This shot really requires a lot of patience. Shooting directly at the exit and wanting a people free image means you are going to have to wait a while. Still, it is a rarer shot so I think it is worth it. I got the bonus here of the plane trails coming out of Mickey’s hand. Normally I would remove such stuff but the placement was too good to remove. Once again I used the Nikon 35 1.4 to get a tighter more natural view.
I am taking a big detour for today’s shot away from Walt Disney World and into the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I have a deep love for this time of year when all the leaves start changing colors. Somehow, though I have never been able to visit the Smokies during peak fall color, that is, until this year. It really took my love for autumn to an entirely different level with all the beauty on display along the Blue Ridge Parkway and in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park itself. I will be sharing a few of my favorites from the trip in the coming days and weeks intermixed with continuing Disney content. I took this shot from the Waterrock Knob overlook, which is along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. The sun had just set below the horizon and I wanted to take a stab at my first car trails shot. The autumn colors are on full display in the mountains and the orange color the sky took on really complimented the beautiful fall colors.
This is another shot I have done previously but always with my Nikon 14-24 2.8 at F2.8. Since I had the Nikon 35 1.4 for this trip I had to give it another go for two reasons. First of course is that bokeh at 1.4 and second the 35mm field of view that brings Spaceship Earth a little closer and makes it appear larger in the frame. I used my Grizzly Camera Medium Bean-Bag to get the camera slightly off the ground and get just the right angle so that I could get the entirety of Spaceship Earth in frame. I shot a couple frames at F1.4 to get the bokeh and then shot another series at F8 focusing on the background. I blended these two shots together so in the foreground, I have the cool looking bokeh of the fiber optic lights at F1.4 and the background is tack sharp from the shot at F8. I don’t know about you but now I think I want some lemonade.
Usually I shoot a shot at a regular height or I will try to get low for it. This actually seems to be the trend in general for Disney Photography. Something I never see though is someone trying to go much higher with a shot. So I decided I would try it for this shot. I put my tripod on the planter ledge around partners and fully extended the legs and center column. I put the legs close together to get a little extra height. At 6’4 I was just able to press the live view button so I could frame up the shot. I had to set all the settings in advance and then triggered it with my remote. It would have been even more awesome with 2-3 more feet of height but I really like the vantage point I got from going high with this shot.
While everyone was complaining about the rain during the afternoon, I was very excited at the possibility of nighttime puddle photography. Unfortunately, many of the nicer puddles dried up but there were still some for me to dive in to once the park closed. On past trips, I have just put my camera directly on the ground and even directly into puddles when necessary. I decided it might be a good idea instead to get a good beanbag to use to support my camera slightly off the ground. This was a good decision not only to get my camera out of puddles but it gave me a bit more flexibility with composition. For those interested I opted for the Grizzly Camera Medium Bean-Bag. I started out trying this shot with the Nikon 35 1.4 but the framing was too tight and was not working well with the puddle. I quickly switched to the tried and true Nikon 14-24 2.8, which really helped getting a frame to showcase the puddle.
Today’s shot is another one with the Nikon 35 1.4. Again, it gives me a tighter view that I think offers a nice look down Sunset Boulevard. You will notice a few stragglers at the end of the boulevard. Interestingly this was after the park had closed but before Fantasmic had let out. I was able to get some shooting done here soon after park close, which has not been the case in the past for me. I am not sure if this is a regular occurrence now with scheduling or if I just lucked out. I will take it either way.
I did a couple things different with this shot of Prince Eric’s castle. First off, I have done many shots over the fence and I thought it might be interesting to shoot with the fence and give more context to the shot. Really, it was just a good way to do something slightly different for this shot. I shot it with the Nikon 35 1.4 which gives me a much tighter view. I shot this lens a lot this trip so I hope you all like the tighter shots because I have a bunch. Finally, the sky was looking quite purple straight out of camera so I decided to go with it in the edit. The final result gives me a rather unique shot of Prince Eric’s to add to my list.
I find it interesting that, at least every time I’ve visited, this area has been empty enough even an hour prior to park closing to get some empty park shots. I tried to mix this shot up a bit by going with the Nikon 35 to get a tighter more intimate shot compared to my past endeavors with the Nikon 14-24. I bracketed this shot but again used a single shot for the majority of the blend. I only used underexposures to tame the highlights on the signs and fountain water. I also, per usual, color corrected Beast’s Castle. It kills me that it is just all blue from the lighting they use. Dumb.
I have done this shot before but always at night and in a vertical orientation. I had been thinking it would be cool at blue hour so I made sure to make a stop here when the time came. I went with a horizontal framing this time, which I think I prefer now that I am seeing the results. I shot this with my Nikon 70-200 2.8 @ F3.5. I blended two shots together for this one though the second shot was only for the highlights on the tower sign and lights on the right hand side. The blue of the twilight hour really helps to compliment the purples and greens in the scene.
I am quite sure this is a new color scheme this fall season. I do not recall seeing it any other year and I am sure this is the first year I have seen anyone else post photos of it. Regardless I really like the two tone color scheme from this angle as the single colors tend to be a bit boring. Furthermore, while this is my favorite spot to shoot the castle at sunset at night all the greenery gets lost in the dark and looks drab and boring. For that reason, I opted to go for a vertical composition here to keep the shrubs to a minimum. I also opted for the Nikon 35 1.4 for a tighter composition as opposed to my often used and much wider Nikon 14-24. This gave me a result I am much happier with than my previous horizontal, extremely wide shots from this area.