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  1. #631

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    11-4-10
    Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” is going to shed some light on Light. I’m not going to discuss how lighting affects your photos or how lighting works (at least not yet), this post is about making “Light” the subject of the photo.

    One of my favorite things to photograph at Disneyland, (one of my thousand favorite things) is lights. There are the lights on the buildings on Main St., as well as virtually every surface of every building in Disneyland. But the ones that offer wonderful possibilities for creativity and color are the carts of all the glowing trinkets that they sell at night in their final attempt to grab that last possible dollar from you before you leave.

    However, photographing these carts does have a few challenges. It is kind of difficult to set up a tripod near them and take pictures and that limits you to how much freedom of movement you have in taking the picture. I end up playing a balancing game between how steady I can keep the camera, what shutter speed to use, how high to have my ISO and what size aperture to use.

    I generally begin by looking at the cart and then determining what angle I want to photograph it from so whatever is in the background compliments the photo. Then I choose an aperture that will give me the depth of field I want from that background. Usually I’m choosing the largest aperture my lens will allow. In the case of my Kit Lens, that is f/3.5. If I zoom in on the lights, it will decrease my aperture a little bit but that’s fine. Then I will put my ISO on Auto and take 2 or 3 sample photos to see how long the shutter is staying open and if the shutter is too slow, making the photo blurry. From there, I’ll gauge if I have to increase the ISO or if I need to find a way to get more light into the lens. I don’t really like increasing my ISO, so if I need more light in order to get a faster shutter speed, I can get closer to the lights or zoom in on them a bit so they take up more of the frame. This will usually solve the problem.

    Here are some examples of those carts and a brief explanation as to why I took the photo.

    I saw this cart as I was leaving the park and picked an angle that kept the lights on City Hall in the background. Aperture = F/5.6, ISO = 1600, Speed = 1/10.

    (I tried some that had a shutter speed of 1/8, but it was too slow for me by hand, so it was blurry. By zooming in just a little bit, the shot was brighter, giving me a shutter speed of 1/10, which I could pull off by hand.)

    I also did it with a slightly different angle and must have had a pretty steady hand because my ISO was only 400 and it was a 1/2 second exposure.


    When I saw this cart, what struck me the most was how the light was giving such a soft glow to the cast members face. The camera didn’t quite catch the light on his face as well as I wanted so I used the selection tool in Photoshop Elements, selected his face and lightened that up just a little bit.


    I shot this one on a rainy night in January and loved the way the lights were reflecting on the wet street and on the sides of the cart. It just seemed so romantic to me and whenever I see it, it stirs fond memories of a wonderful evening.


    So the next time you are in the park at night, take a moment or two to look at these Glow Carts and see how they light up your imagination.

    Happy Snapping
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  2. #632

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    "However, photographing these carts does have a few challenges. It is kind of difficult to set up a tripod near them and take pictures and that limits you to how much freedom of movement you have in taking the picture."


    When I saw this paragraph I remembered an old gizmo, called a "string tripod". Check the link below or google it.

    string tripod

    Thanks once again for your dedication. If you only had an idea how much you are helping us, wannabe photographers.....

    Rico

  3. #633

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hot Sauce 1 View Post

    There is another thing to do on your camera to improve it's performance at Disneyland. Check the manual and change the setting to a custom setting.
    I chose the Standard setting then adjusted the Saturation up 2 notches and the Sharpness up 1 notch. I found that this gave me better color and sharpness than the standard camera settings.
    That's funny. I use the exact same custom setting for all of my shots with the T1i.
    - Bobd

  4. #634

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Sorry folks...

    I got completely swamped at work today and won't have an opportunity to do a post. This gives you the time to not sit in front of your computer reading my inane ramblings and go out and take pictures.

    I will see you all tomorrow.

    Happy Snapping!
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  5. #635

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    I just have to say how floored I am with your photos. Great stuff.

  6. #636

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    11-6-10
    Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” is in a sense, a continuation of the series on Dark Ride Photography. Even though today’s subjects aren’t actual “Dark Rides” per say, they are almost as difficult to photograph.

    The Dead Man’s Grotto on Tom Sawyer’s Island and the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough are two entirely different subjects but they both require the same camera settings and have the exact same obstacles to overcome.

    Both locations are very dark and have difficult lighting, you are very close to your subject, there are always going to be people behind you making you feel rushed and most of the subjects are behind glass.

    For both of these subjects, I set the camera on Aperture Priority, set the aperture as large as I could get with my kit lens, F/3.5 and had the lens backed out all the way to 18mm (you are so close to the subjects that a 50mm F/1.8 lens won’t work) I set the ISO to AUTO which put it at 1600 for every shot and let the camera decide how long to keep the shutter open. If the shot you are taking is behind glass, make sure to place the edge of the lens against the glass (NOT Flat Against It) at an angle and brace the camera as best you can. The shutter speeds will be anywhere from ½ second to 2 seconds, which is very difficult to do by hand. Most of the shots through glass have a very small window, so there is usually some kind of edge that you can brace the camera against. If using a Point & Shoot, the best settings are simply to put it on Auto and turn the flash off. It does a pretty good job if you can hold it steady and keep the lens against the glass.

    Lets start with Dead Man’s Grotto.

    F/3.5, ISO 1600, Focal Distance 20mm, Shutter speed .6 second.


    I had to bait a little girl into touching the gold bar to get a shot with the skull in it. Now that I think of it, the better picture would have been her face when it popped up and scared the heck out of her.
    F/3.5, ISO 1600, 18mm, 1/20th second.


    This is a really hard one because it is really dark and the shutter speed is so slow that the face is going to be blurry.
    F/3.5, ISO 1600, 18mm, 1.3 seconds.


    Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough can be tough because there is always a bunch of people rushing you along. The best times to try and photograph are first thing in the morning because everyone is busy riding rides and during the parades.

    F/3.5, ISO 1600, 20mm, ¼ second.


    F/3.5, 1600, 18mm, .6 second.


    F/4.5, 1600, 33mm, .3 second


    F/3.5 1600, 18mm, 1 second


    F/3.5, 1600, 18mm, 2 seconds. (the 2 second exposure took so long that his face is moving)


    F/3.5, 1600, 18mm, .5 second


    This one ended up being my favorite shot of the bunch. I had to lean against the wall and be very calm and steady for it. Thankfully, I was shooting these during the parade and I had the place to myself the entire time. I will most likely go back and try to take this one again using a tripod to get it really nice and sharp.
    F/3.5, 1600, 20mm, .6 second.


    I hope these tips shed some light on the difficulties of photographing these attractions and help you capture some memories of your own.

    Happy Snapping
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  7. #637

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Awesome! You've got the shot of Pintel that I've been dreaming about. Gonna try my hand at it when we're there. With our fast lenses maybe we can get a clearer shot of the prison pirate's face.
    Died in 1720 ya know...

    Checkout all my Disneyland photos
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/5198394...7625048447449/

  8. #638

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiki View Post
    Awesome! You've got the shot of Pintel that I've been dreaming about. Gonna try my hand at it when we're there. With our fast lenses maybe we can get a clearer shot of the prison pirate's face.
    That was a tough one to get and took 3 tries. It also required a lot of color balance work because the light on it is yellow, so it looked terrible on Auto White Balance.

    It will be tough to get with the prime lenses unless you have a 35mm or smaller. Otherwise we will be too close. We will have to give it a shot when we go.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  9. #639

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    11-8-10
    Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” is more photos than lesson because I was at Disneyland till closing yesterday and didn’t get home till around 1:30 this morning. I only had time to edit a few of the photos and upload them at 2:00 am.

    I finally got a chance to visit Electronica in DCA and fell in love with the photographic opportunities it contains. Personally, I don’t really care about the movie Tron and don’t have plans to see it because I thought the first one was lame. However I loved the black and white glowing lights and the lighting effects throughout the area.

    Problem #1; My wife was getting tired and the friends I was with had to leave soon so I only had about 15 minutes to spend there and didn’t have time to change my lens to the 50mm F/1.8 that is great in low light situations. I was stuck with my 18-55mm Kit Lens with a maximum aperture of 3.5 – 5.6.

    I quickly took a bunch of pictures walking through it and when I got into the area in front of Monster’s Inc. where the DJ booth and the dancer’s platforms are, I saw my muse. I wanted to photograph the dancers on the platforms but all but one of them were wearing black and in areas that didn’t get much light. However one dancer was wearing a white costume and was on a stage with lights shining right on her, not to mention, she was really hot and made that costume look really good.

    Problem #2; The direction that the light was hitting her from was in front of her and it was packed with people dancing. There was no way to photograph her from the front without being a complete nuisance.

    Problem #3; She was dancing and moving really fast. Even with my 50mm F/1.8 lens, it would have been difficult to get sharp photos.

    To solve these problems, I looked around for an angle where I could get light coming into the lens in the hopes of getting a faster shutter speed and saw the large light feature above the DJ’s. It looked like the space ship from Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind was hovering right above them. I also noticed that there was a concrete planter right behind her stage that gave me a spot to stand where I was out of the way and a little bit higher than ground level. I climbed up on the planter behind her and positioned myself so she would be on one side of the frame and that space ship light feature was on the other side. I set my Aperture to as large as it would go, and put my ISO to Auto, knowing it would most likely go to 1600, which was ok with me. Then I just had to watch her dance for a few minutes and learn how she moved. I took a bunch of photos with her moving quickly (all of them horribly blurry) and then just kept following her with the camera waiting for those brief moments when she would strike a pose. I was behind her for at least 5 minutes and did manage to get a few good ones that not only showed her, but had some kind of emotive drama to them because of the lighting fixture and her costume and the pose she struck.

    When she finally spun around and saw me, she froze for a second to give me a really cool (and very sexy) pose and winked at me. And, with my usual luck on moments like that, my Auto Focus Points focused on the light fixture instead of her face and I didn’t have time to adjust it so her face is a little out of focus.

    I will have more pictures from Electronica sometime soon, but here are the ones of the dancer so you can see what I was talking about.















    So the next time you are in a difficult photographic situation, look where the light is coming from and try to find an angle that gives you a the opportunity for a unique photo and then just be patient. The moment will come, you just have to be ready for it.

    Happy Snapping
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Last edited by Hot Sauce 1; 11-08-2010 at 02:49 PM.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  10. #640

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    11-9-10
    Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” looks at a different way of photographing couples and how you can show an affectionate moment using just a small detail. I call today’s post Finger Hugs.

    I was at Disneyland on Sunday with another couple and wanted to do some portraits of them as a couple. The problem is that she doesn’t like being in front of the camera and I’m not very good at photographing people yet, so most of my previous attempts haven’t been very good. They are also a couple that doesn’t normally show a lot of affection in public.

    Anyway, the two of them and my wife were standing outside Café Orleans waiting for our name to be called and I was walking around taking pictures of the Christmas decorations. I had a zoom lens on so I could get real close to the decorations and when I came back to join them I noticed them holding hands. In all the years I’ve known them, this was the first time I’ve ever noticed them holding hands. (I’m sure they have but I’ve never noticed it.) I was fortunate that they didn’t know I was about 10 feet behind them because it gave me a few minutes to try and get a picture between all the people walking through New Orleans Square. You all know how crowded it gets in NOS during lunch time so you can imagine how difficult it was to get a clear shot. One woman who was walking through saw what I was trying to do and said to me “Great shot if you can get it.” It took 4 or 5 tries to get a clear photo without someone walking into the frame before I got one I liked. (the beauty of digital photography) I didn’t even notice the Mickey Mouse Ears pendant on her bracelet until I saw the photo in the computer.

    The post processing I did to the original photo was to open it in Photoscape and clicked on Filter - Vignette #3 to darken the corners a touch. Then I went to Filter - Film Effect - Cinema – Medium which gave a little bit of an aged and softer look to the color. I saved that as one photo then hit Undo which took off the film effect. I clicked on Convert to Grayscale which turned it to Black & White and saved it again as the Black & White version. So with basically 3 steps and 2 minutes of post processing I was able to create two different looking photos. I can’t decide which one I like better, so I will post both of them.
    What’s your opinion?




    So the next time you want to capture a tender moment, look for the small details because sometimes they can say a lot more than you think.

    Happy Snapping
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  11. #641

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by desertgroomer View Post
    "However, photographing these carts does have a few challenges. It is kind of difficult to set up a tripod near them and take pictures and that limits you to how much freedom of movement you have in taking the picture."


    When I saw this paragraph I remembered an old gizmo, called a "string tripod". Check the link below or google it.

    string tripod

    Thanks once again for your dedication. If you only had an idea how much you are helping us, wannabe photographers.....

    Rico
    Thank you for the kind words and thank you for the link on the String Tripod. I think I will have to make one and do a post on it one day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobd20011 View Post
    That's funny. I use the exact same custom setting for all of my shots with the T1i.
    Great Minds Think Alike... (sure)

    Quote Originally Posted by sbk1234 View Post
    I just have to say how floored I am with your photos. Great stuff.
    Thank you! I just hope it helps people, even the slightest amount.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  12. #642

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hot Sauce 1 View Post
    11-4-10
    Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” is going to shed some light on Light.

    Lighting may be THE most important yet difficult skill to know when it comes to shooting. Unevenly lit and mis-exposed shots can be a disaster.




    -----------------------------------------------
    DISNEYLAND: Greatest Man-Made Place On Earth

    YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK: Greatest *GOD-Made Place On Earth

  13. #643

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by PanTheMan View Post
    Lighting may be THE most important yet difficult skill to know when it comes to shooting. Unevenly lit and mis-exposed shots can be a disaster.


    ABSOLUTELY!

    The same exact context applies to architectural lighting of a building. In my Interior Design classes I've had to study lighting design and how to properly light a room and the exterior of a building. This is why I wanted to point out something that I sincerely hope someone at Disneyland would take care of.

    In lighting, if you have something with way too much light on it, it is considered a Hot Spot. It has frustrated me for years that the center of the Castle has an enormously out of proportion Hot Spot on it and makes it almost impossible to get an evenly lit photo of the castle. The center portion of the castle is always blown out and overexposed. For the life of me, I can't figure out why no one in their lighting department has taken care of it.

    I have no doubt that all of you have experienced the same problem of that center portion of the castle being so blown out that you can't even tell there are windows there.

    The Lighting department does such a wonderful job everywhere else in the park, so Disney, if you're reading this, please, please look into fixing this egregious lighting problem on the most important icon of the entire park.

    Ok, I'm done with my rant. Now back to our regularly scheduled program....
    Life is far too short for bland food!


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  14. #644

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    I see some shallow DoF shots in our future! I really appreciate what you're doing with this thread HotSauce. I think it has helped a lot of people. Thank you!

    "Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language."
    -Walt Disney


  15. #645

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hot Sauce 1 View Post
    ABSOLUTELY!

    The same exact context applies to architectural lighting of a building. In my Interior Design classes I've had to study lighting design and how to properly light a room and the exterior of a building. This is why I wanted to point out something that I sincerely hope someone at Disneyland would take care of.

    In lighting, if you have something with way too much light on it, it is considered a Hot Spot. It has frustrated me for years that the center of the Castle has an enormously out of proportion Hot Spot on it and makes it almost impossible to get an evenly lit photo of the castle. The center portion of the castle is always blown out and overexposed. For the life of me, I can't figure out why no one in their lighting department has taken care of it.

    I have no doubt that all of you have experienced the same problem of that center portion of the castle being so blown out that you can't even tell there are windows there.

    The Lighting department does such a wonderful job everywhere else in the park, so Disney, if you're reading this, please, please look into fixing this egregious lighting problem on the most important icon of the entire park.

    Ok, I'm done with my rant. Now back to our regularly scheduled program....
    That's a very, very good observation, Hot Sauce. It never really occured to me that the reason most of my castle shots are blown out in the middle is due to the way that it is lighted. I'm sure the lighting guys are just trying to make sure that the castle is visible from the other end of main street, but that middle section really does pop out quite a bit more than the rest of the castle. Even when you tweak it after the fact in photoshop, often times the damage is already done and it's impossible to keep the detail after bringing down the highlights. If someone wanted to take the time, you could take multiple exposures and blend the castle, but that's an awful lot of tweaking for someone who just wants a clean shot of the castle.


    We should also point out that we are talking about the standard lighting of the castle. When they light the castle for the fireworks, often times you can get much greater detail toward the middle of the castle as it is lit much more evenly...



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