Scenes from Disney Parks: Week 1

Welcome to a new, possibly recurring photo-sharing post here on DisneyTouristBlog! Back when I started this blog, photos were a key component, with “photo of the day” posts being the most common posts here. Over time, I noticed that those photo of the day posts weren’t popular compared to the meatier, text-driven posts. This was both surprising and unsurprising: my photography is probably what brought a majority of readers here when the blog started, but most people probably don’t want to read a full blog post about a single photo.

Photos remain a key component of the blog, but mostly now in that they are sprinkled in throughout posts on particular trip planning topics and in photography reviews. After receiving messages from readers asking where I “found” a particular photo and “who took it?” I thought it might be time to get back to my roots and highlight some photography here on the blog. I do take photos of more than just cupcakes and corn dogs, and I feel like there’s something wrong with the fact that I often find myself editing photos of random food and hotel rooms right after trips, while the “good” shots gather dust.

The idea with this new series of posts is to highlight some of my recent, new photos from a particular Disney destination in a single post. Doing a single post with several photos means less hassle for you seeing multiple photos in a single post instead of a single photo of the day post, and allows me to share some photos that aren’t necessarily “home runs” in themselves, but work well to round out a set of other shots. This also helps encourage me to make editing my more artistic photos a priority.

After each photo I’ll try to share a few thoughts on the photo, as well as some technical stuff like which lens I used for the photo. All photos in this post were captured with my Nikon D810 DSLR–check out my full Nikon D810 Review for more details about the camera. I also have more sample photos from the D810 here. You can click on each photo to view it larger in my gallery and to see EXIF data on it.

Hopefully casual readers enjoy seeing new sets of photos, and hopefully the photographers find my technical info useful. My goal is to do this about once per week as long as I have enough new photos to do it, and as long as you all find it interesting. Oh, and to answer those reader questions…I found the photos on my memory cards and I took them. 😉

Let’s kick this off by taking a look at some of my late-summer, early-fall photos from Walt Disney World…

I’ve taken a lot of long exposure photos of the Main Street Electrical Parade, and for my most recent one, I wanted to set the streaks of light against the silhouette of Partners. I have several longer, “streakier” photos, but I thought the juxtaposition of Walt with the To Honor America float was the most fitting. No one is more American than Walt Disney. I used the Nikon 28-300mm lens for this one. I haven’t reviewed this lens yet, but it’s a nice jack of all trades, master of none “lazy man” type lens (I carry it when I don’t want the weight of the 70-200 in my bag)…it works well for what it is.

This is something only a photographer would notice, but this plaque in front of Spaceship Earth is slightly off-center. Given the meticulous symmetry throughout the parks (in much more challenging locations), it drives me nuts that this couldn’t have been centered. For this shot, I used the budget Zenitar fisheye lens (read my review of this lens).

Villains Unleashed may have been a dud, but the Oogie Boogie show sure was great for photography. Seeing someone ‘breathe’ fire in person is cool, but it’s crazy the detail the camera picks up in a split-second photo. Almost looks unreal. This was shot with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

Pretty classic vantage for the Partners statue in the Magic Kingdom, but to make to make this shot unique, I elected to use the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens (read my review of this lens) wide open at f/1.4, making the only thing in focus Walt and Mickey. The focus plane with this lens is so razor-thin that even the plaque slightly in front of the statues is out of focus.

It’s off-center, but I love Echo Lake for shooting fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Shot with my Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens (read my review of this lens).

Finally, here’s the Japan pavilion in Epcot. I was chasing a breathtaking sunset this particular afternoon, and ran to the second story of the department store to photograph across World Showcase Lagoon. When I turned around, I saw some great lighting hitting Himeji Castle. This is another one with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens.

Just a simple portrait of the viking outside of Epcot’s Norway, nothing particular special about it. This was just before sunset, and I liked the way the late afternoon light was kissing the side of him. Another shot with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

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!

If you do want to purchase new photography equipment, we recommend the following trusted & authorized retailers:
B&H Photo

For other photography equipment recommendations or photography tips in general check out a few of my top photography blog posts:

Best Books for Improving Your Photography
5 Indispensable Tips for Better Vacation Photos
Choosing the Best Travel Tripod
Choosing the Best Camera Bag for Travel

Your Thoughts…

Would you like to see weekly photo posts like this? What do you think of these photos? Any favorites? Have any additional questions about how I captured these shots? Please ask or share below, and I’ll offer my feedback!

26 Responses to “Scenes from Disney Parks: Week 1”
  1. Diane Burke October 22, 2014
  2. Cat October 18, 2014
    • Tom Bricker October 18, 2014
  3. Amy Wonsil October 17, 2014
    • Tom Bricker October 18, 2014
  4. andrew October 13, 2014
  5. curt October 12, 2014
    • Tom Bricker October 13, 2014
  6. Richard October 11, 2014
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    • Tom Bricker October 13, 2014
  8. Joy October 10, 2014
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  10. Kevin October 10, 2014
    • Tom Bricker October 13, 2014
  11. Stephania October 10, 2014
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    • Tom Bricker October 10, 2014
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