Welcome to WDW Photography
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!