Shooting park icons is pretty irresistible. We don’t get to the parks as often as I like, but even if I lived near the parks, I think there are some shots I’d probably take almost every time. Ok, maybe every time.

There’s no doubt the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a park icon. And I shoot it every time. This daytime shot is one I made sure to get even when I didn’t care about photography:

nice shot - pretty blue sky, nice & cheerful

nice shot – pretty blue sky, nice & cheerful

It’s a great daytime shot, especially with the blue sky and clouds. The problem is, this theming and storyline are not bright and cheerful.

This time though, I thought I’d try something a bit different. We usually don’t stay late at Hollywood Studios, and until the park goes through all the construction over the next couple of years, I expect most visitors will probably leave pretty early.

At any rate, since we were there at night, I found myself looking toward the Tower of Terror with a chance to catch a shot I’ve never tried. As it turns out, this attraction goes through quite a mood swing when darkness sets in.

Here are a few:

pretty creepy in black and white, especially with the light in the window

pretty creepy in black and white, especially with the light in the window

These shots aren’t spectacular, but they are different for me. Except for those daytime shots with the bright, cheery sky, the Tower is kind of creepy and has the old Hollywood feel.

I thought I’d post process a few of the shots in black and white. I was going for an old film noir feel, maybe with a bit of a dreamlike quality for some of them – not quite nightmarish, but trying to make it look a bit ominous. And my memories of Twilight Zone episodes are kind of creepy, and all the ones I remember were in black and white.

vintage processing preset increases the unreal feeling in this shot

vintage processing preset adds to the dreamlike colors in this shot

I particularly like the shots from the Tower’s side – I got these while we were leaving Fantasmic and just stopped quickly to fire these off. Here I was trying to show a view like what you’d have if you were on the run (either to or from the Tower!) and your view was partially blocked by the trees.

bad photo due to obstruction, or does it seem like we're hiding from something?

bad photo due to obstruction, or does it seem like we’re hiding from something?

I shot all of these handheld with my Nikon D5300, with my 35mm f1.8 lens. I did all photo edits in Lightroom 5 with standard black and white and vintage presets, and added vignetting around the photo edges to give a little more spookiness to the shots.

Anyway, I was going for shots that could be still shots from an old black and white movie, and also to show how different it is to shoot the Tower of Terror at night, versus shooting in broad daylight.

Do you have park icon shots that show a great difference between daylight and nighttime? Share them with us!

What do you think?

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