I have been amazed at the photos that Jeff B has on his Flickr account. Since I am an amateur photographer and none of my shots turn out this great, I wanted to pick his brain about taking photographs.
George: How do you look for great photo locations?
Jeff B: There is no shortage of photo opportunities at Walt Disney World. Many of the Imagineers were skilled as movie makers so the perfect shot is often right in front of your eyes as you walk on a path at a park or a resort. However, I will also look for shots from different angles and perspective and this allows you to find many of those Disney details which are not so obvious. Once I have found what I think is a good shot I will some times try the same shot closer and further away. A good source for inspiration are the souvenir pictorials, in particular the older ones, which have so many amazing photos.
George: What is your favorite place at WDW to take pictures?
Jeff B: EPCOT which I think is the most beautiful of the 4 parks. Spaceship Earth and the rest of the Future World Pavilions photograph really well. World Showcase is probably as detailed as any part of WDW plus there are so many different forms of architecture. Additionally, the Pavilions are larger and in a lot of cases you can walk around portions of their exterior to find a shot where the show buildings in let’s say the Magic Kingdom are more compact and only offer access to their front. I would put the resorts as second, as for the most part they are stunning and the Magic Kingdom third.
George: What equipment do you use?
Jeff B: Through 2006, I used a Nikon N-80 film SLR. Currently, I use a Canon EOS 5D DSLR. My primary lenses are a 24-70MM, 70-200MM and a 50MM/1.4. The 50/1.4 is a very fast lens which really helps for taking shots without a flash in dark rides. The RAW files from the camera are processed using Photoshop CS3. Two of my favorite programs / plug-ins to use in conjunction with CS3 are Topaz Adjust and Photomatrix.
George: Any advice for the rest of us Disney enthusiasts?
Jeff B: Yes – keep taking pictures. In the digital age, much to the ire of the Imagination Pavilion’s sponsor, film is free. Become familiar with concepts such as shutter speed, aperture, exposure and composition. Try taking multiple shots of the same subject and make adjustments to these 4 items. In most cases you will find at least one of them to be a winner. Once back home, review your photos and their related EXIF data. See what worked and what didn’t. For compositions that are less than stellar make a list of what adjustments you would make for next time you get the opportunity to take the shot. Lastly, I think the use of a photo editing program is essential to, at a minimum, straighten, crop and adjust levels.
George: Is there a good time to capture photos at WDW?
Jeff B: My favorite time is around sunset as you get some really beautiful colors from the Florida sky. Early morning, particularly before the sun has fully come up, can offer a great opportunity at the resorts and the amount of people should be minimal. Days where the skies are blue with clouds offer mid-day opportunities as the clouds will help soften the sunlight. Night-time offers some amazing photo opportunities and I highly recommend a tripod to allow for the use of long shutter speeds and low ISO.
George: What is the best way to take pictures and eat a churro?
Jeff B: If you are traveling with children and have rented a stroller then the stroller roof makes a great place to balance the camera which leaves at least one hand free for the churro. If no stroller, then I highly recommend a tri-pod to mount the churro on. However, I would not recommend either of these techniques with a turkey leg.