New Disneyland Christmas Photos


It’s been a while since we did a ‘Scenes from the Disney Parks’ photo post, and I just finished editing a new batch of Christmastime at Disneyland photos, so I thought I’d share. I’ve really been neglecting posts like this, and with a stockpile of photos from the last year, I probably should make this a more regular thing…

First of all, I suppose “new” photos is not entirely accurate. They’re newly edited, but a couple are from prior years. After editing some of my newer shots from this year, I started going through photos from the last two years this morning to see if there were any ideas I needed to revisit. There were many; some having issues due to rain droplets hitting my lens, others with photographer-induced errors as a result of me being sloppy.

My plan with most of these photos is to visit Disneyland and redo them at some point this week; we want to visit once more before our Annual Passes are blocked out for the rest of the season, anyway. However, I discovered a few of the shots are no longer possible. The above photo is a prime example; it has a ton of flaws you’d see if I posted a larger version, but without the spotlights this year, I don’t think this photo would be nearly as cool redone, even if it were technically better.

You can click on each photo to view it larger (and with high resolution) in my SmugMug gallery and to see the camera settings I used. All photos in this post were captured with my Nikon D750 DSLR or Nikon D810 DSLR. You can read about which cameras and lenses I use in my new What’s In My Camera Bag? (2016 Edition) post.

Here’s another from the “could be better, but can’t be redone” pile. THANKS A LOT, MACK TRUCK.

I never get sick of photographing the exterior of it’s a small world holiday, and this side view is my favorite perspective.

With ~43,384 other Disney fan photographers all photographing the same subject, originality is more difficult than ever. I’ve been trying to achieve this lately by composing landscape scenes with non-landscape lenses. Most of the time, it looks ridiculous, but on rare occasions, it works. I think my decision to use the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 for this scene was one such occasion.

Speaking of ‘different’ lens choices, I’m still working/struggling to leverage the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 to its full potential. Learning how to use this lens has alternated between frustrating and rewarding as I’ve bungled some scenes and come away with really unique perspectives in others. I appreciate the challenge, and the potential for something different makes me happy with this purchase.

I like the perspective here, but since I was in the (moving) line for it’s a small world holiday, I didn’t have the time or space to set up my tripod. Instead, I braced my camera against the handrail and hoped for the best.

This is a photo from this year that I kind of wanted to redo since I wasn’t totally happy with it, but then I realized that would require staying until the bitter end again. I’m not sure that’s realistic given the midnight closings this week, so I’ll just have to be satisfied with this.

While not as cool as the 60th Anniversary spotlights, there is some kind of lighting behind Sleeping Beauty Castle during the Winter Castle lighting. It gives it a cool, almost dream-like aura that I really like.

I have a few it’s a small world holiday bokeh photos that I’m going to try redoing, but I’m pretty satisfied with this. Again, the fruits of using the 85mm lens from a location where I normally shoot wide.

Toontown is one of the best-decorated areas of Disneyland, but between the chaos of this land at dusk and early closings for fireworks, you rarely see nighttime photos from back here.

…More from it’s a small world holiday.

If you can’t get enough of Christmas, please check out guides to Christmas at each of the parks/resorts:

Want to learn more about photography to take great photos in the Disney theme parks and beyond? The best place to start is Tom’s Photography Guide, which covers a variety of topics from links to tutorials, tips, and tricks to recommendations for point & shoots, DSLRs, lenses, and more.

I have a bunch of photos from Walt Disney World at Christmas, so I’ll be back with at least one more of these photo posts next week. Possibly another Disneyland Christmas one, too, depending upon how the reshoots go. In the meantime, if you have any questions about these photos or thoughts, please share in the comments below…

8 Responses to “New Disneyland Christmas Photos”
  1. Caitlin December 12, 2016
  2. John Nawrocki December 11, 2016
    • Tom Bricker December 13, 2016
  3. wwcpd December 11, 2016
  4. MIScott December 11, 2016
    • Tom Bricker December 13, 2016
  5. Matt Gerhard December 10, 2016
  6. Tom Zahlhas December 10, 2016

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