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Tag Archives: Florida

It seems whereever we travel, we always find an array of critters to amuse and entertain. Now, central Florida doesn’t have any chipmunks (sad, yes) but they do have plenty of small lizards! You can’t go anywhere without seeing these little guys!

“Larry” (Brown Anole, Male, Anolis sagrei, Common Florida Reptile) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 100mm, F/5.8, 1/640s, ISO 100, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Vignette’ Filter

They are full of personality but very skittish. Just when I would get close enough, they would scurry away, only to return moments later. Perhaps it is some sort of lizard game??

They particularly liked hanging around the pool ledge, basking in the hot sun. This female was certainly gettin’ her ‘tan on’ while making sure the other reptiles weren’t invading her territory.

“Lounge Lizard” (Brown Anole, Female, Anolis sagrei, Common Florida Reptile) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 34.3mm, F/4.5, 1/800s, ISO 100, Cropped and Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Vignette’ Filter applied

During our visit, we also saw many birds wandering about, most likely looking to make a nice meal out of the small lizards. 🙂

“Little Blue” (Little Blue Heron, Egretta caerulea) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 20.3mm, F/4.5, 1/200s, -0.7EV, ISO 100

Mostly, we saw white egrets, cormorants and ducks, so it was a nice change of pace to come across this colorful fellow. I wish it wasn’t just as we were leaving for the airport! Isn’t that the way it is with critters? When you have all the time in the world, none can be found but as soon as you are in a hurry or ill-prepared, boom! They appear out of nowhere, posing all nice.

Until next time, my friends. 🙂

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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. 😉

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. 🙂 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.” 🙂

I’ve seen alot of HDR (High Dynamic Range) images lately and wanted to try my hand at one.  

One of the problems inherent in photography is the camera’s incapacity to accurately reproduce scenes with high contrast. In these instances, the photographer must choose between exposing to preserve the shadows (resulting in areas of blown-out highlights), or exposing to preserve the highlights (resulting in completely dark shadows and therefore, no shadow detail). This can get frustrating since our eye discerns much more tonalities in the real world and ideally, we’d like our images to show the same.  

For those unfamiliar, HDR images represent a scene containing a wide range of light intensity levels, from the very darkest shadows to the lightest highlights. They are generally achieved by capturing multiple standard photographs, often using exposure bracketing, and then merging them via software into an HDR image. The results can vary greatly based upon how far you want to push the limits – from natural-looking to the more, let’s say, fantastical. 🙂  

While walking over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the sunset sky behind the Tower of Terror was simply breathtaking. Seemed like a perfect subject for HDR so down went the tripod and the adventure began. The camera was set for exposure bracketing (taking a series of images at different exposure values) as well as interval timer shooting (allows one click of the shutter to initiate the series since you want as little camera movement as possible). I also turned on “exposure delay mode” which delays the shutter release about 1 sec after the mirror is raised (since raising the mirror can also cause slight camera shake).

“Sunset Terror” (Tower of Terror, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, HDR) Nikon D300, 70mm, F/13, ISO 320, Six Exposure Ranges, Photomatix Pro

Back home, the real work began.  

At first, I played with the HDR processing included in Photoshop, but sadly, that was not producing the results I desired (a dark, moody scene, that is, afterall, the essence of the Tower of Terror). So, I moved on over to the trial version of Photomatix Pro, and after a short learning curve, was able to generate a pleasing HDR image from six separate exposures! Most HDR processes require some tweaking/finishing and that was easily performed back in Photoshop.  

I must say I was so impressed with the power of Photomatix Pro, that I purchased the software and, using an online code, got 20% off to boot! 🙂  

HDR is definitely a technique I look forward to using in the future!

“Spaceship Earth” (Epcot, Walt Disney World, Florida) Nikon D300, 42mm, F/13, 1/400s, -0.7EV, ISO 200

Greetings from the Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World! I wish I could say it is HOT here, but that would be lying. 😦 A cold front moved in and the temps are a little chillier than expected but still better than what the folks are experiencing back in Massachusetts, so who am I to complain? (Besides, it’s nothing a little bubbly can’t cure!)I’ve decided that all Project 365 posts during this trip will be in the form of postcards – how neat is that?

So far we’ve been enjoying the fine food and spirits of the festival taking place at Epcot, soooo postcard #1 just had to be a shot of the theme park’s recognizable icon – Spaceship Earth!

Cheers! 😀

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