Main Street Electrical Parade Over Time

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

There was a late night performance of the Main Street Electrical Parade on my last visit to the Magic Kingdom. The platform overlooking Main Street USA only had a few people so I set up the camera on a tripod to get ready to make a photo I had seen many other photographers do.

I put my camera in Manual mode and set the lens to its smallest aperture of f/22 for a large Depth of Field. This resulted in a shutter speed of 30 seconds at ISO 200. Focused on the scene and put the lens in manual focus mode. Focus would not change as long as I did not move the camera position. I screwed on a 3-stop Neutral Density filter and calculated the new shutter speed to be 90 seconds or 3 times 30 seconds. I put the camera in Bulb mode and used a timer on my smartphone with a cable release to open and close the shutter manually. Very low tech but it worked fine.

The 90 second exposure seemed a little dark to me so I did another one at 120 seconds which came out better.

Late night view of Town Square on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Late night view of Town Square on Main Street USA.
Nikon D700/24-120VR, 120s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm focal length, 3-Stop ND Filter.

When the Main Street Electrical Parade starts, they turn off most of the lighting around the park. To compensate, I added even more time as the colorful floats passed by me and up Main Street USA. I found 180 seconds gave me a very interesting photo.

Long expsoure of the Main Street Electrical parade in the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida.
Long expsoure of the Main Street Electrical Parade.
Nikon D700/28-300VR, 180s, f/22, ISO 200, EV 0, 24mm focal length, 3-stop Neutral Density filter.

Like fireworks, very colorful moving subjects like the Main Street Electrical Parade floats create beautiful photos when photographed over a long period of time.

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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