5-2-11 Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” shines a little light on Daytime Flash.
As much as I advocate not using an on camera flash, there are times, surprisingly and especially in bright mid day sun where you do want to use the flash.
It is a pretty general rule that you should not take pictures of people during the bright mid day sun. The glaring overhead light creates shadows that cause very dark circles under the eyes, nose and chin which are really unflattering and make them look like a skeleton.
By using the on camera flash as a fill flash, it can fill in those dark areas and greatly improve your results. Depending upon how are you are from the subject, you might need to lower the Flash Exposure Compensation a little bit. Also remember that the on camera flash only goes about 10 feet, so any farther than that, it won’t help at all.
Plush Mickey was kind enough to model for me again for this tutorial. I took these pictures at about 3:00 in the afternoon and placed him in direct sunlight. I was only about 4 feet from him. Here is the first shot with no flash. It’s kind of hard to tell on Mickey, but notice the shadows on the side of his face.
Here he is with the flash on full auto.
Because I was so close to him, the flash is a bit too bright. I lowered the flash exposure compensation down 1/3 and it worked much better.
For these shots of me with Mickey, you can really see how strong the shadows are on my face.
The camera was about 6 feet from me, so the flash at normal exposure worked just fine. It still leaves some shadow on my face but fills in most of the real dark areas so it has a more natural look.
It is still a good rule of thumb not to photograph people in harsh daylight, and if you do, it is best to place them in some kind of shade to even out the light. However, that isn’t always convenient or spontaneous, so all you need to remember is that the flash can be your friend.
Nice rugged portrait... with you holding a stuffed animal :P
I tried this once and it didn't turn out. Now that I think about it, I must have been too close to my subject. I didn't give up, I just haven't had the opportunity to try it again
For today's "Pretty" picture, I thought I would go with something pretty unique. This is one of my normal HDR Merge photos that I shot a few weeks ago. The shot came out fine, as in everything is clean, the processing is fine, it looks good and all that. However, it still bored me because it wasn't anything unique and didn't do anything to increase or improve the aspect of "Haunted Mansion". I played with it in the afore mentioned plug in for Photoshop and this is what I came up with. This is the B Movie mode.
I should also mention that I might be out of touch for a few days. I just had a new computer custom built for me and I'm having some trouble updating everything from Windows XP to Windows 7 64 bit. Most of my programs have made the transfer ok but I'm still struggling with a bunch of them, like iTunes and my ACT and E-mail databases.
Hopefully I'll have them all worked out in a day or two.
Well, my new super computer is finally up and all programs are installed and functioning (except for iTunes missing about 1500 of my music titles and doubling at least 700 of the others, as well as emptying all my playlists). I always forget the extraneous costs of upgrading computers, being all the things that aren't compatible with new systems. I had to buy a new printer and all new Photomatix, Lightroom and Nik Software. On the bright side, my new one will save me at least an hour a day in processing speed. So here's a pretty photo for today that I took a while back when I was testing out my new wide angle lens at Paradise Pier.
I'll probably need another day or two before I'm back up with another tutorial. I still have to edit all the Fantasmic photos for it. (hint: It's on Fantasmic)
I just upgraded my system to the brand-new CS5.5. I'm excited to see what's in store for DSLR video & stoked that they finally replaced soundbooth with Audition!
Also, That Haunted Mansion picture is slick! I assume you've masked tint adjustment layers? Disney should see that and think about changing the lights in the HM to something other than white.
Actually, all I did to that Haunted Mansion pic was to process it as a normal HDR, but it wasn't doing anything for me. It was nice and looked good but it was still boring. I used that plug in that I showed the other day and clickd on B Movie and that is what it did. One click and that was that.
5-6-11 Today’s “Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day” journeys into Mickey’s imagination in the night time spectacular… Fantasmic.
There are a few difficulties to overcome when photographing Fantasmic other than just darkness and fast moving objects. If you plan on being in the center of the show, and anywhere near the waterfront, that area is a sitting area only, so it makes it tough to maneuver around and get a decent shot. If you are seated against the railing, it gets you close to the action and no people in your way, but you do have to stake out your spot at least 90 minutes beforehand. For dead center railing, it is a minimum 2 hour camp out. During the busy season, I’ve seen people camping out 4 hours before the show. If you are in the seated only area, it helps if you grab a spot behind small kids so you can shoot over their heads.
You can stand on the stairways behind the seating area but a lot of times those are roped off for VIP seating. I like to be more mobile so I grab a spot right on the edge of the seating area, which is right by the raft loading area. You aren’t right against the water but there is no body in front of you and the Columbia and Mark Twain come directly at you, which is great for getting good photos of those. Another advantage of this spot is nobody is there, so you can walk up to it right before the show starts.
These are just the settings that I use, and I’m not saying that it is the best or the only way to photograph Fantasmic but it seems to work pretty well for me. Camera on Aperture Priority with the Aperture as large as my lens will allow. I use my 55-250 zoom lens, so the largest aperture is F/4 but when zoomed it is F/5.6. ISO set to 3200. Metering Mode on Partial Spot Metering. Exposure Compensation down to -1. Focusing mode on AI Servo. These settings gave me shutter speeds anywhere between 1/30 for the darkest and farthest scenes, all the way up to 1/3200 for the closer and brighter scenes.
Here’s a bunch of photos from the show. The only processing I’ve done to them was in the Canon RAW software, which included some noise reduction, cropping, brightening, contrast and sharpening.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey into the dark side of Mickey’s Imagination. If anyone has other successful tips for Fantasmic, I’d love to hear them.