I took this shot just as the sun was starting to set behind me at Be Our Guest. I really like the way the light is starting to take on a warmer color as it hits the castle here but I still have a nice deep blue sky with some interesting clouds. Shooting and editing for this shot are very simple. It is a single exposure and I did some minor color balancing and contrast adjustments. I boosted the vibrance and sharpened to finish off.
Today’s shot is another favorite spot of mine, especially during sunset. I always seem to get some awesome glow as the sun sets behind Splash Mountain. I did do a few things slightly different for this shot. First, I put my tripod on top of a trashcan to get some extra height and clear the fence with ease. Secondly, because I chose this location I framed it with the light post in the upper right corner. In the past, I have shot a bit to the left and raised my tripod as high as it would go which is fine but I missed the cool detail of the light post. It is a small thing but I thought it helped mix it up. Finally, I took a shot with the ND filter on. This allowed me to mask in the little waterfall and get the cotton candy look to the water.
Another day, another Cinderella Castle photo. I have done so many of the castle now it has become incredibly difficult to make anything that stands out. I really have to spend the extra time with each photo to make sure I am doing everything I can with it so it does not get lost in the sea of other castle shots. This is a very standard view of Cinderella Castle but one I’m very happy with. I spent a decent amount of time with this to make sure everything was just right. I spent an extra amount of time dodging and burning to make sure it pops in all the right places. The end result is perhaps my favorite version I’ve done of Cinderella Castle from this angle. I hope you will like it too.
Today’s shot is a good example of how I often talk about shooting around people in the park. In the shot it looks like the park is already emptied out but there are actually quite a few people still meandering on Main Street USA. Since that area is not yet clear, I turned my attention to the sides at the end of Main Street USA. There is still over 100 people in the park but it looks completely deserted. As a bonus, I do not think I had any shots that really focused on Casey’s Corner so this was actually good as it allowed me add a shot I was missing to my collection.
This has really become one of my favorite things to shoot over the past few years. I continue to experiment with different angles and its lead to some results I’m really happy with. I have turned to my Nikon 70-200 more often than not for this shot and this was no exception. I shot at F3.2 but employed focus stacking so that I could get Cinderella’s face and the bird tack sharp while retaining the creamy bokeh of the background. I have shied away from F2.8 in recent trips as for shots like this as the lens, while still sharp, is definitely softer. The bokeh rendering from F2.8 and 3.2 is practically the same but I get a bit more depth of field and sharpness. Even though I’m focus stacking it really comes in handy.
It’s been a long time coming for the new hub of the Magic Kingdom to be fully completed and while some of it I don’t particularly care for I do like the new turrets on the side of Cinderella Castle. Previously the spots where they are located felt a bit empty when shooting a wide shot like this. Now they really help to fill across the frame. Unfortunately, they were still doing a bit of stage work when I took this photo so that is somewhat distracting but far enough in the back I don’t think it takes away too much.
The bridge walking towards Gaston’s Tavern has become another one of my favorite sunset shooting spots in the past few trips. This was right as golden hour was about to begin but there was already beginning some wonderful light on the bridge to Be Our Guest. Since this shot is shooting into the sun, you might not think that a tripod would be handy but I like to make use of one especially when shooting into the sun as I tend to do very large brackets (7 or 9 shots) so that I have a really large range to work with in post. Aligning hand held brackets is especially hit or miss when some of the exposures are almost all black except for the areas around the sun. Shooting on the tripod means the shots are perfectly aligned straight out of camera.
Today’s photo is probably a very common angle shot of the Beast and Belle topiaries displayed in the France Pavilion. I did bend down slight so there would be more flowers in the foreground and the shot would be more looking up at the topiaries. That’s likely how the shot turns out for most people anyways but at 6’4 I have a somewhat different shooting perspective than a lot of people and I find myself dropping lower all the time for a better vantage photographically speaking.
I used 3 shots blended with luminosity masks for this shot. The spotlights they use to light the topiaries look good in person but can create some very hot spots when you do long exposures. After that it was a bit of color balancing, contrasts adjustments and a bump to the saturation and this one is done.
I haven’t done a Splash Mountain photo in a while and it has been especially a long time since I did a night time version. This is your standard straight on view but one I feel never tires. It’s a fantastic spot for a photo. Fortunately, the sky was quite clear over Splash and I was able to capture a fantastic starry sky to go along with it. For me this is almost essential for a great nighttime Splash Mountain photo. It really adds to that out on the frontier feel.
I’ve always really liked the futuristic scenes as you exit Space Mountain but for whatever reason I never really had any good pics of them. I posted a single shot of this scene a very long time ago but it was not great. Fast forward to this trip and when I came off Space Mountain I was excited to see the conveyor belt that you ride past these scenes wasn’t running. This meant I could easily stand in place to take shots of these scenes. This allowed me to frame the shot the way I wanted without having to fight against the conveyor belt. I only wish I had ridden with my tripod, as this would have been perfect to setup quickly and knock these scenes out at low ISO. Ultimately though it doesn’t make too much of a difference as the performance of a modern camera is great even at high ISO. I ended up doing a slight pano of this shot combining two shots I framed slightly differently to get a slightly wider shot than even the Nikon 14-24 allowed. Processing was incredibly straightforward after that with just a slight adjustment to shadows and highlights in camera raw followed by Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast. I used a shadows luminosity mask to apply some light denoising only to the darker areas and sharpened the final result.