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August 23, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Landscape Epcot

Deb's Digest Blog

Well, it's become clear that even though I came up with this topic, I keep changing what it means.

So here is my Epcot photo of the Flower and Garden China Bears. It was near impossible for me to get all 3 in one shot so I took a panorama.

flower-garden17-34.jpg






January 15, 2016

Framing the Gates of Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Unlike framing a picture to hang on a wall, using a "frame" in your photographs is very different. By doing so you give the image added depth, leads the viewer to the main subject and gives the photo context and sense of place. This is especially true with architectural subjects like arches or gates. Epcot's World Showcase has two excellent ways of using a frame in a photo to do all of the above.

In the waters of World Showcase Lagoon at the Japan pavilion, Spaceship Earth can be seen and framed through a red Torii Gate. To keep everything in focus I used an aperture of f/16 and set my distance so the Torii Gate was about one third into the frame. I underexposed it slightly by setting my exposure compensation or EV to -0.3. This brought out the colors in the scene.

Does anyone know what type of focus this is called? First person to answer correctly in the comments will win an 8x10 print of the Red Torii Gate photo below. Hint: I have wrote about it A LOT! [We have a winner of the Torii Gate print! No more comments will be accepted. Thank you all for participating!]

Spaceship Earth framed by the Red torii gate in the Japan pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth framed by the Red torii gate in the Japan pavilion.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 360, EV -0.3, 28mm focal length.

In the China pavilion, the very ornate Paifang Gate in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is another place you can use framing in a photo. Here I waited until night and long after Illuminations: Reflections of Earth was over. This gave me a scene without other guests around. Using a tripod, I set up in front of the gate and waited for a few guests to move before using a long shutter speed of 30 seconds to pull in all the light and detail of the scene.

To continue the fun, the first person to post a comment telling me why the number "12" is of significance in the China pavilion wins an 8x10 print of the Paifang Gate below. [We have a winner of the Paifang Gate print! No more comments will be accepted. Thank you all for participating!]

Paifang Gate in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest at night in the China pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Paifang Gate in front of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest at night in the China pavilion.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 30s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 28mm focal length, tripod.

Both of these locations are Nikon Picture Spots and for all the reasons I have talked about here. Next time you are out photographing, look for opportunities to use a "frame" in your composition.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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"?

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

MK locker
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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About China

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

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