Waiting to Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

It is late in the day at the Magic Kingdom and the family wants to go on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The standby line is 45 minutes and you agree it is worth the time. Because, you know you will be around the back of the queue which overlooks the ride just as the Sun lights up the mountain like it does in the real American Southwest.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad thrill ride at sunset in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Fire on the Mountain as the setting Sun lights up the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/100s, f/5, ISO 200, EV 0, 50mm focal length.

You still have time as the line is moving slowly to notice something you have not seen before. The train popping up over a ridge where for a split second, you only see the engine.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad engine appearing over a ridge in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad engine pops over a ridge.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/5.6, ISO 500, EV 0, 190mm focal length.

As you move deeper in the queue and away from the overlook, you hear a couple of young guests excitingly talking as they watch screaming guests riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Everything lined up including framing the train between iron rods.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad being watched from the queue in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

Watching Big Thunder Mountain Railroad from the queue.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/8, ISO 1100, EV 0, 28mm focal length.

Long queue times can be very fruitful at a Disney themepark if you keep your eyes open for photo opportunities. Go back and notice the ISO settings for each photo. As the light got dimmer, the camera automatically adjusted the ISO to compensate.

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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 “Waiting to Ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad”

  1. While waiting in line to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, I was able to get some great photos of the ride. That is the upside of waiting. These photos reminded me of that. So now, I will never complain about queues, many attraction photos can be had while waiting.

  2. Scott,
    I stop by everyday to see the latest picture and I am never disappointed. Thanks for all the time and effort the team puts into the Picture This! section.
    Being a newbie to the world of photography I am always looking for tips and tricks. I also pay close attention to exif. I noticed that there was no common setting among the 3 photos. Then in your remarks you stated that the camera automatically changed the ISO. For this particular series what setting were you using? Full auto? ISO set to auto only?
    Sorry, but another question… what is your standard mode that you do most of your shooting around WDW? I realize that you change depending on the situation… low light = small f-stop, high speed action = fast shutter speed, but what is the most common setting and/or mode if you are just strolling through the magic kingdom? Thanks for any info.
    Keep up the great work!

    Scott replies: As I just mentioned to Josh, I use Nikon’s Auto ISO but NOT full Auto. I normally use P-Mode which I call Professional mode most of the time I am photographing at Walt Disney World. With two exceptions. If I am using a tripod, I will use Aperture Priority mode or I need to capture fast moving action and will use Shutter Priority mode.

  3. Hey Scott. Thanks for the blog…BTMRR is and has always been my favorite!! What setting are you using that allows your ISO to set itself? Thanks again.

    PS – I finally got those Dolica ND filters you suggested a while back. I still need to find the time to get out and use them but I’m pumped about it.

    Scott replies: Hi, Josh! You are going to have fun with those ND filters. Nikon dSLR’s have an Auto-ISO setting which I use. So, all I need to worry about is the shutter speed and aperture and the ISO is automatically set to get the correct exposure.

  4. Scott, The first photo of BTMR is awesome! I am not a photographer but appreciate the colors and how you captured the setting in that pic. I love it!

    Scott replies: Thank you, Kristi!