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Liberty Square Archives

July 11, 2017

Disney Pic of the Week: 1970s

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Liberty Square dedication plaque in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Liberty Square dedication plaque in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 28mm Focal Length.

I did not visit Walt Disney World until 1983. For my 1970's photo, I found something I photographed in 2010 which was there back in the 1970's. The Liberty Square dedication plaque (not sure about dedication but that is what I am calling it.) is found as you enter Liberty Square from the Hub.

Deb will be here tomorrow with a real photo from the 1970's.





July 1, 2016

Liberty Bell in the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This weekend marks the 240th year of the birth of the United States of America. Below is a photo of the famous Liberty Bell replica on display in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom with the Hall of Presidents behind it. Happy Birthday to America and to my fellow countrymen.

Liberty Bell replica on display in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Liberty Bell replica on display in Liberty Square.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/18, ISO 320, EV 0, 24mm Focal Length.

Technical information about this photo. I used a small aperture and focused on the Liberty Bell which is about a third into the frame. This put everything in focus from the bell back to the Hall of Presidents. Not totally happy with this photo. As an exercise for the reader, can you tell me why you think I am not happy with it?

June 14, 2016

Disney Pic of the Week: Quick Service

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Have I ever mentioned the Columbia Harbour House is my favorite quick service restaurant at Walt Disney World? No? Well, it is. Below is one of the signs outside the restaurant which is very ornate like many signs back in the late 1700's.

Columbia Harbour House counter service restaurant in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
One of the signs outside the Columbia Harbour House counter service restaurant.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 28mm Focal Length

Tomorrow, Deb will share another quick service restaurant.

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.


April 7, 2015

Disney Pic of the Week: Liberty Square

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom is home to the Haunted Mansion and its new gift shop called Memento Mori Relics from Regions Beyond. Memento Mori features merchandise of the Haunted Mansion and you can even get a ghostly photo of yourself.

Memento Mori Relics from Regions Beyond gift shop in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Memento Mori Relics from Regions Beyond gift shop in Liberty Square.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 220, EV +0.3, 11mm Focal Length.

Deb will be here tomorrow with a special moment from Liberty Square.

March 27, 2015

Disney Social Media Cover Photos

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I am still an old photographer when it comes to the new age of Social Media. I often forget when I am photographing at Walt Disney World or some other fun destination to take pictures with the various cover images in mind. On my last trip, I made it a point to find locations or subjects suitable for the Social Media world.

As an example, when I was on Disney's Kilimanjaro Safari and the driver stopped for a few minutes near a few browsing Reticulated Giraffes, I took the opportunity to compose a photo so I could crop it later for either my FaceBook, Twitter or Google+ profile profile pages. Here is the resulting crop.

Reticulated Giraffe photographed on Disney's Kilimanjaro Safari in the Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Reticulated Giraffe photographed on Disney's Kilimanjaro Safari.
Nikon D7100/24-120VR, 1/500s, f/4, ISO 160, EV +0.3, 120mm focal length, cropped.

These Social Media services sometimes change the sizes for their cover images so I will not give it out here. Check their support pages to verify current image sizes. If you go to my FaceBook page today, this is how it looks or looked with the giraffe:

FaceBook cover photo.
The author's FaceBook page is it appeared with the Giraffe from Disney's Animal Kingdom

FaceBook's cover photo is a good size. My personal blog is a bit harder. The header photo is 940 pixels wide by 198 pixels tall. A tricky size to work with. I used a wide angle lens around the parks and kept interesting subjects along the bottom third of the photos. I looked for subjects which would cover the entire length of the image in the viewfinder. This view of the Rivers of America from the Frontierland boardwalk did just that. Pictured is Harper's Mill on Tom Sawyer Island with the Haunted Mansion and Liberty Belle riverboat in Liberty Square.

View of Tom Sawyer Island and Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
View of Tom Sawyer Island and Liberty Square.
Nikon D7100/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 11mm focal length, cropped.

While I am late to the party, I keep Social Media sites in mind when traveling with my camera.

August 15, 2014

Recording Details in the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The Magic Kingdom is full of details and I had fun looking for and photographing on a recent trip. Let's start with the Pirates Bazaar which is the shop you enter after sailing through Pirates of the Caribbean. This shop, like all Disney shops, is a treasure trove of subjects. As I was walking around, I felt like I was being stared at. I looked around and found Captain Jack Sparrow, as portrayed by actor Johnny Depp, looking right at me.

Painting of Captain Jack Sparrow on display in the Pirates Bazaar outside Pirates of the Caribbean in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Painting of Captain Jack Sparrow as portrayed by actor Johnny Depp on display in the Pirates Bazaar outside Pirates of the Caribbean.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/50s, f/4, ISO 6400, EV 0, 120mm focal length.

The Big Thunder Mountain Railroad's queue had some updates done during the last refurbishment. I found this longitudinal section diagram of the mountain fascinating and something you will miss using the FastPass+ line.

Longitudinal section diagram of Big Thunder Mountain in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Longitudinal section diagram of Big Thunder Mountain in the queue for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 4500, EV 0, 24mm focal length.

Fans of the movie, National Treasure, will remember how the company which cast the Liberty Bell was part of the clues leading to the historical treasure. The replica in Liberty Square has the clue, too.

Close up of the Liberty Bell in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Close up of the Liberty Bell in Liberty Square.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 4000, EV -0.3, 85mm focal length.

Did you know the The League of Planets and The Loyal Order of Little Green Beings are sponsors on the Tomorrowland Welcome Sign?

Tomorrowland welcoming signs at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Welcoming signs as you enter Tomorrowland from the Hub.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/320s, f/16, ISO 400, EV +0.3, 50mm focal length.

You know about the windows above Main Street USA but have you ever noticed the doors? Like this one which opens into the Magic Kingdom Casting Agency run by one Walter Elias Disney featuring his quote: "It takes People to Make the Dream a Reality".

Door to the Magic Kingdom Casting Agency on Main Street USA which opened in 1971 by Founder & Director Emeritus Walter Elias Disney in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Door to the Magic Kingdom Casting Agency on Main Street USA which opened in 1971 by Founder & Director Emeritus Walter Elias Disney.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 400, EV -0.3, 24mm focal length.

These are the kinds of details that come and go at Walt Disney World over the years. As fellow All Ears team member Jim Korkis reminds me every time I see him, photograph everything as you never know when it will be changed or totally disappear from a Disney park. Noted, Jim!

June 14, 2014

Disney Pic of the Week: Hall of Presidents

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The latest version of the Hall of Presidents located in Liberty Square is my favorite. The story and the fact every President on stage moves and acknowledges when they are introduced is very impressive to my tech and patriotic sides. For those who might think this is a waste of time or a nice air conditioned place to take a short nap, here are the Top 10 Reasons to Visit the Hall of Presidents.

In previous posts, I shared with you the lobby where you wait before entering the theater and the photo of all the Presidents on stage using a wide-angle lens. Today, I show you the Hall of President's exterior from the point of view of the replica Liberty Bell displayed across the street.

Hall of Presidents behind the Liberty Bell in Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Hall of Presidents behind the Liberty Bell in Libery Square.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 320, EV 0, 24mm focal length.

Lisa will be here on Thursday to share her patriotic colors for the Disney Pic of the Week on the Hall of Presidents.

May 22, 2014

Riding the Liberty Belle Riverboat in the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Need a ride the whole family can enjoy in the Magic Kingdom? One which is in a boat on water perhaps? No, not that one! I am talking about the Liberty Belle Riverboat in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom. When operating, the Liberty Belle takes guests on a 17 minute journey down the Rivers of America and around Frontierland's Tom Sawyer Island.

Liberty Belle Riverboat cruising the Rivers of America in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Liberty Belle Riverboat cruising the Rivers of America.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 900, EV 0, 86mm focal length, polarizer filter.

The Liberty Belle leaves the Liberty Boat Landing at the top and bottom of the each hour. Once underway, guests are treated to a slow cruise with views of Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and other interesting sights along the river.

Splash Mountain photographed from the Liberty Belle Riverboat in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Splash Mountain from the Liberty Belle Riverboat.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 800, EV 0, 78mm focal length, polarizer filter.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad photographed from the Liberty Belle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad from the Liberty Belle Riverboat.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 720, EV 0, 38mm focal length, polarizer filter.

As you round the bend from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, you will see Alligator Swamp, Elk, Moose, an Indian village and people roaming around Tom Sawyer Island.

Alligator Swamp photographed from the Liberty Belle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Alligator Swamp on the Rivers of America.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 48mm focal length, polarizer filter.

As you come to end of your Riverboat journey, you will pass the Haunted Mansion and return back to Liberty Boat Landing to continue your magical day in the Magic Kingdom well rested.

Approaching Liberty Boat Landing on the Liberty Belle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Approaching Liberty Boat Landing on the Liberty Belle.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 560, EV 0, 24mm focal length, polarizer filter.

The Liberty Belle captain will blow her horn as she approaches Liberty Boat Landing. If you wait for the Liberty Belle between the Landing and the Haunted Mansion entrance, you can get photos of the steam from the horn and engines with a natural looking background (see photo at start of article).

January 9, 2014

Hall of Presidents Lobby in the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Hall of Presidents' lobby in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Fisheye view of the lobby inside the Hall of Presidents.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm, 1/6s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0.

The above photo took two years to get it right. The first time I attempted this photo, I did not notice the release cable was in the corner of the frame. The railing surrounding The Great Seal of the United States confounded any skill I had in removing the cable without ruining the image. Last December, when I again visited the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, I had my new Fisheye lens which captured even more of the lobby than the wide angle lens I used previously. As luck with have it, the last show of the night was about to start. I waited for everyone to exit the lobby and took this photo.

A patriotic scene for the Disney Pic of the Week for the Magic Kingdom.

March 22, 2013

Photographing at Night in Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I recently read an article about photography tips for busy tourist attractions. I think Walt Disney World qualifies as such a place. The first tip was to get up early to avoid the crowds. I have to agree this works for many tourist areas in the world but Disney parks are not accessible in the early morning. The exceptions being if you get an early dining reservation for a character breakfast in the Magic Kingdom or Epcot before they are open to guests.

For the most part, the best way to not get other guests in your photos is to stay after hours. This works especially well on Extra Magic Hour nights as many people leave before the park closes.

After Illuminations, people stream out of the World Showcase area and is a favorite time for photographers to enjoy people free time with the pavilions. Such was the case when I set up a tripod in France just fifteen minutes after the fireworks show ended.

France pavilion at night in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
France pavilion at night in Epcot's World Showcase.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 30s, f/14, ISO 200, EV 0, 28mm focal length, tripod.
While attending Extra Magic Hours in the Magic Kingdom, I noticed the Hall of Presidents was still open around midnight. The lobby was empty and the Cast Members did not mind me setting up a tripod to take some photographs. A few guests would come through once in a while. For the most part, the place was empty.
Hall of Presidents foyer in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Hall of Presidents foyer in Liberty Square.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 5600, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length, tripod.

I know for many people, staying late is not an option. I will be back next week with more ideas.

March 17, 2013

Where in the World #272

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, Players, for all the Happy Anniversary wishes! It made me look into the game's history and I found out we'll be celebrating Six Years in July! I'll have to think of something fun to go with it.

Meanwhile, Claire Gregory is going through post-Disney vacation blues. You know what that means... Here's your Disney bear to hug, Claire. From Millan.Net

On the other hand, Janet Thorn is in Disney right now. Have fun, Janet! It sounds like you are!

Nancy Ahlsen! From Millan.Net Hey, girl! How you doin'?

Several players said they didn't know Christopher Robin's bedroom was in the UK pavilion. Neither did I, Players. The reason is: it's fairly new. It opened last May. I was standing with a cast member talking about my Doctor Who t-shirt (yes, I'm that geeky) when my husband noticed it. I had forgotten the announcement and then tripped in my rush to take pictures. The attention to detail is AMAZING! If the silly ol' bear ever meant something to you or if you enjoy how Imagineering gives things wonderful detail, go take a look.

Here's last week's Challenge:
 Where in the World #271

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

It's the Indian Village in Magic Kingdom that you can see either from the Liberty Belle riverboat or the steam trains.

O'meara Family, you never have been on the riverboat? You got to go! You can such a great view of Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain (you can great photos of the trains), Tom Sawyer's Island, and Liberty Square including unique views of the Haunted Mansion. You can even hear how Samuel Clemens came about his pen name Mark Twain. If you click on this link, you can read Jack Spence's wonderful article on the Liberty Belle. Personal note: Beacon Joe's dog used to be named Rufus. As my childhood dog had the same name, I would take pictures of him as a kid and still do to this day. In my mind, he is still Rufus.

Chris Masse was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Mike and all our winners this week! Andrew Carrieri, Daniel Meagher, Sharon Pierce, Rick And Michele Shea, Paul Dickson, Theresa Rucando, Chris Kelly, Susie Howard, The Perras Family, Erin Hammer, The Parker Family, Mary Beth Tarbet, Steve Jordan, Jen Cerce, The O'meara Family, Julie And Kody Riderj, Kerry And Ryan A., Tinkerbell Wells, The Schweizer Family, Shannon Savoia, Mickey Eckert, Kenny, Michael Soskil, Brian Yesutis, Shannon Milair, Janet Thorn, Debbie Desimone, Josh, Cheryl Chambers, Al Desimone, Jessica Iglesias , Rob And April - Team Vanderpool, Ken Clark, Lindsey Nozal, Rob Blundin, Laura, Mike Rotkiske, Lyle Stevens, Cindy Pink, Jennifer Snook, Joyce Shipman, Maureen Hanlon, Maryann Eckenrode, Traci Mills, Johansen Family, Jenny Brennan, Betsy, Claire Gregory, Deb Ragno, Belicia Cullen, Scott Cullen, Steve Morin, Scott Precise, Lynette Michalos, Vicki And William Edwards, Jim Sturniolo, Lee Anastasi, Dawn Miller, Gilly Rosenthol, Kelly Cummings, Kathy Morris, Nancy Ahlsen, Kevin Williams, Misty Mehelic, Stacey Diamond, Sandy Weiss, Jennifer Page, Christin Langtry, Gabriella, Terry And Matthieu, Carla C, Kris Nixon, Liz Moreau, Chris & Maranda Nichols, K Beasley, Carla Nale, Doug Olson Family, Leach Family, Brian Fleming, Mary Thatcher, Susan Tadlock, James Steele, Amy Ferguson, Hulse Family, Katie Bray, Lisa Hallmark, Mackenzie D., Morgan M., Daniel Record, Team Hill, Megan Collins, Pam Vanaustin, Maggie Klotz, Kristi Forbush, Demetrios Makres, Jodi Cook, Louise Barton, Cynthia Hitchcock, Anne Beebe, The Malesky Family, Brian Miller, Chuck Sands, Lori Rienhardt, Kathy Miller, Sandie Albrecht, Blake Schmidt, Christine Dagney, Erin Dagney, John Nottell, Victor Masi, James Dezern, Pollyanna Buff, Bill Mckim, Dale Knight, Craig, Pam, Susan Higginbotham, Bridget Richard, Jen Eacret, Julie Wickwarejulie, Bryan Kruse, Paul Newman, Tracey Mayfield, Jared Orth, Hillary Waldroop, Larry Sprenkle, Jeremy Hardy, Bruce Jones, Kim Howe, Sara Colwell , Karen Ramirez, Evanna Huda, Vera Williams, Evald Olson, Randi Balch, Tricia Petty, Kelsi, John Sheridan, Amanda Campbell, Vanessa Stjohn, Brian Mcwithey, Screen Watson, John Menjes, Christina & Tasha Rotella, Megan Krainski, Larissa Huda, Jackie Purcell, Kathryn Perkins, Mitch Buska, Hobbes And Snorky, Cathy Connors, Robert Hildebrandt , Jennifer Shaw, Andrew Pettit, Alison Rosenberger, Nancy Mclaughlin, Heather Hynes, Shelly Borella, Kerrie Hogan, Paul Ignudo Jr, Gail States, Bonnie Tulenko, Marion Durham, Karrie Duffey, Anastasia Macneil, Deme Grabert, Sara Holloway, Jeremy Reichelt, Maryann Romagnano, Ken Rhinehart, Bob Henriksen, Wendy Snelgrove, Veronica Upwood, Steve Knapp, Karen Smith, Bob Hendrix, Morag Lemon, Ronald Delorey, Stephanie Dollar, Emily Hudson, Pecosace, The Kertes Family, Judy Simonsen, Nathalie Periard, Hoekzema Family, Luis Rodriguez, Darcel Margliotti, Diane Ramos, George Mundy Jr, Jason & Melinda Lenz, Chris Connors, Debbie Connors, C.j. Connors, Anna Keene, Josh Carney, Ron Harper, Elizabeth Edwards, Patrick Broaddus, Mike Haeberle, Elizabeth Johnston, Trina Noggle, Thomas Auckland, Vickie Scioneaux, Jane Johnson, Stephanie, Michael Bailey, Elaine Kleinhenz, John Bickers, Colin Sawyer, Joseph M. Zafia, Team Meeker, Dave Kanigowski, Sandra Kanigowski, Melissa Kirk, Jason Skow, Barclay Bakkum, Monica Owens, Mark Proper, Matt Holley, Wendy T Faler, Mandy Kromer, The Pinder Family, Linda Grau, Deb, Chuck Everson, Pete Aponick, Jackie Klafeta, Danielle Ciotti Harsley, Agnes Ciotti, Peggy Saeger, Leigh Mertz, Penny, Amy Miller, Patti Mccaffrey, Wendy Barney, Melody O'donnell, Rebecca Keenan, Laura Debouchel, Jeremy Mccaffrey, Tracy Discher, and Nancy Cole. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.
_____________________________________________________ _____________________

Challenge #272: Where in the world is this?

OK, we're switching parks. I can take 7 people in my van. Can anyone else drive or are we going by bus?

 Where in the World #272

Do you know? Do you have a guess? Please send in your answer, before the end of the day on Friday, March 21st, 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 25, 2013

Details of the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

When I was working on last week's article about the Liberty Bell in the Magic Kingdom, I got to thinking about the backstage tour I took a few years ago. The Keys to the Magic tour guide pointed out a couple of historic details Disney Imagineers had added to Liberty Square.

The first one is the rifle in the window. The guide said the musket told others the man of the house was home from the war in Revolutionary times. I found another explanation which said men would place thier rifle in the window to indicate they were home and ready to answer the call to arms. Thus the term Minutemen as they could be ready in minutes.

Rifle in a window of a building in Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Rifle in a window of a building in Liberty Square.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 40mm focal length.

Below you see a plaque with four arms clasped at the wrist. The plaque was a fire marker of the Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss of Fire. Benjamin Franklin was one of its founders. These fire markers were required for policy holders to affix them to the front of their houses, much like those home security companies do with decals today.

Four hands fire mark on a building in the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Four hands fire mark on a building in Liberty Square.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, ISO 200, EV 0, 130mm focal length.

Disney is known for its attention to details and the Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom is no exception.

January 18, 2013

LIberty Bell at Night in the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

A replica of the famous Liberty Bell was specially cast from the original mold for Walt Disney World and placed in Liberty Square in 1989. Surrounding the Liberty Bell are the flags of the original thirteen colonies. For more fascinating information, visit Jack Spence's Liberty Square Odds & Ends article

Liberty Bell location in the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Liberty Bell location in Liberty Square.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 8s, f/11, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length, tripod.

During the day, it is hard to get photos of the Liberty Bell unless you get in close and low like Barrie (remember her?) did here: National Treasure: Liberty Bell.

Using a wide angle lens and tripod during Extra Magic Hours at the Magic Kingdom one night, I was able to photograph the Liberty Bell from various angles.

Liberty Bell informational plaque in the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Liberty Bell informational plaque.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 10s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length, tripod.

The wide angle lens allowed me to include the beautiful Hall of Presidents attraction in the background. The small aperture of f/16 created the starlight effects in the lights.

Liberty Bell and the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Liberty Bell and the Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 15s, f/16, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 16mm focal length, tripod.

The Liberty Bell is a rather large and easy to find Liberty Square detail. Do you know of other details found in this Magic Kingdom Land?

November 1, 2012

Halloween Lighting for the Haunted Mansion

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Haunted Mansion lighting during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Haunted Mansion lighting during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
Nikon D700/Tokina 11-16mm, 1/30s, f/11, ISO 500, EV 0, 16mm focal length.

During Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, many areas of the Magic Kingdom get enhanced atmospheric (aka fog) and lighting. The Haunted Mansion is the perfect attraction for this and is my Disney Pic of the Week for the Haunted Mansion.

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.

August 31, 2012

Signs of the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I was looking for signs I had photographed in the Magic Kingdom using a metadata search of my Disney photo library. From the photos displayed in the search I selected these to share with you.

My favorite counter service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom is found in Liberty Square. Columbia Harbour House has a varied menu and the most relaxing dining area in the park. If it is open, try the upstairs dining area for interesting views of Frontierland, Liberty Square and Fantasyland.

Sign in the Columbia Harbour House in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Sign in the Columbia Harbour House Restaurant.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 70mm focal length.

Looking for extra cash to pay for your Walt Disney World vacation? Then keep your eye out for these men on the Wanted Posters hanging in the Frontierland Train Station.

Wanted signs at the Frontierland Train Station in the Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida.
Wanted signs at the Frontierland Train Station.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 6400, EV 0, 300mm focal length.

There are many unique clocks in the Magic Kingdom. None more unique than the clock on the Video Arcade building next to Space Mountain in Tomorrowland.

Video Arcade sign and clock next to Tomorrowland's Space Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida.
Video Arcade sign and clock next to Tomorrowland's Space Mountain.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 200, EV 0, 210mm focal length.

Many a guest who got blisters on their feet or parents with babies needing changing were relieved to find this sign pointing their way to the First Aid and Baby Care Center in the Magic Kingdom. They will take good care of you there.

First Aid and Baby Care sign near the Crystal Palace restaurant in the Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida.
First Aid and Baby Care sign near the Crystal Palace restaurant.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/500s, f/11, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 180mm focal length.

The new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game is headquartered in the Fire House on Main Street USA. I may have to give this game a try on my next trip.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom sign at the entrance to the Fire House on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Orlando, Florida.
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom sign at the entrance to the Fire House on Main Street USA.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 2000, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

I try to document objects such as signs, carts, statues and attractions at Walt Disney World during my visits as you never know when a future refurbishment might remove or replace them. Have you found any unique signs at Walt Disney World?

August 5, 2012

Where in the World #241

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!

Gabriella & Matthieu are waving back from Walt Disney World! Enjoy the rest of your trip! Mary Tackett, I think you arrive when they leave! (I think the eggrolls are great; could just be me. Let me know what you think if you try one.) Wait, the Leach Family leaves August 8th?! Am I the only person not going to Disney World this month? (Just kidding, I know I'm not.) Hello to the Leach Family! If you want a treat suggestion too: the Rice Cream at the Norway Bakery. MMMMMM!

Gary Cruise! Wow, so cool to see you here!

Chris Kelly, I didn't see your submission for last week; it may have come in late after I checked on Friday. I will add you to the winners.

Mary Thatcher and Kelly Feeko, thank you SO much for your wonderful notes! Kelly, I'll be in the World in October too! You will have such a great time, taking your 4 year old son on his first trip!

Here was the July 29th Challenge:
 Where in the World #240

And here's the answer:
Where in the World Photo Fun
Copyright © 2010 Barrie Brewer

Madame Leota, small version and out of her crystal ball, says goodbye to guests in the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom. Thank you to my friend Barrie Brewer, Where in the World creator, for the picture!

Players, she gives me the heebie jeebies and has since I was a kid (when I kept my eyes closed throughout the ride. Right, Annie Snodgrass?) It's the way she does that "Hurry baaaack..." It GETS to me! Jason And Scott Sangston know what I mean! Then they added her to the Halloween party Wishes (or they did years ago); I was freaked out for a half hour! Stephanie gets it too... wait! Stephanie, you were a cast member at the Haunted Mansion? This is so great that you wrote to us! I don't know how you did, a maid for Madame Leota. Shivers

Anyway, you can guess my reaction to about 100 of you quoting that "Hurry baaaack...." Stop it! Gives me Smiley from millan.net. Where's my Pal Mickey?

Erik Noe, you have a tattoo of the Haunted Mansion wallpaper? THAT's a fan! And Alan Mize, nice hussle there, running out and then back to your reply. ;)

Danielle Ciotti Harsley was the first to send in the correct answer! Congratulations to Danielle and to all the readers who got the answer right: Ed Elder, Debbie Desimone, David B, Erin Hammer, Betsy Silvestri, Annie Snodgrass, Emily Jabas, Chris Kelly, Mike O'brien , Amanda Campbell, K. Beasley, Al Desimone, Virginia Pierce, Debbie Desimone, Louise Barton, Sharon Pierce, Chris Masse, Karen Schlumpf, Jen Cerce, John Klein, Kris Nixon, Belicia Cullen, Heather Metzler, Scott Cullen, Kelly Mager, Trina Noggle, Tom Koval, Beth Mcmeekin, Lorine Landon, Suzanne C Denham, The Kahle Family, Christine Dagney, Erin Dagney, Mary Beth Tarbet, Amanda And Karen Kenney, Matt Holley, Mike M., Ashley P., Sarah Knapp, Lindsay Downing, Kathy Jones, Susan Karberg, Maryann Eckenrode, Candice Grimes, Laura V., Steve , Courtney Payne, Pam Lorenz, Kathy Mokychic, Jen Dalton, Gene Chadwick, Wayne Chadourne, Erik Noe, Jennifer Rowell, Sodrosky Family, Joyce Shipman, Erin Loring, Janet Fishman, Dennis Loring, Vicki Harden, Erica Sipich, Tracy Macdaniel, Lisa Kinney, Lucy Greenslade, Sara Colwell, Colette S, Allyson Sodrosky , Larissa Huda, Jay Burkhart, Deb Ragno, Brian Odonnell, Evanna Huda, Marian Sefcik, Megan Krainski, Amber Slifer, Kristi Strembicki, Melissa Thomas, Ken Maikowski, Danielle Moore, Agnes Ciotti, Chris And Alison, Rachel Phillips, Ellen Sullivan, Brie, Tracy, Dana, Vicki William Thomas And Elizabeth Edwards, Kristen , Vera Williams, Maria Smith, Kevin Lusk, Antoinette Leblanc, Lynette Michalos, Pollyanna Buff, Scott Mitchell, Mike Mondoux, Pat Scwier, Ali Yesutis, Ryanne Bigelli, Amanda Deweese, Chris Rowlands, Jack Foley, Jenny Brennan, Nicole R., Angie Young, Cassie Hall, Ed Suscreba, Heather Riley, Erika Loboda, Bill Mckim, Sue Mcdonald, Michelle Cortãcopys , Team Hill, Double Family, Kim Howe, Erika Loboda, Dawn Burns, Mike Haeberle, Hailey Gill, Laura Tarbet, Wesley Lollar, Melissa Mccracken, Dana Cortese, Michelle Boewe, Kellie Harpel, Kenny, Bill Cudney , Chloe Mayhew, Michele Dziczek, Misty Mehelic, Lindsey Nozal, Madi Mertz, Angela, Carrie Mccorkle, Lisa Hayford, Tim Johansen, Katelyn Rapoza, Jill Schwartz, Corinne Gaines, Barbara Ankenbauer, Alan Mize, Robert Bostic, Joseph Zafia, Sarah Francis, Sharon Dale, Jennifer Snook, Tricia Petty, Billie Jean Albolino, Caryn Schill, Jen Tremley, Alicia Stevenson, Kye Layton, Tanya Hinnes, Jim Mcdermott, Mary Tackett, Leach Family, Matthew Brisbin, Alex And Carol Gamill, Chris Kelly, Rebecca Keenan, Laurie Quinn, Margita Stone, The O'meara Family, Jamie K, Eva Mayhew, Maggie Klotz, Teri Carpenter, Tiffany Johnsey, Emily Hudson, Linda Scrivano, Pam Manseau, Christina Trigiani, The Parker Family, Kerri Coggins, Matt And Danielle Murgia, The Malesky Family, Vicki Vaught, Paula Massarelli, Kevin Scott, Pam Vanaustin, Claire Gregory, Michele Sanders, Michelle Wilinski, Linda College, The Moore Family, Susan Higginbotham, Stefanie Vandiver, Magic Kingdom, Christina, Noah Schweizer , Sally Fralix, Sara Holloway, Mary Thatcher, John Kosulandich, Jeremy Hardy, Jennifer A. Mcfarland, Dawn Pilla, Susan Doucette, Pamela O'rourke, Jodi Cook, Kyler Scott, Hobbes And Snorky, Jessica Iglesias, Rob &April Team Vanderpool, Jason Adams, Karen Ramirez, Evald Olson, Regina Allen, Dusty Cheatham, Ann Marie Baldwin, Regina Seaner, Ellie Argaluza, Jerry Weldon, Jenfer Moyer, Mary Beth Ryno, Tom Buck, Mike Malampy, Todd Silvius, Scott Precise, Mackenzie D., Wendy T Faler, Christopher Barnes, Nicole Shuler, Patti Gumiela, Craig, Morgan M., Jennifer Chartier, The Kertes Family, Matt Cofone, Carla C., Tim Hillen, Les Stewart, Amanda Perkins, Jennifer Harmon, Cindy Pink, Jason And Melinda Lenz, Emma Ramsey, Nathalie Periard, Katie Bray, Clay Anthony, Lisa Zitek, Deme Grabert, Madison Hovan, Elyssa H., Joanna M, Steve Bieniek, Jennifer Rupert, Karen Hotchkiss, Trisha Johnson, Nicole Benoit, Kelly Feeko, Josh Weiss, Lynn Lofton, Kathryn Perkins, Walkter N. Clark, Megan, Melanie Dunlap, Maureen Handy, Elizabeth Tembras-gardner, Ruth Senscal, Charis Barron, Tony Karasinski, Patti Mccaffrey, Rob Blundin, Mickey Eckert, Dave Fullerton, Felicia Vollmer, Mario Grasso Iii, Doug Olson Family, Kelsi, Liana Imbrogno, Stu Powley, Will Gates, Tinkerbell Wells, April Haddock, Melesia Love, Cathy Connors, Andrea Kruszewski, Kelly Smith, Gary Cruise, Carolyn Como, Kerrie Hogan, Sandra Edwards, Bonnie Tulenko, Dan Johnston, Caroline Burmester, The Patterson Family, Chris Bauman, Andrew Pettit, Paul Ignudo, Jr., Mike Pennington, Heather Hynes, Thomas Farquharson, Zanauskas Family, Jeremy Reichelt, Cameron Lange, Jim Finley, Jaclyn Kelch, Kate Fischer, Jullie Pudem, Meredith Rule, Karrie Duffey, Nick Bentz, Anastasia Macneil, Shannon Brueggemann, Vanessa Stjohn, Dave Wang, Cathy Mager, Scott Sangston, Carri Marotto, Sharon Lee, William Sharp, Jennifer Mercier, Stephanie Linares, Ken Rhinehart, Carolyn Conway, Sandra Waller, Mark Mackisoc, Patrick Broaddus, Chuck Everson, Alan Lichtman, Kristen Carde, Marilyn Chan, Derek Carty, Carrie Rampy, Barbara, Olivia D., Christine D, Chrissy D, Karen Smith, Stephanie Dollar, Michelle Milenac Mackey, Carol Bolger, Paige, Marybeth Ruta, Christina Pilla, Jimmy Heffner, Natalie Hackney, Pecosace, Matt Ciccone, Sandie Albrecht, Pam Tees, Sarah White, Mike Haven, The Emich Family, Sandy Cleveland, Lori Rienhardt, Mckenna Creese, Hillary Waldroop, Teresa Plunkett, Katerina, Jeff &Cheryl Simmons, Heidi Goodhue, Stephanie Davis, Laura Lyles, Dale Knight, Ashley Hill, David Collins, Chris Bourassa, George Mundy Jr, Al Ganter, Vanessa Gordon, Michelle Roth-smoot, Mark Proper, Josh Carney, Christopher Hall, Jolynn Digiallonardo, Wendy Mowery, Gloria Martin, John Foggo, John Pasqueralli, Olszak Family, Ashley Elizabeth, Joy Ousterout, Duskin Henard, Diane Ramos, Stefan Owens, David Ballard, Patti Deluca, Heather Pedulla, Michelle Mirich, Rebecca Baker, Jon And Jeanne, Cary Burke, Cary Burke, Liz Moreau, Stacy Lee, Alison Rosenberger, Gabriella And Matthieu, Linda Ranatza, Elaine Kleinhenz, Anne Verville, Linda Bray, Felice, Michelle O'connor, Linda Grau, Barclay Bakkum, Eileen Miller, Laura Wyatt, Trish Babler, Paul Amico, Sean Farrell, Shirley Garcowski, Tammy Kallenbach, Allison Dibiase, Elisha Hendricks, Wendy Snelgrove, Clinton Dickinson, Jo Ann Bailey, Margie Larmon, Debbie Cody, Hayley Valk, Joseph Grau, Kenny Hatcher, Diane Curfman, Sharon Leitgeb, Sharon Leitgeb, Amanda Kenney, Robert P. Flaherty, Jane Johnson, Melissa Dye, Therese Scheuring, Tia Biles, Timmy Saunders, Karen Duchnowski, Tom Sinsel, Karen Bellamy, Brian Gallant, Jenn Steele, Melissa Kirk, Theresa Rucando, Stacy Guarracino, Molly, Kate Owens, Sue Bolhouse, Taylor Pocopanni, Cathie Hood, Jorge R. Caso, Kathryn Willer, Alissa, and John Paul. Each of you are entered in this month's winners' drawing.

Guess what? It's time for the monthly drawing! And the winner for July, 2012 is Clinton Dickinson! Congratulations, Clinton! You will get a prize of AllEars swag from Deb Wills herself!

_____________________________________________________ _____________________
Challenge #241: Where in the world is this?

Staying in the parks, Players!

 Where in the World #241

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

October 28, 2011

Haunted Mansion Interactive Queue

A Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is not complete until you visit the Haunted Mansion. For the party, the Haunted Mansion gets spooky lighting and atmospheric effects (ie., fog) and a ghost greets guests on the lawn as they make their way to the mansion's library entrance.

Ghost in front of the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Ghost in front of the Haunted Mansion during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 5600, EV +0.6.

Since my last visit, a new interactive graveyard queue has been added. You can play musical instruments and an organ which has a surprise or two if you play it.

Graveyard queue at the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Organ in the graveyard queue at the Haunted Mansion.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 6400, EV 0.

Even Master Gracey has a more prominent location so guests may pay their respects.

Master Gracey's tomb at the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Master Gracey's tomb in the graveyard queue at the Haunted Mansion.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/1.8, ISO 6400, EV 0.

I heard there is a mystery to be solved as you follow the clues through the graveyard. Puzzles to be deciphered. Anyone know of this? What role does Uncle Jacob play with all the cash I am trying to borrow? Did he not know he could not take it with him?

Scottwdw visiting the Haunted Mansion queue in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Scottwdw visiting Uncle Jacob in the Haunted Mansion graveyard.

The Haunted Mansion interactive queue is a lot of fun to explore whether you are trying to solve the mystery, photographing all the new and old elements up close or playing along as you walk through.


October 14, 2011

Spending Halloween at the Magic Kingdom

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I have been waiting a whole year to share more of my photos from my October trip last year. By the time I got back, Halloween was over though I did show you the HalloWishes fireworks show and how to photograph it. Next Friday, I will again be going to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Along with HalloWishes, I will be watching the "Boo-To-You" parade.

Before the parade last year, I enjoyed the dead-pan funny jokes and songs of the Cadaver Dans. You might recognize them.

The Cadaver Dans singing before the
The Cadaver Dans entertaining guests at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/60s, f/4, ISO 1600, EV +0.7, rear-sync flash.

During the party, the Haunted Mansion gets additional and spookier lighting, sound and atmospheric effects. Haunted Mansion cast members are even more in character on these special nights with additional makeup. There are entertaining ghosts outside in the mansion's courtyard who are curious about the living souls walking past the graveyard. I think I will stop and see if a ghost can be photographed.

The Haunted Mansion during a Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The extra spooky Haunted Mansion during a Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/4.8, ISO 2200, EV 0, 65mm focal length.

For those who wish, you can follow my adventures from Walt Disney World next week on my Twitter account, @Scottwdw.

January 15, 2010

Color Theory and Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Complementary colors are pairs of colors that are of "opposite" hue in some color model. The most popular color model is the artist color wheel where complementary colors are seen opposite of each other. Analogous colors are found next to each other on the same color model. Disney uses this knowledge when designing its themeparks and movies to create pleasing eye-catching color schemes.

Tiana's Showboat Jubilee which, just finished entertaining guests at the Magic Kingdom, is an excellent example of complementary colors. Below are decorations for Tiana's Showboat Jubilee that waere placed on the riverboat Liberty Belle where the jubilee took place.

Complementary and analogous colors used to decorate the Liberty Belle in the Magic Kingdom for Tiana's Showboat Jubille, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Complementary and analogous colors used to decorate the Liberty Belle for Tiana's Showboat Jubille.

On the color wheel, purple and yellow are found opposite of each other making them complementary. While yellow and green are next to each on the color wheel or analogous. The three together form a color triad. Disney designers and animators study color theory to come up with visually exciting productions based on such tools. They also make for pleasing photographs.

Tiana's Showboat Jubille on the Liberty Belle rounding the corner on the Rivers of America in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Tiana's Showboat Jubille on the Liberty Belle rounding the corner on the Rivers of America.

Here is the Liberty Belle with the full complement of entertainers in Tiana's Showboat Jubille from the Disney animated movie, The Princess and the Frog. You will notice the colors purple, yellow and green are used in most of the costumes like the lovely Southern Belle seen below.

One of the lovely Southern Belles of Tiana's Showboat Jubille on the Liberty Belle in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
One of the lovely Southern Belles of Tiana's Showboat Jubille.

Finding complementary colors will make your photos pop and add to your travel photos at Walt Disney World.

May 29, 2009

Light and Shadow

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Photography is all about capturing the light. Shadows in a photo help to create depth. Together, light and shadow can create a three dimensional look. In the photo below, the light entering from the upper left is an example of sidelighting. The shadows frame and mold Leota's face especially her eyes. Did you notice those eyes? Read the caption below to learn about some Disney Imagineering fun.

Madame Leota's tombstone just befoe entering the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/60s, f/9, ISO 200, EV +0.3, 200mm focal length

Tombstone which honors the late Walt Disney Imagineer Leota Thomas as seen in the Haunted Mansion's graveyard in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Every few minutes, Loeta's eyes open and look around as shown in this photograph.

October 31, 2008

Sunny 16 Rule

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

Over the years, some general rules of thumb have been applied to photography. We've talked about the Rule of Thirds in the past. The Sunny 16 Rule gives you the best results when used on a bright sunny day. I know that's silly of me to state it but I wanted to be absolutely clear on the sunny part. Luckily for us, Orlando averages 233 sunny days per year (SOURCE).

Here is the rule: Set aperture to f/16 and shutter speed (in reciprocal seconds) to the ISO setting.

You will need to switch to manual mode to use this rule correctly. Something this rule fails to mention is the sun position. The sun should be behind you and frontlight your subject. The photograph I took below of the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom on a bright, sunny day uses the Sunny 16 Rule. I put my Nikon D70 in manual mode, checked the ISO setting which was at 200 and set my aperture to f/16 and shutter speed to 1/200th of a second (1/ISO).

The Haunted Mansion in bright sun in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Haunted Mansion in bright sun.
Nikon D70/80-200D, 1/200s, f/16, 200 ISO, 155mm Focal length

Sometimes, the 1/ISO comes out with a funny shutter speed. In that case, use the closest one to it. Digital SLRs and advanced Point and Shoot cameras have more shutter speeds than the old film cameras the Sunny 16 Rule was first used with. Making it much easier to match up the 1/ISO with a shutter speed.

October 3, 2008

Finding Your Star Photos

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

After having figured out a photographic naming system, organized digital photographs on our computer systems, learned about metadata and some powerful software to manage our growing library of photos, it's now time to learn how to edit them. I'm not talking about editing like in Photoshop, I'm talking about selecting the best photos from a typical day of creating photos at a place like Walt Disney World or anytime you come back to your computer with a new batch of photographs.

This process is referred to as rating. Since rating your photos is a very personal thing, I am going to tell you how I approach it to give you some ideas on how you might. I have chosen to use the Star Rating system which many software products support. Simply put, photos are rated from Zero Stars to Five Stars. How you use those Stars is up to you.

When I get a batch of photos from the Magic Kingdom, as an example, onto my computer and start reviewing them, I only use One Star for photos I want to keep for further review. Any photos I don't give a Star to will be deleted. These Zero Star photos are easy to spot. They are technically bad (focus off, exposure too dark or too light, blurry from too slow a shutter speed, etc.), compositionally bad (no subject, subject too small or too big, unflattering people expressions, background too busy, etc.) or for some reason the photo just doesn't look good to me. Again, it's very subjective and personal. For family and vacation photos I am not as picky as I would be for a wedding or portrait work. The picture of my kids with Stitch might be a bit overexposed but it's the only one I got so I'll choose to keep it.

After discarding the Zero Star photos, I'll go back and see what's left. I'll be more keen on rating photos above One Star this time. A photo gets Two Stars if it's technically solid with focus on the subject and excellent exposure. Sometimes I will drop the Star if what I thought I saw the first time doesn't hold up. Three Stars is given to photos I feel are the best of the lot. These photos are technically solid (if not nearly perfect) and have a great subject. Most of the photos I publish here are Three Stars or better. Currently, I don't use Four Stars but maybe you do or will. Five Stars is for my computer wallpapers. They are all landscape in orientation and outstanding (in my opinion) photographs for my computer's desktop.

Below is an example of one of my Five Star photographs of the Liberty Belle Riverboat leaving dock with waving guests aboard and the Haunted Mansion in the background. The photo is nicely composed, very colorful, tack sharp focus and well exposed.

The Liberty Bell Riverboat sets off on it's trip down the Rivers of America in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
The Liberty Bell Riverboat sets off on it's trip down the Rivers of America.
Nikon D70/18-70G, 1/250s, f/11, 200 ISO, EV +0.3, 31mm Focal length

Star Ratings is just one way to rate your photographs. Others use colors and numbers. I first used a rating system using numbers from 1 to 10 but found that too much to keep track of in my head as to what was a 4 versus an 6 or 7. I found this useful link of a professional photographer and how he uses the Star Rating system.

What system do you use to rate your photographs? I would like to know and do a follow up article on what others have found works for them.

September 19, 2008

Meta What?

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

The last couple of entries we've gone over naming all the digital photos we take and organizing them on our computer systems. This is all done in preparation of creating a database or library of our images. Anytime you have a collection of data on a computer, as our image files are, they are refereed to as a database or library. If you are familiar with iTunes, you have an idea of what a library of music looks like. Photo files are the same as any other media files like music or videos.

To be able to organize and search my library beyond the dates I took them as that is part of the name I use for each photo, I add information to them called metadata. When a picture is taken with a digital camera, the camera adds or embeds information beyond the image you see. That information is the Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format) data which includes the technical data like date, time, camera make and model, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, EV, white balance used, and lots of other things. Very important but what it doesn't have is a description of the photo, why it was taken, who or what is in the photo, where was it taken, and who took it to name a few questions that come to mind when I see a photograph.

This is where metadata comes in and over the years a standard has been developed by the International Press Telecommunications Council, or IPTC for short, called the Information Interchange Model (IIM) which has allowed software publishers to write programs where you and I can add information to our photos and it will be able to be read by the software we use today and in the future. This information can also be used by online photo sites like flickr so when you upload your images, metadata information will go with them.

So, what kind of information do you put in metadata? The entire IPTC standard has way more fields then you or I will ever use. The most important ones for me are captions, keywords, and copyright. When I load my photos onto my computer, I have the software I use do several things. It renames the files the way I want them, puts them in the monthly folder and adds the metadata I enter into the caption, keyword and copyright fields. The captions I use when loading are very simple. I give the basic Who or What, Where, and When of the day's photos. I can later add and or edit the captions to give more or less information. The copyright is very important as this stamps the photo as created by me, the photographer.

Keywords are used by photo software programs to find photos quickly. Google uses keywords people embed in their web pages for fast searching and it works the same way with our photos. Here's an example, every photo I take at Epcot in Walt Disney World has the keywords: Walt Disney World and Epcot. This makes it easy for me to find all my photos taken at Epcot. The more keywords used, the easier it is to find a particular set of photos or even an individual photo in a library of thousands of images.

Here is an example of one of my photographs taken at Walt Disney World. Below I will list the metadata I have added to it to give you an idea of how useful it is.

A replica of the Liberty Bell illuminated after dark in Liberty Square across from the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Liberty Bell replica across from the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom.
Nikon D70/18-70G, 1/13s, f/4.5, 1600 ISO, EV +0.3, 50mm Focal length

Caption: A replica of the Liberty Bell illuminated after dark in Liberty Square across from the Hall of Presidents in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Keywords: america, bell, florida, hall of presidents, liberty, liberty bell, magic kingdom, night, orlando, walt disney world

Copyright: © Scott Thomas Photography

To find this photo in my library of photographs, all I'd need to do is search on any of the keywords listed. The more specific the search, the faster I'll find it.

Today, libraries, museums and public institutions all over the world are in the process of digitizing their important archives of papers, letters, books and photographs in their collections. Metadata will be how we find and access all these newly digitized documents as they are made available online for all of us to use.

October 5, 2007

Photographic Innoventions: Create a Disney Christmas Card

Click for Larger Image. Copyright © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Chistmas Mickey & Minnie. © Scott Thomas Photography 2007
Nikon D70/80-200D, 1/25s, f/4.5, 400 ISO, +0.3 EV, 80mm Focal Length

There are many ways to use our photos. Enlarge and frame them for our homes or give photographic gift items like magnets, t-shirts or buttons. With the advent of digital photography and the Internet, you can create online digital albums and slideshows complete with music. Many people think ahead and take unique family photographs and create holiday cards to send to family and friends.

This year, I wanted to use one of my photos taken last year during Mousefest in Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square. The figurine of Mickey holding misletoe over Minnie as she is closing in to give him a kiss was a delightful one I couldn't resist. I used available light in the shoppe and got close with the 80-200 zoom lens on my camera. Your feet is your best zoom lens. This allowed me to use the widest aperture and shortest focal length of the lens to get the most light onto the camera's sensor and blurring the busy background of people passing by the shop window.

Many photo software packages today have ways to create and order prints, cards, postcards and other items. I used Apple's iPhoto to place the photo on the front of the Christmas card. I liked this layout with the angled image, old English font for the text and simple blue border. Inside is a place for more text and pictures. From there it was a simple click to order the quantity I wanted.

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About Liberty Square

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

Frontierland is the previous category.

Main Street USA is the next category.

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