For today’s “Disneyland Photo of the Day” I chose a pair of photos I like to call Floral Paradise Pier. I took them last month right before we had our appetizers at The Cove Bar. (when I took the picture of Photographer Mickey.) Today’s post isn’t about post processing as much as it is about choosing a focal point for your photos. By selecting a certain focal point, you determine where the viewer’s eye is drawn.
We were walking to the Cove Bar and noticed the World of Color photo spot gazebo and all the colorful planters of flowers that were surrounding the area. Even though the flowers were fake, it was still a nice compliment to a pretty drab and colorless area. I decided to get down on my knees and use the flowers as the foreground for a picture of the Paradise Pier sign on California Screamin’. I took two different pictures of the same thing to show a difference between foreground focus and background focus. I did this simply by using the Focal Point dial on my camera.
The focus of the first photo is the Paradise Pier sign using the flowers as a foreground to give pretty and colorful accent to the picture.
The focus of the second photo is the pretty flowers with the roller coaster only serving as a background to give a sense of where it was taken and what a beautiful day it was.
Both are very similar but as you can see, by choosing what you want to be the main focal point of your picture you can give a completely different feel to the photo.
© Michael Greening 2010
Please note that there was some post processing done to these pictures in Photoshop. If you are curious as to what I did, just ask and I will explain what I did in detail.
As always, I welcome any comments, questions, suggestions.
Dude your pictures are awesome. Keep em coming.
Im definitely gonna be using some of your tips the next time I go to the park
How would it look if you combined the in-focus portions of both photos?
That would be cool. Maybe give those of us "point and shoot" owners a few tips as well.
What? You mean all those lil buttons and doohickeys on my camera actually do something? :blink:
You've inspired me to try and figure the thing out now!
The main reason I went from a Point & Shoot to a DSLR was I had taken my point & shoot as far as it would go and I still wasn't getting the pictures I wanted. I would see shots like Andy Castro's and say "Damn it, I want to take pictures like that by my camera won't do it." He was my inspiration for taking better pictures at Disneyland.
Now I see shots from Cory Disbrow and Matt Pasant on Flickr and say the same thing. Next I have to upgrade to a really expensive camera and lenses. I don't really want to do that for the purposes of this colum though. I want to keep this column focused on the average photographer with average camera equipment. I figure that if someone is going to spend $5,000 or more on camera equipment, they already know how to use it and surely don't need any of my advice.
For today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” I present Looking Up at Hollywood Pictures Backlot Entrance.
This picture was inspired by a photo I saw on Flickr that I really liked which was taken by another talented photographer and it wasn’t as easy to take as it might seem. The time of day had to be just right and getting the angles to capture all 3 levels took a decent bit of maneuvering. There are several reasons why I chose this photo.
I hope you like it almost as much as I do.
- I have a love of architecture, so I appreciate the architectural details in these columns that pay homage to D.W. Griffith’s 1916 epic Intolerance.
- It was taken with a Point & Shoot Camera.
- The only photo editing I did to it was saturating the colors a little bit and then darkening the highlights.
- My wife took it, and even though we were both trying to get the shot, she succeeded where I did not. All of my shots (taken with a DSLR) just didn’t come out right. There are definitely times where she has a better eye than I do and it also goes to show that it isn’t always the camera as much as it is the person behind it.
- It serves to teach us all that some very unique and interesting photos can be discovered just by looking up and paying attention to detail.
© Michael Greening 2010
I love that picture!!!
For today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” I present Tomorrowland at Night.
I chose this photo because it gives us the opportunity to discuss Long Exposure Photography.
I shot this on my last trip to Disneyland right after a very vain and failed attempt at photographing the fireworks from the loading platform of the Monorail in Tomorrowland. (that will be a post of it’s own) There were a few drawbacks to shooting this one when I did. There was a pretty heavy marine layer that night and the fireworks had just ended so there was a lot of haze in the air which made the sky reflect a lot of light, thus losing the effect of a nice clear dark night shot.
I set up my tripod in a location that let me use the kinetic line of the former People Mover track as the object that draws your eye down to the main subject of the photo, namely the spinning Astro Orbiter. I also set they angle of the camera so I could cut off as much of the crowd as I possibly could. Here’s a very important tip about shooting with a tripod when there is still a pretty good crowd in the park. If you have someone with you, have them act as a blocker between you, your tripod and the crowd. My wife had to stand right in front of me to block all the people who don’t watch where they are walking from smacking right into the camera.
For this photo, I put the camera on Manual, chose an aperture somewhere in the mid to large range to give me a clear shot of my surroundings but keep the spinning Astro Orbiter just slightly blurred. The Aperture was F/6.3, Exposure time was 10 seconds and the ISO was 100. I used the on camera exposure meter to let me see how long I could set my exposure time, which is where the 10 seconds came from. I did this by first setting the Aperture where I wanted, the ISO as low as it would go and just kept changing the exposure time until the meter showed that it was a properly exposed photo. Once I was ready, I just had to wait for the Astro Orbiter to start spinning and hit the remote shutter release button.
Post Processing: It didn’t take a whole lot of post processing for this picture. I put it into Photoshop Elements and darkened the highlights and increased the contrast a small amount to try and darken the sky as best as I could. I still wasn’t that happy with the sky, so I then opened it in Photoscape and used the graduated tint filter to darken the sky a bit further. As I kept looking at the original picture, I realized that there was just too much sky so I cropped it down from the top to eliminate as much of it as I could. I chose a line for that crop that put the corner of the People Mover track right into the corner of the photo so it gave a better line of sight and movement to the photo.
I also shot it without the Astro Orbiter spinning to see how that would look. I will use that picture tomorrow because it lets us talk about making an HDR photo out of a single exposure picture if you are shooting in RAW mode.
I hope you enjoyed today’s brief foray into long exposure photography.
© Michael Greening 2010
For today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day”, I chose a very similar shot to yesterdays except that this one is an HDR image and the Astro Orbiter is not spinning.
The reason I chose this shot is to expand upon yesterday’s discussion on Long Exposure Photography and HDR processing.
When I took this photo, I wasn’t thinking about doing any HDR of it but once I got home and looked at it in the computer, I wished I had used my Auto Exposure Bracketing and taken the 3 images at different exposures. However, here’s a nifty tip if you are shooting in RAW. Virtually all DSLR’s offer the option of shooting in RAW or in jpeg and some of the newer Point & Shoot cameras offer it as well. If you have a camera that can take images in RAW format, I highly recommend it because it keeps the image as an open file and you can literally change what the camera settings were in the computer long after you took the picture. A jpeg file is a closed file and the only changes you can make to it are basically cosmetic improvements, whereas a RAW file can be manipulated in many ways without causing damage to the actual image.
For this HDR, I took the original RAW image and opened it up in Photoshop Elements which has a Camera RAW editing window. I increased the Exposure by +2 and saved that as a Photoshop File or PSD. I then opened the same original RAW image and changed the Exposure down to -2, saved it as a PSD, then opened it again, changed the Exposure back to 0 and saved that as a PSD as well. At that point I opened up PHOTOMATIX and put in all 3 of those PSD’s and generated the HDR image. A little tone mapping later and there you have it. Granted, what would have only taken 20 seconds in the camera took at least 5 minutes in the computer but shooting in RAW does give you the opportunity to explore options you didn’t see when taking the picture.
I also opened the final HDR image up in Photoscape and turned it to a Black & White picture, which is also a nice option if you want a different feel to the photo.
As always, questions, comments and/or criticisms are encouraged.
© Michael Greening 2010
I really enjoy these pictures every day! Thank you so much for doing them! they're wonderful
That is a really nice and smooth B&W conversion, but I think that Tomorrowland definitely benefits from all its neon colors which makes the picture come alive. How do you decide if you're gonna make a picture B&W?
Nice thread, BTW.