Tall Palms, Full Moon, Big Spaceship Earth


It’s becoming more and more difficult to think of unique names for Spaceship Earth photos, given that I have so many of them. The only thing stopping me from switching to a bland numbering scheme (“Spaceship Earth 112,” “Spaceship Earth 113,” etc.) is that I’d never remember what number I was on. Whether one person needs so many Spaceship Earth photos is a good question. Probably not, but I enjoy photographing it so much that I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, and as you might notice, most of my Spaceship Earth photos are night photos.

Almost all of these photos are taken at the end of the night, when an odd thing happens: I have a second wind. It has honestly happened more times than I can count. We’re traversing the park, incredibly tired, but when I start taking photos at the end of the night, no matter how tired I was previously, I suddenly am overcome with energy (or adrenaline…or whatever scientific term actually explains what’s happening) and just want to keep going. Does this happen to anyone else? I can seriously be tired to the point where I begin to nod off on Maelstrom, but as soon as I start setting up the tripod in front of that viking outside Norway, my energy begins picking up. By the time we get to the front entrance of Epcot, I’m downright hyper.

Since Spaceship Earth is always the last thing we pass on the way out of the park, and since I don’t want the night to be over since I’m not tired, I try to find new ways to photograph it simply because there’s “nothing better to do.” I guess I could become a renowned Epcot tombstone photographer (…is “renowned” the right word? Perhaps I mean “infamous” given the subject!), but other than Spaceship Earth and the tombstones, there’s not a whole lot to photograph at the front of Epcot. And since I love Spaceship Earth, I invariably photograph it, and end up processing those photos because they catch my eye. To some degree, I think I’ve managed to approach Spaceship Earth from unique and fresh ways despite taking so many photos of it. Beyond that, there’s always a new wrinkle to these photos, even if my composition isn’t so unique compared to photos I’ve previously taken. Weather is different or lighting is different or something is different to differentiate the photos. Yes, I could go for subjects I’ve never photographed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (well, no I couldn’t since the park closes at ~3 pm and I’m doing this shooting much later) or take abstract photos of hand rails at Epcot, but that’s not my style. I enjoy photos of Spaceship Earth, so those are what I take. Behind Sarah and Yossarian the Cat, Spaceship Earth is probably the subject I photograph the most.

Moving on from my defensive explanation of why I will continue to take photos of Spaceship Earth at an obsessive clip, the photographers out there might be interested to know (this is a cue for the rest of you to mentally check out) that this photo was taken with the full frame Nikon D600 (my review) and crop sensor Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens (my review). While the D600 has a crop mode that will allow it to use cropped lenses with the camera, I actually never have used that mode when shooting with this fisheye yet. Switching to crop mode seems like a pointless step, especially because I get ever-so-slightly better coverage from this lens in FX mode even with the small fisheye lens hood in the frame. I’ve seen a couple of posts online showing that I can get even better coverage by removing the lens hood, so I plan on performing that operation on this lens soon. I don’t care for circular fisheye images, but I think removing the hood will give me more cropping options should the need arise. Plus, I lost the lens cap a while ago, so it’s not like I’m putting the lens at greater risk by removing the hood, too.

Technical details: shot with a Nikon D600 with a Rokinon 8mm Fisheye Lens. See our guide for more photography equipment recommendations

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3 Responses to “Tall Palms, Full Moon, Big Spaceship Earth”

  1. Steve Burns says:

    Forgive me for asking, but in using the crop sensor fisheye lens with your full frame camera, did you just crop the photo to remove the hood from the image?

  2. Agnes says:

    Spaceship Earth is truly a beloved icon. When I was little, I remember always staring up at Spaceship Earth before we left Epcot for the evening and hoping that we’d come back soon. Your photos capture all those wonderful colors I remember!

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