Welcome to WDW Photography

By Cory Disbrow on June 13th, 2010   |    Posted in:  News   |    14 Comments


Hello! Welcome to the all new DisneyPhotographyBlog.com! My name is Cory Disbrow, and I’m one of the photo geeks that will be running this place, along with Adam Hansen and the rest of our “Cast Members”. We have several goals with this blog. First and foremost, we want to bring the Disney Magic into your home every day through our photographs, and hopefully make that agonizing time in between trips a little bit easier. Second, we wanted to take a somewhat EPCOT Center approach and adopt Walt Disney’s idea of “edutainment”. By that, I mean we want to entertain you and bring that magic home, but also help you learn how YOU can improve upon your photography while at the Disney Parks. Let’s face it, when making a list of things to bring to Walt Disney World, a camera is always at the top of the list. Also, Cinderella Castle is one of the most photographed structures on the face of this planet. So, why not learn a little bit, and make your digital keepsakes better? We hope to have a great ride and a ton of fun with this little project, and we hope you’ll take that journey with us!

Imagineering the Shot

I thought I would kick off the site with a post of my favorite icon from the parks, Spaceship Earth at EPCOT Center. Yes, I still call it EPCOT Center every time I talk about it! This shot has a great story. To capture it with minimal people in frame, I had to hang out at the park on an Extra Magic Hour night until near midnight (poor me, I know!). I set up right in front of the little fountain in the center of the plaza, and set my tripod down as low to the ground as it can go. I used the tripod for two main reasons. The first is that while shooting at night, using a tripod is the best way to ensure a crisp, clear shot. Using it eliminates any shake coming from your hands during what could potentially be a 30 second (yes, half a minute!) long exposure. The second reason is that this is an HDR shot. HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and is a technique that involves shooting the same scene multiple times with exposure bracketing (otherwise known as shooting at multiple levels of brightness), and then blending them on your computer at home to get the full range of the scene. Check your camera’s manual to see if you can bracket. Most DSLR’s and a growing range of Point and Shoot cameras can do this now. For the shot, I used my Canon 5D Mark II camera with the Sigma 15 mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens attached. I needed the super wide view of the fisheye to get all of SSE in the frame from where I was shooting. I shot in Aperture Priority mode, and set the aperture to f/7.1 to get a large portion of the subject in crisp focus.

Magical Post Production

Once home from WDW, I had the task of editing the photo. To do so, I used the program Photomatix to merge the three shots into one HDR image with the Tone Mapping portion of the program. After saving, I then opened the shot in Adobe Photoshop CS4. I did some simple highlight recovery and shadow fill in the Camera Raw software that comes with Photoshop, and I also increased the black levels and contrast. After that, I ran the image through the Nik Color Efex Pro filter, using the Tonal Contrast option. This is a great way to add some extra contrast and color saturation to really help the image pop off the screen. After Color Efex Pro did its magic, I used the Unsharp Mask in Photoshop to sharpen the photo a little more, and then saved it and was ready to go!


If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You might be slightly geeky for doing so! I hope this inaugural post helped bring some magic into your day, and all of us here at Disney Photography Blog hope you all enjoyed it! See ya real soon!


  1. Adam Hansen   |   Jun 13, 2010

    Great shot Cory and a great start to the blog!

  2. Susan   |   Jun 14, 2010

    Great way to start if off Cory! Congrats to you & Adam for getting this up & running. Looking forward to reading more.

    • Adam Hansen   |   Jun 14, 2010

      Thank you, really appreciate that!

  3. Scott Thomas   |   Jun 14, 2010

    An excellent start and concept, Cory and Adam. I would like to feature this blog on a future AllEars post. Drop me an email when you get time.

    • Adam Hansen   |   Jun 14, 2010

      Thanks Scott. We would definitely appreciate a mention on AllEars – that would be great! I have sent you an email and look forward to hearing back.

  4. Doug   |   Jun 14, 2010

    Hey guys everything is looking good. Already added you to my Twitter and RSS Feeds. Glad Adam is aboard because I did not want any of this to be Canon bias. Ha Ha. Seriously though great first post. Looking forward to reading more.

    • Cory Disbrow   |   Jun 14, 2010

      Don’t worry Doug, the Canon/Nikon debate will surely happen here, with lots of wit and sarcasm attached ;)

  5. Ray Horwath   |   Jun 14, 2010

    Cory and Adam, congrats on kicking off the site! It’s a great concept. I’m looking forward to reading and viewing more from the two of you.

    • Adam Hansen   |   Jun 14, 2010

      Thanks Ray. If you are ever interested in contributing be sure to let us know!

  6. Bill Ryan   |   Jun 14, 2010

    I will be a frequent visitor to your website, great idea for Disney photographers and everyday Disney fans as well. Not sure if this is in your plans but I’d like to see your Photoshop/Lightroom processing techniques; maybe a before/after or a step-by-step guide for a particular picture or group of pictures. Good luck °o°

    • Adam Hansen   |   Jun 14, 2010

      Thanks Bill. That is a great idea and something we are definitely planning to do. Looking forward to seeing your comments on a regular basis – thanks!

  7. Ryan Pastorino   |   Jun 14, 2010

    Awesome site here guys. This will surely be a great source.

    Cory, excellent first post! It has already provided some great insight. I have wondered about your workflow so already I am learning great things.

    While I have photographed Disney parks on every visit over the past few years, I have been blown away by the stuff I have seen on Flickr from yourself and the other the big names and now I want to improve my Disney photography. If you guys ever want to include a section of this site for that other little old park here in California, I would love to contribute! It’s right up the road.

  8. Cory Disbrow   |   Jun 15, 2010

    Just wanted to leave an extra thank you to everyone for checking out the site! We hope you enjoy what we’ve put together and can’t wait to show you more!

  9. Vanessa   |   Jun 17, 2010

    Great concept on this site! I’m a big Disney fan, but still on my first steps into photography. Hope to see more of the magic making of this always amazing pictures!



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