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  1. #1

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    The Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day...

    For an index of each days post along with a direct link to it, please click here.
    The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Welcome to the first official posting of the Disneyland Photo Tip of the Day.

    Each day, I will post a new photograph taken somewhere at the Disneyland Resort. It might be from Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney or one of the resort hotels.

    With each post, I will also give a little information as to where the photo was taken, what the camera settings were and what type of post processing was done to it. Some of them will be relatively simple and some will be a bit more advanced, such as long exposure HDR or other photo editing techniques in Photoshop.

    In no way am I trying to imply that I am an expert or that you should do what I do. I am still a beginner myself and have an awful lot to learn. Taking pictures is a very personal experience and everyone has their own unique style and tastes. This is only what I see and do. Some may completely disagree with my camera settings or my post processing techniques and they very well might be right. This is just my point of view or "point of shoot" as the case may be.

    For the first Disneyland Photo of the Day, we will start with something simple and iconic. I couldn’t decide whether to use a photo of the Castle, Partners Statue or the entrance to Disneyland. I finally decided to “focus” (pun intended) on the fact that “It was all started by a Mouse”. Since this was a blog about photography, why not start with Photographing Mickey Mouse.



    I took this picture about a month ago at DCA. It was mid afternoon on a hot day and my wife and I were enjoying some appetizers at the Cove Bar at Ariel’s Grotto. There was a lovely breeze coming across Paradise Bay and it was a welcome relief to be out of the sun and have a cold drink, fish tacos and some lobster nachos. We could see the World of Color Gazebo photo spot set up, but there was nobody using it. The Photopass Photographers were there but not one person was having their picture taken. (Hint: This usually means a character will be showing up soon.)

    About 15 minutes later, Mickey Mouse showed up and before he could even set foot in the gazebo, the line was 30 people deep. We were just finishing up, so I figured I would run over and try to get a photo. I am not the type of person to stand in line to take a picture of a character, mostly because I am not taking my picture with them and people get irritated if they are in line behind me and I am just taking a bunch of pictures of the character by themselves.

    The best place to take this type of picture is to the side of wherever people are leaving after having their picture taken. You are pretty much out of every ones way and you can get great shots of the characters between guests. I got on my knees on the far right side of the exit ramp and placed my camera on the railing. I like to take pictures of the characters from a lower vantage point because by looking up at them, you can eliminate a lot of stuff that might be in the background and it gives a more impressive view of them by making them appear larger. They are also usually looking down at children, so by being lower, you get a better view of their face.

    I was snapping away between guests and Mickey noticed me zooming in and out, looked right at me and mimicked me playing with the camera, as if he was taking my picture. You have to be pretty quick on the shutter to capture those moments because they happen so fast and only last a second, but they do make for fun pictures.

    Camera: Canon EOS Rebel T1i with standard 18-55mm kit lens.
    Camera Settings:
    Aperture Priority AE
    Aperture 4.5
    ISO – Auto = 100
    Shutter Speed 1/320
    Picture Style is a custom one that I like to use. It is based on the Standard style but the Saturation is +2 and the Sharpness is set at 5.

    Here is a look at the original untouched photo so we can discuss what type of post processing I did.



    As you can see, the gazebo puts Mickey in the shade. I only had the built in flash on the camera and I knew that if I used it, it the photo would be washed out, flat and over exposed. It was better to not use the flash and brighten up the picture in the computer. You can also see that there is an ugly crane in the background and that the sky was so bright, it lacked color.

    I shoot all my pictures in RAW format so the first thing I did was convert it to a jpeg and opened it up in PhotoScape. This is a free photo editing program that is my favorite one to use for simple tasks because it is so easy to use and does an amazing job. I also do some work in Photoshop, Photomatix, Lightroom and Adobe Camera Raw which will be discussed in later posts.


    Once opened in Photoscape, I decided to eliminate the crane first. I could have easily used the spot removal tool in Photoshop and removed it but I didn’t need that much area around Mickey. Since Mickey Mouse was the sole focus of the shot, I decided to crop out most of the picture and keep just his upper body. I clicked on the Crop tab and in the dropdown menu clicked on Crop by Original Photo Ratio.

    I kept just enough of his ears so you instantly knew it was Mickey Mouse. It also looks strange if you cut off a person’s arms or legs at a joint, so I cut him just below the wrist on one arm and kept all of the other arm.


    Next I went to the Bright,Color tab, clicked the dropdown menu and went to Brighten and clicked on Middle.


    This brightened him up perfectly but also took a little too much color from his face. Next I clicked on the Auto Level dropdown menu and clicked on Medium. The only thing this did was return a small amount of color t his face and voila, I was happy with the finished photo.

    After that, just click on Save - Save As - call it what you want, make sure you set it as a jpeg and you're done.

    Thanks for reading and please make sure to check back tomorrow for the next installment of Disneyland Photo of the Day!

    Happy Snapping!
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Last edited by Hot Sauce 1; 12-13-2010 at 01:12 PM.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


    Flickr page: www.flickr.com/ringoffirehotsauce
    You Tube: www.youtube.com/ringoffireguy
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    Personal website: www.mikeanddianes.com

  2. #2

    • Minion
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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Fantastic as always!

  3. #3

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Wow! I love it! Can't wait to see more!

  4. #4

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Cool shot . My only complaint with this photo is that it is a tiny bit too dark. Other than that I love it. Well-framed, very creative shot.

    Do you have any sort of RAW editing software? I highly recommend Lightroom. It's a great program for batch editing. It's easy to use and allows to naturally lighten or darken images before converting them into a jpeg.


    I really think MiceChat should create an Art>Photography forum forum where all the photographers can discuss photography techniques and such.

  5. #5

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    I love it! Great use of cropping that makes for a very interesting shot! Can't wait to see more.

  6. #6

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Great concept for a thread and very enjoyable first post, a lot of fun and informative to read. Thank you and keep them coming!

  7. #7

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Nice picture! Can't wait to see more.
    If adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones ... and Disneyland

  8. #8

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    This thread is full of WIN!!




    Help me get more security in Pingvinivlle! Click here!


    Quote Originally Posted by AGhostFromThePast
    all you need to know about the mommy stick is.. out of all the bad things that could happen to you... it's right between wetting yourself and death.

  9. #9

    • MargyDisneylandLover
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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    I can not wait until tomorrow for the next picture!! I work in a photo lab and see tons of pictures everyday and yours are some of the most creative and well done pictures I have ever seen!!! I always look forward to seeing you pictures!!!!!
    My Name Is Margy and I am a mint julepaholic.
    Disneyland freak since my first trip when I turned 6 months old...september 1987!!
    "I do not like to repeat successes, I like to go on to other things."
    ~* Uncle Walt *~
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    ​Proud premium Annual Passholder since May 2nd, 2014


  10. #10

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    First, let me say THANK YOU to everyone for their kind words about this daily column. I think it will be a lot of fun.

    For todays Disneyland Photo of the Day, I had to choose a picture (actually a set of pictures) that have no post processing to them whatsoever. These are exactly how they camera took them. There are several reasons why I chose these photos.
    1. They serve to reinforce some of the points from yesterdays post, such as positioning yourself to the side of the character photo spots and taking the picture from a lower vantage point.
    2. 2. It was 108 degrees here in El Cajon yesterday and right as I was about to start doing some extensive Photoshop work on a picture, the transformer outside our building exploded and we had no power for most of the evening. Since that seriously cut into my time, I had to choose something that would be faster to post.
    3. I really, really like them.







    I took these pictures a few weeks ago while walking through New Orleans Square. I saw that Tiana’s Mardi Gras Celebration was going on and Princess Tiana was posing for pictures. If you have seen this show, you know that Tiana is at the top of the stairway on kind of a mezzanine level walkway. People go up one side of the stairs to take their picture with Princess Tiana and exit down the other side of the stairway or go down past the band on the walkway. I positioned myself on the exit side of the stairway, 2 steps down from the top. I also got on my knees so I would be looking up at Tiana, thus getting rid of any people in the background. While I was taking pictures of Tiana, one of the other show girls came over and was chatting with one of the other performers right in front of me. I loved the colors of her outfit and she is also very pretty and full of life. I have taken pictures of her before and she is so photogenic that the camera just loves her.
    (Hint: If a certain performer keeps catching your eye, trust it. Usually that person will be the most photogenic and you will get very good pictures of them. I would much rather have a few exceptional pictures of 1 or 2 performers than 50 average pictures of 50 different people.)

    As you can see, by looking up at her instead of at the same level, there are no other people in the background and the trees give a beautiful green backdrop to her purple outfit.

    I was using a new 50mm f/1.8 lens that I just bought and the shallow depth of field gives a beautiful bokeh to the tree leaves in the background. It blurs them just enough to make her stand out but still let you know they are trees. This new lens does have its limitations because you can’t zoom in or out with it but it is a very fast lens, especially in low light situations like Dark Rides. I am finding it more and more fun to shoot with. For those of you with DSLR’s, I highly recommend one. It is only $99.00 on Amazon.com. It is also an excellent portrait lens.

    Camera Settings:
    Aperture Priority AE
    Aperture 2.0
    ISO Auto = 100
    Speed 1/640 second
    Picture Style was my Custom Setting.

    Happy Snapping!
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Last edited by Hot Sauce 1; 08-09-2010 at 11:26 PM.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


    Flickr page: www.flickr.com/ringoffirehotsauce
    You Tube: www.youtube.com/ringoffireguy
    Facebook: http://profile.to/michaelgreening/
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    Personal website: www.mikeanddianes.com

  11. #11

    • 10 Year Annual Passholder
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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Beautiful pictures! Awesome job and great idea for a thread.

    ^Art by me!^
    Check out my
    Flickr page for a selection of my Disneyland Resort photography (and more)! {new photos 8.11.14}
    You can purchase a selection of my photos as well as clothing and stickers designed by me at my RedBubble page.
    Visit my
    Tumblr blog for another way to view and share my photos.
    Radiator Springs Racers ride count: 18

  12. #12

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Thank you for the great pics and tips HotSauce. She is one of my favorite performers at the Resort. Has gave performances on the Jubliee show, Mardi Gras show, and has helped make some great special memories with Celebrate for me and my bf. She recognizes us now and we also have to say hi and wave.

  13. #13

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Beautiful pictures!! Thank you so much for sharing them!

    I have been looking to get a new camera for a while but just don't know which to go with. I want to have amazingly crisp, colorful pictures like yours.

  14. #14

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    Great pictures! Thanks for sharing them!
    If adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones ... and Disneyland

  15. #15

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    Re: The Disneyland Photo of the Day...

    For today’s Disneyland Photo of the Day, I give you “A Magical Moment with Stitch”



    I chose this picture because it shows one of the ways you can turn a mediocre picture into something that shines. I took it a few weeks ago on my last visit to Disneyland. I had just come out of the lockers on Main St. and was kind of pinned by the crowd right there in front of the fruit and water stand. The Celebrate Street Party Parade had just arrived and had stopped right in front of us. I had never really given this parade much attention because I’m just not much of a parade person. I had never photographed this parade before and since I couldn’t go anywhere, I figured what the heck. I crawled under the rope but was stuck behind a woman with a huge backpack and could not get into a decent position to take pictures. I was stuck standing fully upright, (which if you’ve read the previous two posts, you know I like to be lower to the ground), and forced to take pictures over her head.

    It was the late afternoon parade and I was on the wrong side of the street. I was looking into the sun and all the performers were shaded on my side.

    I still had my 50mm lens on, which doesn’t have any ability to zoom in or out and I didn’t have time to change lenses, nor did I even think to check my camera settings. Like the true novice that I am, I just started snapping away. I also wasn’t paying attention to one of my own bad habits which means I was only looking through the viewfinder and had my left eye closed. ALWAYS TRY TO KEEP BOTH EYES OPEN! I was turned to the right taking pictures of Donald and Daisy Duck when I felt my wife smacking me on the head trying to get my attention. Stitch was right in front of me dancing with the performer on stilts. Luckily I turned in time to take a few pictures of them having this embrace.

    Now let’s take a look at the original photo. It my opinion, it’s nothing special. There’s great magic happening in the middle of the shot, but there is so much going on in the background that the characters are basically lost in a sea of people and color.



    I opened it up in Photoshop Elements and knew that the first thing I had to do was crop out as much of the crowd as I could and just keep the main characters. Here’s what it looks like after cropping.


    It still looks like a mess of background noise to me and there is a persons face right between the two characters. I decided to use the Gaussian Blur filter and blur the background so only the two characters stood out. I won’t go into full details of what it takes to do that because there are quite a few steps, between background layers, adjustment layers, filter masks and such, it is just too difficult to type out.

    Once I had it blurred the way I wanted, I clicked the Auto Smart Fix button and that richened the colors a bit and made the background fade out a little more. Next, I wasn’t happy with the Stilt Performers face because it was still kind of dark and she was so pretty that I didn’t want to lose her. I used the Selection Tool and selected just her face and used the Lighten Shadows slider to brighten her up just a tad.

    Camera Settings:
    Shooting Mode: Program AE (should have been Aperture Priority)
    Aperture 5.6 (should have been around 2.0)
    ISO Auto = 100
    Speed 1/200

    I know this seems like a lesson in how to use Photoshop to save a bad photo, but the real lesson I would like to pass on is this; Had I taken 30 seconds to think about what I was shooting and adjusted the camera accordingly, 30 seconds then could have saved me 30 minutes in the computer. Had I set the camera to Aperture Priority and had the Aperture around 2.0, the crowd would have already been blurred, I would have faster shutter speed and better lighting on it. All I would have needed to do in the computer was crop it.

    There you have it, turning lemons into lemonade with the help of Photoshop.

    Happy Snapping!
    © Michael Greening 2010
    Last edited by Hot Sauce 1; 08-09-2010 at 11:02 PM.
    Life is far too short for bland food!


    Flickr page: www.flickr.com/ringoffirehotsauce
    You Tube: www.youtube.com/ringoffireguy
    Facebook: http://profile.to/michaelgreening/
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    Personal website: www.mikeanddianes.com

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