Fiber-optic Photo Fun at Epcot

The fiber-optics in the pavement in Future World at Epcot are one of my typical go-tos for Walt Disney World night photography. Like a raccoon drawn to shiny objects, I can’t help but photograph…the ground. Even though it’s “just” the ground, there are so many interesting ways to photograph the pavement.

On this particular evening, I spent most of my photography time photographing the fiber-optics, which is basically an isolated ‘garden’ over by Innoventions. I wouldn’t say it’s hidden, but it’s easy to miss if you’re walking the most direct route, as it’s behind some planters.

This has long been a favorite spot of mine, and this evening I had the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 with me, which I had never used to photograph the fiber-optics at Epcot. So, of course I had to spend an inordinate time fixing that. This is basically a quick post sharing my photos from that night at Walt Disney World, and I figured it was better to break this out into a separate post of photo-geekery than to include it in our current Walt Disney World trip report

The Sigma 20mm f/1.4 is a perfect lens for landscape scenes that could contain bokeh, as the lens has the field of view of a traditional landscape lens, but the f/1.4 aperture more commonly found in portrait lenses. (I used it on the beach for an engagement shoot, and it performed really well for that, for the same subject-isolation with more background.)

For these shots, I basically just set the camera on the ground (propped up by random junk I had on me, since I didn’t bring my Green Pod), and shot that way.

After seeing pretty good results the first time I did this, subsequent shots were basically me just moving the camera around amongst the fiber optic designs and testing shots until I got bokeh patterns I liked.

Since my Sigma 20mm f/1.4 review, I’ve been using this lens more and more, trying to challenge myself with unique perspectives and photos that just look different.

Capturing unique photos is really important to me, and it’s becoming more challenging as a ton of others become interested in Disney photography.

I constantly challenge myself to go for angles and ideas that haven’t been done (getting away from icons like Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth helps), but having a ‘different’ lens like this is also conducive to originality.

One of the compromises you have to make with this lens is that the bokeh isn’t always perfect. I’m guessing this is a byproduct of the focal length, and it’s unavoidable.

In any case, no other manufacturer makes a lens like this, so there’s no alternative.

I also switched things up by trying out my fisheye for a better view of the fiber-optics…

The one thing I have trouble with in these longer exposures is all of the colors of the fiber-optics turning magenta. This occurs because it’s the predominant color in the patterns, so it’s what the camera “sees” most during a longer exposure. I’ve tried to combat this by using shorter exposures for the highlights, but my success has been hit or miss. This is not a problem with the bokeh shots because they are all ~1 second exposures due to the f/1.4 aperture.

For a while, I’ve been trying to get photos of this area of fiber-optics as starbursts by using my fisheye lens and an aperture of f/13 (or so). I haven’t captured anything I like thus far (I think my Rokinon 12mm f/2.8 fisheye just isn’t conducive to this), but I went the other direction and shot wide open for some quasi-bokeh.

That’s it of my photos of the fiber-optics from this particular evening at Epcot. I’ve taken many, many other photos of this pavement over the years. It’s just so entrancing and fun. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment, as I see people of all ages stop in their tracks when they stumble upon the ground over here. One of my main motivations (don’t tell Sarah) to, potentially, have kids some day is the photo ideas I have with them in this area. Kids are mesmerized by this pavement, and I think that could translate to some cool photos.

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 Ultimate Disney Parks Photography Guide, which covers a variety of topics from links to tutorials, tips, and tricks to recommendations for point & shoots, DSLRs, lenses, and more!


Your Thoughts

Are you drawn to the fiber-optics garden in Epcot’s Future World? Is it for the photos, or just the alluring glow of light-up pavement? 😉 If you’ve used the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 lens, what do you think of it? Any other thoughts, tips, etc? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments!

8 Responses to “Fiber-optic Photo Fun at Epcot”
  1. Susan April 2, 2017
  2. Claire April 1, 2017
  3. Dave April 1, 2017
  4. Tara Elizabeth April 1, 2017
  5. Ivan Shabelev March 31, 2017
  6. Kevin March 31, 2017
  7. Tm4k March 31, 2017
  8. Michelle H March 31, 2017

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