Back to the Future

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

I know, that is not a title to a Disney movie but Meet the Robinsons really did not fit for this article (see, I got a Disney movie reference in anyway!).

It’s been over two years since I took the photo of Cinderella Castle from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s one of the first photos I shared here on the Picture This! blog. Even before Lisa came on board to help out Barrie and I. As much as I like this photo, I always thought the colors looked faded and there was too much clutter in the foreground and to both sides.

Original photo of Cinderella Castle at dusk in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Original Photo of Cinderella Castle at Dusk.
Nikon D70/18-200VR, 1/250s, f/8, 400 ISO, EV -0.3, 80mm Focal length

Over this time, I have learned a lot about digital photo processing. I am sure you have or will do the same. It’s a good exercise to return to some of your older work and look at it from the prospective of your new knowledege of post-processing. This is what I did with this photo.

Using Apple’s Aperture 2 software, I first cropped it to eliminate what I considered clutter. In doing so I found I liked a portrait (more vertical) composition than the original landscape (horizontal) one. I, then, started to select different areas of the sky with the color dropper selection tool and enhanced them making them more vibrant. Your software may have a different way of doing this so consult the manual. I had to remove some sensor spots (I had not learned how to clean my camera’s sensor yet) and adjusted the exposure to eliminate any overexposed areas. Lastly, I applied sharpening to clean up the edges. The result you see below.

Adjusted photo of Cinderella Castle at dusk in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Adjusted Photo of Cinderella Castle at Dusk.

When you are not able to go and create new images, look back at your photo archives and “see” the future. It’s a lot of fun and a good way to learn the capabilities of your photo editing software.

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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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4 Replies to “Back to the Future”

  1. You are right — the second one just posted on flickr is FANTASMIC!!!!!!!!

    Scott replies: Thank you! Might have to get this one printed and hung on one of my walls.

  2. Scott, I have two questions. #1) For someone (me) who just takes pictures on vacation to remember where I was and what I experienced, how do you feel about just using iPhoto to handle the pictures? And,

    #2) I still let a local photo processor (and not a cheap one, either) do a lot of my pictures because I don’t like spending a lot of time “fiddling around” with them. But, I just discovered that the processor doesn’t just develop them, but also spends a lot of time “fiddling around” with them! My last vacation, they ruined the pictures, IMHO. The scenes didn’t look even close to the way they looked in real life. How does one choose a reliable processor and get them to just develop the pictures, even with my deficiencies as a photographer, instead of trying to “improve” the pictures? They weren’t there, so how do they know what the pictures are supposed to look like, anyway? Thanks for your help. I learn a lot from your blogs!

    Scott replies: Collette, for #1, iPhoto is an excellent way to organize and do some processing. Check out the Apple tutorials at I used iPhoto for a years before moving to Aperture.

    For #2, that’s a toughie. You might want to try other places near you with a small lot of 10 to 20 digital images to see how they handle them. A lot of places let their printers do color correction. If you don’t want that specifically request them not to do that. My online photo site,, will only do color correction if I request it. Most of the time, I’ve already done it and opt not to have it done. There are many online printing sites. is one many pros recommend like Scott Kelby.

  3. What a difference judicious cropping makes — nevermind the color post-processing. Thanks for the before-and-after.

  4. Hi Scott~
    Beautiful….I love it (~_~) I really liked the original also, but this one is stunning, great job!