I’ve been running behind today but I wanted to share a photo even if I don’t have time for my usual more in-depth write up so I chose this shot from the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular I had previously edited. This is from the finale of the show. I shot it with the Nikon D810 and Nikon 70-200 2.8. I feel like this is a decent lens for the show but would probably be perfect with a 1.4x extender attached.
With all the hub construction the past few years it has been a long time since I’ve been able to shoot the Crystal Palace. This was really bothering me as I was never really happy with my previous Crystal Palace shots so walking past all the construction walls blocking me getting a shot was really getting irritated. At last though the hub is completed and I was able to get this shot even if it is slightly modified from the previous view. Still you can get a nice shot of it now and I’m pretty happy with the result.
Shooting & Editing A New View of Crystal Palace
This was shot with the Nikon D810 and Nikon 14-24 2.8. My biggest irritation with this shot was the tree in the upper right hand corner had a terribly ugly blue cast all over it. I can’t remember if this was a light because of the fall season decor or if it’s a regular light but it really sucks. I targeted the color using color range selection and then used a warming photo filter to get rid of the strong blue color cast. Using the same selection I then did a series of color curves to recolor the tree the way I felt it would look with a more standard lighting. Outside of this processing was pretty standard.
Are you glad the hub construction is finally over?
When you have so many different photos of the same thing, like Spaceship Earth, the hardest part of the whole process becomes simply coming up with a name for the photo you haven’t used before. For a while I tried to be inventive and witty with my naming but I’ve since mostly given up and just try to be descriptive with my titles and that seems to be working for the most part.
Shooting & Editing The Reflected Path to Spaceship Earth
This was shot with the Nikon D810 and Nikon 14-24 2.8. This is one of those shots I did not use my tripod and simply used a small Disney parks bag to place my camera directly in the puddle. I then used a small container of chapstick to prop the front of the lens up so that the camera was shooting level as opposed to tilted slightly down. You may be wondering why not just use the tripod as low to the ground as possible. While my tripod does allow you to get very very close to the ground, it requires you to take it apart and take the center column out to achieve this. This isn’t really something I want to be doing in the middle of the park when I don’t know how long before security comes along and kicks me out. With the center column installed I believe the height is around 17″ which simply did not give me as nice of a reflection angle as putting the camera directly in the puddle.
Today’s shot of the Wishes fireworks show is a bit special in that it’s a collaboration shot with my wife Erika. You can follow her at @emcooperphoto She also shoots Disney photography so I’m sure you’ll enjoy her feed. She was the photographer for this shot and I was the one who edited it. We’ve done these collaborations in the past but it’s been a while so we decided to do another one.
Shooting & Editing All Their Wishes Fireworks
This was shot with the Nikon D800 and Nikon 24-70 2.8 with a 3stop B&W ND filter. For this shot I actually double processed a single raw file. What this means is I edit the file two different ways and then combine the results. The reason I did this is the result I want for the foreground is different from the result I want for the fireworks background. I combined these 2 results with selective masking and then applied Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast. I made some color balance and levels adjustments along with some saturation adjustments. I denoised and did some selective sharpening to finish the shot off.
Night on the Rivers of America is definitely a preferred shot to the day time one I just did. I’d really like to get an early morning sunrise shot from here at some point in the future to compare how the scene transforms.
Shooting & Editing Night on the Rivers of America
This was shot with the Nikon D810 and Nikon 14-24 2.8. In the past I have excluded the walk way on the right but I decided to include it as it also allowed me to include the Castle which I thought really helped add another focus point to the scene. I also really like the way the walk way zigs and zags across that side of the image. My base image for this one is composed of 2 exposures blended together with luminosity masks. I did some color balancing and a few levels adjustments and then used my stars trick to pop the stars. I denoised the sky and sharpened everything else and this one is done.
Wandering around Hollywood Studios before closing one night I was walking past Prime Time Cafe when it struck me I did not have a single photo of the location. Fortunately even though it wasn’t closing time yet, this area of the park is dead in the late evenings. I’m actually surprised a bit surprised I never had a shot until now as my wife and I always eat here as she really likes it. Oh well, one more off the checklist.
Shooting & Editing Prime Time Cafe
This was shot with the Nikon D810 and Nikon 14-24 2.8. I stood a ways back and used the Nikon 14-24 to try to get the whole building in. I succeeded in that but honestly I think I got a bit too much floor in the shot. If i were to redo it I’d probably get a bit closer and sacrifice a bit of the wall on the left while also shooting a bit more from the left towards the right. I also would have preferred a non-spinning sign. I actually shot a high ISO fast shot to stop it but once I saw it in Lightroom I knew it wasn’t going to work for this image. I created the base of this image with 2 of my bracket shots, 1 being an underexposure to tame the highlights. I also spent a decent amount of time healing the ground as it was quite a mess. It’s amazing what a difference a clean ground can do for an image and it’s really easy to do, if not a bit time consuming depending on how bad it is.
Do you enjoy eating at the Prime Time Cafe?
This is a shot I have done many many times now, especially at sunset. Each one seems to have a unique feel however thanks to the dynamic sunsets I’ve captured here over the years. While this shot is not the best sunset I’ve captured here I still really like it as its got a gorgeous glow to it.
Shooting & Editing Journey into the Sunset
This was shot with the Nikon D810 and Nikon 14-24 2.8 at 24mm. I shot a bracket of 5 and used 2 exposures for my base blend and an additional shot for the monorail. I did a substantial amount of levels adjustments to this shot as I was trying to balance the sky and the foreground as well as possible while adding a bit of moodiness to the image. I used Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast to add a bit of pop. I did some mild color balancing and used a warming color filter to warm the image up overall. I used an Orton Effect on the foreground to add a bit of softness and finally bumped the saturation with a saturation adjustment layer along with sharpening.
This shot of the Rivers of America is one of those classic shots that nearly everyone has. It’s a really easy shot and everyone passes by and tends to get this shot. What I really liked about this result was just how blue the sky was and the clouds add a nice dynamic to the scene. I think the red of Harper’s Mill contrasts really well against the deeper blues in the shot. Having the Liberty Belle docked really helps balance and finish off the shot.
Shooting & Editing Blue Skies Over the Rivers of America
This was shot with the Nikon D810 and Sigma 24 1.4 ART. I rented the Sigma for this most recent trip and I really love the 24mm focal length for walking around Disney. Thus I kept it on my camera a lot during the day to give it a thorough work out and rarely felt I needed to swap it out just walking around. Editing on this shot was very simple. I applied a levels adjustment along with Nik Color Efex Pro Contrast followed by a very small color balance adjustment and bump in the saturation. I added a light Orton Effect in the sky and water and then sharpened for my final result.
After shooting at Disney World for so many years now its hard to find something interesting to shoot that I haven’t shot before. The Tortuga Tavern fit the bill however and though I’m not sure why I’ve never taken a shot in the past I was really drawn to it by the light coming out of the entrance.
Shooting & Editing Tortuga Tavern
This was shot with the Nikon D810 and Nikon 14-24 2.8. Something I did not anticipate or notice while shooting was a large rainbow flare in the upper left corner of the frame due to the light coming from the entrance. I guess it hit the lens just right to create a wild flare. Fortunately I was able to correct it but still a pain and something I will have to be more cognizant of in the future. I ended up blending 4 of my 5 shot bracket using luminosity masks to create my base layer. The light coming out of the hallways was very strong and the main focus of my blend. I then added Nik Color Efex’s Pro Contrast along with some level adjustments. I did color balancing as well as some dodging and burning before finishing the shot of with sharpening.
The Cinderella Castle sunset picture has really become popular but I don’t really see many Spaceship Earth Sunset photos. Maybe I’m just not looking well enough but I’d like to see this become as popular as the Castle sunset shots. Frankly Spaceship Earth and the surrounding area offers many more unique shots shooting into the sun than Cinderella Castle does so there is a lot of room for artistic expression here. Perhaps the issue is that it’s at the front of the park and so most people are further into the park at sunset as opposed to Cinderella Castle which is located in the center of the park and easier to go to for sunset shots.
Shooting & Editing Spaceship Earth Sunset
This was shot with the Nikon D810 and Nikon 14-24 2.8 handheld. Of course shooting at this angle into the sun I got some nasty rainbow flaring in the trees. I find it incredibly distracting so the first thing I did was work on removing that. I manually blended a 3 exposure bracket (after aligning due to shooting handheld) to create my base image. I did my typical round of editing with levels adjustments, color balancing, saturation adjustments, etc. For whatever reason I found myself spending a lot of time adjusting the yellow color channel in this image. I was having a difficult time getting the yellow to look how I wanted. As it was becoming saturated it really took on an unappealing quality. Ultimately some selective color adjustments allowed me to fine tune it and get it close to what I wanted. My one regret is not taking the time to setup on a tripod for this shot. This would have allowed me to do a more extensive bracket and get a bit more detail around the sun.