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January 10, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: Magic Kingdom Aerial

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Deb Wills asked Deb Koma, AllEars.Net Newsletter Editor, for ideas for the Disney Pic of the Week segment on the Picture This! blog. She gave us a bunch we have used over the last two months. Then, I came upon a series called Aerial Photos. Now, considering I was not going to rent a helicopter and Disney does not allow drones except for their use, I had to dig around my photo library. There, I discovered some "aerial" photos to share.

First up is the Magic Kingdom. Six years ago, a friend of mine invited me to his Magic Kingdom view room in Disney's Contemporary Resort. He did not get a chance to finish his sentence when I agreed. It was December and not the greatest of days either. Still, this photo of Cinderella Castle came out very good from an angle only seen from the resort.



Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom photographed from Disney's Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Cinderella Castle photographed from Disney's Contemporary Resort.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/200s, f/10, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 170mm (255mm DX) Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow with her Aerial Photo of the Magic Kingdom.

December 23, 2016

Christmas Wish 2016

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Cinderella Castle decorated for the holidays in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle transformed by Queen Elsa into an Ice Castle.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/60s, f/4, ISO 6400, EV -1.0, 16mm Focal Length.

Just because I cannot see it, doesn't mean I can't believe it!

-- Jack Skellington, The Nightmare Before Christmas

Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas.

Scott will be taking next week off to spend with friends and family for the holidays and will be returning again for another year of Walt Disney World photography fun, tips and knowledge.

December 16, 2016

Holiday Wishes from Main Street USA

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Before the Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, I photographed Holiday Wishes from the same location. I used the Bulb Technique described in this post: Photographing Fireworks.

This is a test shot to line up Cinderella Castle down Main Street USA.

Cinderella Castle at the end of Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle at the end of Main Street USA in Ice Lights.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 30s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length, Tripod.

By the time, Holiday Wishes commenced, Main Street USA filled in with party goers.

Holiday Wishes over Cinderella Castle during a Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Holiday Wishes over Cinderella Castle during a Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 16s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Tripod.

One of my favorite moments of Holiday Wishes is when they make a Christmas tree over Cinderella Castle and O Christmas Tree is played.

Holiday Wishes over Cinderella Castle during a Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
O Christmas Tree sequence of Holiday Wishes during a Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 14s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Tripod, Cropped.

This location for Holiday Wishes was not my favorite. Though I did enjoy not being elbow to elbow with my fellow Disney fans for the long exposures needed for fireworks.

Holiday Wishes over Cinderella Castle during a Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Holiday Wishes "snow" artifacts during a Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 28s, f/11, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Tripod.

Oh, one last little issue to look out for...."snow" falling on Main Street USA may cause artifacts in your photos.

December 2, 2016

Photographing Holiday Lights at Home and at Disney

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

It is that time of year when cities, towns, villages and, yes, even us put up our holiday light displays to celebrate the season. Whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or something else, photographing these displays can be a challenge.

For outdoor lighting, it is best NOT to wait until it is totally dark out. Go out early just after sunset and wait for the sky light and outdoor lights to balance. This gives a nice overall exposure to the scene instead of bright light points which often are blown out. There is no formula as to when the light will balance. The photo below was taken about 15 minutes after sunset using a tripod which I recommend for the long exposures needed at a low ISO.

Balanced light for a home's holiday light display in Orlando, Florida
Balanced light for a home's holiday light display.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 4s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 22mm Focal Length.

Another type of photo people like to get is what PhotoPass photographers do at night in all the parks. Using a method called dragging the shutter, a tripod and instructing people to stand still, they are able to get a brightly lighted background like Cinderella Castle, Spaceship Earth, Tree of Life or Hollywood Blvd. while correctly exposing, with the flash, the people they are photographing.

In a pinch, you can do it without a tripod as I did below.

Couple portrait in the Magic Kingdom with Cinderella Castle lighted in the background, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Couple portrait with Cinderella Castle lighted in the background.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/5s, f/5.6, ISO 400, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Rear-Sync Flash, Cropped.

Here are a couple more links with information on Photographing Christmas Lights at Disney and on Dragging the Shutter.

Have any great photos of holiday displays whether they be yours, Disney's or another public display, send them my way. I might share them in a future blog post.

November 4, 2016

Bibbity Bobbity Boo...Crane Be Gone!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A while back I was complaining about a maintenance crane being used on my recent trip to the Magic Kingdom. I mentioned I could remove the crane using software. This does take added time so I do not like to do it often. Later in the day, I caught the end of the new Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire on the castle stage when fireworks are used.

Cinderella Castle with a maintenance crane behind it at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle with a maintenance crane behind it.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 360, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

I am a fan of the photo editing software by Macphun which run on Apple Mac computers. One of their products called Snapheal has recently been updated so it can be used as a plug-in for Apple Aperture and Adobe's Lightroom and Photoshop programs. You can find many Windows programs which can do the same thing. I had to carefully select the crane using the software's brush tool. I zoomed in to 100% to make sure I did not overlap the roof line too much. Snapheal has three different methods of erasing selected objects. For this job, the Dynamic method proved to be the best to get the crane away from where it first sticks out from behind Cinderella Castle.

Cinderella Castle with the maintenance crane removed at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle with the maintenance crane removed via software.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 360, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

As you can see, I now have a keeper.

Adobe Lightroom has something which can replace small objects or ones not intersecting with other objects like dust bunnies. For larger objects, Snapheal does a much better job.

Adobe Photoshop can do an even better job. However, since I do almost all my processing in Lightroom, Being able to use Snapheal within LIghtroom or Aperture is much easier and faster for me.

October 7, 2016

Partners and the Crane at the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I got on the ferry to travel from the Ticket and Transportation Center on my last visit to the Magic Kingdom. I walked up the ferry's stairs and made my way to the front railings. I looked over the Seven Seas Lagoon to see the beautiful sights as the ferry sailed closer. I first notice the Main Street USA Train Station and, off to the side, the brilliantly white Space Mountain thrill ride. Then I look back for a glimpse of Cinderella Castle and frown. I picked a day Disney was doing work on the exterior of the castle using a big -- no, huge -- construction crane.

Partners statue in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Partners statue in front of Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/13, ISO 100, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length, Fill Flash.

I could use software to remove the crane. Still, it would never look as good if the crane was not there. It was time to think, as I wanted a good, recent photo of the Partners statue featuring Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse for my photo library. I started to walk around the statue while avoiding everyone else who was photographing the statue and/or guests in front of the statue. I found a composition I liked and got a little lower in my stance for a good angle.

Partners statue in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Partners statue in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/250s, f/13, ISO 100, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length, Fill Flash.

The next time you go to photograph in a location and things are not what you thought they would be -- think, move and let your creativity find a solution.

September 16, 2016

Anatomy of a Magic Kingdom Sunset

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

On my trip last week, I was on my own Friday at the Magic Kingdom. Using an app on my phone, I had determined a location to photograph the sunset. It was from the bridge on the Wishing Well side of Cinderella Castle. With the sunset at 7:38PM and Wishes starting at 9PM, I set up my camera on a tripod at 7PM. If you are wondering why I mentioned Wishes, people started to line up on the bridge soon after I got there to wait for the fireworks show.

As you can see by the picture below, the weather was not being cooperative when I took my first test image about 40 minutes before sunset. From my experience photographing many sunsets in upstate New York, I have learned never to judge a sunset until about 30 minutes afterward. Instead of packing up, I waited.

Cinderella Castle on a cloudy day at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle on a cloudy day before sunset.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 100, EV 0, 24mm focal length, tripod.

Sunset came and went with no good color in the sky. That was until 10 minutes after sunset when the clouds which, had been slowly clearing, was lit up by the Sun over the horizon. Processing the image in Adobe Lightroom CC, I opened up the shadows in front of the castle and added vibrance to the overall scene. Disney added lighting on the castle which kept it from becoming a silhouette against the bright sky.

Cinderella Castle after sunset at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle ten minutes after sunset.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/3s, f/22, ISO 100, EV 0, 24mm focal length, tripod.

The color came and went quickly. 10 minutes later or 20 minutes after sunset, the sky color was gone. The darkened sky was a nice backdrop for the lighted castle using a long 6 second exposure.

Cinderella Castle during dusk at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle twenty minutes after sunset.
Nikon D750/16-35VR, 6s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 22mm focal length, tripod.

Sunsets are different every time and one must be prepared to wait with patience and be ready to capture the fleeting colors when they occur. Even with Disney's wonderful lighting, at sunset, it compliments Nature's own light show.

June 24, 2016

Purple Wishes over Cinderella Castle

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Wishes over Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Purples hues during Wishes over Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 5.4s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, tripod, remote shutter release.

Scott is still on his Stay-cation this week but will be back next week with more on Disney Photography. He hopes you enjoy this purple hued photo of Wishes over Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom. After all, it is Fireworks Friday.

June 10, 2016

Nikon Picture Spots at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Looking for a great place for a picture perfect photo at Walt Disney World? Using all the techniques I have outlined the last few weeks, Disney and Nikon have teamed up to take the guess work out of a good photo location.

Look for Nikon Picture Spots throughout the parks. They were chosen to provide good places to take a photo of the scene and, especially, for taking photos of you, your family, friends and maybe a random fellow guest and their family (I get asked a lot to do this at the parks). For us old-timers, they were known for years as Kodak Picture Spots but Nikon took over sponsorship a few years ago.

Nikon Picture Spot for Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Nikon Picture Spot for Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/18, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 24mm Focal Length.

What is interesting at this Nikon Picture Spot in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingodom is the changes that have taken place since the original photo was taken. It has changed even more since I took this photo back in 2014 with the new Hub design.

I will be taking an early summer break the next two weeks. Look for a couple of fun photos as I recharge my photographic batteries.

June 3, 2016

Motion Photography in the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

As I conclude my series on how to improve your photography at Walt Disney World, I want to talk about my favorite kind...Motion Photography. When done right, motion photography gets the most attention when sharing it. It has good "Wow" factor.

First kind of motion photography is keeping the camera still with a slow shutter speed. Something below 1/60th of a second though it can be faster depending on how fast the subject is moving. In the case below, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland gave a good motion blur at 1/30th of a second. If I used a tripod, I could have gone even slower.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train flying by in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train flying by in Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/30s, f/22, ISO 250, EV +0.3, 24mm Focal Length.

The second kind of motion photography and the hardest to master is Panning. This is where you move the camera using a slow shutter speed while keeping the subject in the same relative location in the view finder. It takes practice which can be done anywhere you find moving subjects. Parks, race tracks, sporting events and getting your family to ride bikes up and down the street all make good subjects for panning practice. Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom is an excellent place to use panning. The cars stay on the same course and never stop going by. You do have to slow the shutter down to make them look fast.

Guests fly by on Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests "fly" by on Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/15s, f/29, ISO 200, EV 0, 85mm Focal Length.

You can read a more in depth article on panning here: Panning for Gold.

As I pointed out, motion photography is not easy and takes practice. I find the time well worth it when I see and hear people comment on them.

April 22, 2016

Fireworks Primer for Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

As the calendar heads towards summer, can Fireworks Season be far behind?

Wishes fireworks show over Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Wishes fireworks show over Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 15s, f/11, ISO 280, EV 0, 35mm focal length, tripod.

At Walt Disney World, every day is in Fireworks Season with shows in three parks almost nightly:

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, debuting in 2016, at Disney's Hollywood Studios
IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth in Epcot
Wishes in the Magic Kingdom

Below are links to blogs I refer people to when I am asked how to photograph fireworks specifically at Walt Disney World. They pertain to any fireworks show you want to photograph:

Photographing Fireworks - Part 1

Photographing Fireworks - Part 2

Of course, this blog might just be an excuse for me to share a photo of Wishes. Still my favorite fireworks show.

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.


April 1, 2016

Anchoring Your Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

In landscape photography, the idea of anchoring a photo with an interesting element in the foreground is almost a rule. An anchor creates drama, shows scope, scale and tells a story.

I use anchors a lot at Walt Disney World especially when I have a wide angle lens on my camera. Wide angle lenses allow you to get close to a subject and include a sweeping background. In the photo below of a geyser erupting next to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the Magic Kingdom, I was able to encompass not only the geyser but the Liberty Belle Riverboat on the Rivers of America and the clouds in the sky overhead. The geyser anchors the photo and gives a viewer a starting location before moving on to the rest of the image.

Geyser near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad erupts as the Liberty Belle cruises by on the Rivers of America in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Geyser near Big Thunder Mountain Railroad erupts as the Liberty Belle cruises by on the Rivers of America.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/400s, f/10, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

Being more of a travel and vacation photographer when at Walt Disney World, I like to add people as the anchor. Specifically, the people I am traveling with. While, it may not be of interest to everyone, it is for my family with me and for those back at home I share the photos with. There are so many places you can do this in all the parks. This one was taken at a favorite location for Disney Photopass photographers. For good reason with the beautiful Cinderella Castle in the background.

Guests pose in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests pose in front of Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/80s, f/18, ISO 200, EV 0, 34mm Focal Length.

The next time you are out with your camera, look for anchors to use to create beautiful story telling photographs.


December 15, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Holiday Lights

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Frozen Holiday Wish returned to the Magic Kingdom for the 2015 holiday season. During the show, Queen Elsa uses her power and two hundred thousand LED lights to transform Cinderella Castle into a frozen palace. In my mind, this is the greatest Disney holiday light display.

Cinderella Castle as an ice palace in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle transformed into an ice palace in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/20s, f/8, ISO 800, EV -0.67, 28mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow to show us a holiday light display from the past.


November 18, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Cinderella Castle

Deb's Digest Blog

It didn't take me long to decide what photo to share for this week's Disney Pic of the Week.

Back in 2009, Scott took this amazing photo of the Cinderella Castle as a Rainbow Ice Castle. He was kind enough to donate several copies to me for a breast cancer fundraiser. Because of both the beauty of the photo and Scott's kindness...this is my choice for photo of the week!

rainbowcastleprint.jpg

November 17, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Cinderella Castle

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When it comes to icons, Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom is hard to beat. I know photographers all over the Internet who try and capture Cinderella Castle in unique and new ways. Not sure it can be done. I am not immune to the quest. I even think this photo might be unique. Though I doubt it.

Spires and towers of Cinderella Castle poke above trees in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spires and towers of Cinderella Castle poke above trees in the Magic Kindom.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/800s, f/5.6, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 210mm Focal Length, Tripod.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share another Cinderella Castle photo I am very proud of for the good it did for her.

October 23, 2015

Vacation Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

While I take the time to do all types of photography when I visit Walt Disney World. My family is around often being patient as I set up a shot or look for a different angle. I want to thank them this week.

So, for those who remember them, I want you to imagine settling in on a friend's couch as she/he gets out the slide projector to show you their Walt Disney World Vacation photos. Ready? Here we go...

As a family when visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios, we are always on the lookout for members of the Citizens of Hollywood. The day after the Labor Day holiday, it seems the Streetmosphere characters were on hiatus. Walking through Pixar Place, we happened upon a group of improv entertainers who were looking for actors to star in their production of Aladdin. My daughter "volunteered" to play Jasmine and was given a stuffed tiger named (you guessed it), Rajah.

A young woman poses with an improv group after helping them with a skit at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young woman poses with an improv group after helping them with a skit at Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/125s, f/5, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

After the skit was done, I quickly asked the group if they would pose for a photo with my daughter. If you or a member of your touring party are ever in a show, try and ask if you can take a photo with the cast member or members after the show. Sometimes it is not possible but, as you can see, these guys were more than happy to comply with my request.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one ride I feel comfortable taking photos on. I make sure to secure my camera. For the photo below, I asked the Cast Member loading the train if my family could ride in a car behind me and I would need an empty row in that car. My request has honored because it was a slow day with little wait times. A wide angle lens is a good choice on a ride as you do not have to be as careful aiming it. I put my camera in Shutter Priority mode and set it to 1/250th of a second to cut down on camera shake on the wildest ride in the wilderness.

A family riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A family riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/250s, f/2.8, ISO 140, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length.

Having said all that the photo I liked best was during the slow climb up one of hills showing my family with Big Thunder Mountain Railroad spreading out all around them.

After visiting two parks in one day, we decided to check out the new Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort to relax with a couple of adult beverages and be entertained by the lively Cast Members who know how to serve a drink.

Mother and daughter share a laugh in Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mother and daughter sharing a laugh in Trader Sam's Grog Grotto at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/10s, f/2.8, ISO 10000, EV +0.3, 16mm Focal Length.

I captured one of those moments Disney loves to use in their advertising as my wife and daughter share a laugh with a cool drink after a hot day in the parks.

After shopping at Downtown...excuse me, Disney Springs, we returned to the Magic Kingdom the next day. While waiting for our dining reservation time, we found the Sword in the Stone in front of the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in Fantasyland all by itself. For adults, this was an opportunity we could not pass up and took turns trying to pull the sword.

A young couple tries to pull the sword from the stone in front of Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young couple tries to pull the sword from the stone in front of Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length, Cropped.

Sadly, we found out none of us were of royal blood but came away with fun photos before allowing another family a chance at the sword.

As the time of our dining time approached, we were escorted inside the Beast's Castle and the Be Our Guest restaurant. The wide angle lens gave me compositional choices as I photographed my family ahead of me.

A family enters the Beast's Castle for dinner at the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A family enters the Beast's Castle for dinner at the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/50s, f/2.8, ISO 10000, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Cropped.

We enjoyed a very good meal in the West Wing.

Two days later, we went back to Disney's Polynesian Village Resort for breakfast at Kona Café. While I ordered my usual Tonga Toast, my Son-In-Law went with the Big Kahuna platter.

A young man shows off his Big Kahuna breakfast entree at the Kona Café in Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young man shows off his Big Kahuna breakfast entree at the Kona Café in Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 900, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length, Flash.

After filling up at breakfast, my eldest daughter and I went over to Disney's Animal Kingdom while the rest of the family went back to our resort's pool. They missed out as walking down one of the Discovery Island trails near the Tree of Life, we meet up with Tarzan.

A young woman poses with Tarzan, the Ape Man, on one of the Discovery Island trails near the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young woman poses with Tarzan, the Ape Man, on one of the Discovery Island trails near the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 400, EV 0, 42mm Focal Length.

What was interesting with Tarzan was you could not see him unless you walked down the trail. I checked later and he was listed on the park's times schedule. Look for him on your next visit to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

It was a rainy, dreary morning the next day as we made our way to the Boardwalk resort area to catch NFL Sunday at the ESPN Club. While we waited for the restaurant to open we spent some time at the Beach and Yacht Club resorts. My wife had told me she wanted a photo of her with our daughters. With two of them being travel agents and another who travels a lot for her job, the large antique globe in Disney's Yacht Club Resort's lobby was a fitting place for the photo.

Mother and her daughters in Disney's Yacht Club Resort lobby, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mother and her daughters in Disney's Yacht Club Resort lobby.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 1000, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length, Bounce Flash.

Looking at this photo now, I wish I had featured the globe more by either having my wife sit in a chair so she was lower or have the three of them surround the globe. The concept was sound, the execution was a bit off. Will have to re-visit this one in the future.

After spending a few hours watching football (yeah, the Green Bay Packers won!) and eating through ESPN Club's menu, I took this photo for my daughter and Son-In-Law on the much improved afternoon outside the restaurant with their favorite team's jerseys on.

A young sports-minded couple outside the ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A young sports-minded couple outside the ESPN Club at Disney's Boardwalk Resort.
Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/11, ISO 140, EV 0, 36mm Focal Length.

Now, this photo I like a lot as it tied the sports theme together nicely as they are both big fans.

I hope I did not bore you. Wanted to show you while I do enjoy going the extra mile to get good travel photos at Walt Disney World, I love my family, too. Until next week...Aloha!

October 4, 2015

Where in the World #401

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

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

Thank you, Sandie Albrecht and Susie Howard, for the happy 400th wishes! I'm proud of our corner in AllEars. :)

Chris Kelly hit the single digit dance! So, let's dance because he's there this week!
Smiley from Millan.Net

Jennifer Rowell, you're right: I did mention a Hidden Mickey in the Wilderness Lodge Villas lobby! On the way to the train room, look up to the ceiling beams. You'll a mouse hole where a little fella burrowed in. Looking into the mouse hole, and you'll see Mickey smiling back at you! A castmember can help you find it; that's how I know about it.
You can see him at Steve Barrett's Hidden Mickey Guide here.

Now for Challenge #400:
Where in the World #400

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

We're in Maurice's cottage at Magic Kingdom's Enchanted Tales with Belle. You can see the portrait of Belle with her mother on the right.

Jan Rosato, I didn't know it's called the Hearth Room; thank you!

Jeff Blank, I missed your trip? Mea culpa. :( On the other hand, I love your photo! You got to be one of Belle's knights! Carla C's daughter played the Beast! I haven't done anything like that but I have played enthusiastic cheerer in the audience several times. :)

The Parker Family was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to The Parkers and to all our winners this week! Ruben O'meara, Kristi Strembicki, Donna Frank, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney, Mary Beth Tarbet, Erin Hammer, Robert Wescovich, Melissa Such , Deb Ragno, Sam Rossman, Ed Elder, The Modecki's, Hillary Waldroop, Sandie Albrecht, Cassidy , Ellen Sullivan, Linda College, Beth Mcmeekin, Kris Nixon, Darrin Mann, Claire Gregory, Kathy B., Paul Dickson, The Kertes Family, Tricia Petty, Nan Amor, Laura, K Beasley, Sarah And Chris, The Fosbenders, Karen Schlumpf, Team Hill, Deb Gallo, Chris Kelly, Pat Schwier, Matt Wildey, Laurie Walker, Ellie Argaluza, Cynthia Hitchcock, Lori Rienhardt, John Bickers, Elaine Tomko-deluca & Aj Deluca, Phyllis, Mickey Eckert, Kerry A., Karen Taylor, Herb Miller, Jan Rosato, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Susie Howard, Maureen Handy, Jim Finley, Kyra, Christopher Thacker , Mark Donahue, Bridget, Duskin Henard, Carolyn Como, Chloe Mayhew, Jim Poplawski, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Cathy Derecola , Toni, Les Whitten, Arlene Vicek, Andrew Carrieri, Debra Kuklinski, Eric Johnson, Patrick Broaddus, Jeff & Cheryl Simmons, Josh Weiss, Maryann Romagnano, Brian Mcwithey, Adolph And Kimberly Timm, Diane Curfman, Kerri Coggins, Josette Gabel, Kristan Bertelmann, Jeff Blank, Luis Rodriguez, Andrew Pettit, Stephanie Linares, Jeremy Hardy, Jeremy Reichelt, Carla C, Lyn Johnson , Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Matthew Frey, Brian Yesutis, Karen Bellamy, Annie Snodgrass, Dave Carriere, John Casey, Sheila Savage, The Filiater Family , Vera And Izzy Williams, The Gunnels Gang, Brian Miller, Mark Proper, Vicki Britt, Mark Franklin, Gabriella & Matthieu, Kelly Smith, Barclay Bakkum, Julia Wickware, Emily Hudson, Emma Ramsey, Michael Z., Caroline Burmester, Thomas Higbee Sr., Grumpy's Groupies, Theresa Maradei, Rob Blundin, Shirley Garcowski, Jackie Graebel, Tammy Cousin, Joseph M. Zafia, Michael Haeberle, George Mundy Jr, Theresa Rucando, Smitty, Melody Odonnell, Rachel Hoover, Andy Hickey, and Jackie Klafeta!

Incredibly, it's time for the monthly drawing! The September winner is Shannon ! Congratulations! I'll be emailing you to talk about getting your prize from Deb Wills!
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #401 Where in the world is this?

Hey, I found what could be a tough challenge for the challenge after this. Do we want to go tough?

Meanwhile, here is this week's:


Where in the World #401

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, October 8th, 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 soon, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

September 25, 2015

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in Motion

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When I am out photographing, I like to include motion shots. Sometimes I will use panning to show motion but that can be hit or miss. Another way to show motion is to slow down the shutter and keep the camera still as a moving object goes past the lens. This is how I got this speed shot of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom.

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride speeds by in Fantasyland.
Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/40s, f/7.1, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

To keep the camera steady, I used the wooden fencing overlooking the ride to anchor my elbows and leaned on it. I took a series of photos as the ride vehicle passed by. After watching people having fun riding, I got in line to ride it myself.

This was my first time going through the standby line and I enjoyed the interactive activities to help pass the time. When I came upon the barrels full of brightly colored gems, I took a few photos before I saw other guests spinning them.

Barrel full of gems on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Barrel full of gems on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue in Fantasyland.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/20s, f/2.8, ISO 2000, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

I had members of my party spin the barrels as fast as they could while I photographed them with a slow shutter. I kept the camera steady using Da Grip holding technique.

Spinning barrel full of gems on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spinning Barrel full of gems on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train queue in Fantasyland.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/20s, f/2.8, ISO 4000, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

I really liked how some of the shots came out.

When it was time to get on the ride, I changed the shutter speed to 1/30th of a second and did my best to keep the camera steady during the ride. Of the fifty or so photos I took during the ride, six came out.

Riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Riding the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in Fantasyland.
Nikon D750/Tokina 16-28mm, 1/30s, f/9, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

The photo above was the best of the lot. As luck would have it, it was near the same location as the photo I took from outside the ride.

Next time you are near a moving subject, give this technique a try.

September 15, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: The Little Mermaid

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Little Mermaid was the first Disney movie I took my first born child to. It did not take me long as I watched to realize Disney animation was back making wonderful stories, sharing beautiful songs and creating dazzling scenes after a long drought. The Disney renaissance had begun.

Near the entrance to Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid in the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland, you can see Prince Eric's seaside castle. At night, bathed in blue light, you can almost hear Ariel singing to him.

Prince Eric's seaside castle shines at night in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Prince Eric's seaside castle shines at night in Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 20s, f/16, ISO 400, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length, Tripod.

Deb will be here tomorrow to share with you the voice of the Little Mermaid.


July 28, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Doors

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Doors are fascinating. Useful and practical. They are often used in metaphors about life. Walt Disney once said this about his company, We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.

This is such a fun quote. My photo today shows the handle of a door which would make me curious to try it to see what it was inside. Why would a musical symbol called a clef be used on a door? For those of us who have gone through this door to experience Mickey's PhilharMagic know it is a delight to the senses and dazzles our imaginations. Something I believe Walt would have been proud to have at the Magic Kingdom.

A Clef handle for a door to Mickey's PhilharMagic auditorium at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Clef handle for a door to Mickey's PhilharMagic auditorium.
Nikon D70/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 1250, EV -0.3.

Deb will be here tomorrow to show you a magical door found at Walt Disney World.


July 10, 2015

Photographing Where the People Are at the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

These days it is hard to find any of the Walt Disney World parks and resorts not crowded. As photographers we have to deal with those other tourists the best we can. Outside of Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid in the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland, I realized I would not get this composition people-free until closing time.

People walking past the entrance to Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
People walking past the entrance to Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid in Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 400, EV 0, 78mm Focal Length

Instead, I changed my position to line up Ariel in the foreground and the Beast's Castle in the background while shooting above the crowd. I used a small aperture of f/16 to keep everything in focus. I further cropped the final image you see below in post.

Ariel outside the Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid ride in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Ariel outside the Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid ride in Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 450, EV 0, 82mm Focal Length, cropped

As you can see, it changes the whole outlook of the photo. This was what I had in mind when I took the first photo until I reviewed it on my camera's LCD screen. Another advantage digital technology has brought to photography.

For more tips on how to photograph at Walt Disney World when it gets crowded, read my articles on How to Photograph at a Busy Disney Park.

May 19, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Glass

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Have you ever thought how much glass is at Walt Disney World? From the windows of the monorail to the gifts made of glass found on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, there are millions of things made of glass. As I was waiting for my time at the Be Our Guest restaurant in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, I saw this magnificient stained glass window right out of the movie, Beauty and the Beast.

Stained glass window at the Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Stained glass window at the Be Our Guest restaurant in Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 2100, EV 0, 24mm focal length.

Deb will show us how something of glass is made tomorrow.

May 8, 2015

What's My Aperture

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Going to do something different this week. For those new to the Picture This! blog or to photography, this might be confusing. To those who have been following along, I hope this will be easy for you.

I am going to post two photos and I want you to tell me the aperture used and why. I won't post the comments for a few days.

Nikon Picture Spot near the Sword in the Stone located in front of Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Nikon Picture Spot near the Sword in the Stone.

Nikon has taken over sponsorship of the Picture Spots found in all of Walt Disney World. How many of you have tried to pull out the sword?

Spires of Cinderella Castle behind rock outcroppings in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom., Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spires of Cinderella Castle behind rock outcroppings in Tomorrowland.

Rocks are used between Tomorrowland and Fantasyland as transitional landscaping in the Magic Kingdom. I noticed this composition as I was heading back to the Hub.

Leave your educated guesses in a comment using the link below. (Hint: Select the Depth of Field category link)

April 17, 2015

Cinderella Castle Archway

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

There is always something new to discover at Walt Disney World. While I had seen in the past the beautiful mosaic murals in the Cinderella Castle archway in the Magic Kingdom, I had never taken the time to photograph them. In doing so I was reminded of a series of blog posts I did back in 2013 on how to photograph at a busy and crowded Disney themepark.

I know a lot of Disney photographers who feel people in the photo is not a good thing. I, on the other hand, do not mind including people. They help to tell the story and add scale to whatever surrounds them. Below a family member is pointing out the dramatic scene when Cinderella has to leave the Ball at midnight leaving one of her glass slippers behind.

A family stops to view a mural in Cinderella Castle archway at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A family stops to view a mural in the Cinderella Castle archway.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 6400, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

I do realize it is nice to have a clean view, too. A couple of ways to do that at Walt Disney World is to either wait until late at night around park closing or wait for an opportunity when people vacate the scene as I did below.

A mural in Cinderella Castle archway at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A mural in the Cinderella Castle archway.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 4500, EV 0, 28mm Focal Length.

You can also look for details and get in close either by foot or using a zoom lens. In the Cinderella Castle archway, there are carvings at the top of the pillars on either side of the murals. The one I chose here shows the birds and mice who helped Cinderella make her dress.

Top of a pillar in Cinderella Castle archway at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Mice and birds at the top of a pillar in the Cinderella Castle archway.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/4.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 52mm Focal Length.

While it is a challenge photographing at busy Walt Disney World parks, you can still get wonderful photos by being flexible, creative and patient.

March 10, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Fantasyland

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

New or Old, Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom is full of Disney's beloved animated fairy tales brought to life for us to enjoy. The expansion of Fantasyland which is now complete brought in a mix of the older and newer Disney classics including a new counter service run by the one guy in town who's got it all down...Gaston's Tavern from Beauty and the Beast. I highly recommend his Warm Cinnamon Roll.

Gaston's Tavern in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Gaston's Tavern in Fantasyland.
Nikon D7100/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/200s, f/8, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 11mm Focal Length.

I used a program from MacPhun called Intensify Pro to add a soft HDR filter to the photo. I guy like Gaston deserved it.

Deb will be here tomorrow with a past Fantasyland favorite.


February 27, 2015

A Day in the Life at the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

We all have our own perspectives. Each day we spend in our world which might include family, friends, work or play. When visiting Walt Disney World, it seems the rest of the "real world" disappears for a few days. It is tremendously refreshing to me and I am guessing it is to you, too. After returning from a trip to Walt Disney World we bring something back. Souvenirs, clothing, life experiences and, of course, photographs.

Back in the day of film, we would have to wait a few days after returning to get the finished prints back from the lab. Sort through them and visit people or have them stop by to share our vacation photos. Things have certainly changed over the last twenty years. Today, we can share our experiences instantly via our smart phones and using services such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Family and friends see our photos as we experience them. When I sit back and think about it, a person back in the 1980's would look upon what we do today with photographs as magic.

With that in mind, let me share with you the magic of a day in the Magic Kingdom. The day was February 11, 2015. It started out cool which had me in long jeans and a light sweatshirt. Cloudless blue skies with plenty of Florida sunshine promised good times ahead as I walked on Main Street USA towards Cinderella Castle. I heard the familiar sounds of the Main Street Trolley Parade. I had just missed the performance but I saw an opportunity to catch the trolley pulled by a white horse in motion.

Horse drawn trolley goes by on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Horse drawn trolley goes by on Main Street USA.
Nikon D7100/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 100, EV 0, 11mm focal length.

To add drama to our vacation photos, photograph at a low angle which is what I did here.

My party had a FastPass+ to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad next and after getting off, we decided to take a short trip on the Walt Disney World Railroad to relax after being on the wildest ride in the wilderness!. We got on at the Frontierland station and got off at Fantasyland. Most people go directly into Fantasyland from the station but there is a quiet little path which goes over to Tomorrowland. I always stop on the path and wait for a train to go by. The engineers love to put on a show for anyone with a camera.

WDW Railroad train putting on a show in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
WDW Railroad train putting on a show.
Nikon D7100/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/250s, f/5.6, ISO 100, EV 0, 11mm focal length.

This location is really the only good place to get a photo of the trains.

Doubling back to Fantasyland, I enjoyed a performance of the Main Street Philharmonic, a 12-piece brass and percussion ensemble, right outside the Dumbo entrance.

Main Street Philharmonic performing in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Main Street Philharmonic performing in Fantasyland.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/640s, f/6.3, ISO 100, EV 0, 92mm focal length.

Don't you love their uniforms?

After a late lunch it was time to head back down Main Street USA and find a spot for the Festival of Fantasy Parade which we all know starts at 3 o'clock. I photographed from the Main Street Train Station and got my spot about 90 minutes before the start of the parade. Remember the parade starts in Frontierland and takes about 20 to 25 minutes before the first float comes around Town Square. For this parade, I wanted to get close ups of the characters on top of the floats.

Festival of Fantasy parade at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Festival of Fantasy parade (see text for caption).

From top left: Maleficent Dragon from Sleeping Beauty; Ariel from The Little Mermaid; Princess Merida from Brave and Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

After the parade, I took a leisurely walk back up Main Street USA, getting an ice cream at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor along the way and watched a Dream Along with Mickey show on the Cinderella Castle stage.

Dream Along with Mickey stage show in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Dream Along with Mickey stage show in front of Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/250s, f/6.3, ISO 100, EV 0, 110mm focal length.

The challenge I find with Mickey and the gang in this show are the moving eyelids. I take more photos of this show to make sure I get photos like this with all their eyes open.

With plans for dinner in Epcot later that night, it was time to end the day at the Magic Kingdom. Hope you enjoyed it and maybe you picked up a tip or two along the way.

February 6, 2015

Polarizing Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This is the third of three blogs about subjects being taught at the Focus on Epcot Photowalk held on Monday, February 9, 2015. Click the link for more information.

The previous two posts in this series talked about focusing issues. This week we turn towards changing the light entering our camera's lens with a polarizing filter. Specifically, a Circular Polarizing Filter. Being circular means the filter moves once it is mounted on your lens in a circular motion. This gives various amounts of polarization as the filter is turned in either a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. Polarizing filters main claim to fame is how it darkens and enhances a sky. Let me demonstrate using a typical Florida sky above Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom.

Cinderella Castle without a polarizing filter in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle without a Polarizing Filter.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV 0, 42mm focal length.

The sky is blue but not the deep blue people like to see. This is when a circular polarizing filter comes in handy. After one attaches it to a lens and looks through the viewfinder, a slow turn of the filter will show its effect from none at all to fully polarized. The photographer determines how much. The next photo of Cinderella Castle is with a polarizer filter set to maximum.

Cinderella Castle with a polarizing filter in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle with a Polarizing Filter.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV 0, 42mm focal length, polarizing filter.

Not only is the sky a deeper blue, the colors of the castle become enhanced. Yes, you can create the same effect in software but it only takes a quick turn of a filter to get it done in camera.

The other advantage of using a polarizing filter is to cut down on reflections. To see how that is done, check these two blogs:

Disney Pic of the Week - Filters

Case for Using a Polarizer Filter

If I still have not convinced you a polarizing filter is a must for the digital SLR camera owner, check this article out from the Digital Photography School: Why You MUST Have a Polarizer.

I was not convinced myself until I got a circular polarizer filter to try out once. I now have one for every different sized lens I own.

January 23, 2015

Using Hyperfocus at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This is the first of three blogs about subjects being taught at the Focus on Epcot Photowalk held on Monday, February 9, 2015. Click the link for more information.

If you look at any travel magazines or websites, you will notice many of the photos showing such exotic places as tropical beaches, snowy mountain peaks or colorful cities are in focus over the entire image. I refer to it as getting everything in focus from the front (bottom) to the back (top). To get such photos, photographers employ the technique of Hyperfocal Distance or Hyperfocus. I tend to use the latter name as I think it is cooler.

If you read up on Hyperfocus, you will come across charts full of numbers and diagrams. If you are into Landscape Photography, I encourage you to learn how to use those tools. For the purpose of photographing while visiting a Disney themepark, I much prefer a simpler way.

A Friendship boat leaves the Swan/Dolphin Resorts dock, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A Friendship boat leaves the Swan/Dolphin Resorts dock.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

By setting the aperture to f/16 or smaller, focusing on an object about one-third (1/3) into the lower part of the frame when looking through the camera's viewfinder, you will get everything in front of the object AND behind it in focus. It many not look like it through the viewfinder but will once you review the photo on the camera's LCD screen. That is what I did in the photo above of the Friendship boat leaving the dock in front of the Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World. I focused on the front windshield of the boat which is approximately one third into the frame.

Besides landscapes, another good use of hyperfocus at a Disney themepark or any tourist location, is photographing people in front of an interesting background. I know until I learned how to use hyperfocus, I had many photos of people in focus posing in front of Cinderella Castle or Spaceship Earth while the park icons behind them were not.

People in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/80s, f/18, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm focal length.

By placing the people's faces about one third into the frame and setting the aperture to f/18, I have them and Cinderella Castle in sharp focus. When I am looking to use Hyperfocus, I switch my camera to Aperture Priority Mode and select a small aperture. The camera will then select the shutter speed and ISO to use. Be careful of the shutter speed, if it gets to slow, you may need to use a tripod or Da Grip to hold your camera steady.

Here are more blog posts about Hyperfocus:

How to Create Travel Magazine Photos at Walt Disney World

Hyper-Hollywood

You can practice using hyperfocus at home by placing objects in the foreground with an interesting background. Review the photos on a computer screen to check the results.

January 6, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Going to start out 2015 by visiting each Walt Disney World park starting with the Magic Kingdom.

The Fantasyland expansion has brought many new photographic compositions like this mashup of two Disney animated movies, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. Ariel's figurehead on the bow of a ship outside the Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid attraction with the Beast's castle in the background which is behind the Enchanted Tales with Belle attraction.

Ariel figurehead outside Journey of the Little Mermaid in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Ariel figurehead outside Journey of the Little Mermaid.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 450, EV 0, 82mm Focal Length.

Deb is going to travel back in time and space tomorrow for her Magic Kingdom photo.


December 2, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When Disney decides to do something, they do it right. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a prime example. It features the first ever swinging ride vehicles adding a thrill to every tight turn while telling the tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A great ride for adults, it is perfect for the kids who have outgrown Goofy's Barnstormer but not quite ready for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Below you see the effect of the swinging ride as the train undulates through the curves.

Guests ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests ride the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in New Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/500s, f/16, ISO 3200, EV 0, 38mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow showing what it was like the day the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened.


November 23, 2014

Where in the World #359

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

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

I have an announcement, Players. I will be away for two weeks after this challenge because I need to take care of a family situation. You will obviously be in good hands while I am away and the game will be going on during my little hiatus! Enjoy my challenge this week and I can't wait to see what challenges lay ahead. I will announce the November monthly winner when I get back. Promise!

This is the point where I had planned to apologize to Claire Gregory for a mistake I made, but then she rubbed it in that she's at Disney and I'm not. So! Instead, I bring you this, an image of Claire revealing her true colors:
From Millan.Net

Oh I can't stay mad at any of you players! I found the Disney bear of comfort for your post-vacation blues, Claire. Lots of trips coming up and ending so be ready to share!
From Millan.Net

Now for Challenge #358:
Where in the World #358

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

It's the little hunny bees from the interactive queue at The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in the Magic Kingdom! As I mentioned, you might be more used to seeing these from the side as you slide the bees on their metal rails! Like this:

Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © Erin Blackwell

Aren't you amused on how I took this different angle? Like I was a real grown up artsy person? No?

I blame the bees.

Oh no, Grumpy's Groupies actually waved the white flag of surrender! (hugs) It wasn't you guys. It was the bees. Those tricky, tricky bees.
From Millan.Net

Jim & Lorie Sonnen was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Jim & Lorie and to all our winners this week! Eric Berger, Jerry Felder, Jim Finley, Hillary Waldroop, Clare, Mary Beth Tarbet, Mary Thatcher, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Shannon Murray, Shannon Savoia, Kenny, Emily Canales, Chloe Mayhew, The States Family, Theresa Rucando, Robin Fitts, Anastasia Macneil, Tricia Petty, Christine Twomey, Tiffany Gibb, Nathan Y, Arlene Vicek, Kate Fischer, Patrick Broaddus, Matthew Frey, Ryan Filiater, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Caroline Burmester, Jan Rosato, The Foley Family, Michaela O'brien, Sarah And Chris, Nicole Benoit, Mike O'brien, Kerri Coggins, Virginia Pierce, Vera And Izzy Williams, and Sharon Pierce!

__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #359 Where in the world is this?

Staying inside the parks but we're going to a different one!
Where in the World #359

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, November 27th, 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 soon, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

September 12, 2014

Classic Cinderella Castle in HDR

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

It was about a half hour before sunset and the top spires of Cinderella Castle was being illuminated with golden sunshine. Below, the castle and moat was in shade. Such lighting can be tough for a camera to capture in a single exposure. In post, you can open up the shadows some.

On the other hand, a set of photos for High Dynamic Range processing using today's software like Photomatix, can produce excellent results.

Classic View of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Classic View of Cinderella Castle in HDR.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 27mm focal length, HDR Image.

The HDR image here was produced using five photos taken in 1 stop increments from -2EV to +2EV and merged in Photomatix.

August 3, 2014

Where in the World #343

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!

Mr. Gunnel! I'm just passing on the message that if you and the family went to Walt Disney World more often, everyone would get the answers right!

Wendy Barney, I miss the Skyway too.

Last week's challenge: number #342
Where in the World #342

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

It's one of Pascal's friends for the "Look for friends of Pascal" at the.... well, it has many names but I call them the Rapunzel bathrooms. I once told a guest in Liberty Square that she had to go to these restrooms when she was looking for one. She looked at a cast member who said she should check them out. Still looking back like we're crazy, she left. She came back later and said, "Best. Bathrooms. Ever." :)

Sandie Albrecht, I found 7 of the Pascals. One was really tough because the plants had grown so much around his spot. After the 7th, my husband begged, "Can we go on a ride now?" So I stopped my hunt. I can't wait to finish it!

Kristi Strembicki was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Kristi and to all our winners this week! Chuck Sands, Judy Koslowski, Deb Gallo, Antoinette Leblanc, Linda Ranatza, Virginia Pierce, Donna Frank, Tricia Petty, Carol Ney, Jennifer Rowell, Phil Vickers, Ed Elder, Ed Suscreba, Mary Beth Tarbet, Jim &Lorie Sonnen, Kerri Coggins, Emily Hudson, Jed Orth, The Kertes Family, Kris Nixon, Debbie Desimone, Olszak Family, Kenny, Nan Amor, Becky Norman, Kris Blamphin, Debbie Desimone, Al Desimone, Phyllis, Andrew Swiatowicz , Elaine Kleinhenz, Jen Peterson, Lee Anastasi, K Beasley, Karen Adamakis, Linda Scrivano, Sharon Pierce, Sandie Albrecht, Team Hill, Andrew Carrieri, Maryann Eckenrode, Desiree Fremer, Deb Ragno, Claire Gregory, Rachele Dalton, Mary Ann Lamay, Melissa Such, Scott Cullen, Ellen Sullivan, Jack Lynch, Belicia Cullen, Lynette Michalos, Tim Johansen, Lyn Johnson, Katherine Campos, Heather Sabatino, Jennifer Harmon, Brian Miller, Jim Poplawski, Tinalala, Ed Adams, Susan Moeller, Donna Begley, Kye Layton, Ashley P. , The Parker Family , Herb Miller, Lorine Landon, Laura Tracy, Amber Penske, Karen Spreitzer, Pat Schwier, Ruth Senecal, Susie Howard, Pegreadinger, Christi Ison, The Fosbender's, Mary Graves, Krista Serpi, Rebekah Schultz, Betsy Silvestri, Britta Andrews, Andreas Beer, Mike Haven, Rob Hepler, Ken Daube, Haylee Smolek , Christina Trigiani, Meghan Gleason-vollmer, Shari.sand, Lori Rienhardt, Roxanne Kliebert, Candice Grimes, Darrell Shortt, Angela Fennell, Laurie Walker, Abby Otts, Lisa Mckenzie, Chloe Mayhew, Duskin Henard, Kerry Mihalik, Candi Highsmith, Robin Robinson , Jennifer And Elizabeth Geno, Pollyanna Buff, Maureen Handy, Gunnels Family, Paul Dickson, Carla C, Theresa Rucando, Hobbes And Snorky, Jen Cerce, Dave Freemyer, Kara Morton, Tom Koval, Shelly, Carol Anne Hastings, Suzanne Denham, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Louise Barton, Les Whitten, Jen Eacret, Jen Tremley, Jonathan Ward, Patti Mccaffrey, Jim Finley, Lisa Bohannon, Scott Precise, Grumpy's Groupies, Janet T Thorn, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Smitty, Colleen, Dee Dee Kenney, Judy Simonsen, Jim Nitschke, Diane Curfman, Cynthia Hitchcock, Maryann Romagnano, Dawn Bach, Kathy Morris, Daniel Record, Team Bonnie Sue, Chris And Alison, Mickey Eckert, Karen Bortz, Demetrios Makres, Jamie Rayot, Scott Greenbaum, Lorraine Williams, Hillary Waldroop, Maggie Klotz, Stefanie Vest, Josette Gabel, Paul Moore, Vera And Izzy Williams, Carida De La Torre, Kimberly Langh, Fiona Knight, Julia Marsh, Andrew Pettit, Kevin Parmeland, Wendy Barney, Christopher Hall, Michelle, Jeremy Reichelt, Chris Bauman, Rebecca Keenan, Barclay Bakkum, Sara Alaimo, Tricia Noble, Bob Hendrix, Karrie Duffey, Erin Duncan, The Lenz Family, Shelly Borella, Monica Owens, Matt Holley, Anastasia Macneil, Erin Loring, Kate Fischer, Fred Shakeshaft, Fran Rendulic, Vicki Britt, The Hutchinson Family, Sarah And Chris, Melissa Littman, Sarah Noelle, George Mundy Jr, The Patterson Family, Amy B., Carrie R, Rob Blundin, Lauren Blundin, Caroline Burmester, Brian Yesutis, Stacy Guarracino, Chris Kelly, Joy Shaw, Les Stewart, Jeremy Hardy, Carolyn Como, Heather Pedulla, Chris Thacker, Hope Hardy, Bryant O'meara, Cheryl Costello, Ken Rhinehart, The Koren Family, Jamie Steiner, Maja Kodani, Josh Carney, Jeff Finger, Eric Enli, Matthew Frey, Jamesd (dzneynut), David Ballard, Nathan York, Danielle Harsley And Agnes Ciotti, Jennifer Bogdan, Joseph M. Zafia, Jane Johnson, Tom Higbee, Matthew Jadro, Sandy Ednie, Heidi Goodhue, Jackie Graebel, Allison Caputa, Trina Noggle, and Mike Haeberle.

Guess what? It's time to announce the July winner! And that Player is: Kate Fischer! Congratulations! You will receive a prize from Deb Wills!
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #343 Where in the world is this?

We're leaving the parks for this week's challenge:
Where in the World #343

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

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

July 18, 2014

Family Photography at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

On all my trips to Walt Disney World, my family is with me. They put up with my constant clicking of my camera shutters, are very patient when I bring the tripod to the parks and very supportive of the results. Below are a few photos I took of the family on our latest trip back in May.

Family photography at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Family photography at Walt Disney World (see text below).

We brought along my Sister-In-Law who had a great time. In the upper left, she is with my eldest daughter with Donald Duck at his Safari Breakfast in Disney's Animal Kingdom's Tusker House restaurant. The upper right has the family group on the staircase to Boma restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Botton right has my youngest daughter's hair blowing in the wind provided by the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride in the Magic Kingdom. The bottom left has my wife with her sister in front of Cinderella Castle at one of the Nikon Picture Spots (yes, looks like all the Picture Spots have been updated with the new sponsor).

The family loves these photo opportunities and Walt Disney World is as photogenic with people as it is without. Hope these will give you a few ideas on photographing your family when visiting Walt Disney World in the future.

June 6, 2014

Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

If you have followed Photographic Innoventions long enough, you would know I am a big fan of Super Zoom Lenses. For a cropped sensor camera, the 18-200mm and 18-300mm are the ranges used. For a full frame sensor camera, the 28-300mm is the range. All are image stabilized (IS for Canon, VR for Nikon and a host of other letters depending on your camera or lens manufacturer) and have variable apertures to keep both the weight and costs down.

Over the last couple of years, I have had a need for another type of zoom lens. This one is not as large a range but has a fixed aperture throughout the zoom range. The Super Zooms start out at f/3.5 at the short end and end up being f/5.6 or f/6.3 at the long end when shooting wide open. For a fixed aperture zoom, it will keep the same wide open aperture from the short to the long end. The Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR lens is one such lens and I used it on my last trip to Walt Disney World.

To give you an idea of the range of this lens, I stood in the middle of Main Street USA and took a short (24mm) and a long (120mm) photo from the exact same position (see below) of Cinderella Castle. I did no cropping or straightening to the photos. Both taken with identical exposures except for the zoom setting.

Cinderella Castle from Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle from Main Street USA using a Nikon 24-120mm VR f/4 Lens.

Unlike the Super Zooms which only go as wide as 28mm (18mm cropped), the extra amount of angle at 24mm gives a real wide angle look. The 120mm is a very workable zoom at a Disney park. The Nikon 24-120 f/4 VR lens worked outstandingly for the Festival of Fantasy parade in the Magic Kingdom. At street level I was able to get the large floats in the frame at 24mm and zoom in for the characters on the floats and street.

Festival of Fantasy parade on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Festival of Fantasy parade on Main Street USA using a Nikon 24-120mm VR f/4 Lens.

Image stabilization (IS) or vibration reduction (VR) comes in handy when you are photographing from a moving vehicle or as day fades into night. The VR for the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 lens is excellent. I could hand hold down to 1/15th of a second easily. I could use even slower shutter speeds with the Da Grip Technique. Don't know about Da Grip? Click Here, you will be glad you did.

Friendship boat docking at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Friendship boat docking at Disney's Boardwalk Resort.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/11, ISO 360, EV 0, 105mm focal length, polarizer filter.

As a travel lens, I found the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR lens more than capable. The only time I missed my Super Zoom lens was on the Kilimanjaro Safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom. I still feel you need, at least, a 200mm lens to get good, frame filling results on the safari.

May 11, 2014

Where in the World #331

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!

Does anyone else see the name of this game and think of the "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" theme song? No, just me? Ok.
Carmen Sandiego World

Now for Challenge #330:
Where in the World #330

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

The Beast's Castle in New Fantasyland! Of course it sits atop of the "Be Our Guest" restaurant. I took this one from Belle's Cottage.

We could sing "Be Our Guest" but I still have Carmen Sandiego in my head. Oh what the heck!
Be our guest! Be our guest!
Put our service to the test
Tie your napkin 'round your neck, cherie
And we'll provide the rest
Soup du jour
Hot hors d'oeuvres
Why, we only live to serve
Try the grey stuff
It's delicious!

By the way, the gray stuff really is delicious.

(Where is Carmen Sandiego? Carmen Sandiego, Where on Earth can she be?) I couldn't help it.

Ed Elder was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Ed and to all our winners this week! Kristi Strembicki, Donnafrank, Phil Vickers, Lee Anastasi, Elizabeth And Dan Johnston, Andrew Carrieri, Bill Mckim, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney, Kenny, Kye Layton, Virginia Pierce, Jennifer Tremley, Colette Stanton, Pat Schwier, Scott Precise, Jenny Brennan, Amber Penske, Carol Lyons, Tina Powell, Lindsay Coram, Judy Simonsen, Sandie Albrecht, Lindsay Palmer, Kris Nixon, Deb Ragno, Sean Mobley, Eric Johnson, Paula Massarelli, Weaselmouse, Lorine Landon, Haylee Smolek, Paul Moore, Duskin Henard, Herb Miller, Theresa Rucando, Annie Snodgrass, Jim &Lorie Sonnen, Dee Dee Kenney, Claire Gregory, Carolyn Hashimoto , Patti Gumiela, K Beasley, Jennifer Snook, Betsy Silvestri, Jeremy Hardy, Ken Clark, Tom Koval, John Stella, Katie Bray, Carla C, Craig, Team Hill, Paul Dickson, Gail States, Bryant And Ruben O'meara, Sophia, Christina, Erica, Scott Cullen, Belicia Cullen, Chris Kelly, Julie Wickware, Karen Ramirez, Kerri Coggins, Nan Amor, Emily Hudson, Shelby Watson, Carolyn Como, Heather Pedulla, Maryann Romagnano, Theresa Maradei, Sarah And Chris, Brian Grabowski, Michele Mongeon, Dana, Hunter Armstrong, Ron Harper, Schuyler Etheridge, Patrick Broaddus, Chris Bauman, Scott Sangston, Matt Holley, John Sheridan, Lynda Abiuso, Erin Connell, Karen Bellamy, Matthew Jadro, George Mundy Jr, Rebecca Keenan, Vicki Shearman, Jeffrey Beauchamp, Dave Carriere, Kelly Smith, Anastasia Macneil, Randy Thomas, Brian Mcwithey, Mickey Eckert, Murr Family, Rob Blundin, Eric Enli, Lindsey Nozal, Kerry Mccaffrey, Vicki Britt, Melody Odonnell, Reagan, Kerry A., Scott Greenbaum, Maggie Klotz, Les Stewart, Janet T Thorn, Hillary Waldroop, Megan Hayes, Morgan M., David Ballard, Grumpy's Groupies, Melissa Such, and Patti Mccaffrey. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #331 Where in the world is this?

We are going outside the parks for this challenge:
 Where in the World #331

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, May 15th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

April 4, 2014

Wishes over New Fantasyland

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Wishes fireworks go off over New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Wishes fireworks go off over New Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 5.9s, f/16, ISO 400, EV 0, 28mm focal length, tripod.

The opening of the New Fantasyland expanision in the Fall of 2013 added new locations to photograph Wishes, the nightly fireworks show, from in the Magic Kingdom. A new favorite composition of Disney photographers is placing the Ariel statue near the entrance to The Little Mermaid -- Ariel's Undersea Adventure at the bottom of the frame as fireworks burst overhead. The statue is lighted and works very well.

For more ideas, search flickr to see all the interesting locations our fellow Disney fan photographers have found throughout the Magic Kingdom to photography Wishes from.

April 3, 2014

All Aboard Peter Pan's Flight

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Guests getting on Pirate ships for a ride on Peter Pan's Flight in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests getting on Pirate ships for a ride on Peter Pan's Flight.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/50s, f/3.5, ISO 1600, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length.

While today's dSLR cameras can capture photos inside Peter Pan's Flight in the Magic Kingdom, back when I had a Nikon D70, photographing the loading area was about the best I could hope for.

I remember for years bypassing this attraction thinking it was like a carnival's funhouse ride. When my daughters where young and this was one of the few rides they could go on, I finally got to try it. Imagine my surprise at the wonderful imagery and smooth ride technology. A must-do for anyone.

For the Disney Pic of the Week on Peter Pan's Flight.

February 23, 2014

Where in the World #320

Where in the World by Erin Blackwell

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

Thank you for the anniversary wishes. :)

Tom Buck, thank you for sending warmer weather from Walt Disney World! Mike Venere and I are not like Queen Elsa; we can't say "The cold never bothered me anyway."
From Millan.Net

From last week: Challenge #319:
Where in the World #319

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

It's the Barnstormer in the Magic Kingdom! I love this ride and always have! Previously, The Barnstormer at Goofy's Wiseacre Farm and now it's The Barnstormer featuring the Great Goofini. Anyone who has ridden it knows one very important thing: brace yourself for the brakes at the end. ;)

This is a lot of people's first rollercoaster, grownups and kids, while in the Fishman Family, it's a great place to petrify a kid. Awesome. :) My big brother did that to me with the Haunted Mansion. I go in but I still hide behind my husband until we're reach Madame Liotta. ;)

Bruce Jones were the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Bruce and to all our winners this week! Jennifer Rowell, Kristi Strembicki, Leigh Mertz, Murr Family, Kris Nixon, The Kahle Family, Emily Hudson, Donnafrank, Sharon Pierce, Renee, Olszak Family, Linda K Ranatza, Bill Mckim, Carol Ney, Rob Blundin, Lauren Blundin, Tricia Petty, Mary Beth Tarbet, Dee Dee Kenney, Melissa Such, Ed Elder, Jack Lynch, Angie Blair, Scott Greenbaum, Stu Horowitz, Joe Derecola, Erick Jauregui, Sheryl Hicks, Gallagher Family, Mickey Eckert, Nicki Seay, T. J., Leigh, Teddy And Carleigh Moos, Tracy Ludwig, Joy Laughlin, Ken Daube, Jen Eacret, Kathleen Bast, Michele Schlenker, Dave Freemyer, Kerri Coggins, Amber Slifer, Kristy Creeden , Carly &Colin, Andy Hickey, Chasady Mirkes, Annie Keane, Tinkerbellwells, Michelle Palazzo, Susan Hewell, Candice Grimes, Sarah Francis, Cindy Shatzel, Sherry L Dougherty, Gail Reller, Scott Precise, Matthew Jadro, Anjanette Tournillon, Lauren Thomas, Taylor, Nicki Joseph, Carla C, Liz Mckinnell, Michelle Darabaris, Virginia Pierce, Jeff Schoeling, Amber P, Deb Gallo, Deb Ragno, Jason L, Beth Mcmeekin, Andrew Schneider, Christie Linard, Stuart Savage, Jonathan Thomas, Anne H., Theresa Rucando, Christa Loss, Elaine Kleinhenz, The Frisbee Family, Amy Hayes, Lee Anastasi, Krista Serpi, Erin Hammer, Mike O'brien, Michele Smith, Kris Blamphin , Stefanie Hendley, Mark Avis, The Tisdale Family, Stephanie Peterson, Sand Family, Janice Enli, Vanessa Gordon, Kathy Morris, Patty Carty, Sandie Albrecht, Gina Smith, Carolyn Como, Dawn Miller, Sarah Goulding, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Jim Finley, Leanne Seeman, Paul Dickson, Tara Williams, David Hahner, Kathryn Perkins, Matthews Family , Team Hill, Steve Morin, Alex Popek, Clay Anthony, Patti Gumiela, The Chamberlain Family, The Kertes Family, Morag Lemon, Mark Schaefer, Al Ganter, Linda Scrivano, Lorine Landon, Belicia Cullen, Jennifer Harmon, Scott Cullen, Amiee Augustine, Tina G., Gerald Skanes, Lauren Holcomb, Steph Isham, Rebecca Smith, Chris Kelly, The Williamson Fanily, Amy B, Cindy Pink, Jodi Lupp, Brandie Baughman, Sharynne Smith, Jodi Lupp, Bill Schmid , Teala Van De Ven, Paul Robuck, Joseline Hernandez, The Fosbender's, Suzanne Baker, Laurie Murray, Jason And Melinda Lenz, John Baker, Andrea Kruszewski, Pat Schwier, Ken Jackson, Meredith Wall, Wendy Bedard, Lisa, Josh Weiss, Shawn, Paul Knott, Liz S., Ryan Mccorristin, Peg Readinger, Eric Enli, Laura V. , Trina Noggle, Dave And Liz Fullerton, Andrew Carrieri, Terry Blair, Lindsay Koren, Patty Newton, Robert Hildebrandt, Susie Howard, Blunk Family, Diane Emberton, Kathleen Glovna, Tina Gottron, The Gunnels Family, Michele Mongeon, Meghan Gleason-vollmer, Annie Niece, Louise Barton, Brian Miller, Ed Mahoney, Weaselmouse, Dawn Fiege, Paul Moore, Bruce Hinterleitner, Trisha Johnson, Lisa Zitek, Paul Silagyi, Roger Vollmer, Mary Kay Samluk, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Torrey Beasley, Ashley Tomlinson, Nathaniel Clements, Janet T Thorn, Tracy Discher, Linda College, Ruben Omeara, Doug Kopp, Judy Simonsen, Stefanie Vandiver, Jim &Lorie Sonnen, Shari Prater, Vera Dercole, Allison Forson, Angela Beaulieu, Jill, Tommy Montgomery, Chloe Mayhew, Sisk Family, Maureen Handy, Julie And Kody Rider, Suzanne Deffendall, Suzanne Caris, Demetrios Makres, Kelly Deleon, Tessa Flanagan, Kevin Zieger, Pete Dragstrem, Karen Marsich, Ken Clark, Tim Keenan, Karla, Karen Adamakis, Beth Beecy, Julia Wickware, Vicki Britt, Chuck Sands, Darlene Haven, Barbara Ajak , Jason Skow, Pam Vanaustin, Christine Dagney, Erin Dagney, Phil Vickers, Malampy Family, Amy Urton, Diane Curfman, Clayton Dymond, Amanda Campbell, Linda Lundsten, Karla Lefan, Karla Lefan, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Tyler Otts, Chris Thacker, Richard Tyre, Morgan M., Hobbes And Snorky, Kevin Scott, Karen Schlumpf, Gina Perrone, Hunter Armstrong, Betsy Silvestri, Gail States, Kerri Kobylka , Ally Faber, Doug Olson Family, Dawn Bach, Bryan Kruse, Nicole Amidon, Mark A. Santora, Maryann Eckenrode, Christi Ison, Tammi Trout, Kenny, Daniel Record, The Parker Family, Yvonne Marchione, Diane Butler, Matt Wildey, Sarah Orman, Chris Nichols, Fishman Family, Bruce Nash, Paige Angermaier, Lindsay Coram, Pollyanna Buff, Les Stewart, Cindy Wilhite, Megan Krainski, Sara Holloway, Kathy Sinniger, Kirsten Miller, Jen Cerce, Michelle B. , Erin Connell, Heather Pedulla, Emily Esker, Craig, Wayne Beck, Jim Nitschke, Brad Magaha, Chris Thomas, Larry Sprenkle, Jeff Blank, Tom Buck, Karen Ramirez, Brenda, Wayne Chadourne, Sarah And Chris, Caitlin Lewis, The Reichl Family, Robert Wescovich, Karen Costa, Brian Mcwithey, Shannon Murray, Duskin Henard, Dallas Hamilton, Karen Davis, Brenda H, Bonnie Tulenko, Sean Diven, Jeremy Reichelt, Dawn Simpson, Chris Bauman, Kelly Smith, Melody Odonnell, Annie Snodgrass, Kate Fischer, Rebecca Keenan, Robin Fitts, Shelly Borella, Mike Haven, Caryn Schill, Jenn Steele, Terry Fleming, Ryan Dimeo , The Patterson Family, Karrie Duffey, Michael Dale Pennington, Vicki Vaught, Karen Spreitzer, Wayne Witherspoon, Regina Allen, Barclay Bakkum, Josh Carney, Kathy Huckabee, Mike Venere, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Melodye Berry, Team Meeker, Anastasia Macneil, Russ Morgan, Wendy Snelgrove, Bonnie , Gail Geiser, Karen Bellamy, Nathan York, Jen Tremley, Nan Amor, Ashley Collins, Les Whitten, Tim Johansen, Mark Proper, Herb Miller, Kara Jones, Ron Harper, Matt Cofone, Danielle Murgia, Julie Harris, The Hulse Family, The Carrera Family, Shelby Watson, Susan Doucette, Cathy Connors, Allison Caputa, Diane Ramos, Ed Suscreba, Vicki Shearman, Amanda Kenney, Ashley P. , Carri Marotto, Kara Morton, The Holmes Family, Renee Hardiman, Smitty, Scott Sangsaton, Tricia Noble, Joseph M. Zafia, Luis Rodriguez, Jennifer Bogdan, Walter N. Clark, Kent Hustead, Jackie Graebel, Kim Hamilton, Maryann Daly, Melesia Love, Melissa Littman, Jean Bussell, Scott, Kelli Sangston, Robert P. Flaherty, Diane Furtado, Sonya A., Tom Higbee, Amy Scott, Alan Mize, Stacy Guarracino, Matthew Earl, Kirk Hardy, Hillary Waldroop, Mike Amor, Sabrina Kenney, Noah Schweizer (10 Years Old Now - ), Amy Fleming, Matt Holley, Eleanor Karwowski, Mark Franklin, Claire Gregory, Maggie Klotz, Agnes Ciotti, Cheryl Costello, Mike Haeberle, Davida, Mike Kaczanowski, Maryann Romagnnao, Amy Filliben, Kelly Reynolds, Patti Mccaffrey, Jane Johnson, Jackie Klafeta, Billie Jean Albolino, Scott Heffren, and Patrick Thomas. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #320 Where in the world is this?
We got Josh Carney's Carrot Cake Cookie (my husband get's one every trip) and Claire Gregory's cupcake before we left the Studios last week. I'm going to the eggroll cart before we leave Magic Kingdom for this week's challenge. Anybody else want something?

 Where in the World #320

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 27th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

February 14, 2014

Photographing the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel at Night

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Photographing in the Magic Kingdom at night is a lot of fun. Especially, late at night as the crowd thins out and photographers can set up their tripods almost anywhere. Which is exactly what I did in Fantasyland to photograph the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel. Did you know the carousel has 2,325 lights on it?

In my first photo, you might even be able to count some of them as the ride was stopped as guests exited and the next ones found one of the uniquely carved and decorated horses to ride. I used a long exposure of six seconds to get all the detail I could.

The Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 6s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, tripod.

The really fun part (at least for this photographer) is when the carousel starts to move again. Without having to change a thing on my camera, I took another six second exposure.

The Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in motion in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in motion.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 6s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, tripod.

Now, you can see all the lights but you would be hard pressed to count any of them.

Click here for more information about using a tripod at night in Walt Disney World

February 9, 2014

Where in the World #318

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!

Wendy Barney, bon voyage on your Disney vacation! Yes, please tell the Mouse that I said:
From Millan.Net

Rob and April Vanderpool, where have you been?! Did you get depressed and stay away because of Cindy Pink bragging about her Disney Aulani vacation? (I told you this could happen, Cindy!!)

From last week: Challenge #317:
 Where in the World #317

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

Oh yeah, it's the adorable tiger in "it's a small world" in the Magic Kingdom!

Jennifer Rowell, I'm glad your husband was happy with this one. We aim to please here at AllEars! And, Angel Diven, could you bring your husband to the screen? Dave Carriere, Sara Holloway, get your sons too. Are they there? Good.

(OK, Players, all together now. We're taking it from the second verse:)
There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone.
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide

It's a small small world!
its a small world after all
its a small world after all
its a small world after all
its a small, small world!

Dave Carriere, that's the best parenting ever!

Jim and Lorie Sonnen was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Jim & Lorie and all our winners this week! Kris Nixon, Karen Adamakis, Donna Fr5ank, Mark, Zach Murr, Hillary Waldroop, Bruce Jones, Jim and Lorie Sonnen, Carol Ney, Linda Ranatza, The Kahle Family , Carla Nale, The Kertes Family, Theresa Rucando, Stu Horowitz, Vanessa Stjohn, Sharon Pierce, Laura W, Rubem O'meara, Amber P, Catherine Wilson, Kevin Flynn, Emily Hudson, Stefanie Hendley, Dave Freemyer, Terri Rimorin, Adam , Melissa Such, Desiree Denker, Kristin Archibald, Heather Lester, Erick Jauregui, Valerie Nance, Dulcie Hayes, Jim Dickey, Jim Dickey, Sue, Michele Smith, Tricia Petty , Dave Cole, Sabrina Allen, Lynette Michalos, Hazel, The Kertes Family, Darlene Mann , Olszak Family, Mike Haven, Ashley P. , Laura V., Kim Kroll, Lauren Ricciardi, Gina Shaw, Paula Barnes, Daniel Meagher, Pat Schwier, Bill Mckim, Vilma, Kara Cummings, Amy Ehrlich, Karen Schlumpf, Michele Bitner, Amiee Augustine, Jaclynne, Colette Stanton, Jen Butler, Kathy Morris, Amanda, Vincent Acosta , Nicolle Clement, Melanie Kolacy, Sherry Everett, Amanda Campbell, Double Family, Monica Dailey, Pamela Vanaustin, Donna Begley, Phinon Woodside, Betsy Silvestri, Rich Westervelt, Erin Butcher , Ed Suscreba, Theresa Lucotti, Torrey Beasley, Ed Elder, Adam Lucas, Duskin Henard, Curtis Bille, John Mahoney, Gemma Cooke, Karen, Greg Welck, Kim Riley, Chasady Mirkes, Leigh Mertz, Lauren, Jen Cerce, Lauren Kelton, Heather Long, Dee Dee Kenney, Brooke Ivey, Tiffany Gibb, Patty Norman, The Gunnels Family, Linda Johnson, Scott O'donnell, Christine Huff, Liz Whitman, Tyler West, Angel Diven, Beth Smith, Kelsi, Beth Gandy, Paul Dickson, Stefanni Malczewski, Kathleen Glovna, Aimee Leblanc, Christina Trigiani, Mike Mondoux, Phyllis, Team Hill, Kenny, Marilyn Royce, Sarah Francis, Lori Pahl, Judy Simonsen, Kevin Scott, Jen Dawson, Jason Hocker, Rob Blundin, Annie Niece, Sharon Williams, Carol Lyons, Shannon Babin, Kathleen Rosenwinkel, Mary Beth Tarbet, The Frisbee Family, Trish Roam, Derek Carty, Patty Carty, Timberly Aymond, Robin Mcconnell, Paul Silagyi, Alex Gamill, Kelly Sroka, Chris Nichols, Brian Yesutis, Sheri, Wendy Barney, Jennifer Shoulders, Jennifer Rowell, Bruce Hinterleitner, Lee Anastasi, Mary Ann Lamay, Claire Gregory, Matt Petty, Pollyanna Buff, Beth Mcmeekin, Jodi Lupp, Tinkerbell Wells, andrea Kruszewski, Jeff Robertson, Barbie Tupua, Liz Mckinnell, Bob Ruer, Deb Ragno, Cosette Leonard, The Tisdale Family, Angela Breeden, Stephanie Campbell , The Tisdale Family, Charlie Oshust, Dawn Farganus, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Ken Jobin, Brian Gallant, Shari Prater, Dawn Miller, Belicia Cullen, Krista Serpi, Scott Cullen, Jen Eacret, Meghan Gleason-vollmer, Tina Santacroce, Lee Deroia , Nancy Bolton, Mike O'brien, Maryann Eckenrode, Chris Kelly, Michaela O'brien , Paul Scimeca, Les Stewart, Ashley Collins, Marsha Dostal, Robin Fitts, Jim Logue, Jason and Melinda Lenz, Laurie Walker, Michael Cooke, Will Gates, Lori Rienhardt, Elaine Kleinhenz, Donna Hassard, Cindy Pink, Nancy Jordan, Chloe Mayhew, Maureen Handy, K Beasley, Craig Livingston, Carla C, Peg Readinger, Gabriella, Terry and Matthieu, Tracey Horan, Jim Curley, Suzanne Baker, Vicki Christensen, Josette Gabel, Stefanie Vandiver, Michelle Darabaris, Susan Karberg, Matt Wildey, Doug Olson Family, Demetrios Makres, Phil Vickers, Shannon Richey, Jeremy Hardy, Janet T Thorn, Sharon Lee, Bill Schmid, Kathryn Perkins, Ellie Argaluza, Carolyn Como, Suzanne Denham, Gina Smith, Daniel Record, Ed Hogan, Kim Rogers, Louise Barton, Herb Miller, Brian Miller, Virginia Pierce, David Gould, Jennifer Harmon, Joyce Shipman, Delia Brown, Ellen Sullivan, Jim Finley, Eva Mayhew, Susan Higginbotham, Jonathan Thomas, Lauren Thomas, The Strukel Family, Tami Spoerl, Maggie Klotz, Jennifer Chartier, Al Ganter, Joe Lubaway, Bill Cudney , Kim Skanes, Art Hutchinson, Amy Hayes, Erin Hammer, Marie Vanacore, Cindy Wilhite, Leach Family, Deb Gallo, Nan Amor, Lindsay Koren, Kelly Partin, Hannah B., Smitty, Caryn Schill, Chris B, Diane Tredore, Gina Falzone, Barbara Ajak , Morgan M., Lynissa Newsome, Nicole Amidon, Stephanie Henry, Hobbes and Snorky, Helen Amer, Donna Currier, Chuck Sands, Quincy Delcolletti , Marshall Stevens, Robert Wescovich, Theresa Maradei, Jim Nitschke, The Parker Family, Glenn Chenier, Karen Costa, Michelle B. , Mary Wells, Gerald Skanes, Mary Lamothe, Mike Malampy, Bethany Angermaier, Karen Blunk, Bruce Nash, Paul Knott, Kerri Coggins, Tracey Mayfield, Diane Curfman, andy Hickey, Cheryl Chambers, Vera and Izzy Williams, Ruth Senecal, Ron Harper, Matthew Jadro, Linda Scrivano, Karen Hotchkiss, Linda Lundsten, andrew Swiatowicz, Sheryl Hicks, Mickey Eckert, Trishqa Johnson, Teala Van De Ven, Sandie Albrecht, Heather Pedulla, Tom Hermes, Mary Thatcher, Shelby Watson, Rob Hepler, Melissa Littman, Tim Johansen, Mike M., Josh Weiss, Hayley Valk, L Dean, Ken Savage, Russ Morgan, Wayne Chadourne, Cameron Lange, Jennifer Shaw, Susan Doucette, Linda College, Jodi Cook, Cathy Connors, Robert Hildebrandt, Kirk Hardy, andrew Pettit, Les Whitten, George Mundy Jr, Mike Gillardi, Mike Amor, Brenda H, Bonnie Tulenko, Jeremy Reichelt, Gail States, Christopher Hall, Davida, Patrick Broaddus, Gallagher Family, Tricia Noble, Rebecca Keenan, Chris Bauman, Chuck Everson, Elizabeth Scarborough, Sara Holloway, Karrie Duffey, Doug Reichl, Dena Lumpkin, Ken Jackson, John Pasqueralli, Kara Morton, Dayna Guay, Josh Carney, Schuyler Etheridge, Sonya, Sara Alaimo, andy Schumacher, Anastasia Macneil, Amy Filliben, Jan Rosato, Maja Kodani, Ryan Mcmahon, Team Meeker, Karen Bellamy, Billie Jean Albolino, Michelle Wilinski, Michelle Palazzo, Erika Loboda, Nathalie Periard, Michelle Kuijer, Erica Sipich, Melodi Clark, Terry Fleming, Kathryn Hughes, Mike T., Amber Slifer, Kevin Parmeland, The Patterson Family, Stephanie, Jillian D., Bonnie, Jacquelyn Law, Jenn Steele, Matt Holley, Rachel Hoover, Kameo Crea, Tyler Otts, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Lisa Dunn, Pam Lorenz, Scott Sangston, Michael Haeberle, Vicki Shearman, Vicki Edwards, Marty Martin, Luis Rodriguez, Lynne Schneider, Mike, Abby, and Valerie Hulse, Stephanie Mcnamee, Jessica Iglesias, Yvonne Marchione, Cheryl Costello, Sarah and Chris, Rita Henderson, Olga Vorontsova, Fran Rendulic, Kathy S, Tim Keenan, Paul Ignudo Jr, Paul Moore, Lorine Landon, Maryann Romagnano, Grumpy's Groupies, Alison Rosenberger, Mark Franklin, andrew Carrieri, Dave Carriere, Jolynn Digiallonardo, Dale Knight, Julia Marsh, Sarah H, Kelly and Sheila Barnes, Joseph Zafia, Jackie Graebel, Kristi Robert, Tom Buck , Tracy Discher, Vickie Scioneaux, Jo Ann Bailey, Stacy Lee, Suzette Frey, Lynn Lofton, Nikki Weller, Jane Johnson, Cary Burke, Cary Burke, Kristine Gallatin, Carol Donoghue, Shirley Garcowski, Al Sandal, Virginie Baus, Tom Higbee, Kyle Burdo, Barclay Bakkum, Angela Johnson, John Bickers, Lisa Zitek, Matthew Earl, Tommy Dibenedetto, Len Scott, Peggy Saeger, Wayne Witherspoon, David Ballard, Jennifer Bogdan, Ron Mattison, Chris, Gretchen, and Katie Barnes, Kirsten Miller, David B, Zandria Michaud, Dwayne Fontenot, Rob and April - Team Vanderpool, Vicki Britt, Debbie Hicks, Liz Weiter, Stacy Guarracino, Lynn Torre, and Kaitlyn Rezek.
Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
__________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #318 Where in the world is this?

I just heard a certain song (no, not "Small World" from above), so I HAD to use this attraction for the contest this week!
 Where in the World #318

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, February 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 31, 2014

Photographing Inside the Be Our Guest Restaurant

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Be Our Guest Restaurant located in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom is indeed magical. It is like stepping onto real world movie sets for a live version of Beauty and the Beast. Complete with the grey stuff and it is delicious.

For a photographer, the dining rooms are not the best lighted. They are dark in keeping with the ambiance of a restaurant. Our eyes see fine but our cameras need a little help. For me, that meant using a high ISO to increase the sensitivity of my camera's sensor to pick up the dim light and the use of Rear-sync flash (sometimes called second curtain) where the flash is fired at the end of the exposure. This helps to gather background details which using regular flash would make almost completely dark.

Ballroom diningroom inside the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Ballroom dining room inside the Be Our Guest restaurant.
Nikon D700/24-85G, 1/50s, f/8, ISO 6400, EV 0, 24mm focal length, rear sync flash.

This is where rear-sync flash comes in particularly handy. Photographing people in a darkened environment like the Be Our Guest dining rooms, it properly exposes them while still showing the beautiful Ballroom dining room in the background.

Guests inside the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Guests inside the Be Our Guest restaurant.
Nikon D700/24-85G, 1/50s, f/8, ISO 5600, EV 0, 24mm focal length, rear sync flash.

No flash needed here as there was enough light on a rainy day to give nice moody and naturally vignetted light on the stained glass window in the foyer of the Be Our Guest restaurant.

Stained glass window outside of the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Stained glass window outside of the Be Our Guest restaurant.
Nikon D700/24-85G, 1/60s, f/3.5, ISO 3200, EV 0, 24mm focal length.

If you have not given Rear Sync a try, look it up in your camera's manual. You will be surprised at the results you can get especially when it comes to events such as weddings and parties or vacations with darkened rooms for dining where a Beast may be lurking.

January 19, 2014

Where in the World #315

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!

It looks like we had a liiiiittttttlllle glitch last week. The post was published last Sunday but didn't show up on the site for a couple days at least. (I also forgot to update the answer's deadline date like a ninny.) Many of you wrote in asking if I was okay. Thank you! I am so touched that you would think of me.

Bruce Nash, my maiden name is Nash! We could be related! Hey, where are you going?

Grumpy's Groupies, thanks for sharing your story! A few years ago, different Disney fan sites competed in a scavenger hunt. Whenever AllEars started getting a little ahead, someone on the other teams would shout, "Look over here! It's Deb Wills of AllEars and her team!" Deb's fans would come running over and the team would fall to dead last. LOL! Totally worth it though to meet so many people who enjoy AllEars!

From last week: Challenge #314:
 Where in the World #314

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

It's one of Pascal's friends who hide around the Rapunzel rest area, down the path from her Meet N Greet in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland! I had no idea he had more than one friend in this area; now I know to look for all of them the next time I go back!

Look at the cutie! Do you think he's giving us "the smolder"?

I know, this area is amazing and all for rest rooms! But it is gorgeous; I have so many pictures of this area and I always take a ton more. On my last trip, a woman asked a cast member in Liberty Square where the closest bathrooms were. I had to chirp in: "You HAVE to go to the Rapunzel rest rooms!" The cast member eagerly agreed and off wen the guest. She returned saying: "Best restrooms ever!" Sarah And Chris agree, right?

Warren Handy, it's going to be fun at your house when you two read the answer! lol

Paul Silagyi was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Paul and all our winners this week! Paul Silagyi, Bud Luskus, Jennifer Harmon, Sarah, Leah, And Sophie Orman, Nancy Johansen, Jen Arabian, Linda Ranatza, Carol Ney, Pamela Vanaustin, Stacey Kelsall, Orlando Larosa, Mary Ann Lamay, Matthew Jadro, Donna Begley, Ed Elder, Jennifer Page, Mike Haven, Michelle Norris, Tricia Petty, Yvonne Marchione, Samantha Watson, Sara Alaimo, Jason L, Fiona Knight, Brian Mickle, Chris Bauman, Sara Holloway, Karrie Duffey, Jim Finley, Will Gates, Carolyn Como, Mary Greger, Beth Landis, Erin Hammer, Carla Nale, Theresa, James Steele, Theresa Rucando, Mary Beth Tarbet, Warren Handy, Jennifer Walker, Jack Lynch, Stefanie Vandiver, Leigh Mertz, Craig, Vicki Edwards, Jennifer Rowell, Lindsey Nozal, Jeremy Reichelt, Rob Hepler, Wayne Chadourne, Maryann Eckenrode, Debbie Desimone, Chris Scott, Al Desimone, K Beasley, Carla C, Karen Costa, Ashley P. , Jason Gravette, Betsy Silvestri, Claire Gregory, Dave Carriere, Hillary Waldroop, Kathy Morris, Teala Van De Ven, Nan Amor, Matt Petty, Bruce Nash, Ken Clark, Belicia Cullen, Vicki Britt, Scott Cullen, Kate Nejman, Rebecca Keenan, Team Meeker, Helen Amer, Shelly Borella, Melody O'donnell, Jim &Lorie Sonnen, Phyllis, Mike Gillardi, Les Stewart, Rob Blundin, Desiree Soppick, Kathryn Perkins, The Gunnels Family, Ken Maikowski, The Patterson Family, Jodi Lupp, Patti Mccaffrey, Peg Readinger, Scott Greenbaum, Maggie Klotz, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Heather Pedulla, Elaine Kleinhenz, Mary Thatcher, Fran Rendulic, Ashley Collins, Jen Cerce, John P, Daniel Record, Sharon Pierce, Chloe Mayhew, Eva Mayhew, Ansley, Pollyanna Buff, The Tisdale Family, Kathy Huckabee, Team Hill, Kelly Sroka, Scott Precise, Murr Family, Joseph M. Zafia, Melissa Such, John Bickers, Trina Noggle, Chris Kelly, Jackie Graebel, Cynthia Stinson, The Kertes Family, Rebecca Smith, Judy Simonsen, Jessie L Regan, Linda Overfield, Michael Frisbee, Susie Howard, Mike Malampy, Theresa Lucotti, Laurie Walker, Jane Johnson, Diane Curfman, Michelle Darabaris, Craig Livingston, Dwayne Fontenot, Bob Ruer, Josette Gabel, Tom Koval, Jeremy Hardy, Vanessa Gordon, The O'meara Family, Sarah And Chris, Robert Wescovich, Tricia Noble, Vicki Vaught, Barclay Bakkum, Scott Sangston, Melissa Littman, David Ballard, Kristi Strembicki, Becky Norman, Gail States, Peggy Saeger, Katey Davis, The Olszak Family, Duskin Henard, Stacy Guarracino, Steve And Ruby Jordan, Annie Snodgrass, Hobbes And Snorky, Mickey Eckert, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Deb Ragno, Jessica Iglesias, Emily Hudson, Matt Holley, Mike Haeberle, Alex Gamill, Jenn Steele, Alan Mize, Randy Thomas, George Mundy Jr, Cheri Palmisano, Grumpy's Groupies, Danielle Harsley, Agnes Ciotti, Doug Olson Family, Josh Carney, Lauren Thomas, and Paul Silagyi. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #315 Where in the world is this?

Still in the parks. This might be tougher since it's so new or you might immediately recognize a landmark in the Hidden Mickeys!
 Where in the World #315

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 23rd, by clicking on the blue box below.

Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!
Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

January 10, 2014

Looking Above the Trees at Walt Disney World

Prime Epcot

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 5, 2014

Where in the World #313

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!

Patti McCaffrey, don't you leave for Walt Disney World this week?

Cheri Palmisano, I'm sorry about the mix up. I'm guessing your post came in after I got the list of answers. I'm sorry I didn't have you in the winners list last week. To help make up for it, let me announce to the Players right here that you got the answer right!

From last week: Challenge #312:
 Where in the World #312

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

It's Cinderella Castle during Wishes in the Magic Kingdom!

I love that some of you thought I was trying to pull a trick because this was so easy. But I just thought it was a good photo for New Year's. :)
From Millan.Net

Craig was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Craig and all our winners this week! The Tisdale Family, Tim Johansen, Trina Noggle, Kris Nixon, The Kahle Family , Paul Dickson, Carol Ney, Linda Ranatza, Mary Beth Tarbet, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Kerri Coggins, John Bickers, Chuck Sands, Erin Hammer, Bruce Jones, Dee Dee Kenney, Hoekzema , Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Donna, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Sharon Pierce, Andrew Carrieri, Agnes Ciotti, Phil Vickers, Vanessa Stjohn, Nan Amor, Ken Maikowski, Tami H., Jason L, Amanda Campbell, Dave Freemyer, Jeremy Nixon, Toni Paul, Josh Freilich, Jeany Sanchez, Karen Adamakis, Linda Scrivano, Doug Olson Family, Tinkerbell Wells, Annie Snodgrass, Mark Schmidt, Tami Neilson, Michelle Raimist, Kelly Lathrop, Jennifer Rowell, Carly And Colin, Jim &Lorie Sonnen, Angie Blair, Matt Wildey, Melissa, Heather Keenan, Vicki Britt, Vera And Izzy Williams, Michelle Darabaris, Elisa Steccato , Kate Case, Diane Curfman, Rob Hepler, Jodi Cook, Daniel Record, Sisk Family, Scherry Yates, Melissa Such, Holly Titone, Taylor K, Hayley Valk, Heather Long, Rebekah Schultz, Colette Stanton , Terri Pope, Brittany Englert, Elaine Kleinhenz, Chad Citro, Tricia Petty , Phyllis, The Gunnels Family, Lindsey Nozal, Crystal King, Team Hill, Kye Layton, Terry Lambert, Maryann Eckenrode, Jamie Robertson , Melissa Rookard, Barbara Bonner, Mike Haeberle, Jennifer Cerce, Theresa Rucando, Double Family, Virginia Pierce, Pollyanna Buff, Chris Nichols, Dawn Bach, Robert Vadovic , Bill Schmid, Deb Ragno, Kathy Morris, Steve And Ruby Jordan, Lynette Michalos, Nathan York, Linda Bowles, Kara Cummings , Heather Pedulla, Megan Krainski, Timberly Aymond, Mike Mondoux, Leach Family, Dawn Miller, Jason Hocker, Lorine Landon, Andrea Kruszewski, Scott Greenbaum, Elizabeth And Vicki Edwards, Ken Clark, Patty Carty, Rhonda Tomlinson, K Beasley, Jason Curtis, Renata Aragao, Hallie Gleave, Karen Ramirez, Susie Howard, Susan Higginbotham, Ruth Senecal, Duskin Henard, The Parker Family, Jeremy Hardy, The Kertes Family, Maureen Handy, Ashley P. , Chris Kelly, Hobbes And Snorky, Cheryl Chambers, Kenny, Jackie Drexler, Jim Finley, Claire Gregory, Pam Vanaustin, John P, Chloe Mayhew, Stefanie Vandiver, Brian Miller, Robert Wescovich, Hunter Armstrong, Jonathan Ward, Debbie Desimone, Andy Hickey, Mary Ann Lamay, Amy Filliben, Judy Simonsen, Sharynne Smith, Elizabeth Johnston, Rob Blundin, Mickey Eckert, Murr Family, Gallagher Family, Larry Sprenkle, Janet T Thorn, Stefan Owens, Tom Koval, Jennifer Harmon, Billie Jean Albolino, Bryant O'meara, Les Stewart, Carolyn Como, Josette Gabel, Christina Page, Eric Enli, Jeff Blank, Bob Patterson, Robert Hildebrandt, Linda College, Chris Bauman, Jeremy Reichelt, Josh Carney, Kathy Huckabee, Michael & Jackie Mclucas, Popek Family, The Patterson Family, Barclay Bakkum, Sara Holloway, Alan Mize, Cheri Palmisano, Anastasia Macneil, Carri Marotto, Kameo Crea, Carla C, Steve Townsend, Melesia Love, Jeff Swearingen, George Mundy Jr, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Morgan M., Josh Weiss, Wendy Palmquist, Carol Gamill, L. Dean, Patti Mccaffrey, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Karen Schlumpf, Grumpy's Groupies, Mike Hulse, Maja Kodani, Melody Odonnell, Sandie Albrecht, Smitty, Sharon , Maryann Romagnano, Thomas Higbee, Jackie Graebel, Maggie Klotz, Jo Ann Bailey, Robert P. Flaherty , Pat Schwier, Cheryl Costello, Les Whitten, Bill Mckim, Kerry Mccaffrey, Karen, Wendy Barney, Matt Holley, Randi Balch, Jane Johnson, Gallagher Family, Wayne Witherspoon, Erin Loring, Derek Carty, and Terry Fleming. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Here it is! The final winner for 2013! And that player is Terry Lambert! Congratulations, Terry! You will be receiving a prize from Deb Wills herself!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #313 Where in the world is this?

We are going outside of the parks, Players:
 Where in the World #313

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 9th, 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 3, 2014

Best of Walt Disney World in 2013

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 27, 2013

Wishing You a Happy New Year

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Christmas Wishes over Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Christmas Wishes over Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 11s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, tripod.

Ending the year with a bang! Christmas Wishes over Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom. Happy New Year!

December 20, 2013

Snowflakes on Main Street USA

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Snowflakes on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Snowflakes on Main Street USA.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 6s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length, tripod.
Wishing You a Magical & Merry Christmas!

Who says there is never any snow(flakes) on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom? I found some on my last trip. Do you notice anything unusual about this photo or the one below?

Cinderella Castle Dream Lights at the end of Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle Dream Lights at the end of Main Street USA.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 8s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 105mm focal length, tripod.

If you have been to the Magic Kingdom during the Christmas holiday celebration, you should remember there are normally wreaths strung across Main Street USA. However, on the days they film the Christmas Day Parade in early December, those wreaths and the large Christmas tree at the beginning of Main Street USA are taken off stage. Thus, giving a clear view from the Railroad Station to Cinderella Castle.

I will be off next week to spend time with Family and Friends. See you in two weeks as we start another year of Disney Photographic learning and fun!

November 15, 2013

Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland at Night

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A couple of weeks ago I got to enjoy the attractions added last year to Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom for the first time. Having spent most of the day at Epcot, I arrived as night was beginning to fall. I set up across from the Under the Sea -- Journey of the Little Mermaid where Ariel was hanging around its entrance. Having to use long shutter speeds for proper exposures at night, I used a tripod to steady my camera.

Ariel hanging around the entrance to Journey of the Little Mermaid in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Ariel hanging around the entrance to Under the Sea -- Journey of the Little Mermaid in Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 5s, f/16, ISO 400, EV 0, 105mm focal length, tripod.

From the bridge to the Be Our Guest restaurant is a beautifully lighted waterfall. I am amazed at how you can still photograph stars over the attractions at night. Disney does a good job of minimizing light pollution to enhance the lights, parades and fireworks shows.

Waterfall near the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Waterfall near the Be Our Guest Restaurant in Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 30s, f/16, ISO 1600, EV 0, 28mm focal length, tripod.

As I left Fantasyland towards the Haunted Mansion, Rapunzel's Tower loomed over the lanterns of her kingdom at the best themed restrooms in Walt Disney World.

Rapunzel's Tower from the movie Tangled in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Rapunzel's Tower from the movie Tangled in Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 4s, f/16, ISO 200, EV 0, 82mm focal length, tripod.

In the past, I talked about how bringing a tripod in the parks is not hard to do if you rent a locker. Did you know, if you change parks on the same day, you only have to pay for a locker once? Bring your receipt and you can get a locker by just paying the deposit at the next park. You get that back at the end of the night.

September 22, 2013

Where in the World #298

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!

Brock and Anka, your good friend Les Stewart wants to wish you a Magical Vacation! What a wonderful friend! (You should bring him back something. Just my 2 cents.)
Ashley P. and Linda Ranatza are also on their way to Walt Disney World! Ashley, you should look for Linda's Scooter Patrol because you always want to be with the cool kids! Darn, I wish I was going with all you guys! Oh, look! The Scooter Patrol!
From Millan.Net From Millan.Net From Millan.Net

Like you said, Christi Ison, if I have to take a fall, let it be in Disney. Could it would still be a good day!

Sarah Thomas, what a lovely note! I'm the Monday morning tradition at your office! That is sooooo awesome! To you, Judy Simonsen, Linda Ranatza, and everyone else who sent such amazing notes, thank you!
From Millan.Net

Tom Buck, I miss the old skyride too! What a great view, wasn't it? And you could get such great photos up there. The last time I rode it, it was sunset so I did a video of the whole thing.... Cinderella Castle and Fantasyland at sunset. Happy sigh. (It also helped save the sore feet!)

The Hoekzema Family, I love the summer too! I have a convertible; come over and we'll head for the beach!
From Millan.Net

From last week: Challenge #297:
 Where in the World #297

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

So many of you not only knew what this was, but it's original name. So, Kathy Rubin, please represent your fellow Players with the answer: The attraction was known as Cinderella's Golden Carrousel until June 2010 when the name was changed to Prince Charming Regal Carrousel to better fit with the plans for New Fantasyland. Or, as Robert Wescovich calls it, Cindy's Carousel because he and Cinderella are close friends.

Alan Mize adds this interesting tidbit: " I love that Disney chose to spell it as carrousel instead of carousel since that is the original spelling. "

Timothy Hutchinson also mentioned: "I believe this is the oldest attraction in Fantasyland as I believe it was actually built in 1917 for Olympic Park in NJ." You are right! It originally was named The Liberty Carrousel and was built in 1917 for the Belle Isle Park in Detroit by the Philadelphia Toboggan Co. It's one of the largest of its kind in the world. Walt Disney and his Imagineers discovered it in 1967 at Olympic Park in New Jersey. They bought it and performed an extensive renovation for the Magic Kingdom where it's been a favorite ever since!

Lots of us ride it at all ages from the little kids to the kids of 19, 42, and 65 & above! Clay Anthony, you're a good man, racing to THE horse for your favorite girl. :)

Bill Mckim would like to rub it in that he was in the Magic Kingdom the other day. Gee, thanks, Bill. :) OK, he didn't actually say that, I'm just teasing. Up high, Bill!
From Millan.Net

John Foggo were the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to John and all our winners this week! Kenny, David Uchtman, Chris Masse, Danielle Ciotti Harlsey, Linda Ranatza, The Kahle Family, Andrea Kruszewski, Kris Nixon, Agnes Ciotti, Carol Ney, Renee, Ashley P. , Ed Hogan, Kristi Strembicki, Jeff Schoeling, Patty Carty, Tracey Lynch, Gay Lynn Brown, Kelly Mager, Rose Sakowski, Torrey Beasley, Theresa Rucando, Jennifer Brown , Kelly Deleon, Diane, Kathy Peak, Dave Freemyer, Tricia Petty, Kerri Coggins, Ken Maikowski, Monica Westbrook , Deb Falvo, Sharon Pierce, Kerrie Hogan, Colette Stanton , Dawn Hartson, Kevin Holbrook, Tina Powell, Jessica Rienzi, Laura V., Pat Schwier, Christina Trigiani, Morag Lemon, Tricia Mynes, Kara Morton, Michael Rudge, Jennifer Rowell, Amy Kirby, Melissa Such, Patty Norman, Tara Colton, Melissa Roberts, The Gunnels Family, Lynn Johnson, Cynthia Hitchcock, Nicole Marvin, Chris S., Matt Wildey, Lori Rienhardt, Leach Family, Team Hill, Sheryl Hicks, Mike Haven, Andrew Carrieri, Clare Snyder, Nick Monitto, Maryann Eckenrode, Tim Johansen, Barbara Ajak , Shanda Huston , Lorine Landon, Wendy Beaudoin, David Templeton, Carol Falk, Tammy Wright, Tina G, Kathie Puckett, Jen Tremley, Valerie Lunsford, Jason Hocker, Tina , Gerald Skanes, Shirley Bomgaars, Tommy Montgomery, Penny, Robert Fancher, Judy Simonsen, Sarah Orman, Kirsten Miller, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Sharynne Smith, Amy James, Mary Ann Lamay, Marcie Soderlund, Marie Lornie, Double Family, The Fosbender's, Gina Smith, Karen Hochstetter, Deb Ragno, Josh Weiss, Mike Malampy, Shannon Waggoner, Dawn Bach, Karyn Benczenleitner, The O'meara Family, Claire Gregory , Linda Ranatza, Joyce Madden, Barbra Crabtree, Craig Livingsotn, Meghan Gleason-vollmer, Dee Dee Kenney, Maggie Klotz, Carla C, Beth Mcmeekin, Ellen Sullivan, Angie Blair, Kelsi, Mike O'brien, Linda Scrivano, Stefanie Vandiver, Karen Schlumpf, Lauren Thomas, Kye Layton, Carolyn Como, Maureen Handy, Janet T Thorn, Bob Patterson, Lauren Wambach, Derek Carty, Lisa Bohannon, Josette Gabel, Paul Moore, Brian Miller, Jeffrey Thomas, Kelley Madensky, Al Ganter, Morgan M, Heather Sabatino, Clay Anthony, Ed Suscreba, Hobbes And Snorky, Jennifer Chartier, Carolyn Poirier, Mike Mondoux, Diane Curfman, The Malesky Family, Jodi Cook, Karen Davis, Sharon Sejda, Chris Kelly, Pam Vanaustin, Robert Wescovich, Robert Wescovich, The Kertes Family, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Rose Doney, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Evald Olson, Wendy Barney, Bruce Hinterleitner, Jonathan Ward, Pollyanna Buff, Hulse Family, Karen Ramirez, Kris Blamphin, Justin Murphree, Sarah Calvario, Nathalie Periard, Robert Hildebrandt , Doug Reichl, Tammy Wilson, Tom Hermes, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Sandy Weiss, Laureen Loftus, Erin Hammer, Laurie Walker, Paul Knott, Patti.mccaffrey, Christi Ison, Vicki Britt, Larry Sprenkle, Sarah Thomas, Andrew Swiatowicz , Jim Finley, Trina Noggle, Doug Olson Family, John Bickers, Betsy Silvestri, Josh Carney, Paul Dickson, Rob Blundin, Andy Hickey, Mary Thatcher, Ed Elder, The Parker Family, Heather Pedulla, Jason & Melinda Lenz, Emily Hudson, Les Stewart, Kate Nejman, Vera Williams, Amanda Campbell, Karen Wheatley, Timmy Saunders, Dave Kanigowski, Sandy Kanigowski, The Hoekzema Family, Billie Jean Albolino, Russ Morgan, Maryann Romagnano, Jennifer Denenholz, Jeff Blank, Kristyn Scibienski, Brian Gallant, Noelle Darcy, Al Sandal, Linda College, Jennifer Shaw, Duskin Henard, Paul Ignudo, Jr, Bonnie Tulenko, Ken Clark, Karen Costa, Heather Hynes, Jeremy Reichelt, Chris Bauman, Jennifer Snook, Alison Rosenberger, Jennifer Harmon, Karrie Duffey, Diane Ramos, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Stephanie Dollar, Nancy Cole, Carol Gamill, Anastasia Macneil, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Gallagher Family, Wayne Witherspoon, Andrew Pettit, Sara Holloway, Thomas Farquharson, Shelly Borella, Louise Barton, Brian Yesutis, Carri Marotto, The Patterson Family, Nathaniel Clements, Scott Greenbaum, Scott Heffren, Team Meeker, Steve Knapp, Matthew Jadro, Karen Bellamy, K Beasley, Kathy Rubin, Melody O'donnell, Ashley Collins, Alan Mize, Heather Haynes, Karen Smith, Ron Harper, Team Bonnie Sue, Matt Ciccone, M'shel Bowen, Jerry Weldon, Taryn Dewald, Caitlin Lewis, Les Whitten, Elaine Kleinhenz, Craig Lordan, George Mundy Jr, Mickey Eckert, Jennifer Mercier, Jim Thompson, Fran Rendulic, Terry Fleming, Barbara Ingram, Wendy Ingram, Ladonna Tisdale, Robert P. Flaherty, Jeremy Hardy, Jim & Lorie Sonnen, Duke Popek, The Holmes Family, Tom Buck, Joseph M. Zafia, Tom Koval, Sharon Dale, Heather Calvey, Jackie Graebel, Christy Schor, Margie Larmon, Amy Fleming, Susie Howard, Matt Holley, Ken Rhinehart, Mary Kat Samluk, Sherri Pell, Denise Finkle, Brian Haas, Heidi Goodhue, Wendy Snelgrove, Stacy Guarracino, Wendy T Faler, Cheri Palmisano, Mike Haeberle, Emily Harper, Erin Connell, Kristan Bertelmann, Susan Higginbotham, Timothy Hutchinson, Linda Grau, Mark Proper, Randi Balch, Bill Mckim, Linda Allen, Ashley Hill, Wayne, and Chris & Maranda Nichols. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #298 Where in the world is this?

Different park this week, Players, but still a park!
 Where in the World #298

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, September 26th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

August 30, 2013

Anchoring Your Disney Photographs

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

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

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

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

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

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

In Disney parks, anchor points could be anything.

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

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

August 2, 2013

New Fantasyland, New Photo Opportunities

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

With the new additions to Fantasyland, came new photo opportunities. I have been enjoying all the new views from fellow Walt Disney World fans since the expansion opened to the public last November. I have not been back yet to see all the new attractions and beautifully Imagineered landscaping and structures. I did get a sneak peek of one of the attractions about a month before the "official" soft openings.

The queue for Enchanted Tales with Belle winds along a treed path into the house Belle and her father lived. I found this view of the Beast's castle off in the distance which may get blocked once the trees grow to their full height in the future. Of course, the castle is not very far away in reality. Caulk it up to Disney's famous use of forced perspective.

View of the Beast's castle from the Enchanted Tales with Belle queue in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
View of the Beast's castle from the Enchanted Tales with Belle queue.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/80s, f/16, ISO 250, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Notice the use of the small aperture of f/16 to get maximum depth of field called hyperfocus.

July 14, 2013

Where in the World #288

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!

Everybody, stop! We missed a birthday! So all together and with great feeling: Happy Belated Birthday, Sara Holloway! I'm glad at least we released the Tangled lanterns for your big day!
From Millan.Net

Thank you, Sophia! I really like my Crocs picture too. :)

Christi Ison, wow!!! Thank you so much for that wonderful note!

Here's Challenge #287:
Where in the World #287

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

All right, before we get to the answer, does anyone have to go potty? OK, then it's a good thing we're here at the Tangled/Rapunzel themed bathrooms in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland. Where, as Sarah And Chris said, "Disney proves even the bathroom can be an attraction". Because, like Chloe Mayhew said, the detailing is amazing, you can spend an hour checking it out, and like me, Duskin Henard, and a lot of others, you sit there going, "Really? Just bathrooms?!" They quickly became mine and Dave Carriere's favorite rest area! Plus the outlets for charging phones and tablets hidden in the tree stumps where you sit outside, as Vanessa Gordon pointed out. I think John Bickers had to make use of those while he waited for his teen daughter. Didn't you, John? :)

Or as Melissa Straka's daughter said, "Why does Belle have a new castle and Rapunzel's house is the bathrooms?" Oh snap! Actually, that's a very good point, Miss Straka. :)

OK, Annie Snodgrass put the song in my head. Rapunzel, it's a different one, but I think you'll like it. Players, it's time for a sing along:

All those days watching from the windows
All those years outside looking in
All that time never even knowing
Just how blind I've been
Now I'm here blinking in the starlight
Now I'm here suddenly I see
Standing here it's all so clear
I'm where I'm meant to be
Rapunzel Tangled emoticon

So what you're saying is, Patti Mccaffrey, that I should put Leslie Stewart's name in the winners. ;)

Amanda Campbell was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Amanda and all our winners this week! Erin Hammer, Mary Beth Tarbet, Chuck Sands, Ed Elder, Scott Greenbaum, Clinton Dickinson, Jessica Gardner, Chris Masse, Steve And Ruby Jordan, Sharon Pierce, Melissa Such, Karen Schlumpf, Dulcie Hayes, Jen Arabian, Tricia Petty, Scott Precise, Hayley Lawson, Jennifer Rowell, Louise, Paul Gera, Debbie Desimone, Al Desimone, Belicia Cullen, Candice Grimes, Dawn Bach, Christina Trigiani, Jim Riddle, Kenny, Cedric Ching, Scott Cullen, Kristi Strembicki, Donna Frank, Christine Mckay, Amy Weber, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, K Beasley, Edwina Borde, Laura V., William Patton, Jen Tremley, Steve Soares, Katie Buck, Meredith Koeval, Sarah Calvario, Tiffany Mink, Melissa Straka , Rachel, Maryann Eckenrode, Kye Layton, The Kertes Family, Tracee Kascak, James Schmidt, Team Hill, Kimberly Brammer, Patti Gumiela, The Omeara Family, Lynette Michalos, Phil Vickers, Scott O'donnell, Susie Howard, Jennc, Shanea Carr, John &Rhonda Nottell, Leigh Mertz, Carol Ney, Linda Ranatza, Pam Vanaustin, Paul Dickson, The Crea Family, Tinkerbell Wells, Brian Miller, Paul Moore, Colette Stanton , Trina Noggle, Lee Anastasi, Megan K, Kristen Mccoy, Sophia, Paul Knott, Betsy Silvestri, Mike Rotkiske, Kathy Morris, Kerri Coggins, Lisa Bohannon, Julie Wickware, Pam Tees, Sara Holloway, Suzanne C. Denham, Sarah And Chris, Kirsten Miller, Kate Nejman, Kelly Cummings , Gail States, Jefrey Hunt, John Edwards, Vicki Yarnell, Sandie Albrecht, Chris Kelly, Stacey Thibodeau , Kathryn Perkins , Caryn Schill, John P, Maggie Klotz, James Steele, Kris Nixon, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Carolyn Como, Cindy Pink, Deb Ragno, Jen E., Kyler And Kevin Scott, Rebecca Keenan, Shannon Stitzel, Mickey Eckert, Emily Hudson, John Bickers, Madeline Davis, Michelle Palazzo, Chloe Mayhew, Laurie Walker, Carol, Randi Balch, Josette Gabel, Vanessa Gordon, Chris Nichols, Cynthia Hitchcock, Nathaniel Clements, Diane Curfman, Morgan M., Jeremy Hardy, Vickie Smialkowski, Heather Hynes, Tammy Kennedy, The Patterson Family, The Foley Family, Melesia Love, Diane Batista, Josh Carney, Melody O'donnell, Craig Lordan, Bonnie Tulenko, Ashley Ryan, Anastasia Macneil, Timothy Hutchinson, Karrie Duffey, Jeremy Reichelt, Mike Gillardi, Kara Morton, Andy Schumacher, Erin Loring, Dennis Loring, Ashley P. , Carrie Rampy, Chris Bauman, Lori Rienhardt, Barclay Bakkum, Jim Finley, Matt Holley, Melissa Rappley, Stephanie Linares, Doug Reichl, Randy Thomas, Hillary Waldroop, Jeff Finger, Ashley, Alison Rosenberger, Stephanie Dollar, Tim Johansen, Dave Carriere, Amy Martel, The Holmes Family, Tracey Mayfield, Claire Gregory, Duskin Henard, Michelle Norris, Daniel Record, Erin Connell, Kristan Bertelmann, Sanford, Agnes Ciotti, Mike Fisk, Annie Snodgrass, Tricia Noble, Olszak Family, David Ballard, Elaine Kleinhenz, Theresa Rucando, Whitney M, Jim Riley, Shelly Borella, Marie Phillips, Team Bonnie Sue, Kerry A. , Charlotte Pardo, Tom Koval, Sara Alaimo, E, Jackie Graebel, Carrie Kwiat, Virginia Pierce, Les Stewart, Patti Mccaffrey, Christi Ison, Ladonna Tisdale, Kerry Mccaffrey, Hoekzema Family, Rapunzel, Carla Leger, and Cheri Palmisano Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #288 Where in the world is this?

Time to spread out in the parks and figure out where this is!

 Where in the World #288

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 18th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

June 13, 2013

Building a Home for the Beast in Fantasyland

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Construction of the Be Our Guest and Gastons Tavern in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Construction of the Be Our Guest and Gastons Tavern in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/500s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 105mm focal length.

It can be disappointing when we walk around a Disney park and there are signs of construction. As much as Disney would love to hide it, when a project as large as the ongoing work in the new Fantasyland is, it is just impossible. However, I look at it as new magical adventures to come. Which is what I did back in October of 2011 when I took this photo where the Be Our Guest restaurant and Gaston's Tavern were being built. They are now open and receiving guests daily. An interesting Disney Pic of the Week on Construction.

June 4, 2013

Disney Pic of the Week: Dumbo

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I do not usually partake of the Fantasyland rides. Even when my kids were little, I let Mom do those rides. So, when this topic was proposed by Lisa, I sighed and had every intention of riding Dumbo the Flying Elephant on my very next trip. You know how it goes at Walt Disney World? Time gets away from you or lines become too long or it gets to late before a parade or fireworks show. About two years later, I finally got to ride Dumbo. In the meantime, Dumbo had been moved and had cloned itself. There was now a no-line queue under the Big Top which for little ones and their parents is a fantastic idea.

I used a wide angle lens to look across at the end of the ride when all the Dumbos are lifted as high as they can go. You get a good view of the new Storybook Circus area in Fantasyland from up there.

View from Dumbo in its new location in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
View from Dumbo in its new location in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her Disney Pic of the Week with her View From Dumbo.

June 2, 2013

Where in the World #282

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!

Lisa Nelson, you're in Walt Disney World too? I thought that was you! But you didn't wave back; you probably didn't see me. :)

The Kertes Family is here too! It's just a Where in the World Players reunion here. Let's all meet at the castle. I'll be the one acting like a big kid! That narrows it down, right?


Emily Hudson, where in the Garden State are you? North, Central, South? And is it Six Flags or Great Adventure to you? ;)

Patti Mccaffrey, Dale says hi!

Sure, Claire Gregory, you gave the Disney bear back. From Millan.Net Hey, do you have a mission for me? ;)

IMPORTANT: If you received an email from me that you won the monthly prize and have not received it; please let me know with your address.

Here's Challenge #281:
Where in the World #281

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

Sing along, everyone! You know you already were!
From Millan.Net

it's a world of laughter,
a world of tears
it's a world of hopes,
it's a world of fear
there's so much that we share
that it's time we're aware
it's a small world after all

CHORUS:
it's a small world after all
it's a small world after all
it's a small world after all
it's a small, small world

Specifically, the joey in Momma Kangaroo's pouch in the Australian/Pacific North Rim section of the ride!

The Hoekzema Family was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to The Hoekzema Family and all our winners this week! Hobbes And Snorky, Erin Hammer, Lisa Nelson, Erin Loring, Axel Beer, Lori Elias, Tracy Ludwig, Devin Wisman, Paige Meeker, Russ Morgan, Chris Masse, Erika Murphy, Alyssa, Darcy , Richard, Ed Elder, Michelle Raimist, Victoria Wieting, Kathy Davies, Heather Ferguson-hull, Andrew Pettit, Kathy Hucabee, Terri , Jennifer Harmon, Kim, Mike Rotkiske, Karen Adamakis, Amber Henry, Hillary Waldroop, Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Jared Orth, The Foley Family, Mary Beth Tarbet, Debbie Marielle, Angela Fennell, Todd Ritter, Andrew Swiatowicz, Pam Brzuski, Kristen Mccoy, The Kahle Family, Hayley Valk, Hayley Valk, Kye Layton, Barbara Remele, David B, Sharon Pierce, Emily Hudson, Amanda Woods, Virginia Pierce, Kristi Strembicki, John Sheridan, Betsy Silvestri, Scott Cullen, Belicia Cullen, The Kertes Family, Diana Harris, Kerryann, Chris Kelly, K Beasley, Karen Schlumpf, Larissa Huda, Tricia Petty, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Maggie Klotz, Derek Carty, Chris, Gretchen, &Katie Barnes, Patty Carty, Jason Hocker, Nick Bentz, Susan Doucette, Kerri Coggins, Jennifer Rupert, Noah Schweizer (9 Yrs Old), Hannah Couture, Karen Costa, Erin Connell, Patti Mccaffrey, Jason Skow, Steph And Nick , Diane Curfman, Kathryn Perkins, Josh Weiss, Dan Johnston, Billie Jean Albolino, Carolyn Como, Morgan M., Len Beebe, Tom Donnelly, Karen Davis, Mark Franklin, Melodi Clark, Michelle Roth-smoot, Wayne Chadourne, Kate Fischer, Chris Bauman, Staci Plunkett , Ken Rhinehart, Karrie Duffey, Andy Schumacher, Alan Mize, Diane Ramos, Matt Holley, Mike Cerce, Emily Watson, Matt Ciccone, Larry Sprenkle, Mary Jo Gallion, Les Stewart, Paul Dickson, Vicki And Elizabeth Edwards, Zachary Falcone, Amanda Ober, Jessi, Kim Howe, Mike Hulse, Team Meeker, Kristin Dormuth, Ed Bene, Kimberly Watson, Agnes Ciotti, Kathie Goldberg, Tom Koval, Jackie Graebel, Theresa Rucando, Angel Diven, Wendy T Faler, Emily Dagney, Christine Dagney, Kerry Mccaffrey, Carla Leger, Carla Leger, Brooke Whitlatch, and Cheri Palmisano. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Drumroll, Players, because we are announcing the May 2013 winner! Chris Masse, it's you! Congratulations! Deb Wills will be sending you a prize in the mail!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #282 Where in the world is this?

We're staying in the parks, Players!
 Where in the World #282

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, June 6th, 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!

May 16, 2013

Cinderella Castle and the Red Balloon

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A red Mickey Mouse balloon behind Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A red Mickey Mouse balloon behind Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV -0.7, 11mm focal length, cropped.

Hard not to get a Disney balloon in a photo at the Magic Kingdom. As I was taking this wide angle photo behind Cinderella Castle, a father passed by with a red Mickey Mouse balloon tied to the stroller he was pushing. Thought it a fitting contribution to our Disney Pic of the Week on Balloons.

April 19, 2013

Being Creative with Crowds at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Here's a fun way to approach photographing in busy tourist attractions like Walt Disney World. Be creative! Easier said than done I can hear you saying. Really, when confronted with people everywhere, start looking from different angles, get low, get high or just tilt your camera.

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you how I used guests watching a show in front of Cinderella Castle to create a good travel photograph. The photo today was taken a little before that one. I tilted my camera to eliminate most of the people and included the Partners Statue with the castle as a backdrop.

A creative view of the Partners Statue in front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A creative view of the Partners Statue.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/400s, f/10, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

There is almost no such thing as an unique photo taken at Walt Disney World anymore. Many people told me this was until I told them I had seen this idea done by another photographer. I got down on my stomach in front of Spaceship Earth and, using Aperture Priority mode, dialed in an f/18 aperture to get lots of depth of field. I know those are people's legs and feet in the photo. Can you recognize any of them?

A low view of people walking towards Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A low view of people walking towards Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/18, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length, tripod.

Disney park fans have a saying, "Look up, look down". I have an addition for Disney park photographers, get LOW, get HIGH and look ALL around. Let your creativity go and enjoy the magic!

I will conclude this series next week with something Disney has always been famous for. Can you guess?

April 4, 2013

Maurice's Table

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Table inside Maurice's Cottage in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Table inside Maurice's Cottage in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/40s, f/3.5, ISO 4000, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

In the new attraction Enchanted Tales with Belle, you walk through Maurice's Cottage. On a table in the kitchen, you will find the book Belle read in the animated feature, Beauty and the Beast, which is open to the page the goat took a bite out of. Next to the book are the plans to Maurice's wood cutting machine. Something to look for when visting our Disney Pic of the Week on the new New Fantasyland.

March 29, 2013

Including Guests in Walt Disney World Photography

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Continuing our tips for photographing in busy tourist attractions using Walt Disney World examples. When the parks are full of people, and it is a rare day when they are not these days, I just include them in the composition. People help to tell the story and add scale to whatever surrounds them.

Watching the Dream Along with Mickey show on the stage in front of Cinderella Castle with a few of my closest friends, I decided to include them. I stood up on the bench next to the Partner's Statue in the hub to get this photo.

Guests enjoy the Dream Along with Mickey show at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Guests enjoy the Dream Along with Mickey show in front of Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/22, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm focal length.

My niece and her family were visiting Disney's Animal Kingdom for the first time and stopped to marvel at the Tree of Life. I like this photo more than the posed one I took a few minutes later. They are involved with the Tree of Life as the parents and children look at all the animals on it.

A family seeing the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom for the first time, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
A family seeing the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom for the first time.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 22mm focal length.

While both of these photos would have been fine without the people, I feel including them enhanced the photos and created better stories.

February 10, 2013

Where in the World #267

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!

Susie Howard is celebrating her birthday in Disney! Happy Birthday, Susie!

AND!

Melodye Berry is there celebrating her anniversary!

So From Millan.Net to Susie! And From Millan.Net to Melodye!

Ken Rhinehart is also in Disney! Bon Voyage, Ken! Wave, Players! Wave!
footballer
Not that kind of wave!

And From Millan.Net to Chris Kelly who had to leave Disney to face 2 feet of snow at home.

Remember I teased about this being the challenge?
 Where in the World #267

Well, Paul Moore got it. Paul.... that is amazing.jawdrop

 Where in the World #267

It's the pathway between pavilions in the World Showcase in Epcot. I actually took the photo because rain drops formed a Hidden Mickey. See it?

Paul: bravo! clapping

Here was the challenge last week:
 Where in the World #266

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

It's Captain Hook's ship in the mural of Peter Pan's Flight in Magic Kingdom!

Steve Jordan: big thumbs up on the very thorough answer! "That is an image of Captain Hook's pirate ship (Port Side view from astern, roughly 225 degrees relative), as seen on the Peter Pan's Flight ride at the Magic Kingdom." Way to go, Player!

It's one of my favorite rides too, Curtis Bille, and I would hate to lose it! Flying over London! In fact, when Cheri Palmisano sang "You can fly! You can fly! You can fly!", I had to go on youtube and watch a ride video.

Clay Anthony was talking about how they make the car lights as you pass over London: if you don't want to know, bypass this spoiler! It's little dabs of glow in the dark paint on a bicycle chain! :)

Debbie Desimone was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Debbie and all our winners this week! Annie Snodgrass, Theresa Rucando, Erin Dagney, Ed Elder, Christine Dagney, Chris Masse, Scott Cullen, Belicia Cullen, Olivia , Emily Hudson, Andrew Carrieri, Virginia Pierce, Larissa Huda, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Heather Young, Leach Family, Linda College, Kim Hubert, Megan Collins, Tricia Petty, Valerie, Susie Katz , Trinity Phannenhour, Kathy Morris, Mackenzie D., Lynette Michalos, Chris Horne, Hayley Valk, Amber Henry, Spencer, Craig Livingston, Tim Johansen, Tara Soucie, Mike Bidwell, Mary Beth Tarbrt, The Olszak Family, Amy Baxter, Megan E., Megan Krainski, Shannon Savoia, Double Family, Steve Jordan, Callie Wilson, Fran Achorn, Misty Mehelic, Crystal King, Sharon Dale, Elizabeth Poyner, Sharon Dale, Curtis Bille, Wendy, Tammy, Barbara Porterfield, Cynthia Hitchcock, Ruth Woodhouse, Kye Layton, Jodi Cook, Nicole Shuler, Vera Williams, The Kahle Family, Katie Bray, Becky Norman, Team Hill, Laura Fallon, Amanda, Dave Freemyer, Carrie Kwiat, Denise Castiglione, Keith Shinabarger, Ken Clark, Shelley Eggert, Chris, Gretchen, And Katie Barnes, Eileen Wiederspan, Crystal Gelinas, Courtney Payne, James Schmidt, Paul Knott, Mary Brennan, The Parker Family, Nichole Donofrio, Carla C, Cindy Pink, Lisa Hallmark, The Strukel Family, Kelsi, Eleanor Voutsinas, Karen Ramirez, Karen Adamakis, Sophia , Derek Carty, Lori Rienhardt, Trisha Johnson, Hobbes And Snorky, Elisa Steccato, Tina And Thomas Gay, Tom Koval, Paul Moore, Kris Nixon, Jennifer Curiel, Amber Slifer, Craig, Patty Carty, Candy Yancey, Kristi Strembicki, Colleen Wesolowski, Melissa Such, Betsy Silvestri, Candice Grimes, Vanessa Suarez , Addison Welp, Audra Miller, Kevin Miller, Claire Gregory, Mike O'brien, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Mickey Eckert, Jeff Thomas, Suzanne C Denham, Jessica Iglesias, Bill Cudney, Deb Ragno, Nathan York , Jennifer Rupert, Jenny Stoneburner, Brendan Abel, Hoekzema Family, Gina L Falzone, Chris And Alison, Wendy T Faler, Pam Vanaustin, Susie Howard, The Malesky Family, Dee Dee Kenney, Sarah Calvario, Vanessa St.john, Ann, Scott Precise, Ken Maikowski, Kelly Cummings, Kelly Cummings, Jessica Stephens, Lauren Pinder, Morgan M. , Maggie Klotz, Cathy Connors, Rebecca Keenan, Barbara, Cheryl Chambers, Melissa Roberts, Caryn Schill, Elizabeth, Paul Dickson, Anita Jodouin, Evald Olson, Melanie Dunlap, Lois Lynch, Clay Anthony, Anjanette Tournillon, Blake Schmidt, Robert Hildebrandt, Elizabeth Johnston, Ken Rhinehart, Jessica Folan, Steve Knapp, Monica Owens, Josh Carney, Christina Trigiani, Kate Fischer, Karrie Duffey, Anastasia Macneil, Matt Holley, Carri Marotto, John Nottell, Mary Greger, Ashley P. , Tricia Noble, Deme Grabert, Shannon Benton, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Mel O'donnell, Shelly Borella, Erin Hammer, Jennifer Cravener, Jennifer Bourg, Tracy Discher, Kelly R., Cheri Palmisano, Jeremy Reichelt, Ben Frihauf, Scott Sangston, Mike Pennington, Jacquelyn Law, Mitchell Holmes, Michelle Brown, Chloe Mayhew, Nikki, Susan Higginbotham, Liz Moreau, Doug Olson Family, Randi Balch, Shannon Williams, Alison Rosenberger, Amanda Campbell, Hillary Waldroop, Gallagher Family, Jennifer Snook, Sara Holloway, Stacy Hines, Jullie Pudem, Patrick Broaddus, Team Meeker, Jan Rosato, Ron Harper, Eric Enli, Dee Riccio, Josh Weiss, Ashley Hill, The Kertes Family, Kate Flanagan, Heidi Sell, Elaine Kleinhenz, Walter N. Clark, Denise Mcconaghy, Agnes Ciotti, Michael Bailey, David Ballard, Barb Welshhans, Karen Hotchkiss, Les Stewart, Lynn Torre, Vanessa Gordon, Barclay Bakkum, Chris, John Menjes, Mark Proper, Emily Harper, Megan W, Randy, Patti Mccaffrey, Chris Kelly, Lindsay Kasawski, Vicky Jacobs, Michael And Kelly Barnes, Chris Hills, Dave Carriere, Ashley, Margie Larmon, George Mundy Jr, Heidi Goodhue, Ilona Kane, Christy Schor, and Mark Franklin. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #267: Where in the world is this?

Park tickets ready? Here we go!
 Where in the World #267

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

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

December 30, 2012

Where in the World #261

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!

To all of you, Players!
From Millan.Net
May this be a wonderfully magical year for everyone!

Noah And Amy Schweizer are in Walt Disney World! Everyone wave!
From Millan.Net

Thank you, Judy Simonsen, for your wonderful note!

Claire Gregory, a million DVC points for Christmas would be AMAZING wouldn't it?! I wouldn't leave Disney until 2014!

Here was the challenge last week:
 Where in the World #260

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

I actually thought this would be tough for you. Silly ol' me!

It's the sign for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh! Actually, it's the original sign with one like it hanging off of Pooh's tree house.

All of you know that this ride replaced the Mr. Toad attraction and has tributes to it inside. If you love Disney park trivia, then here's another fun tribute: inside Pooh's house and over the door is a picture of the Nautilus sub, since the tree house stood over the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction when it was part of the old Pooh's Playful Spot.

Mickey Eckert, I would be with your family in the little kids line!

Chris Masse was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Chris and to all the readers who got the answer right: Kris Nixon, Krystal Pound, Dawn Bach, Betsy, Eric States, Jason Skow, Brian Miller, Jessica Iglesias, Jared Orth, Chuck Everson, Clinton Dickinson, Shannon Milair, Jessica Folan, Jenny Brennan, Vera Williams, Betsy Bates, Frank Pierce, Tj Mahan, Paul Moore, Glenn Plohasz, Robert Hildebrandt, Robert Hildebrandt, Jennifer Hyland, Heather O'toole, Paul Scimeca, Evanna Huda, Sharynne Smith, Larissa Huda, Pollyanna Buff, Mary Dunnett, John Menjes, Sanford Fuller, Sarah White, Kelly Zanauskas, Charis Barron, Candice Grimes, Brenda, Maureen Handy, Steve Jordan, Bruce Jones, Tina Santacroce, Angie Young, Mike Mondoux, Tricia Noble, Stacey Vandyke, Rob & April - Team Vanderpool, Tracy Davis, Sarah Mccoy, Paul Dickson, Chloe Mayhew, Dave Freemyer, Agnes Ciotti, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Maria Senn, Claire Gregory, Tinkerbell Wells, Taylor K, Deb Gallo, Sarah Calvario, Griffin Connors, Jackie Igoe, Vanessa Stjohn, Kelly Sandidge, Jennifer Rowell, Dan And Elizabeth Johnston, Jenny Stoneburner, Emily Watson, Debbie Chitester, Jeremy Reichelt, Tyler West, Sandy Chang, Danielle Sauthoff, Jessica Ma'ilo , John Nottell, Meredith Rule, The Strukel Family, Lisa Bohannon, Noah And Amy Schweizer, Jim Vandenberghe, Katie Bamford, Laurie Walker, Christopher Barnes, Chris & Maranda Nichols, Rob Jacob, Jeff & Cheryl Simmons, Brian Gallant, Sharon Pierce, Christina R, Theresa Rucando, Jennifer Decker, Andrew Carrieri, Karen Ramirez, Jim Dewalt, Sharon Dale, Doug Olson Family, Amy P, Tanya Hinnes, Hayley Valk, Hayley Valk, Jason & Melinda Lenz, Mark Franklin, Lindsey Nozal, D, Bill Granger, Lee Anastasi, Pam Vanaustin, Mary Beth Tarbet, Judy Simonsen, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Patti Mccaffrey, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Janna Jewett , Kaitlyn, Palmer Family , Wendy T Faler, Team Hill, Emily Canale, Anastasia Macneil, The Kertes Family, Hoekzema Family, Katie Bray, Chris Kelly, Carla C, Emily Hudson, Nathalie Periard, Kristi Strembicki, Maryann Romagnano, Daniel Schweizer, Clay Anthony, Ainsley Poe, Katvan, Mike Malampy, Maggie Klotz, Craig, Al Desimone, Debbie Desimone, Kevin Scott, Vanessa Gordon, Elaine Kleinhenz, The Patterson Family, Henry Schoenstein, Matt Cofone, Mickey Eckert, Heather Young, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Paul Knott, Derek Carty, Jen Tremley, Daniel Record, Megan Krainski, Bruce Hinterleitner, Antoinette Leblanc, Candy Sandal, Al Sandal, Hillary Waldroop, The Parker Family, Jo Ann Bailey, Deb Ragno, Jackie Graebel, Trina Noggle, Jane Johnson, Walter N. Clark, Trish Babler, Lindsay Kasawski, Lindsay Kasawski, Emma Ramsey, Diane Ramos, Wendy Barney, William Sharp, Stephanie Linares, Jonathan Thomas, Lauren Thomas, Bill Cudney , Dale Knight, Kerry A., Eileen Miller, Kerrie Hogan, Eric Holmes, Kerry Mccaffrey, Rita Henderson, K Beasley, Christine Dagney, Erin Dagney, Heather Pedulla, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Annie Snodgrass, Megan W, Kathryn Perkins, Patty Carty, Gena Yates, Shelly Borella, Dave Fullerton, Margie Larmon, Tom Higbee, Lisa Zitek, Sandy Ednie, Ken Rhinehart, Stacy Guarracino, Carri Marotto, Pattie Boy, Emily Harper, Mary M, Heidi Goodhue, Katy Robinson, and Barclay Bakkum. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #261: Where in the world is this?

I wanted some special, something magical for our last challenge of 2012. I know some will say it's too easy and it is but when you think Disney and magic...
Well, this IS the definition of Disney Magic:
 Where in the World #261

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, January 3rd, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.
See you next week, Players!
Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

December 21, 2012

Wishes Christmas Card from the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Wishes Christmas Card from the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Wishes Christmas Card from the Magic Kingdom.

A scanned image of my family's Christmas card for this year. My friend and Disney contract photographer, Bob Desmond, who was kind enough to take on the challenge when I first proposed a photo of my family during the production of Wishes, the nightly fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom. Not only did we have to secure the location Bob had scouted out for us a couple of hours ahead of time, Bob and I had to keep people from crowding in too close. Many of you know how hard that is to do. Bob came prepared with a tripod, remote release, camera, flash, knowledge of the show, a wide angle lens to be able to work in close quarters and still get my family, Cinderella Castle and the fireworks in one frame and patience to handle the crowd and his subjects, us.

For our part, we had to smile for the initial flash which exposed us correctly and stand still during the 15 to 20 second shutter time needed to capture the fireworks going off behind us. Let me tell you, it was hard not to turn around and enjoy the show like the hundreds of people surrounding us. In fact, just to the right and left of us where kids and adults leaning and sitting on the fence.

I can not leave you with the poorly scanned card image above. Here is Bob's final photo which he sent to me. It will be treasured by my wife and I for years to come.

Wishes family portrait in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Wishes family portrait in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D7000/Nikon 10-20mm, 20.4s, f/16, ISO 100, EV 0, 10mm focal length, tripod, front sync flash.

As the card says...Merry Christmas! I will not have a Friday post next week but Lisa and I will have a special Disney Pic of the Week for you. I will return in the New Year with more photographic fun and tips from the Disney themeparks and resorts.

November 25, 2012

Where in the World #256

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!

We've had so many Players on Disney trips lately, so that means we have a lot going through the post-vacation blues. Like Claire Gregory, right? So I brought this Disney bear for anyone who needs a hug.

From Millan.Net

We will give each person their privacy for those who need to keep up their tough gritty exteriors, but whose inner child needs a Disney bear hug.

While we're going through the blues, I hope you get to go to Walt Disney World someday, Judy Simonsen, and everyone else who has never had the chance. Every person should get to be surrounded by magic!

Here was the challenge last week:
 Where in the World #255

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

For the first time, everyone got this right! It's a horse on Prince Charming Regal Carrousel in the Magic Kingdom. This particular horse is Cinderella's favorite according to Cinderella herself during meet and greets at the castle, publicity photos taken and posted by Disney, and original guides. Lately, some are now denying it to which I maturely say From Millan.Net.

The carousel has another special meaning for me. When Walt Disney looked for a location for Disney World, my home state of New Jersey was one of his first choices. Our cold winters made him decide against building here, but he did find something that would come to his new Magic Kingdom: this carousel!

Of course, Walt's people extensively renovated it, completely redoing some of the horses and replacing some with new ones so they had the Cinderella scenes and details such as this gold ribbon. But its heart is still the carousel Walt discovered here at my home as he envisioned creating Disney World.

Patti Mccaffrey, I hope you don't mind that I reworded your correct answer. :)

Staci Plunkett was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Billie and to all the readers who got the answer right: Mike Haeberle, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Larissa Huda, The Strukel Family, Bruce Jones, Carol Gamill, Ed Elder, Tim Johansen, Sharon Pierce, Tinkerbell Wells, Lee Anastasi, Jessica Gruhlke, Jennifer Rowell, The Kahlefamily, Hoekzema Family, Dee Dee Kenney, Rob Blundin, Erin Dagney, Christine Dagney, The O'meara Family, Chris Kelly, Jason &Melinda Lenz, Maggie Klotz, Sharon Dale, Evanna Huda, Clare S, Chris Masse, Maryann Eckenrode, Deb Ragno, Craig Livingston, Scott Cullen, Julie And Kody Rider, Hillary Waldroop, Matt Holley, Kathryn Perkins, Erin Hammer, Kye Layton, Claire Gregory, Julie Wickware, Mickey Eckert, Judy Koslowski, Chris And Alison, Nathalie Periard, The Moore Family, Rob &April - Team Vanderpool, Lorine Landon, Jen Cerce, Nicole Amidon, Hunter Armstrong, Kellie Harpel, Vicki Edwards, Kim Mobley, Carla Nale, Josh Weiss, Janet Thorn, Jessica Iglesias, Katie Bray, Kara Cummings, Tommy Montgomery, Kris Nixon, Vera Williams, Luis Rodriguez, Jacquelyn Law, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Annette Nuenke, Ed Suscreba, Curtis Bille, Becky Norman, Brian Gallant, Elizabeth Edwards, Carla C, Lindsey Nozal, Megan Krainski, Emily Watson, Trina Noggle, Danielle Murgia, Double Family, in Magic Kindom, Maureen Handy, Michael Joel Gainey, Marie Seilus, Les Stewart, Lori Rienhardt, Paul Knott, Paul Knott, Betsy Silvestri, Andrew Swiatowicz , Sandy Kanigowski, Team Hill, Mary Thatcher, Billie Jean Albolino, Sandie Albrecht, Dave Kanigowski, Tom Koval, Paul Dickson, Laura, Collette Beuther, Stefanie Vandiver, Colette S, Chris Malek, Tiffany Gibb, Steve Smith, Susan Higginbotham, Deborah Hulsey, Phil Vickers, Kerrie Hogan, Hobbes And Snorky, Emma Poprock, Amy Schweizer, Stephanie Newell, Adam Mcfarland, Erin Loring, Kerri Coggins, Suzanne C Denham, Patti Mccaffrey, Linda Scrivano, Theresa Rucando, Wendy Barney, Christina, Tracie Harris, Ronnie Schreyer, Pollyanna Buff, Amanda Campbell, Cathy Connors, Catherine Crawford, Vanessa Gordon, Amanda Perkins, Vicki Vaught, Dawn Bach, Brian Sheets, Lucille Baro, Megan W, Kelly Cummings, Madison Hovan, Penny Urell, Kerry Mccaffrey, Gallagher Family, Julia Miranda, Rich Esker, Brenda, Kathie Goldberg, Debra Kuklinski, Elaine Tomko-deluca, Karen Schlumpf, Monica Hatch, The Emich Family, Caryn Schill, Mackenzie D., William Edwards, Jennifer Rupert, Nan Lewis, Kyler Scott, Courtney Payne, Laurie W, Emily Hudson, Carolyn Como, Russ Morgan, Josh Carney, Jenny Brennan, Diane Curfman, Emma Ramsey, Jeff And Cheryl Simmons, Karen Drum, Andy Hickey, Doug Olson Family, Brian Sherwin, Kelsi B, Clay Anthony, Agnes Ciotti, Rebecca Smith, Rob Jacob, James &Maranda Nichols, Hulse Family, Melodye Berry, Nigel Mcquire (wales Uk)., Heather Young, Jodi Cook, Angie Young, Vickie Smialkowski, A Gray, Wendy Crober, Cheryl Costello, Michele Mongeon, Melesia Love, Louise Barton, Cameron Lange, Erika Loboda, Andrea Kruszewski, Clinton Dickinson, Mike Haven, Ken Rhinehart, Chloe Mayhew, Sherry Trapp, Andrew Pettit, Anne Hainsworth, Elizabeth Scarborough, Rebecca Keenan, Chris Bauman, Morgan M. , Kelly Smith, Ashley Hill, Jeremy Reichelt, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Alison Rosenberger, Tricia Noble, Kate Fischer, Heather Hynes, Karrie Duffey, Terry Fleming, Derek Carty, Debbie Hicis, The Michalski Girls, Patrick Broaddus, Stephanie Linares, Melissa Littman, Andy Schumacher, Maryann Romagnano, Mary Jo Gallion, Sara Holloway, Wendy T Faler, Jullie Pudem, Diane Ramos, Kelly Zanauskas, Anastasia Macneil, Jeffrey Beauchamp, Steve Knapp, Margie Larmon, Alan Mize, Ashley Wilson, Dale Knight, Angela And David Blevins, Gerald Skanes, Kameo Crea, Eric Holmes, John Pasqueralli, Linda Mac, Jim Thompson, Nathaniel Clements, Carri Marotto, Virginia Pierce, Scrooge Mcduck, Matt Ciccone, Teresa Plunkett, George Mundy Jr, Annie Snodgrass, Chuck Sands, Mike Pennington, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Ainsley Poe, Ronald Delorey, Antoinette Leblanc, Shannon Murray, Heidi Goodhue, Lisa Zitek, Jan Rosato , Nicole Shuler, Greg Gallo, David B., Olivia D, Tiffany W. , The Kertes Family, Kristen Gordon, Heather Pedulla, Cynthia Hitchcock, Erin Connell, Karen Ramirez, Mike M., Michelle Boewe, Mark Proper, Mark Franklin, The Parker Family, Ashley P., Wayne Witherspoon, Shannon Benton, Kristi Strembicki, Regina Allen, Dan Mangini, Nancy Ahlsen, Nancy Ahlsen, Jared Meeker, Josh Dean, Karen Smith, Elizabeth Johnston, Karen Hotchkiss, Vickie Scioneaux, Linda Grau, Jackie Graebel, Gregory Zalesak , Stefan Owens , Mitchell Holmes, Laney, Margaret West, Jo Ann Bailey, David Ballard, Ruth Cookson, Jim Finley, Jane Johnson, Tom Higbee, Robert P. Flaherty, Sheri, Joseph M. Zafia, Terry Berringer, Laura Labadie, Angela Sommer, Les Whitten, Maryann Daly, Nichole Weller, Nancy, Eva Mayhew, Barclay Bakkum, Monica Owens, Sandra Shaw, Tom Mathews, Shirley Garcowski, Emily Harper, Judy Simonsen, Peggy Saeger, Janet Mcclain, Stacy Guarracino, Wendy Snelgrove, Wendy Mowery, Jeff Finger, Melissa Kirk, Nancy Tatro, Walter N. Clark, Pamela Baker, Matt Cofone, Chris Barnes, Tracey Mcgann, Brian Miller, Lynn Lofton, Jeremy Hardy, Christy Schor, Roye Ann Morris, Bob Burge, Cindy Jett, Barb Welshhans, Shannon Wright, and Patti Deluca. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #256: Where in the world is this?

I think this week is tougher, but only you can judge for yourselves, Players, as we stay in the parks for this:
 Where in the World #256

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, November 29th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

October 26, 2012

More Halloween Fun in the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

It is that time when I can get out photos from past Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Parties I have attended the last two years. Remember last year when the Cadaver Dans paid us a visit and those great special effects at the Haunted Mansion? Here are a few more photos to share with you.

A collage of Halloween fun during a Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Halloween fun during a Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.

From top left going clockwise; The Headless Horseman leads off the Boo To You Parade, Ghost of Lady Renata in front of the Haunted Mansion, HalloWishes grand finale behind Cinderella Castle and a zombie marching in the parade on Main Street USA.

October 4, 2012

Elephant Games in Storybook Circus

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Guests being sprayed by elephants in Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station in the new Storybook Circus area in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Guests being sprayed by elephants at Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station in the new Storybook Circus.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/130s, f/32, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 100mm focal length.

Guests being sprayed by elephants at Casey Jr. Splash 'N' Soak Station in the Magic Kingdom. A wet one for my Disney Pic of the Week for Storybook Circus.


September 21, 2012

La Fountaine de Cindrillon - Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

La Fountaine de Cindrillon or Cinderella Fountain is found behind Cinderella Castle near the path to Libery Square. I have taken many photos of this fountain and never noticed the plaque inbedded in the wall behind it. I saw it from another photographer's photo shared on flickr. A great place to get photographic ideas and inspiration for anywhere you may travel.

La Fountaine de Cindrillon in the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
La Fountaine de Cindrillon in Fantasyland.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 30s, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 16mm focal length, tripod.

Proof again to keep our eyes open when visiting Walt Disney World.

July 8, 2012

Where in the World #237

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!

We celebrated two holidays in the past week, Players! Canada Day and American Independence Day!
Smiley from millan.net and Smiley from millan.net

I hope you had a great holiday!

Players, I missed two winners last week: John Paul Carnell and Pecosace. I put your name in for the monthly drawing and I am very sorry this happened. Unfortunately, I do make the mistake once in awhile - rarely, thank goodness! - or entries come in after the deadline. If it does happen, please just let me know! I will always correct the error and apologize.

Mike Haeberle asked about the Monthly Calendar pages that used to be posted on the photo blog. Those were done by Barrie Brewer who, sadly for us-fortunately for her, got a job requiring more time. (Barrie, if you read this: smooches!)
Fortunately for her fans, she does still post the calendar pages on her photography site.

Bob Henriksen, could you ask your granddaughter to come to the screen? Hi! I'm so glad you like playing our game and that you are such a big help to your grandfather! Smiley from millan.net

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #236

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © 2010 Erin Blackwell, Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, f13, 1/160sec, 18mm, ISO-80

It's the sign outside Pinocchio Village Haus! I did my best to say the Haus with an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent just for you, Jenn Steele. Hope you liked it. ;)

One of the best parts of this quick service restaurant is the windows looking down into "it's a small world". But as Laurie Walker, Mickey Eckert, Agnes Ciotti, Kyler Scott pointed out, if you sit by the windows, you have to wave to the people going by in the Small World boats. It's part of the Disney spirit!

And, Agnes Ciotti, thanks for putting the Small World song in my head. Players, if I'm hearing this over and over, then we all are:

it's a world of laughter, a world or tears
it's a world of hopes, its a world of fear
theres so much that we share
that its time we're aware
its a small world after all!

Everybody! (I'm feeling it now!)

it's a small world after all
it's a small world after all
it's a small world after all
it's a small, small world!

Now everyone wave at the boats! Smiley from millan.net

Dave Carriere, you said the chocolate cake is probably bigger than your head. So.... are you saying you need someone to help you with it? 'Cause.... I'd be willing to help. In the name of team spirit, of course.

Look, Les Stewart, you made it! ;) And here's to the team effort of The Hanna Family! Special mention to Mary Tackett's 15 year old son's stomach who told his mom in no uncertain terms where the answer was for this week! And to Patrick Broaddus' wife who lists this as one of her favorite place to eat, so he KNOWS this sign well!

Also, we get to share the special memory of the Hoekzema Family's one son who celebrated using a spoon on his own for the first time with a chocolate gelato here at Pinocchio Village Haus!

Ed Elder was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Ed and to all the readers who got the answer right: Hayley Valk, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Diane Tredore, Staci Plunkett , Teresa Plunkett, Betsy Silvestri, Mike O'brien , Mackenzie D., Kelly Mager, Maryann Eckenrode, Mary Beth Tarbet, Evanna Huda, Larissa Huda, Leigh Mertz, Maureen Handy, Dee Dee Kenney, Deb Ragno, Anastasia Macneil, Kristie Bazile, Jody Severson, Dawn Burns, Marian Leafblad, Trina Noggle, Jennifer Rowell, Zachary Feller, Lee Anastasi, Belicia Cullen, Anne Marie Cronin, Scott Cullen, Megan Mullaney, Kye Layton, Sam Magri, Terri Vicknair, Laura V., Jason Hocker, Kathy Rubin, Ron Hunt, Karla Mcginnis, Shannon Milair, Jenny Brennan, Matt Holley, Chris Masse, Angela Krosick, Vera Williams, Karen Nevill, Laurie Walker, Louise Barton, Tom Koval, Rebecca Keenan, Cindy Nagel, Dave Wang, Ann Davidson, Annemarie, Bonnie Bradford, Jen Tremley, Diane Ramos, Tara Weaver, Angie Young, Mary Brennan, Lorine Landon, Ruth Woodhouse, Team Hill, Jennifer A Walker, Theresa Lucotti, Danielle, Kevin Miller, Ken Maikowski, Sharon Pierce, Jodi Cook, Bill Cudney, Debra Kuklinski, Kelsi B, Pasquale Crea, Curtis Bille, Paul Knott, Patty Carty, Heather Young, Susie Howard, Leigh Robillard, K. Beasley , Alan Mize, Craig, Pollyanna Buff, Misty Mehelic, Kerri Coggins, Keith Brown, Scott Precise, Sharon Lucia, The Malesky Family, Amy, Julie Wickware, Pam Vanaustin, Mickey Eckert, Lindsey Nozal, Michael Joel Gainey, Karen Smith, Kelly Reynolds, Amanda Perkins, Annie Snodgrass, Brian Miller, Lori Rienhardt, Vicki Edwards, Linda Scrivano, Luis Rodriguez, Paulnewman, Karen Ramirez, Sharon Dale, Jim Van, Matt And Danielle Murgia, Richard Memmory, John Ames, Amy Young, The Strukel Family, Angela And David Blevins, Nicole Shuler, Sara Findlay, Megan Krainski, Jeremy Hardy, Hobbes And Snorky, Richard And Lisa Palmer, Maggie Klotz, Janet Thorn, Nicole Perrone, Jamie K, Vanessa Stjohn, Kathryn Pietruszka, Carolyn Hashimoto, Pecosace, Tom Hermes, Doug Olson Family, The Hanna Family, Rebekah Schultz, Mary Tackett, Christopher Barnes, Bruce Hinterleitner, Erin Loring, Tha Parker Family, Jen Cerce, Griffin Harpel, Claire Gregory, Kelly Zanauskas, Allyson &Ben Sodrosky, Oswald The Lucky Rabbit, Ron Harper, Emily Hudson, Debbie Desimone, Al Desimone, Jolynn Digiallonardo, Katie Bray, Kathryn Perkins, Walter N. Clark, Carolyn Como, Paul Dickson, Agnes Ciotti, Jonathan Ward, Tommy Montgomery, Tracy Muphy, Gabriella And Matthieu, Derek Carty, Kristyn Scibienski, Dan Owens, Lisa Zitek, Cathy Connors, Dave Kanigowski, Jonah Rigby, Sandy Kanigowski, Michelle Boewe, Virginia Pierce , Diane Batista, Tom Buck, Claudia Callinan, Mary Kay Samluk, Mary Kay Samluk, Jennifer Harmon, Michelle Biel, Mary Kay Samluk, Elyssa H., Jack Foley, Heather Hynes, Monica Owens , Shelly Borella, Jeremy Reichelt, Tricia Petty, Stuart Hale, Patrick Broaddus, Kristen Mccoy, Karrie Duffey, Bob Henriksen, The O'meara Family, Dave Carriere, Trish Babler, Andrea Kruszewski, Tinkerbell Wells, Becky Norman, Jamie Poynton, The Kertes Family, Matthew Jadro, Daniel P Diehm, Kelly Smith, Karen Bellamy, Sue Vanvleet, Hillary Waldroop, Jeff Finger, Jim Thompson, Nancy Johansen, Theresa Rucando, Wendy T Faler, Andrew Drummond, Paul Pearsall, Debbie Cody, Cathy Mager, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Kerry Mccaffrey, Brian Mcwithey, Lily-pierre &Mathieu, Kerry A., Christine D, Olivia D., Les Whitten, Kyler Scott, Heidi Goodhue, Mike Mondoux, Carol Gamill, Hoekzema Family, Ashley Pizzino, Nicole Ruzinski, The Moore Family, Gerald Buford, Phil Vickers, Anne Hainsworth, Erin Connell, Nathalie Periard, Hunter Armstrong, Jill Hauth, James And Kathy Berry, Kat Curtis, Paul Newbiggin, Kristi Strembicki, Kelly Glover, Bill Shultz, Margie Larmon, M'shel Bowen, David Ballard, Dustin Morehead, Linda Mac, Stefan Owens, Rose Hippel, Jackie Graebel, Katie Wood, Bob Burge , Al Ganter, Chad Bell, Erica Lacey, Kenny, Russ Morgan, Jane Johnson, Susan Higginbotham, Josh Weiss, Cary Burke, Steve Knapp, Julie Duffy, George Mundy Jr, Ed Suscreba, Josh Carney, Jenn Steele, Tom Higbee, Amy Schweizer, Anjanette Tournillon, Evald Olson, Dawn Pilla, Diane Curfman, Joann Albrecht, and Les Stewart. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Now for the moment you have all been waiting for! The monthly winner for June is Mackenzie D.! Mackenzie, you have AllEars swag that will be sent to you from Deb Wills!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #237: Where in the world is this?

What do you think? Look familiar?

 Where in the World #237

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, July 12th, 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!

May 18, 2012

Disney Land and Sea

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Disney Land and Sea, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Disney Land and Sea.

Scott is on vacation this week. This time he is doing a Land and Sea trip to Walt Disney World which will include a 4-night cruise on the Disney Dream followed by a stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. He'll be back next week with more Disney photography information and tips.

You can follow Scott on his Disney Twitter feed @Scottwdw or on Google+ at Scott Thomas as he will be posting comments and photos during the trip.

May 11, 2012

10 Must Take Photos: Magic Kingdom eBook Review

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

My friends over on the Disney Photography Blog have come out with a new ebook series based on the many requests they have gotten about where and how to take the photos they post. The series called 10 Must Take Photos will cover each park in Walt Disney World and Disneyland. They have released two so far: Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. Today, I will review the 10 Must Take Photos for the Magic Kingdom.

La Fontaine de Cindrellon in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
La Fontaine de Cindrellon (Cinderella Fountain) one of the 10 Must Take Photos in the Magic Kingdom.

As the authors state, this is their list. Each one of us could come up with our own list which would differ. What the ebook does well is for each Must Take Photo, it tells you the where, how and why. Those answers are often not included with park photos you see online. In fact, that is my biggest complaint with most photo sharing websites.

Cinderella Castle Must Take Photo page
Cinderella Castle Must Take Photo Page.

Each photo gets a large introductory page so you can delve into it, study it and see it. See it? Yes, many times we do not take the time to really "see" a photo. With large photos it is much easier. The next page has a smaller version of the same photo for reference. The page tells how to get to the location where the photo was taken. Explains why the photo is considered a Must Take and gives specifics on how the photo was taken. Additional Photo Tips may be included giving ideas for alternative photos for the subject.

I have all but two of these Must Take Photos. I am planning on using this ebook soon (see below) to complete the set. I will report back in a few weeks on how I did.

The price of the ebooks are only $4 (US) each and can be ordered by following this link. What are your Must Take Photos?

Vacation Notice
I will be on vacation the next couple of weeks to, you guessed it, Walt Disney World. Remember the Photowalk announcement? Still spots available! If can not make it, you can follow my Disney Twitter feed @Scottwdw or on Google+ at Scott Thomas.

May 6, 2012

Where in the World #228

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!

Christi Ison, thank you for such a wonderful note!!

Happy 20th Anniversary to Mike and Susan Hill!! Enjoy Australia and Disneyland! Smiley from millan.net

Here was last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #227

And here's the answer:

Copyright © 2011 Erin Blackwell Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS, 14mm, 1/125s shutter, f5.6, ISO 125

Wow! I actually gave you a tough one? I know you're saying FINALLY!

Here is, as Morgan M. put it, the "spinning chipmunk, mouse thing on the Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom"! This happy little fella and his fellow critters have actually been removed in the Fantasyland renovation. So here's our tribute to them: thanks for flying along, little buddies! Mackenzie D. says it for all of us: "I love those little guys!"

Clay Anthony was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Clay and to all the readers who got the answer right: Morgan M., Mackenzie D., Vera Williams, Karen Northway, Craig, and Tristan Clark. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

AND! Special congratulations to Kyle Kenney for his answer: Something. LOL!

Now, drum roll! It's time for our monthly winner! By the way, I think we had a record number of winners this month: 1,214!! Let's call that the highest and see if we break it!

The April 2012 winner is Nancy O'brien! Congratulations, Nancy! You win AllEars swag from Deb Wills! I will be emailing you very soon!
_____________________________________________________ _____________________
Challenge #228: Where in the world is this?

OK, staying in the parks, Players! Where do you think this is?
 Where in the World #228

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Thursday, May 10th, by clicking on the blue box below. Please do not post answers using the Feedback Form link at the bottom of this post. Remember to be specific with your answer - just naming a park will not get you into the drawing.

See you next week, Players!

Click Here to Submit Your Answer
_______________________________________________________________________

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

May 4, 2012

Disney through a Crystal Ball

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A crystal ball is believed by some people to aid in the performance of clairvoyance like witches and wizards. At Walt Disney World, the most famous crystal ball is found in the Haunted Mansion where the ghost of Madame Leota is calling spirits from the world beyond. Crystal balls are a fun prop to create very unique photos.

Spaceship Earth as seen through a crystal ball in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Spaceship Earth as seen through a crystal ball.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/400s, f/10, ISO 200, EV 0, 230mm focal length, flipped, cropped.

Here are some tips for using a crystal ball in photography:

1. Things are upside down or inverted when looking through a crystal ball so you must flip them in your photo editor (see below).

Crystal ball being held up in front of Spaceship Earth in Epcot, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Crystal ball being held up in front of Spaceship Earth.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/320s, f/9, ISO 200, EV 0, 230mm focal length.

2. Focus sharply on the crystal ball image and let the background go out of focus.

3. If you can not levitate the crystal ball (I wish I could learn how to do that!), find a secure place for the crystal ball or get the aid of an assistant to hold it (see above).

4. Lens choice is up to you but ones that can focus closely are easier to use.

5. Be careful when using a crystal ball in the Sun. They get very hot, very fast!

6. Find an interesting subject like maybe a fantasy castle.

Cinderella Castle through a crystal ball in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Cinderella Castle through a crystal ball.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/200s, f/7.1, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 68mm focal length, cropped, flipped.

If you would like to procure your own crystal ball, check out the Crystal Company and have some fun!

December 23, 2011

The Magic, The Memories and You Castle Gift

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Holiday projection during the The Magic, The Memories, and You! show in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Holiday projection during the "The Magic, The Memories, and You!" show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/4, ISO 6400, EV 0, 42mm focal length, tripod.

This being the first year of the The Magic, The Memories, and You! castle projection show, Disney added a series of Holiday projections. These projections appear fast and furious about half way through the show.

I want to take this time to wish you all Happy Holidays and a Very Merry Christmas!

I will be taking my annual holiday break next week as I spend the holidays with friends and family. See you in 2012!

November 18, 2011

An Aperture Mantra in the All American Rose Garden

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Aperture is a strange concept when learning photography. Aperture is defined as the size of the opening in the lens that light passes through before it hits the photographic medium which, these days, is an electronic sensor at the back of the camera. Aperture is also measured in some strange language called f-stops. F-stop numbers look to defy logic as the larger they are, the smaller the size of the aperture and the larger the focus area. Consequently, the smaller the f-stop number, the larger the size of the aperture and the smaller the focus area. Confused?

A fellow blogger, Karen of Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog, came up with what she calls a mantra about aperture so she can remember what the f-stop numbers mean. I found the mantra brilliantly simple. You know, one of those "I could have had a V-8?" slap to the forehead brilliant. Here it is:

Big number, big focus area, little number, little focus area.

To demonstrate, I photographed a pink rose in the popular All American Rose Garden located outside Cinderella Castle (between the Castle and Tomorrowland), down near the old Swan Boat dock. I used a big and little aperture (see photo below) to show you the difference. With a big aperture number of f/29, the range of focused objects is big and goes from the rose to the castle. The little number aperture of f/4 had a little focus area with the rose being the only object in focus.

Aperture examples in the All American Rose Garden in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Aperture Mantra comparison in the All American Rose Garden.

When you are out doing photography, practice this mantra by using both big and little aperture numbers. Then, when faced with a scene, you can ask if you want a big or little focus area and know how to set your camera's aperture to achieve it.

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.

February 25, 2011

Photographing The Magic, The Memories and You!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Castle projections in the new The Magic, The Memories and You show in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Castle projections in the new The Magic, The Memories and You! show in the Magic Kingdom.

Last month I was invited to the VIP party at the Magic Kingdom which presented for the first time the new The Magic, The Memories and You! show. I traveled without my tripod so I was unprepared to photograph this spectacular show which features colorful projections which cover Cinderella Castle. The projections have animation, still photos and full video. Not the ideal subject for still photography.

The photos above were taken hand-held at 1/5 to 1/15th of a second with the lens wide open at f/3.5 and ISOs ranging from 4500 to 6400. I had to use Noise Ninja to clean up the images. Of the nearly 100 photos I took of the show, I got only a dozen workable images. Those images are pretty good so I am not complaining.

My friend, Bob Desmond, went out last week to photograph The Magic, The Memories and You! and passed these tips on to me for all of you:

The challenge to shooting The Magic, The Memories and You! show is to have fast lenses, short (fast) shutter speeds and an ISO that isn't too high, for quality. I am for keeping the ISO at 800 for this, but you will need f/2.8 lenses to do a really good job on it. Shutter speed will vary depending on what part of the show between 1/8s-1/30s at f/2.8 and ISO 800. I (Bob) shot it all from a tripod with a cable release. I shot it in RAW to give me more options in post production. If you have a full-frame DSLR, then you can comfortably go higher with your ISO (1600-3200) and gain a faster shutter speed. It's all about the right exposure and using the fastest shutter speed you can technically use. The images on this show are very quick changing, thus the fast shutter speed. I tend to shy away from anything above ISO 800, UNLESS I must do it, and if I must, I will. I will go to 1600 in a heart beat and 3200, if I REALLY must.

Thanks, Bob!

The fast lenses Bob recommends are expensive except for one, the Nifty-Fifty is very affordable and, at f/1.8, you can step down the aperture to f/2.8 for added sharpness.

January 14, 2011

Image Stabilization and Tripods Don't Mix

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Stabilized camera and lens technology over the last few years have made taking low light photos easier to do. I have talked about the various lens manufacturers stabilization technologies before. The one thing you do have to be careful of is to find out if you need to turn off image stabilization (IS) when using a tripod. Most of the consumer lenses with IS need to be turned off when using a tripod. As my friend, Roger Longenbach, found out, using a camera with built in image stabilization has to be turned off, too.

Roger took his Sony Alpha 55 digital SLR camera to photograph the Wishes fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom for the first time. He learned the hard way why the camera's manual says to turn OFF SteadyShot (Sony's term for in-camera image stabilization) when using a tripod. You will notice how blurry Cinderella Castle became over a thirty (30) second exposure as the IS technology worked against being held steady by the tripod. The fireworks came out sharp because, over the course of the exposure, they were there for only a few seconds.

Wishes fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Wishes taken with an Image Stabilized Camera on a Tripod.
Sony Alpha 55, 30s, f/7.1, ISO 100, EV 0, 18mm focal length, tripod, Image Stabilization ON

Once Roger noticed what was happening, he turned OFF SteadyShot and got the results he was looking for.

Wishes fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
Wishes taken with the Camera's Image Stabilization Turned OFF on a Tripod.
Sony Alpha 55, 30s, f/7.1, ISO 100, EV 0, 22mm focal length, tripod, Image Stabilization OFF

Not all lenses or cameras with Image Stabilization work this way. Consult your camera and lens' manual to see what it says about using them with a tripod.

I want to thank Roger for letting me use his images for this article. To see more of Roger's Disney photography, visit his website, ThemeParkPhotos.

Quick note, I will be visiting Walt Disney World next week and will be tweeting using this account: @Scottwdw Follow me for some extra magical adventures!


November 12, 2010

Photographing Fireworks - Part 2

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last week I talked about how I photograph fireworks at Walt Disney World. This week I will use the same technique of a tripod, cable shutter release and setting the shutter speed to Bulb in Manual exposure mode. This allows me to control how long the shutter will be open. So, what's different? I am adding a new piece of equipment called a Neutral Density filter to the front of the lens.

Neutral Density filters allow less light to enter the lens. Think of them as sunglasses for your camera. I know what you are thinking, Scott has finally lost his mind. For years, I have been telling you to get as much light as possible through the lens to get the best exposures. However, landscape photographers for years have used neutral density filters to INCREASE the shutter times when they want to photograph moving objects in their landscapes like waterfalls. Long shutter speeds for waterfalls create the silky look of water flowing over time.

The same idea works for fireworks. A neutral density filter extends the amount of time the shutter can be open without getting completely blown out explosions and rocket trails. These filters are referred to as ND and come in different strengths. I purchased a kit of three ND filters (see link below): ND2 or 0.3 (1 f-stop), ND4 or 0.6 (2 f-stops) and ND8 or 0.9 (3 f-stops). As you can see, the higher the ND number, the more light it blocks in f-stops.

What it means to us is, if you leave a camera's aperture and ISO the same, the stronger the ND filter, the longer the shutter speed. I do not want to get bogged down in photographic math but here's an example: If I set my camera to an aperture of f/8 and ISO 200 on a bright sunny day, I get a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second. If I put an ND2 filter on the lens, the light will be cut in half or 1 full f-stop for a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second. ND4 filter makes it to 1/50th of a second and the ND8 filter brings it all the way down to 1/25th of a second. If you are photographing a moving subject, the difference between 1/200 and 1/25 is huge! More on this later.

Back to our fireworks, using the Blub method and no ND filter last week, I could not go much longer than a few seconds without getting blown out (all white) fireworks explosions and trails. In fact, I did get some which I discarded. In the photos below, I used the strongest ND filter I had, the ND8 (3 f-stops). I could now hold the shutter open for 10, 20, 30, 60 seconds or maybe longer. I have seen some photos on flickr go over 120 seconds (2 minutes) for IllumiNations in Epcot and still look very colorful.

In the Magic Kingdom, I set up for Wishes which is very different from IllumiNations. I tried some really long exposures at first which went in between the scenes of the show. They did not look to good. Running out of time, I decided to open the shutter at the beginning of a scene and close it at the end. Remember my tip on using youTube last week to learn when a scene starts and ends. Once I did that, the long exposures worked much better. The fireworks looked great just as the show Imagineers wanted them to.

The first scene I want to show you is Fantasia featuring the part where Mickey Mouse is the Sorcerer's Apprentice and gets in over his head. The reds of the fireworks with the blue Cinderella Castle conjures up the scene very well.

The Fantasia scene of Wishes fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Fantasia scene of Wishes fireworks show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 28.7s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 52mm focal length, tripod, ND8 filter

The next scene is when the Villains take over the show. Lots of strange and bright colors and villainous lighting on the castle.

The Villains scene of Wishes fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
The Villains scene of Wishes fireworks show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 66.9s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 52mm focal length, tripod, ND8 filter

This is the first 12 seconds of the Wishes grand finale. I like this as there is neutral lighting on the castle as the fireworks frame it.

Twelve seconds of the Finale of Wishes fireworks show in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Twelve seconds of the Finale of Wishes fireworks show.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 12s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 52mm focal length, tripod ND8 filter

Getting back to the math part. Instead of using a waterfall to demonstrate the use of a neutral density filter during the day, I used the ever popular Dumbo, the Flying Elephant, ride in Fantasyland. Without an ND filter, the slowest shutter speed I could get was 1/15th of a second at an aperture of f/25 and ISO of 200. As you can see, the Dumbos are blurred but you can still see what they are.

Dumbo ride in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Dumbo ride without a Neutral Density filter.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/15s, f/25, ISO 200, EV +0.6, 38mm focal length

I put on the ND8 filter and the shutter speed drops to a little less than 1/2 of a second. Quite the dramatic change.

Dumbo ride in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Dumbo ride with a Neutral Density filter.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 0.63s, f/25, ISO 200, EV +0.6, 38mm focal length, tripod ND8 filter

If you are interested in using these filters for your photography, I highly recommend the Dolica CF-NDK77 77mm 0.3, 0.6, 0.9ND Neutral Density Filter Kit. The filters are thin and can be stacked. Dolica has other filter sizes but I would look at getting step up rings so you don't have to buy multiple filters for different sized lenses.

November 5, 2010

Photographing Fireworks - Part 1

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

How to take amazing fireworks photos at Disney | AllEars.net | AllEars.net
How to take amazing fireworks photos at Disney | AllEars.net | AllEars.net
How to take amazing fireworks photos at Disney | AllEars.net | AllEars.net

Before I left for Walt Disney World a couple of weeks ago, I asked if there was anything you would like me to cover. I got an inquiry about how to photograph the firework shows at the Magic Kingdom. As luck would have it, I saw two different ones: HalloWishes (which I'll cover this week) and Wishes (I will talk about next week).

First, Barrie wrote an excellent fireworks blog featuring IllumiNations and you should read it now or after this blog. At the time, she was using a Point and Shoot camera. Since I use a digital SLR camera, my approach is a bit different. Both ways give excellent results.

Some things are needed for either approach: a tripod and a way to remotely trip the shutter. That can be done by using your camera's built in timer (set it for 2 seconds), a remote or cable shutter release. Using any of those methods will reduce the amount of camera shake to almost nil when used with a tripod to get the sharpest images possible.

Next, I set my camera's ISO to its lowest setting. As I use a Nikon, I set it to ISO 200 (see your camera's manual for its lowest setting). This will give the cleanest images with little to no digital noise. Make sure Auto ISO is turned OFF if your camera has it.

Next, I put the camera in manual mode by selecting the M exposure setting. I like to shoot fireworks with a foreground subject like Cinderella Castle at an aperture of f/16. This ensures I get the castle, crowd in front of the castle and the fireworks in focus. Since the castle is well lighted, I use auto focus to set the focus right on the castle and then put the lens on its manual focus setting. As long as I do not touch the lens' focus ring, the focus will stay put. Lastly, I set the shutter speed to Bulb as I want to control when the shutter opens and closes using a cable shutter release.

I am sure you are asking yourself how do I know when to open and close the shutter. For a town or city fireworks display, I would use this method to open the shutter at the sound of a rocket launch and hold it open for two, three or more explosions before closing the shutter. For shows at a Disney park, it takes a little more effort as they are longer, have a lot more explosions in the air at one time, are choreographed to music and launched from a distance by air cannons. In the last couple of years, I have used youTube to help me learn when best to open and close the shutter for these shows. AllEars.net has its own youTube channel with all the firework shows including HalloWishes. By watching the HalloWishes video a few times, I had a good idea when to take the photos.

Not that I was perfect. In the photo below, I left the shutter open a bit too long and got the streamers. Though not bad, I really wanted only the colorful fireworks without those streamers.

When using Bulb, you get some strange looking shutter speeds like this one at 7.3 seconds.

HalloWishes fireworks show during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
HalloWishes fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom at 7.3 seconds.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 7.3s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length

In this next one, I did want the streamers off to the side with a batch of explosions directly over Cinderella Castle.

HalloWishes fireworks show during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
HalloWishes fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom at 5.5 seconds.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 5.5s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length

The last one is the first part of the finale of HalloWishes. Disney likes to use very bright explosions during finales. I knew they were coming so I closed the shutter before they happened. The ones which had already gone off were bright enough to illuminate the crowd which adds to the photo.

HalloWishes fireworks show during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
HalloWishes finale with the onlooking guests at the Magic Kingdom at 6.5 seconds.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 6.5s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length

Next week I will show you how to extend the shutter time even longer to capture more firework bursts and turn a mild mannered ride into a run-a-way!

If you have any questions or comments, please, hit the Comment link below. Do not forget to put the word "blog" (without quotes) where indicated. Thanks!

December 4, 2009

Holiday Vacation!

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Where in the world is Scott? He's vacationing in Walt Disney World this week and enjoying sights like Cinderella Castle in the holiday Dream Lights display. Ah, but he is not alone. Scott will be with over 50 other Disney fan photographers this weekend. He'll tell you all about it when he gets back.

Cinderella Castle all decked out in her holiday finest in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Cinderella Castle all decked out in her holiday finest.
Nikon D70/70-200VR, 1/8s, f/3.5, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal Length

November 6, 2009

Perspectives

Perspective is defined as " to look through". For photographers, it means to look at something differently. To find new perspectives. At Walt Disney World, where people take millions of photographs each year, finding new perspectives can seem a daunting task. I look at it as finding "my" perspective and sometimes a little help can open up whole new ways of looking at things.

The photo below of Minnie Mouse's statuette was pointed out to me by another photographer. I have seen similar photos on flickr, too. But, I had never seen it at dusk with an orange castle softly focused in the background which turned out to be "my" perspective on this subject.

Minnie Mouse statuette in the hub area of the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Minnie Mouse admiring Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/10s, f/4.8, ISO 1600, EV +0.3, 52mm Focal Length

October 16, 2009

Magic Hour

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Being Disney fans, we consider every hour at a Disney park or resort magical. In photography, each day has two Magic Hours. These are the half hour before and after sunrise and sunset. When the sun is low or just below the horizon, it creates amazing colors in the sky and on the objects around us. Landscape photographers know this and will show up far in advance of the morning or evening magic hours to set up their equipment in hopes of catching something spectacular.

I have talked about watching the sky as you walk around a Disney park before. In the photo below, I was taking a break at the Noodle Station seating area when I noticed how the light was starting to illuminate Cinderella Castle with a lovely golden color. I took many photos over the next several minutes and liked this one the best.

Golden sunlight illuminates Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Golden sunlight illuminates Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/25s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0, 18mm Focal Length

The above photo is more awareness than planning. My next trip to Walt Disney World is in early December. Checking the calendar for December, I found the Animal Kingdom will have Evening Extra Magic Hours (EMH) on Wednesday, the 2nd. Normally, Animal Kingdom closes before sunset so this is an opportunity to get some unique photos. One that came to mind is to get a Magic Hour photo of Expedition Everest but what time should I be there to get it?

The Internet quickly gave me the answer. I found the U.S. Naval Oceanography website had a Complete Sun and Moon Data for One Day page which calculates sunrise, sunset, moonrise and moonset for any day and for any city in the world. To find out when the Sun would set on the EMH, I entered in December 2, 2009. Selected Florida for the state in the United States and the city of Orlando in Form A and pressed the Get Data button. It told me sunset would happen at 5:28 PM which tells me I should be set up at least by 5:00 PM. Local weather might interfere but the chances of me getting a spectacular photo have increased with this knowledge.

There are other sites with even more information like the compass reading where the sun will set on the horizon. Given that information and an accurate map, you can determine the best location to get front lighting, side lighting or backlighting at locations you want to photograph at.

September 11, 2009

Emotions in Our Photos

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Last week I gave you some of my favorite photography links, this week I want to talk about one of those links. Photofocus by photography Scott Bourne wrote an article entitled, "10 Ways to Know You Made a Good Picture". Most of them I have talked about here before like exposure, light, backgrounds, composition and some others.

Then I came upon number 7: Emotion. The photograph should evoke some emotion. Any emotion will do. But really good photographs cause an emotional reaction. When I am looking at photos by other photographers on flickr and Disney and photography forums, the ones that grab me have always evoked some sort of emotion. Many times it's "Wow! Wish I had taken that!". Others makes me smile, laugh, wonder, empathize, envy, mad, sad and a host of other emotions.

The photo I choose below of the two young princesses posing for a photograph for their parents in front of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, gave me two kinds of emotions. The first was when I took the photo. The girls looked so cute and I could not help but smile. Later, when I pulled the photo up on my computer, I laughed at their styling royal footwear. Just perfect for a day in a Magic Kingdom.

Two young princesses sporting the latest in royal footwear in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Two young princesses sporting the latest in royal footwear posing for a photo in front of Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 112mm Focal Length

Take a minute to read over Scott Bourne's article and try to keep them in mind as you are photographing not just at a Disney themepark but anytime.

July 24, 2009

Back to the Future

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I know, that is not a title to a Disney movie but Meet the Robinsons really did not fit for this article (see, I got a Disney movie reference in anyway!).

It's been over two years since I took the photo of Cinderella Castle from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and it's still one of my favorites. It's one of the first photos I shared here on the AllEars.net Picture This! blog. Even before Lisa came on board to help out Barrie and I. As much as I like this photo, I always thought the colors looked faded and there was too much clutter in the foreground and to both sides.

Original photo of Cinderella Castle at dusk in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Original Photo of Cinderella Castle at Dusk.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, 400 ISO, EV -0.3, 80mm Focal length

Over this time, I have learned a lot about digital photo processing. I am sure you have or will do the same. It's a good exercise to return to some of your older work and look at it from the prospective of your new knowledege of post-processing. This is what I did with this photo.

Using Apple's Aperture 2 software, I first cropped it to eliminate what I considered clutter. In doing so I found I liked a portrait (more vertical) composition than the original landscape (horizontal) one. I, then, started to select different areas of the sky with the color dropper selection tool and enhanced them making them more vibrant. Your software may have a different way of doing this so consult the manual. I had to remove some sensor spots (I had not learned how to clean my camera's sensor yet) and adjusted the exposure to eliminate any overexposed areas. Lastly, I applied sharpening to clean up the edges. The result you see below.

Adjusted photo of Cinderella Castle at dusk in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Adjusted Photo of Cinderella Castle at Dusk.

When you are not able to go and create new images, look back at your photo archives and "see" the future. It's a lot of fun and a good way to learn the capabilities of your photo editing software.

June 19, 2009

Queen Cinderella

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Here's a "Did You Know?" featuring a unique photo you can create in Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland. There is a Cinderella fountain near the back of Cinderella Castle (as you look at the Castle from Prince Charming Regal Carrousel you'll see it on the right just before the path to Liberty Square). If you stand directly in front of the Cinderella statue and bend down, you'll see a painted crown on the wall behind her line up with her head. Whalla! You've given Cinderella her crown and she is now a Queen. Imagine a trumpet fanfare being played and white doves being released as you do this.

Cinderella gets her crown in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Giving Cinderella her Crown.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV -0.6, 130mm focal length

June 12, 2009

Capturing an Empty Disney Park

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Walt Disney World hosts millions of visitors each year. There are always people about even during a slow period. Yet, you can take photographs without people in them. One way is to get low and shoot at an angle to eliminate people around you or find a way to elevate yourself over people's heads. Another way is to find scenes where people can not get to like the photo of the ceremonial canoe I found in Disney's Animal Kingdom near the Yeti Shrine.

Ceremonial Canoe in Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Ceremonial Canoe near the Yeti Shrine.
Nikon D70/18-200VR 1/400s, f/16, 200 ISO, +0.3 EV, 150mm Focal length

I am a lightweight when it comes to getting truly empty photos of a Walt Disney World park. Let me introduce you to a true heavyweight, Tom Bricker (aka WDWFigment) has perfected empty Disney park photography. What he does is stay late at one of the parks...say, the Magic Kingdom until all the guests have left. He has seen the second Kiss Goodnight more times than I've been to Orlando (did you know there was a second one? Have you ever seen the first one?). Long after most guests are sleeping back at their resorts, Tom is getting photos only a paid Disney photographer normally gets a chance to shoot. Here are a couple of his favorites from the Magic Kingdom.

An empty Main Street USA during the Christmas holiday season in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
An empty Main Street USA during the Christmas holiday season by Tom Bricker.
Nikon D40, 5s, f/20, 200 ISO, +0.6 EV, 26mm Focal length

Tom talked about this photo, "Although the rain dampened the mood on portions of the (Mickey's Very Merry) Christmas Party, it sure did make for some pretty after hours shots (my first with "rain reflections"!)."

In this very unique photograph of the castle below, Tom explains why it is often overlooked. "Most people stop in awe when they first see the Castle on the other side of Main Street, USA. By the time they walk through the Castle to Fantasyland, a little of the amazement has worn off, and they are scurrying off to get in line at their favorite attractions. However, the back of the Castle shouldn't be overlooked. With its nuances and beautiful architecture, it is unique and awe-inspiring in its own right."

Cinderella Castle from Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Cinderella Castle from Fantasyland by Tom Bricker.
Nikon D40, 1.3s, f/3.8, 200 ISO, +0.6 EV, 22mm Focal length

Tom uses a tripod to obtain these fantastic photos. He freely admits breakfast is something he seldom eats when visiting Walt Disney World. So, are you up to the challenge of photographing an empty Disney park?

I would like to thank, Tom, for letting me share some of his wonderful Walt Disney World photography!

March 13, 2009

Photographing Disney Live Shows

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Timing is everything. To the performers in the various Disney live shows, everything must be rehearsed and the timing of each minute has to be perfected. For us guests, who may have never seen a show like Dream Along with Mickey which is performed several times a day in the Magic Kingdom in front of Cinderella Castle, these shows can be a challenge to photograph. We don't know when things will happen. That is unless you see the shows over and over which I have over the last few visits. Which is why I knew the finale had three firework events. First, fireworks go off on stage right, then stage left and then....

Dream Along with Mickey fireworks finale in front of Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Dream Along with Mickey fireworks finale in front of Cinderella Castle.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/80s, f/22, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 18mm Focal length

This is one of my favorites from the last trip. It took three trips to get it but I got it! Knowing the show also allowed me to be prepared for Maleficent's grand entrance during the Dream Along with Mickey stage show.

Maleficent makes her grand entrance during the Dream Along with Mickey show on the stage in front of Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Maleficent makes her grand entrance during the Dream Along with Mickey stage show.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/400s, f/13, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 200mm Focal length

I know what you're thinking. Do I have to go several times to Walt Disney World before I am able to capture moments like these? A few years ago, I would have told you yes. Today, however, we have the Internet and youTube (you know the link) where people have posted videos of shows at the Disney parks. By watching them, you can get an idea of when things happen and when your favorite character or characters appear or does something you want to photograph. Have fun researching for your next trip!

February 8, 2008

Photographic Innoventions: Castle at Night

Walt Disney World is magical at any time of the day but, at night, it's extra magical. So much so that Walt Disney World resort guests are able to enjoy Extra Magic Hours or EMH in all the parks (see link for schedule and more information). It was on just such a night in the Magic Kingdom when I took this photograph. It was 1AM and the park had another hour of EMH to go so there was still people walking about the hub area in front of Cinderella's Castle.


Cinderella's Castle at 1AM. © Scott Thomas Photography 2008
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/8s, f/3.8, 1100 ISO, -0.3 EV, 20mm focal length

Since night photography is very popular. This blog will have a few entries pertaining to how to get pictures after the sun goes down. This is when the digital SLR camera really shines so to speak. With their larger sensors, better lenses and faster and more powerful processors allowing the use of fast ISO numbers, a dSLR creates much better images after dark. The latest dSLRs get great results using ISO 3200 and even 6400. Couple that with noise reducing software and you can get amazing results.

For the picture above, I used my Nikon D70 with Auto ISO engaged and shot in Program mode. The camera selected the slowest shutter speed I would allow of 1/8 second for ISO 1100 and the widest aperture of f/3.8. The vibration reduction (VR) lens was set to ON and the rest was up to me. I did not have a tripod so I made myself into one. I leaned against an authentic WDW garbage can, used my elbows on the top of the garbage can (thankfully this was not one of the moving and talking variety), put my left hand under the lens to give it a good foundation, my right hand holding the camera firmly but not too tight, tucked my arms in close, lightly pressed the shutter halfway down to set the focus, held my breath and then slowly pressed the shutter the rest of the way. Don't mash the shutter. In fact, you should practice how to press a shutter this way to cut down vibration in the camera. As I've mentioned before, when taking photos in less than ideal conditions, you should take more than one. I took about a dozen of this scene with this being the best in the lot.

Further reading: I have lots of them. It'll be review for our regular readers but, please, read them over again as I'm sure you'll pick up even more each time you do so.

ePhotozine Night Photography Tutorial

Barrie's Astro Orbiter

Barrie's Portrait of Germany

December 7, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Telephoto Compression

A camera lens which has a focal length over 100mm is considered a telephoto lens. This includes the popular zoom lenses which go over 100mm. Just like a telescope, the longer the focal length, the smaller angle of view is seen through the camera's viewfinder. This has the effect of compressing objects at different distances in the field of view. Depending on the camera's depth of field or aperture setting, the objects can all be in sharp focus or just a selected object.

In the picture below of Christmas decorations down Magic Kingdom's Mainstreet USA, I compressed the wreaths, garland and Cinderella's Castle into a pleasing composition. The aperture set at f/8 kept all three subjects in focus and without the reference of buildings on either side, it's hard to tell how much distance is between them. Incidently, I took this from the Walt Disney World Railroad platform which overlooks Mainstreet USA. It's a great photographer's roost for parades, fireworks and for getting over the heads of our fellow quests.

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Mainstreet Christmas Decorations. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/80-200D, 1/800s, f/8, 400 ISO, +0.3 EV, 116mm Focal Length

I promised myself I would not brood over the fact that my two blog-mates are both enjoying Mousefest at Walt Disney World today. I did attend Mousefest in 2006 so, as I looked through those photos, I found this interesting subject to talk about. I know Barrie and Lisa will be bringing us all back some great photos to share. You gals stay out of trouble, ya hear?

Further Reading: For those interested in attending future Mousefests, here's the link to the offical website: Mousefest.org

August 31, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Virtual Borders

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, 400 ISO, -0.3 EV, 80mm Focal Length

This proves how popular Cinderella's Castle really is. Just a few entries after Barrie posted about this most photographed object at Walt Disney World and here I am using this photo. I know many try to capture a unique view of the castle. I wish I could say I was trying to here. It just sort of happened and I will tell you about it soon.

Since I wanted my entries to be titled using the Epcot word of "innoventions", I want to share with you a very innovative software product I found. In my travels to many photography websites and forums, I saw other people putting lovely and informative virtual borders around their photographs. My inquires found most used various versions of Adobe Photoshop or Elements to do so. I searched for a less expensive (read: free) alternative. I finally found a product called BorderMaker by programmer Thijs Orbitz from the Netherlands. It fit my needs perfectly.

BorderMaker is very easy to use. The website has some screenshots with very little documentation but it only took me 10 minutes to get the results you see above. Before installing BorderMaker, you have to make sure you have the latest version of the Java Runtime Environment. Don't worry, it's not complicated. Once that is done, you can download and install BorderMaker with ease.

With BorderMaker, you can easily create custom border templates you can save for reuse or to batch process a set of pictures. It can auto-select border and text colors depending on a photograph's color range. Other handy features let you convert a photo to other formats, show Exif data, apply sharpening, add watermarks and even resize the processed image. In the example below, I let BorderMaker choose the border and text color initially. I changed the bottom two lines of text to red. I found the Indy font online and stretched the bottom border to accommodate all the text. The software made this very easy to do.

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Another BorderMaker Example. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007

Now, how did I get the image of Cinderella's Castle? About 20 minutes after sunset this past May, I got on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority (most old timers still call this the WEDway People Mover) for a leisurely ride around Tommorrowland. As I came upon the first turn past Stitch's Great Escape, I noticed Cinderella's Castle silhouetted against the pre-twilight sky and took a picture. The first one didn't come out to well as my ISO setting was at 200 so the shutter speed was too slow. I got a very blurred image. I quickly bumped up the ISO to 400 and took a couple of practice shots before entering Space Mountain. From those shots I was ready. Upon coming back out above the Tommorowland Terrace Noodle Station, I went to work. Zooming in a bit, I took a series of shots with this one coming out the best. Some photos call for a title, this one was easy: "Castle at Dusk". I think the virtural border gives the added attention this photograph deserves.

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About Fantasyland

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

Adventureland is the previous category.

Frontierland is the next category.

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