An (@f/1.4) Day at Disneyland
The spirit, the charm, the beauty of Disneyland is not found in its rides. Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion are all nothing in isolation. The magic of Disneyland is found in its quiet moments, its meticulous details layered on over the course of some 60 years, its people who work hard to make it a special place for guests. The attractions may be construed as the meat of the experience, but if so, it takes brilliant chefs, careful seasoning, and delicious side dishes to turn that raw meat into a wonderful meal. Perhaps that’s a flowery metaphor, but I think it fits.
In a day spent at Disneyland, it’s so easy to breeze past what truly evokes a sense of magic about the place as we race from attraction to attraction. Yesterday, I headed to the park with a goal of slowing down, and breaking out of a photographic-funk I’ve been in. Over the past couple of months or so, I felt like I had lost a bit of my fire, simply going through the motions when I did take out my camera. Wanting to regain my intensity and creative spark, I set out with just my Nikon D600 and Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens (no other lenses; no tripod–nothing else) and gave myself an assignment to capture something creative and interesting, with the ‘threat’ hanging over my head that I’d be doing a blog post today with 10 photos no matter what…so I had better come back with at least 10 shots that didn’t suck.
Going in, I had no idea what I was going to shoot, but after a couple of shots I decided to up the ante by focusing on those little details rather than E-Tickets, and also leaving my aperture at f/1.4 the entire time. I think the end result is a photo essay that differs in tone, style, and substance from my normal photography. Its a set of photos with which I’m pretty happy, if only because I think it ultimately did break me from that funk, and has me eager to head back and try some other new ideas.
With that, I’ll shut up and let the photos speak for themselves from my f/1.4 ‘Day at Disneyland’ yesterday…
Goodnight from my @f/1.4 Day in Disneyland!
Overall, I am very satisfied with the day and the collection of photos in aggregate. There are some misfires and some executional mistakes, to be sure, but I feel like I did pretty well with the challenge I gave myself, and also captured some of what makes Disneyland a truly special place. Hope you enjoyed the photo essay!
If you’re taking a trip to Disneyland, check out our planning resources: how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, whether you should stay off-site or on-site in a Disney hotel, where to dine at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Trip Planning Guide!
What do you think of these photos? Any favorites? Any that you don’t think ‘work’? Does this set convey the beauty and romanticism of Disneyland? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Love these! As a photographer who doesn’t get to go to Disney on a regular basis, I always struggle with whether to lug my MKII and lenses around to the parks, or leave them at home and just enjoy the trip. I just purchased the Sony RX100 for my upcoming trip after reading your recommendation– hoping it’s a nice, happy medium for getting good quality shots and not having to worry about my equipment!
Hi Tom! Nice post 🙂 I’m also in a creative funk and might try what you did here. Why didn’t you use your D810? I’m surprised you used your D600. I’ve havent’ been using my D600 since I got the D810 unless I need to shoot with 2 bodies on an event.
I’m also thinking of getting a 24 or 35 1.4 lens..Sigma Arts..but can’t seem to decide which one. I currently use a Nikon 28 1.4D that I’m borrowing from my uncle (wishing it’s mine), i’m loving the focal length for street photography/journalistic style photos but need to get my own.