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:
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
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!
As per usual, your work is outstanding. It’s a talent, make no mistake. I know that I don’t have it, so I’m one of those avid fans that drool over what you do. Thanks once again for sharing.
Ugg.. you’re so talented with a camera it’s gross. You can find the beauty in every nook and cranny. Utterly amazing! LOVE your blog and the escape it gives me.
(any chance you want to follow my family around WDW and take pictures? lol )
Thanks for the kind words. If I followed your family around taking photos, you’d quickly see that I’m not so talented with the camera. Portrait photography is not my thing, at all! 🙂
“I always loved your “photo of the day” so I am loving seeing your true gift highlighted!!!! Can’t wait to see even more 🙂 Great job, Tom!!!
Thanks! Hope you enjoy this series. I hope to have a new one ready very soon!
Hey Tom my wife is wanting to get in to a DSLR does this seem like a pretty good bundle for the D3200? http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-D3200-Ultimate-Lens-Experience/dp/B00L8827BI/ref=zg_bs_2476680011_13
Or this bundle: http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-Digital-Camera-18-55mm-55-200mm/dp/B00I6TC6XG/ref=lp_2476680011_1_1?s=photo&ie=UTF8&qid=1413223452&sr=1-1
with this accessory pack: http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Accessory-NIKON-D3300-D3200/dp/B005197472/ref=pd_sim_p_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=0HDT5Y7WP5TBQPJEBP5N sorry for the questions, how much do I owe you for advice?
Love the pics and the aditions of some technical information like lens choice and aperature. camera used would be nice too. that whole crop sensor vs full frame thing. plus have you ever thought about having a post displaying your followers best photos and offering technical reviews of them? Since so many people use your work as a bench mark or comparision point for their own
Camera is listed at the top of the post: Nikon D810.
The critique post is an interesting idea, but I probably won’t do it. Thanks for the suggestion, though! 🙂
I love the idea of this post and hope there are plenty more to come.
I was initially drawn in by the sunset over Canada picture at the top of the post because I have a near identical photo that I took during our trip this August. Clicking on your metadata to compare notes against mine I see you took yours just 10 minutes before me! I’m gutted that I didn’t see you to say hi as I’m a big fan of your blog and your photos.
This is a great post and I look forward to future installments! Your insight and tips are wonderful for those of us wanting to take better photos. Keep up the great work. The fire-breather shot is amazing!
Love how in the partner statue/MSEP photo it also clearly silhouetted the parade watchers snapping iPhone pics. Very cool.
Love your photos and think a weekly photo focus would be great! My favorites here are Spaceship Earth and the fireworks.
Great photos chosen for this post. The fire-breathing shot is truly surreal – I’m surprised it’s only 1/320.
I was wondering how you ahd gotten in to World Showcase for a sunrise shot of Himeji Castle, when I realized the sun was on the wrong side (and read the text!). That’s a rare shot with good lighting and no people in it.
Yeah, I got really lucky with that one. I haven’t seen any normal shots quite like this (at least that I can recall) and the light here is just icing on the cake. Probably my favorite shot of the bunch.
Amazing photos as always! Can’t wait to see more from this series. 🙂
Great pics as usual. Now we all know you’re on another epic Asia trip. How about an update on your current adventures! Loving your instagrams/tweets so far.
I try to post as little while on trips as possible, as it takes away from the current experience. Now obviously, I had to take the time to post this (and respond to your comment!), but I do have *some* down time on the trains!
I like the post. I was wondering if it would be possible to add more data on the pictures (shutter speed, apature, ISO, etc). As a beginner taking this up as a hobby, any help would be much appreciated.
If you click on the picture, it takes you to Tom’s page on SmugMug. If you click on the ‘i’ in the lower right-hand corner that says “Info” when you mouse over it, it will give you all of what you asked for.
That’s awesome. Thanks for pointing that out.
I adore your work and I would be so grateful to have the opportunity to gather some hints on what you do to create such beautiful shots!
That first shot is my fave of the bunch…such a unique photo and point of view. I can’t wait to for more of this series!
LOVE that fire breathing shot. Great photos all around.
Looking forward to the future installments of this series! Love the pics as usual.