Composing Photographs at Walt Disney World

Photographic Innoventions by Scott Thomas

This week I am going to show you three photos taken at Walt Disney World and discuss them. I will share the equipment used, how I did it and why.

The “why” here in the first photo is easy to explain. I was waiting for my family to check-in at the Port Orleans-Riverside Resort. I already had my camera out and photographed around the lobby a bit. Remember to always look up when at Walt Disney World even at the resorts. While most people may not think photographing a light fixture is interesting, by using the Rule of Thirds, I created an interesting composition between the Chandelier and white ribbon design on the ceiling. I used a small zoom lens to frame the shot in Program or P mode.

Chandelier hanging in the lobby of Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Chandelier hanging in the lobby of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort.
Nikon D700/24-85mm, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 720, EV 0, 35mm Focal Length.

I wanted to show what it can be like shopping and, specifically, when checking out at Walt Disney World. This sign I found at the World of Disney store in what was then Downtown Disney (now known as Disney Springs). I thought the sign fit the theme I was looking for. Using my trusty Nikon 50mm lens (aka the Nifty-Fifty), I opened up the aperture all the way to f/1.8. As the sign is flat and perpendicular to my camera’s sensor plane, this caused the entire background behind the sign to go out of focus. Not too much so you can still make out what is in the background…a bunch of shoppers waiting to check out.

Waiting in line while shopping in the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

Waiting in line while shopping in the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney.
Nikon D700/50mm, 1/125s, f/1.8, ISO 1250, EV 0.

For most the long walk out the exit of the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is one of coming off an adrenaline rush. Though I know some people may feel otherwise. I think this photo kind of gives the feeling of the latter kind of person. This exit looks extremely long to someone who just wants to get out of the place. I used a Sigma 15mm Fisheye lens to give the hallway an even larger feel. I stood in the center to make sure the subjects in the center were not distorted. The fisheye did its magic to the walls as they look spread out and converging at the same time.

People walking out of the Rock'n'Roller Coaster exit at the Disney's Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

People walking out of the Rock’n’Roller Coaster exit.
Nikon D700/Sigma 15mm Fisheye, 1/30s, f/2.8, ISO 6400, EV 0.

You may ask how much thought I gave to each photo. On the first one, not much as I was scanning the lobby for interesting subjects when I looked up right above me. The second one, I thought of the theme or subject first and then went in search of it. I took others but feel the one I showed you was the best for my purposes. The last one I had planned even before I got on the plane to Orlando. I usually make a shot list and this idea came to me as I was looking through past trip photos. Creativity can hit us in an instant, pop into our heads or in planned thought.

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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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