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April 15, 2016

More Topiaries from Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This week's Disney Pic of the Week theme was Topiaries. A topiary is a shrubs or trees clipped into ornamental shapes. Disney landscape artists have been using topiaries since the early 1960's at Disneyland. The annual Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot gives these artists a larger venue to show, astound and thrill Walt Disney World guests with topiaries both big and small.

Earlier this week, I shared with you one of the biggest topiaries: Dragon in China. Today, I am going to show you others I found as I walked around World Showcase during the 2016 edition of the Flower and Garden Festival.

As you approach Canada from Future World, topiaries of Bambi (deer), Thumper (rabbit) and Flower (skunk) from the animated feature, Bambi, greet you. It is a delightful scene of youth and merriment as Bambi watches his friends in a field of flowers. To include the Canada pavilion's Hotel du Canada in the background to tell the viewer where the photo was taken, I used a small aperture of f/16 and focused on the closest topiaries of Thumper and Flower about a third into the frame. This creates a hyperfocal photo where everything is in focus from the front (bottom) to the back (top) of the scene (click the link for more information on Hyperfocus).

Character topiaries from the movie, Bambi, near the Canada pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Bambi, Thumper and Flower topiaries near the Canada pavilion.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 280, EV 0, 18mm focal length.

The topiaries in the United Kingdom featuring Peter Pan overlooking Captain Hook from the top of a building got me to thinking how to best capture the scene. If I moved way back, I would get both of the characters in and probably a lot of my fellow guests as well. As much as I adore all of you, I decided to get in close with a wide angle lens, get on my knees in front of Captain Hook and angle my camera upwards. The result you see below. Again, using the hyperfocal technique, the composition has a nice anchor with Captain Hook standing in a bed of flowers and Peter Pan high above on the roof with a beautiful blue sky behind him.

Character topiaries from the movie, Peter Pan, in the United Kingdom pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Topiaries of Peter Pan and Captain Hook in the United Kingdom pavilion.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 220, EV 0, 22mm focal length.

As a "rule", photographers are told NOT to photograph into the Sun (or any bright light source). Like all good rules, however, this one was made to be broken. While I photographed both the Cogsworth and Lumiere topiaries in the France pavilion various ways, it was the photo you see below which I found the most interesting. The large Sun with the star effect shining down did put the topiaries into dark shadows.

I used photo enhancing software from Macphun called Intensify CK for Mac computers to pull out the details and colors of the topiaries and balance out the bright sunlight. I got in low in front of good old Cogsworth to get most of the people enjoying the area out of the frame. There are several kinds of photo enhancement software products on the market for both Macs and PCs which can do similar effects.

Character topiaries from the movie, Beauty and the Beast, in the France pavilion of Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cogsworth and Lumiere topiaries in the France pavilion.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 220, EV 0, 16mm focal length, Intensify CK.

Earlier this week, Deb showed you the Snow White and the Dwarfs topiary in a different location from 12 years ago. This year, Snow White and her band of merry Dwarfs are found in between Germany and France near the World Showcase Lagoon. Comparing the two photos, you can see how Disney landscape artist have given the faces on the topiaries a far more animated look including eyes, noses, mouths, lips and hair in the case of Snow White in today's versions.

Character topiaries from the movie, Snow White, near the Germany pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Snow White and the Dwarfs topiaries near the Germany pavilion.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/250s, f/9, ISO 100, EV 0, 23mm focal length.

If you want to learn more about the history of Disney topiaries, click here for an article by Disney historian Jim Korkis.

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 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:
Where in the World Photo Fun
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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.


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

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.

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
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.

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

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

American Adventure is the previous category.

China is the next category.

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