For those of you who don’t know I shoot a Nikon Z7. The Nikon Z7 recently received a new 3.0 firmware update that touts much improved auto focus, including low light auto focus. Peter Pan’s flight felt like a great ride to put the firmware to the test. I rode pan a total of 4 times during the Magic Kingdom After-Hours event we attended and each time with the Nikon 28 1.4, AF-C and dynamic area AF the autofocus was fast and accurate. In fact, the only shots that weren’t perfect were due to motion blur from me not being steady enough and just poor framing. The takeaway is that the new Nikon firmware almost made shooting this ride too easy! It performed exceptionally well on all other dark rides as well. When it comes to using the Z7 on dark rides I’d say that we’re really on Easy Street these days. It just can’t get any better! 😉
At this year’s Flower & Garden Festival Kermit is doing his best to practice social distancing from Miss Piggy. He chooses to wave from a distance with a quick means of escape.
You are taking photos in the parks and the sky opens to an absolute monsoon. Do you A. Run for cover from the rain or B. Get yourself and your gear absolutely soaked taking photos in the pouring rain while cast members look at you like you’re mad. You all know which option I chose… Enjoy.
I tried two new things with my photography this trip. The first which I want to talk about today is the use of a nighttime light pollution filter. Theoretically this filter reduces the light haze in the sky caused from light pollution. I watched several videos and looked at many example photos all of which were by astrophotographers using them to shoot already dark skies. In all the examples the filter did a good job of reducing light pollution, increasing contrast and improving what I’ll call smoothness in the sky. I was curious how this would work out in a very light polluted area such as Walt Disney World and I’m happy to report I found the results to exceed my expectations. My night skies are much nicer straight out of camera with limited hazing and light blooming in the sky. The contrast and especially the night sky color is very nice straight out of camera with much less work required to get the result I’m going for. It did not have a detrimental effect on the foreground where I also noticed increased contrast and less light blooming.
You can purchase the filter I used by clicking here. Make sure to choose the appropriate size for your lens.
There are two great things about a full moon for Disney night photography. The first, most obvious one is that you can put the moon in your shot, and can help elevate a shot. The second is that all your night shots are nice and bright. The difference in brightness between a full moon night and new moon night is quite astounding. Anyway, here’s a shot with the moon, some pandas and the Temple of Heaven. Enjoy.
Hey, look at me getting to ride and photograph something while it’s still new and fresh. Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway is neat with some cool tech but I’m still sad about losing the Great Movie Ride. Maybe this ride would have been better suited for the Animation Courtyard and the Great Movie Ride given an update.
From a photography standpoint it’s not too difficult to shoot though I did notice some artifacts here and there that I think is likely due to the refresh rate of the screens. It would be helpful to know what the refresh rate of the various screens and character face screens are as this would help with selecting a more appropriate shutter speed to help eliminate some of the artifacts I noticed. Ultimately though, not a huge deal as I shoot dark rides at high frame rates anyways so where 1 shot had an artifact the very next one wouldn’t. In the case of this shot the frame directly before and after this did not have as prevalent screen artifacts but they also didn’t have the hidden mickey fireworks so I simply used two shots, aligned and blended together so I could reduce the screen artifacts I noticed AND get the hidden mickey fireworks. Honestly, it’s a bit of extra work for something most people will never notice anyways, especially at web sizes. As the saying goes though, if you’re going to do something, you may as well do it right.
There’s no doubt I’m late to the party with Galaxy’s Edge photos. I originally intended to go when the land opened, but after they announced the phased opening I decided to wait until the entire land was complete. At this point no one is here to listen to my review of the land but I’ll say simply there’s a lot to like as a Star Wars fan but I can’t help but wonder what could have been if the entire original plan had been executed. Of course, the first visit to any new Disney built land is exciting. It’s as if you have an entirely new photo playground to explore. One you grew up only dreaming about in a galaxy far far away is twice as exciting brought to reality.
It seems we made it back to Walt Disney World after a year and a half absence just in the nick of time as all parks are now closed as of today. On the bright side of being stuck inside for the foreseeable future I have a ton of photos to work on and process. I’m a sucker for a nice sunset so let’s start off with this one at Splash Mountain.
I know I haven’t posted much lately but I am clearing out a few things I’ve been sitting on to make way for something new. Standby…
Here’s another shot from this year’s Autumn trip to the Smoky Mountains. Believe it or not this was taken on a pull off just on the side of Highway 441. It’s still my favorite stretch of road I’ve driven in the states and never disappoints. It was very rainy and foggy all morning which is perfect for photographing these woodsy scenes.