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February 24, 2017

Shopping Around Epcot's World Showcase

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Shopping in Epcot's World Showcase pavilions can be a lot of fun and very expensive. I prefer to "shop by camera" and to record items I find during my visits as the merchandise changes over time.

For instance, upon leaving the Frozen Ever After ride and entering Puffin's Roost shop in Epcot's World Showcase Norway pavilion, you come upon a wall display of framed prints and gifts for sale from the animated movie, Frozen. Something you would have not seen before the movie was released back in 2013.

Framed prints and gifts for sale in The Puffin's Roost inside the Norway pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Framed prints and gifts for sale in The Puffin's Roost.
Nikon D750/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1/125s, f/2.8, ISO 1100, EV +0.3.

Then, there are the timeless items for sale which have been in the shops since Epcot opened. Coo Coo Clocks inside the Der Bucherwurm store in the Germany pavilion have been ticking and coo coo-ing every time I have visited since 1983.

Coo Coo Clock for sale inside Der Bucherwurm store in the Germany pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Coo Coo Clock for sale inside the Der Bucherwurm store.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/40s, f/3.8, ISO 6400, EV 0, 32mm Focal Length.

What I enjoy seeing is how pop culture comes and goes throughout World Showcase. No where does it show more than the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japan pavilion where last year the Pokemon Go phenomenon was in full swing.

Pokemon plush toys for sale inside the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japan pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Pokemon plush toys for sale inside the Mitsukoshi Department Store.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 1250, EV 0, 32mm Focal Length.

France is the home to many Disney classics including Beauty and the Beast. In the Galerie Des Halles shop you find all manner of souvenirs from Eiffel Tower replicas to shirts from the movie.

Shirt for sale found in Galerie Des Halles shop in the France pavilion at Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Shirt for sale found in the Galerie Des Halles shop.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 1400, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

And I did not spend a dime. Well, not exactly, I bought the shirt as a gift for my daughter. Happy shopping!

February 10, 2017

Photographing a Disney Icon: Spaceship Earth

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 8, 2016

More Food Compositions at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I am back with another edition about Disney Food Photography. It has been a year since a wrote that last article about phtographing the foods at Walt Disney World and beyond. This time I want to talk about how I include little extras which add interest or help to tell a story.

First, it is always a good thing to get close to your main subject. At Teppan Edo in Epcot's Japan pavilion, the food is prepared right in front of guests. Using a short zoom lens, I was able to get in close to one of the wonders of any meal there, the Onion Volcano as it was erupting. The softly focused guests in the background add a fun element.

Onion volcano erupting at Teppan Edo restaurant in Epcot's Japan pavilion, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Onion volcano erupting at Teppan Edo restaurant in Epcot's Japan pavilion.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/100s, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV 0, 52mm Focal Length.

Restaurants at Disney can have cluttered backgrounds with guests dining and tables waiting to be bussed. Using bounce flash, you can pull your subject out of the background. When I dine at Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Village Resort, I get Tonga Toast. My Son-In-Law prefers the Big Kahuna Breakfast. Using a person traveling with you adds interest and delights your family and friends.

Big Kahuna breakfast entree at the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Big Kahuna breakfast entree at the Kona Cafe.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 900, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length, Bounced Flash.

Not every time do I take a photo of food inside the location I purchased it from. Especially if it is a beautiful morning in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland. There, I got one of Gaston's Tavern's warm cinnomon rolls and a cold milk to wash it down with. I placed the food on an outside table and used a wide focal length to include the entrance to the quick service restaurant in the background.

Warm cinnamon roll and cold milk from Gaston's Tavern in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Warm cinnamon roll and cold milk from Gaston's Tavern.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 180, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

I have a lot of fun photographing the food and restaurants at all Disney venues. For one thing, people do not mind you doing it in Disney restaurants as most people are doing the same thing with their cameras and smart phones. Secondly, I enjoy people telling me how my photos help them consider eating at a particular restaurant on their trips to Disney parks and resorts. I hope you do to.


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.

August 10, 2012

Prime Epcot

Prime Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.


April 30, 2010

Japan Lantern

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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


February 26, 2010

Creative White Balance

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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About Japan

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

Italy is the previous category.

Mexico is the next category.

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