Though I only intended to have one bird in my photo I ended up with a whole bunch and thus the title choice. This is one of the rare day time photos I feel is decent enough to post. It was taken shortly before golden hour, so the light had started to soften. The sky has interest with the clouds and the reflection is relatively still. I did some minor cleanup along with some color balance. light saturation adjustments and a few curves adjustments to finish off the image. Enjoy!
Peter Pan’s Flight is a very challenging dark ride to shoot. It’s even more difficult if you try to shoot a version of it you haven’t ridden before on your first ride through. That’s my experience from riding the Disneyland version. Though the ride has similarities to its Walt Disney World counterpart that I’ve ridden many times it is quite different. I found the lighting of the Disneyland version to be superior to the Walt Disney World version and this translated into better photos. This scene for instance turned out much better than my Walt Disney World version. The characters seem to be lit more evenly and I prefer the look of the character models too.
It feels like I’ve taken at least a dozen sunset shots from this location over the years. It’s one of the most photogenic spots and each sunset offers something different, allowing each new shot to be unique. In addition, this was my first time shooting this location with my Nikon 28 1.4 prime lens. I found this lens to be a great walk around lens and worked perfectly here. It was wide enough to fit Cinderella Castle in the scene but so close to 35mm that the distortion is very limited. In this case you get a nice, straight and tall rendition of the castle.
On my most recent trip I found myself drawn to using the Leave a Legacy monoliths as a reflecting point in my photos. I shot several sunset photos using them and when leaving that night was drawn to using them for some more photos. The tops are nice and wide, so I simply place the camera up there and used a small lip vaseline from my pocket to elevate the front of the lens slightly to get the angle I wanted. The reflection here is alright but I think I’m going to do this one more time as I am sure I can get more of the purples and yellows reflected with a slight angle adjustment.
Editing on this shot was incredibly simple. I did some basic camera raw slider adjustments followed by a targeted levels adjustment using luminosity masks of the shadow areas. I used Color Efex 4 Pro Contrast and made a slight bump to the saturation. I did a quick round (5 minutes) of dodging and burning and finished it off by brightening up the stars a bit.
I’m taking a day off from Disney today to share another shot from my road-trip journey to Disneyland last September. We stopped of in Saguaro National Park for about an hour since our drive took us right through the middle of the park. Since we only had a short time to check it out we picked a driving trail and found a couple cool spots to pull off and take some shots that included the Milky Way. I was impressed by the size of the cactus. Having only seen them in pictures I didn’t fully realize just how large some of them get. Enjoy!
To keep myself motivated for editing lately I’ve been jumping back and forth between Walt Disney World and Disneyland. I find in the past my motivation to edit has gone away when I continually work on the same type of stuff all the time. I have literally 100s of shots I still need to edit, so at least for now this is keeping me working through them.
This shot is of course Radiator Springs from Cars Land at Disney California Adventure. It’s a fairly common shot but since it was my first and thus far only visit I wanted to make sure to get some of the ‘staple’ shots. Enjoy
I’m continuing today with another Animal Kingdom shot. This is my first shot of Expedition Everest with the new seating area. It’s still a little odd to me to visit Animal Kingdom after dark. It was such a rare treat I only managed to shoot it after dark once in 6 years. Perhaps that’s what I should blame my serious lack of Animal Kingdom shots on. Regardless, now that it’s always open after dark I look forward to padding out my Animal Kingdom shots. This last trip I honestly focused most of my after-hours time in Pandora, so I still don’t have lots of night shots throughout the park. At least though it gives me something to look forward to for next time.
This shot is surprisingly only my SECOND shot I’m sharing from Pandora. I’ve looked over these shots so many times now trying to decide how to proceed it feels like more. This shot is a spot that has already become quite popular with photographers looking into the queue of Flight of Passage. I think it’s easy to see why as there are just tons of cool details everywhere… honestly that can be said of the entire Avatarland, but this is one of these ‘easy’ shots to actually frame and take. With that in mind I wanted to approach the edit seriously and make sure that my version of it stood out and wasn’t just another ‘me too’ shot.
One thing I noticed right away with all of my Pandora shots, and especially one like this, is that they are just BEGGING to be dodged and burned. There are so many little nooks and crannies and highlights and shadows. This final version has about an hour and a half of manual dodge and burn work alone. Quite intensive, but well worth it for what I think, amazing sky potential aside, the best possible version I could possibly do of this shot with my current skill set. The image is composed of 2 exposures, 1 for the sky, and 1 for everything else. The final edit is composed of 31 various adjustment layers and nearly 3 hours of editing. I hope you will enjoy viewing it as much as I enjoyed creating it!
Going through the photos I’ve posted over the years it’s clear to me that Animal Kingdom needs more love and attention from my photography. I don’t have a ton of shots compared to the other 3 parks and the ones I do have posted are for the most part, years old. In fact, this is my first night shot of the Tree of Life since 2014! My only other shot of it in that time span is a single blue-sky version. In total, I’ve posted 42 Animal Kingdom shots in nearly 7 years shooting at Walt Disney World. Comparatively, I’ve posted 452 of the Magic Kingdom, 242 of Epcot, and 115 of Hollywood Studios. Interestingly too I’ve already posted 24 Disneyland photos and that’s from a single 4-day trip! Perhaps I’ll work through a bunch of my Pandora shots to help pad the numbers until I can rectify this huge oversight.
One final note about this photo. This trip was a huge reminder of the importance of having a backup camera body if possible. My D810 was acting up the entire trip, refusing to work off and on. This night it completely shut down on me and had I not had my D800 with me as well I would have gotten almost 0 photos this night, including this one which was taken with the Nikon D800. Upon my return home it was sent in for service and required nearly $300 in repair costs!
Perhaps you’ve noticed my image posting has been rather sporadic. I’m going to try start regularly editing a couple photos each week again. I have literally 100s of unprocessed photos both from Disneyland and Disney World I want to share with all of you if I can just find the time to get them edited. Anyway, here’s one from my Disneyland trip in September from the backside of Sleeping Beauty Castle. I closed out the parks all 4 nights of my stay… always worthwhile to get photos like this one. Enjoy!