Photographing Walt Disney World Resorts from the Water

I enjoy the water transportation services at Walt Disney World. While they can be crowded at times, the smaller vessels are normally very relaxing. For photographers, riding them can give unique views of the many resorts found on the waters of WDW.

Polynesian Village Resort from the water
Polynesian Village Resort and Bungalows from a Motor Launch on the Seven Seas Lagoon in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/28-300VR, 1/640s, f/6.3, ISO 100, EV +0.3, 63mm Focal Length, cropped.

Taking a motor launch from the Magic Kingdom to the Grand Floridian, I photographed the Polynesian Village Resort and Bungalows.  Even though it was late morning, I got good light with the Sun being behind me. I cropped this down as the original had way too much sky above the resort.

Bay Lake Tower from the water
Disney’s Bay Lake Tower and Disney’s Contemporary Resort as seen from a motor cruiser on Bay Lake in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D750/24-120VR, 1/125s, f/8, ISO EV 0, 32mm Focal Length, Circular Polarizer Filter.

Riding in the back of a larger motor launch to Fort Wilderness Campground and Resort, I used a Circular Polarizer Filter and low afternoon Sun to bring out colors of Disney’s Bay Lake Tower and Contemporary Resorts and the clouds above them.

Saratoga Springs Resort from the water
Saratoga Springs Resort from a Sassagoula River ferry in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Nikon D700/50mm, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 3200, EV 0.

Taking a Sassagoula River ferry from Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, one gets beautiful views of a few resorts until you come upon the Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort before arriving at Disney Springs. The Sun had set and left beautiful colors on the clouds and brought out the lights around the resort.

Yacht Club Resort from the water
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort from a FriendShip boat on Crescent Lake at Walt Disney World. Nikon D700/24-120VR, 1/400s, f/10, ISO 200, EV -0.3, 170mm Focal Length.

It was early in the morning when I boarded a FriendShip Boat for Epcot. One of the stops along the way was Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. The Sun was still low in the sky and gave off a nice warm light.

Notice in each paragraph below the photos I talk about where the Sun was. When you are photographing anytime outside, a photographer needs to take notice of where the Sun is and the quality of the light. Is the sunlight harsh, warm, cool, shadowy, reflective? It is high or low in the sky or even below the horizon?  Keeping track of the Sun’s location should become a part of your photography skill.

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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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