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October 11, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Food Preparation

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

There a few show kitchens at restaurants in Walt Disney World. None more unique than that in Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in Epcot's Italy pavilion. There, you can see pizzas made from start to finish.

Chef making a pizza in Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Chef making a pizza in Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 1800, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

I have featured this photo before in a post called: Making Pizzas at Via Napoli.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her Disney restaurant food preparation photograph.

September 20, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Ice Cream

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

On a typical warm weather day at Walt Disney World, what is the one dessert or snack everyone loves to get? Ice cream you say? I think most of us would agree.

At Tutto Italia restaurant in Epcot's Italy pavilion, if you do not want one of their Italian desserts, you may order an ice cream one with a crunchie, candied stick like my daughter did here.

Ice cream dessert at Tutto Italia restaurant in Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A guest with her Ice cream dessert at Tutto Italia restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 1100, EV +0.3, 72mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share her ice cream delight.

May 20, 2016

Narrow Your Focus at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Another way to improve your photos at Walt Disney World and elsewhere is to use Selective Focus (click this link for details on how to create it). Most people try to put the foreground subject in sharp focus with this method. One can also put the foreground in soft focus and let the subject in the "back" of the frame be in sharp focus. People viewing such an image will gravitate to the area of sharp focus. Another way a photographer can control how an image is viewed.

The three ovens in Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in Epcot's Italy pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The three ovens in Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in Epcot's Italy pavilion.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 400, EV +0.7.

Notice how the unfocused area leads the eyes to the three ovens in the Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in Epcot's Italy pavilion. Here is some trivia for you. The ovens are named after volcanos in Italy. They are from left to right: Stromboli, Vesuvio and Etna.

Using my favorite lens, the Nifty-Fifty, I can even create an out of focus vignette if you have enough foreground and background elements like the photo of a Mickey Mouse golf ball found in a basket of golf balls at the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney Disney Springs.

Mickey Mouse golf ball at the World of Disney store in Disney Springs, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mickey Mouse golf ball selectively focused on at the World of Disney Store.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/125s, f/1.8, ISO 220, EV +0.3.

Selectively focusing on subjects is a fun way to give your photography a boost.

June 9, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Cast Costumes Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

There are thousands of different costumes at Walt Disney World. Each different park, land, attraction, restaurant, resort and transportation type has unique costuming requirements. Deb and I thought it would be fun to share a cast member costume from each Walt Disney World park. Now, you would think that would be easy. I have shared some cast member photos here in the past as Lisa (remember her?) took many photos of CMs. Me, not so much.

In looking through my Disney photo library I did find I liked to photograph the servers at restaurants. At Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria in Epcot, the servers from Italy have always been willing to be photographed. Though I am sure wondering why I would want them in a photograph. The brightly colored costume of the server you see below really goes with the restaurant's decor and his wonderful disposition.

Via Napoli server in brightly colored costume serving up a pizza in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Via Napoli server in brightly colored costume serving up a pizza.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/30s, f/3.5, ISO 1400, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

Deb outdid me this week as you will see tomorrow. Though I did get a pizza.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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 6, 2011

Framing Spaceship Earth in Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 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.

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.

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.

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About Italy

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

Germany is the previous category.

Japan is the next category.

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