Photographing Pandora in Portrait Mode at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Most people, when using a camera, normally photograph in a Landscape or Horizontal orientation, meaning the photo is wider than it is tall. To get a photo in a Portrait or Vertical orientation, the camera needs to be rotated 90 degrees.  However, if people use a camera phone, they are apt to shoot in the Portrait orientation. In both cases, people either do not see the different compositions or are just too lazy to try both ways.

I often shoot a scene both ways, though there are keys as to which may come out better. A Portrait composition emphasizes the length or height of a subject which is not very wide. People are a prime example, although once you get a group of three or more, a Landscape composition begins to look better.

In Pandora, there are many compositions that I found worked best in portrait. Starting off with a Floating Mountain waterfall in Pandora’s Valley of Mo’ara at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which I anchored with flowers.

Pandora Portrait 01
Flowers below the Floating Mountains of Pandora in the Valley of Mo’ara in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 1250, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

I photographed other waterfalls in Pandora that day showing both orientations.

Looking up from one of Pandora’s trails, I found this angled composition featuring a Grinch Tree, one of the many fun details found in the Valley of Mo’ara.

Pandora Portrait 03
Pandora Grinch Tree in Valley of Mo’ara in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/125s, f/16, ISO 900, EV 0, 20mm Focal Length.

Portrait landscape photos with people help to show the size or scale of the scene. Even if one of them is 6′ 6″ tall.

Pandora Portrait 04
People on the Na’vi River Journey queue in the Valley of Mo’ara at Pandora in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 1/160s, f/6.3, ISO 100, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length.

Long exposures are just as stunning in Portrait photos with the use of a tripod and L-Bracket,  especially at night on the far away moon of Pandora.

Pandora Portrait 05
People visiting the Valley of Mo’ara after nightfall in Pandora in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/16-35VR, 13s, f/8, ISO 400, EV 0, 16mm Focal Length, Tripod.

So, the next time you are out photographing with your camera, rotate it a few times and see how the world looks different in Portrait.  For you phone camera users, rotate your phones to see how things look in Landscape.

What are some of your favorite vertical compositions in Pandora, or Walt Disney World? Drop us a comment below.

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Scott's "Photographic Innoventions" blog focuses on intermediate to advanced photography concepts and techniques relevant for Point and Shoot and Digital SLR cameras.

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2 Replies to “Photographing Pandora in Portrait Mode at Disney’s Animal Kingdom”

  1. I recently got a smart phone and was taking a panoramic picture of the ocean holding it horizontally (landscape) when my son told me that panoramic pictures of landscapes come out best when shot in portrait (vertical). This was contrary to my natural thought of holding it in landscape (horizontal).

    1. Yeah, that’s how my iPhone works, too, when doing a panoramic. I think it is because it is easier to hold when doing the sweeping motion with the phone. And, so, I will give the developers a pass.