Disney’s castles may not be as grandiose and historically significant as the “real” castles in Europe…but the ones in Europe aren’t surrounded by theme parks, so I’d say advantage: Disney. All castles, however, are surrounded by fantasy lands…because only the kind of person who is a bit ‘removed from reality’ builds themselves a castle to inhabit.
In fairness to those egocentric kings, though, given the opportunity, I think we would all choose to live in castles. Human beings are biologically programmed to love castles–that’s just science. (This blog is basically a crash course in Science 101, in case you didn’t know.) That’s why we are so drawn to photographing castles, making Sleeping Beauty Castle and Cinderella Castle two of the most photographed things on earth…probably.
Due to most guests being overwhelmed by the biological stuff in the bodies going off when they gaze at a castle, most photos of these castles are taken straight-on. However, if you can manage to suppress that biological stuff and focus, there are unique ways to photograph Cinderella Castle. As I shared in Unique Cinderella Castle Photos – Part 1, on my recent visit to Tokyo Disneyland, I picked up the new Cinderella Castle 100 book, which inspired me to challenge myself to find and photograph at least 10 unique takes of my own on Cinderella Castle over the course of the trip.
Here is the second set of 10 photos from the “project.” Click on any of the photos to view full size on SmugMug, where you can also view EXIF data (camera settings). Enjoy!
One thing I love about Swiss Family Treehouse at Tokyo Disneyland is the amazing views it offers into different areas of the park. I made note of these views and headed up here one night to capture some of them. It was a great experience, as no one else was in the Treehouse, and I was able to take photos and enjoy the scenes in relative solitude.
I love this statue behind Cinderella Castle, but in a normal photo, it obscures a lot of the backside of Cinderella Castle. For this photo, I stood on the edge of the planter, and held the camera high above my head, firing off about a dozen shots, hoping I’d get something that was sharp. I’m sure the guests nearby wondered what the heck I was doing.
What I really liked about this scene was the converging lines. The walkway, turret, and Cinderella Castle all converge to the center of the frame thanks to the distortion from my ultra wide angle lens. The full moon in the sky adds nicely to the scene, too.
Another instance of setting my camera on the ground to emphasize the reflections from the rain. If the Japanese ever stereotype Americans as crazy fools who customarily set their cameras on the ground to take photos, you know who to thank for that one. 😉
This time, I used a trash can instead of the ground–big difference! I’m a sucker for reflections, but also leading lines. I love the curvature of the sidewalk leading up to Cinderella Castle here, and only wish I could’ve framed this so the line began in the bottom right corner of the frame.
Admittedly, this is an iconic, common perspective, but with a twist. By using my fisheye, I was able to get closer to Cinderella Castle than normal, giving it more of an imposing look. I also brought the fence separating the walkway from the moat into the frame, as I felt it gave the shot a bit more dimensionality.
Here’s a photo with Cinderella Castle as the backdrop for a wide angle view of the lanterns in the Hub for Natsu Matsuri, the Japanese Summer Festival at Tokyo Disneyland.
This is the common perspective of Cinderella Castle, but with two twists. First, I held my camera high in the air and angled it down to emphasize the cool carriage on the ground, which is something you wouldn’t see in the standard perspective. Second, since there was a lot of dead space on the sides of the photo, I decided to crop it as a very narrow portrait. Ever since seeing Trey Ratcliff’s “Cropped for Pinterest” Exhibition, this has been something I’ve wanted to try. I’m going to try to deliberately shoot more photos like this, or go back and see how I can crop existing photos to have my own gallery like this.
This final shot is sort of “cheating” in that it wasn’t taken from inside Tokyo Disneyland (it was from my hotel room balcony), but I thought it was too cool not to share. The skyline of Tokyo Disneyland plus the skyline of Tokyo. I’m not sure what part of Tokyo that is in the distance, but it’s worth noting that the parks are located outside of the city, in Maihama, Urayasu, Japan. Click the photo to view it full size on SmugMug to see better detail.
That’s it for now! I’m not sure if there will be a part 3 containing Tokyo Disneyland Cinderella Castle photos. I think so, but I’m still in the process of editing and don’t have 10 shots that are worthy just yet.
For this part of the series, I used my Nikon D810 and Nikon D750 cameras, plus Rokinon 12mm f/2.8 Fisheye, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses. No tripod was used for any of the photos.
If you’re thinking of visiting Japan for the first time and are overwhelmed with planning, definitely check out our Tokyo Disney Resort Planning Guide. It covers much more than the parks, from getting there to WiFi to currency and much, much more. To save money on a visit to Japan, read our Tokyo Disney on a Budget article. For more photos and an idea of what we did day-by-day during our first visit, read our Tokyo Disney Resort Trip Report.
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What do you think of this set of Cinderella Castle photos? Any favorites? Any you think don’t work? I’d love to hear your feedback, so if you have any other comments or questions, please share below!