Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cool photo opportunities traveling to / and at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA

Before the summer was over and the kids went back to school, we made a week long trip down to Southern California. As you may have seen from a previous blog entry, I was shooting the U.S. Open Men's Water Polo tournament in that area, and it was right around the corner from Disneyland...so...off we went to combine the two.

We were heading east on Highway 152, only about 45 minutes into the trip, when we came across this beautiful field of flowers. Before I could plead my wife to pull over (since she was at the wheel), she was already pulling over. She knew that this was too much for me to resist! We were on the other side of the 2 lane freeway, so I had to play a game of Frogger (for those of you who remember the video game) to get to the other side, without becoming road kill. It was worth the mad scramble. :)

As you can see, the tough part was deciding where to shoot the images. Moving 10 feet in any direction, or shooting from different heights, gave a completely different look to this field.

It was early enough in the morning that the skies were still overcast, so I did not have to fight any harsh sunlight and shadows. I did shoot some images straight down the rows of flowers, but preferred the lines going diagonally across the frame.

And then, mid afternoon, we drove into Santa Monica, CA to stretch our legs and check out the beach. For this shot, I waited for many of the bike riders to intersect each other in the middle of my frame.

Two days later, after photographing the water polo tournament, we headed to the Magic Kingdom. As always, the place was crowded, but we had a great time on all the rides and avoided a lot of the congestion by having a good plan. To make the most of Disneyland, you need to make creative use of the fast passes and avoiding the park in the middle of the day. I took this image to show the congestion along Main Street. (Photographer's note: This is what we call a scene setter. Although I took many other images of the kids and the park, this one helps set the scene and give the viewer an idea of the location and the crowds. Make sure to capture these to help tell the whole story in images.)

As much as I love photography, I did not bring my camera on the first day of the trip. I wanted to give that day to the family without any distractions. This is not an easy thing to do when your brain is saying "Oh - look at that - that would be a cool shot!" On the second day I actually dragged my 5D Mark II with me. I am glad that I did. This is a shot of my daughter (3rd from the right) and her friends on a swing ride with the "California Screaming" roller coaster and the moon in the background.

This is probably my favorite photo from our vacation. I remember seeing this view on our last visit to "California Adventures", but did not have the right equipment for the shot. This time I went to the park with my 5D Mark II and a monopod. I went onto a nearby bridge, to get above the water line, rested my monopod against the railing to sturdy it, and grabbed this image. I love the colors of the rides and the reflections in the water. My wife looked at this shot and asked how much post-processing I had done to boost the colors. Believe it or not, I didn't have to modify this image, this is how it looked!

I really wanted to photograph the "World of Color" show from the best vantage point. Earlier in the day, I called the media relations group at Disney to see if I could get press access for the show. Being a last minute request, I was denied. But, I used other creative techniques (don't ask) to get a prime position and shot images of the show. For these images, I used the same technique as the shot from the bridge, with the monopod resting against a railing. Normally I would have brought a tripod, but the limited amount of standing room made that impossible.

This is another favorite image from the trip. What really makes this shot special isn't all the water and color in the background, it is the silhouette of the little girl presumably on her dad's shoulders. (You can click on the image to see it better.) I have a couple of different shots in this sequence, but in this shot, she was turned perfectly towards Mickey. I have to admit that I did modify this image. In the original shot, there were a couple of other tall people in front and a couple of outstretched hands with cameras, which I cloned out. I really wanted to draw attention to the little girl up front. (Photographer's note: It is very important for your image to have a subject, or a point of your image where you want to draw the attention of the viewer. This image really helps to show off that point. When I show this image to friends, even though there is a ton of color and action in the background, they immediately comment on the little girl high above the crowd.)

1 comment:

Eleonora Tonoli said...

Beautiful ! I hope to visit soon Disneyland :)