You may have seen my previous Photo Bucket List posts for the four Walt Disney World parks (and one resort!), and I’ll have some more lists to come, but I thought I’d ask a question in this post: What attraction, park location, or resort spot is most difficult for you to photograph? And I’ll follow up with another question – what’s making the shot tough for you?
For me, night time photography in the parks and resorts, along with dark ride photography, are my focus (no pun intended). I have some ok photographs in these settings, but nothing really good. I won’t retell my photography journey here, but I haven’t been semi-serious about photography that long, so my expectations have been a bit unrealistic. And some of the night time and dark ride settings aren’t the easiest for photography. And to complicate things, I had a significant camera problem on our last trip, so I was lucky to get the decent shots I have. I relied too much on technology, and not enough on skill and practice.
These shots from Pirates of the Caribbean are ok – but I hope to get better next time. My shots from Peter Pan’s Flight were blah. Last time I didn’t even try Haunted Mansion. For now I’m planning to improve my Pirates and Peter Pan shots, and give Haunted Mansion a try.
I’ll tackle fireworks photography when I get there – or not. The next time we go, we’ll have a little girl making her first trip, so photography will take a back seat. And that’s ok – I’d rather trade a great night time shot for the money shot – capturing the look on her face when she turns the corner and sees the Castle down Main Street. And I think I’d have to turn in my Dad card if I spent her first time seeing Wishes in person shooting fireworks instead of letting her sit on my shoulders.
Having said all of that, what’s standing in the way of your getting the shots you want?
Is it the time needed to setup and camp out at the right spot for Wishes or Illuminations? I think we can all relate – time is at a premium, and you want to make the most of the overall park experience (and balance the expectations of everyone in your party!). Waiting for the perfect monorail photograph at EPCOT may take a while – and you may find yourself abandoned if you hold out. Or maybe it’s spending too much time on the app worrying about FastPass+. I think FastPass+ is great, but I think we’re more absorbed in our gadgets while at the parks (if that’s possible). Staring at your screen and waiting to get another ride or something can be a huge distraction.
Is it equipment related? I’m a gadget and software fanatic, so you won’t get any argument from me if you answer that you need the right camera equipment. And even with cell phone and point and shoot pocket cameras as they are (and will only get better), there’s no doubt in my mind that a good DSLR (and knowing a bit about how to use it!) may help you clear your photography hurdles. And not everyone is fired up about carrying around another bag loaded with camera equipment.
Or have you picked something difficult to shoot? Hopefully you’re advanced enough in your photography skills that you’re on to new challenges. Long exposures for fireworks photography or nighttime settings can be tricky. Likewise, dark ride photographs combine dark scenes that are tough to shoot while standing still with ride vehicle movement – two hindrances to getting great shots.
Luckily, the online Disney fan community is a great resource for all Disney related tips, and photography is no exception. One of these days I’ll get around to listing some great websites, but starting with Google is as good as anything, or using Flickr to search good photographs.
What have been your obstacles to getting your great Disney photographs? And how did you get past them? Send us your ideas!