kids in tow or rushing to get to a scheduled show or dining reservation. However, I encourage you to practice this exercise with subjects around your home, neighborhood or anywhere you have your camera with you. Thankfully, Disney Imagineers make it easy and all you need to do is look up...

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Flags blowing in the wind above the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Animal Kingdom. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, 200 ISO, -0.3 EV, 75mm Focal Length
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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Picture This! in the World Showcase category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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