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Category Archives: Landscape

Our journey into the Magic Kingdom continues…

To avoid getting photographically bored (gasp!) when you’ve been fortunate enough to visit this park as often as we have, you learn to notice the details. There isn’t much the Imagineers can get past me these days. ūüėČ

For example, while strolling down the sidewalk on Main Street, USA, I spotted a new addition embedded in the brickwork:

“Portal to Magic” (Portal Icon – Main Street USA, ‘Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom’ Interactive Adventure, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 9.9mm, F/4, 1/400s, ISO 100

At the time, I had no idea what I was photographing was part of the latest interactive adventure called “Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom”. This large bronze medallion tells game-players where magical portals are located within the park. Hmmmm, interesting… we will have to play this the next time we are there.

“La Fountaine de Cindrillon” (Cinderella Statue, Cinderella Fountain, Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 17.3mm, F/4.5, 1/400s, ISO 100


Moving onward, we wanted to take a look at the progress being made over in the new expansion area that was formerly known as Toontown.

However, on our way there, Cinderella’s Fountain captured my eye and once again, I got down low and shot upwards so as to isolate the statue’s silhouette against the brilliant blue sky.
For reference, this is what the fountain looks like shot straight on from the front.

Cinderella Fountain

Now, you can’t photograph Cinderella and not think about Prince Charming. ūüôā Good thing his carrousel was close by and looking very colorful, washed in the Florida sunshine:

“Oh, So Charming” (Prince Charming Regal Carrousel, Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 6.6mm, F/4, 1/1000s, ISO 100

Behind the carrousel we could catch glimpses of the construction taking place beyond the familiar Disney wooden barriers. Off in the distance, the new Beast Castle rises out of the rocky hillside:

“Beast Castle” (Beast Castle Under Construction, Fantasyland Expansion, Magic Kingdom Park, Walt Disney World) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 69.2mm, F/5, 1/800s, ISO 100)

Many folks wonder why we keep returning to Disney time and time again, but for us, the answer is quite simple: “If they build it, we will come.” ūüôā


Anyone living along the east coast who thought the weather forecasters were kidding about the Nor’easter woke up to find the joke was on us! My city faired better than many with only a few inches, BUT it was the heavy, wet kind of snow that¬†downed many branches including a large one¬†off of my (already damaged) Coral Bark Maple. ūüė¶¬†I must admit, Mother Nature got me since I didn’t see that one coming or else I would have strapped the branches together (as I intended to do before ‘winter’ arrived) when we were scurrying around yesterday covering furniture and moving in fragile perennials that I had yet to get planted into the ground. Sigh.

Not wanting to dwell on what was damaged, I decided instead, to look for the beauty of the day. It isn’t often we get the combination of gorgeous fall foliage, crisp blue skies, brilliant sunshine AND a bed of the white stuff.¬†As the winds whipped, I walked the landscape, shooting until my hands were frozen.

Folks who don’t experience snowstorms often ask how we ‘deal’ with it.

Well, I think the last photo pretty much sums it up. ūüôā

"S(no!)w Welcome" (Welcome Flag with Urn) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 11mm, F/4.0, 1/100s, IS0 125, Built-in Flash, -1.3EV


"Duck, Duck, Snow!" (Resin Ducks in Snow) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 13.5mm, F/4, 1/250s, ISO 100


"When Seasons Collide" (Backyard Shed in Snowy October) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 6.8mm, F/4.0, -0.3EV, 1/320s, IS0 100


"S(no)w Swimming" (October Pool) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 4.3mm, F/8.0, 1/125s, IS0 320


"Snow Birds" (Copper Swans with 'Cardinal Red' Hydrangea) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 21.8mm, F/4.5, 1/80s, IS0 125


"Seasonal Confusion" (October Backyard, Far View) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 4.3mm, F/8.0, 1/60s, IS0 160


"How to Weather Snow in October" (Backyard Vignette) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 7mm, F/4.0, 1/00s, IS0 100

The Seas with Nemo & Friends is one of my favorite¬†EpCoT attractions. Little did I know then¬†that I would walk away with photos perfect for Karen’s October Photo Hunt, which is all about idioms.

We begin with two shots taken outside the pavilion:
“Birds of a Feather Flock Together”

“Birds of a Feather” (Animatronic Seagulls, The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion, EpCoT) Nikon Coolpix P7100, 16.3mm, F/4, 1/1000s, -1.7EV, ISO 400, Built-in Rear Curtain Flash

“Swimming with Sharks”

“Swimming with Sharks” (The Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion, EpCoT) Nikon Coolpix P7100, 6mm, F/2.8, 1/80s, ISO 400, Nik Silver Effex Pro ‘Strong IR HC’ Filter

For the third entry we head on into the ride itself. When I find myself on certain dark and rather slow-moving attractions,¬†I like to play with slow-shutter speeds allowing colors and forms to bleed into interesting compositions. So, from inside my ‘clamobile’, I clicked the shutter release and held the camera as steady as I could:

“Blur the Lines”

“Blur the Lines” (The Seas with Nemo & Friends Ride, EpCoT) Nikon Coolpix P7100, 6mm, F/2.8, 2s, ISO 1600

Visions of coral reefs, sunken vessels and sea life are instantly transformed into¬†a land of pink and apricot clouds¬†along with a lime green sun (or, is it¬†an alien ship??) ūüėȬ†

For the bonus Halloween shot, we head on¬†over to the Magic Kingdom. I simply¬†couldn’t resist this little guy dangling from one of¬†the¬†scarecrows that decorate¬†the¬†common at the very start of Main Street, USA:¬†

“Hung Out to Dry”¬†

“Hung Out to Dry” (Pumpkin Mickey Doll, Magic Kingdom, Main Street USA) Canon Powershot SX40 HS, 20.3mm, F/4.5, 1/800s, ISO 100

So, there you have it… THREE days early¬†and complete with¬†idiom bonus! ūüôā

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011, was a strange weather day for us here in Massachusetts. The air was downright hot and thick with humidity, not normal for early June but who were we to complain after such a brutally cold winter? Even so, somehow, in the back of your brain, you knew this was different.

You could literally feel it.

The news talked about potential severe thunderstorms throughout the day and there were even a few tornado watches but, what’s to worry about? We don’t get tornadoes here.¬†This is¬†Massachusetts!

Hubby left work that afternoon a little early to beat any bad weather and arrived home safely but a bit apprehensive that I had to head out to teach a class in the next town over. I figured all I needed to worry about was getting drenched in a downpour so off I went as scheduled. (At the time we had no idea that a series of very powerful tornadoes were carving a path of destruction through the western and central part of the state)!

The winds howled outside as I taught and when class was over,¬†we all were simply glad it wasn’t raining. I made it home without incident and we ate dinner glued to the local news¬†channels, awestruck by the ugly-looking radar that now seemed to be heading our way. News reports of the tornado in Springfield were starting to come in and as the storms approached, we began to get nervous things were indeed as serious¬†as they appeared.¬†

We decided to head outside to ‘batten down the hatches’ and as we did so, we witnessed the strangest sky. I’ve never seen it look like this before – the entire sky was¬†yellow. And not a pastel yellow but a deep golden tone¬†that washed over the landscape with an eerie glow. I did my best to try to capture it but this image does not truly do it justice. Dusk never looks like this. In fact, the sun sets way off to the left of the frame and couldn’t possibly produce this effect!

Only now do I understand that this sort of yellow sky oftentimes indicates the coming of a severe storm and one highly favorable for tornadoes. Yikes.

Luckily for us, the storms lessened as they worked their way to the coast and much of the severe thunderstorms went south of us. Relief! We wouldn’t begin to discover the¬†magnitude of the day for those in Western and Central Mass until the next¬†morning as all our news channels were filled with¬†incredible images and video of the destruction. Being familiar with many of the affected areas only makes it all¬†that much more unreal. It just doesn’t seem possible.

My heart goes out to all who witnessed first-hand the horror of the day’s events, especially those¬†who suffered the greatest loss of all – the loss of life.¬†Many have a difficult¬†road ahead of them. Debris can be cleared,¬†trees replanted,¬†homes re-built and power restored, but the scars of this day will take a long, long time to heal.

God Bless.

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