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Compass of the Dreamers

by Matthew Cooper
Compass of the Dreamers

No trip to Walt Disney World is complete without Cinderella Castle photos. Unfortunately with construction on the ramps and bridges as well as the Castle Couture this made photographing the Castle in a way that was still appealing a bit of a challenge. Through most of the Cinderella Castle pics I post from this trip there’s no doubt you’ll still be able to see bits of the construction here and there but I’ve shot these photos in such a way that I believe it minimizes and in some case completely hides the fact there was construction underway.

Take this shot as an example. I’ve done this shot before as a wide landscape shot but doing that this time would have really shown off the construction of the ramps and distracted from the compass on the ground as well as Cinderella Castle. Using a vertical composition instead I was able to hide almost all of the construction with only a little bit of the construction walls showing. The way they look in fact you may not even notice they are construction walls if I had not mentioned it. In addition, shooting low to the ground made sure the focus is on the compass up to the castle and that you could not see any of the construction mess behind the relatively low walls they had up around the ramps. Shooting at full height would have no doubt shown off these issues.

Finally as I often do with a shot like this I used focus stacking in addition to bracketing. For those unfamiliar this involves taking a series of shots with different focus points at varying distances from the camera. In this case I took one series of shots with the focus point towards the front of the tip of the compass and then another series focused around mid way up Cinderella castle both at F8.

Why not just shoot at an aperture with a larger depth of field such as F16 or even F22 you may ask? Well typically the sharpest results your lens will produce (and I have confirmed for my lenses) is around F8. Furthermore as you continue to stop down to F16 and beyond you begin to introduce diffraction which actually decreases the sharpness of the resulting image! Therefore in instances where I can take the time the ideal way to create a shot that is tack sharp from front to back is to take the multiple shots with different focus points and then stack and blend them in post. It does take a bit of extra time both in shooting and processing but the end result is well worth it, especially when viewing at higher resolutions. Enjoy.

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