Sunday, June 30, 2013

Screamin' Around the Turn

I've had this shot in mind ever since I got my Nikkor 16-35mm F/4 wide angle zoom lens, but I've always managed to forget about it or miss optimal lighting conditions when I am in the area.  But the turnaround on the far side of California Screamin' has always been a cool angle.  And with the tilted angle of the wide angle, the resulting shot looks like a fish-eye, even though the full frame 16mm zoom is hardly at the fish-eye level.  Still, I feel like it's a groovy little shot.  Next time you're near here at DCA, just look up, and enjoy the view!

A train hurtles through a turn-around on Californian Screamin'.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Hollywood Tower Hotel

In the daytime, one might imagine the pretty sight that the Hollywood Tower Hotel used to be.  With the palm trees in front, blue skies behind, and a bright and friendly tan hues, this building looks quite at home in the California sun.  But then the charred remnants of a wing evaporated into an alternate dimension becomes apparent, and suddenly, the hotel looks a little less charming.  And those screams of terror that always seem to emanate from within ought to drive out visitors.  But there's something about them that seems to lure guests to drop on by.  It's practically supernatural!

The Tower of Terror on a summer afternoon.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Faire Evening

For peaceful relaxation, take a stroll through Fantasy Faire during the evening.  The bustle of the daytime has gone away, yielding to a calm and beauty of a whimsical European village, romanticized and at rest.  It's a very tranquil and beautiful scene.  Sometimes, while strolling through, I'll just stop and take it all in... magic and wonder and all at heart.

Rapunzel's Tower at the Fantasy Faire.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Looking Up at Fortune

Today's shot is more of an experiment.  I've emphasized the distortion that a wide angle lens might impart by tilting the angle of the shot upward, which really draws the lines of perspective together and almost warps the perception of the roof at the Lucky Fortune Cookery.  It's not a glamor photo, but I do find the perspective unique.  And the lines come together in a pretty bold manner.  Hopefully, you enjoy this slightly atypical shot as well!

An exaggerated perspective at the Lucky Fortune Cookery using the wide angle lens.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Night of Fantasyland

Here's another photo taken from last months' Monstrous Summer All Nighter. While the whole night was less busy than I expected, there were still definitely pockets of activity.  One example: Fantasyland. Even in the wee hours of the morning, there were people waiting to ride the classic dark rides and attractions that make up this area.

I thought that this would make for a great scene. So to create the shot below, I actually took two exposures--one a little over-exposed, the other significantly under-exposed, and manually spliced them together to create what is technically an HDR, but unlike any of the HDR's that have been previously featured on this blog.  There was no Photomatix involved here; just old fashioned manual masking of selected areas.  But I think it turned out well, and I hope you do too!

In the middle of the night, during the Monstrous Summer All Nighter, Fantasyland was still a whirl of activity.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stopping by Carthay Circle

It's a beautiful thing to see Carthay Circle and its surroundings drenched in wonderful sunlight, looking friendly and inviting and elegant, all at the same time.  This focal point of Buena Vista Street was a high priority during DCA's transformation.  The previous entry land, Sunshine Plaza, featured a fountain, some planting areas, and a large, metallic sun sculpture, but it didn't really tell much of a story, other than, "hey, welcome to California, the weather's great here, isn't it?"  Carthay Circle, though, commemorates the site of Walt Disney's first long-lasting breakthrough, the debut of Snow White, capping the story of Walt's early Los Angeles years.  It's a fitting marker for the story of Walt Disney in California, DCA's new overarching concept, and a wonderful focal point for the park!

Beautiful, sunny, and classy Carthay Circle, with the iconic tower of the Carthay Circle Restaurant behind.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fifty Years of Enchantment

I kind of forgot to post this yesterday, so forgive me for the tardiness.  What was the significance of yesterday? Well, it marked the 50 year anniversary of Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, in Disneyland.  On June 23, 1963, the first-ever theme park audio-animatronics debuted in Adventureland.  The Enchanted Tiki Room was fifteen minutes of song and special effects, showcasing WED Enterprises' (the former identity of Walt Disney Imagineering) new robotic technology that mimicked lifelike movement.

Michael surveys the scene and concurs that it's time to put on the show.
For fifty years, this show has captivated and entertained audiences young and old. And how could it not?  With such a catchy tune and a cast of birds, flowers, tiki gods, and totems, it's an island paradise of diversity.  So [a slightly belated] happy birthday, Enchanted Tiki Room! We hope the birds continue to stay for another fifty years!

The Glee Club entertains the fellows with their harmonious melodies.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Lone Ranger Train

Earlier this week, something new and behemoth showed up in Hollywood Land... a full size locomotive, used in the filming of the upcoming The Lone Ranger movie.  The set piece was on site for the movie world premiere, which was held at Disney California Adventure yesterday.  In the meantime, guests wandering toward Mad T Party can stop to check out this mighty impressive steam engine and see a little preview of the movie on a couple of large screen televisions set up at each side.

Something large is now stationed in Hollywood Land.

It's a train used in the filming of The Lone Ranger film, by Disney,

It's even got a fairly obvious Hidden Mickey!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Many Adventures

So Winnie the Pooh may not be as highly regarded of a dark ride as its Fantasyland brethren, but it's still a cute attraction that will make Winnie the Pooh fans happy.  Of course, it could be Tokyo Disneyland's Winnie the Pooh, which uses radio controlled trackless ride technology to create a truly dynamic and incredibly innovative experience, but that might have been above the prescribed budget at the time.  Basically, what I'm trying to say is... I have writer's block for the first time ever while I'm writing this blog post, and I'm too lazy to wait and see what more interesting things might come to me later.

Hey, it was bound to happen sometime! In the meantime, if you haven't, go "Like" Disney Photoblography on Facebook and follow "@DisPhotoblography" on Instagram!  It's a great way to check out old photos, especially if you're newer to the blog and want an organized way of checking out oldies but goodies!

Friday, June 21, 2013

In Eerie Moonlight

Last month, on my birthday (for which Disney was kind enough to throw a Monstrous Summer All Nighter event for me!), I got into the park shortly before midnight and met up with some friends.  Given the hour of the evening, it seemed only fitting to ride the Haunted Mansion, as we were about to creep past the normal end of Disneyland's operating day and into typically uncharted operational territory.

So we waited in line--much less than I was expecting--and, as usual, experienced a fun and uproariously spooky jaunt through this home of 999 happy haunts.  But when I came out, I happened to glance up to my right, back at the mansion, and beheld this ephemeral sight.  The moon, so illuminating and bright, was breaking over the clouds, casting a shimmering blue glow down onto the Haunted Mansion below. It felt like a fitting composition for one of my favorite rides, so I stopped and snapped a few frames.  What wonderful atmosphere which can befall the park at night!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Stormy Day in Paradise

Full Disclosure: The title of this blog post is a bit misleading and done more for dramatic effect than to exemplify the actual conditions on the day this photo was taken.  It was the morning after Disney's Monstrous Summer All Nighter 24-hour event, and I found myself in Paradise Pier, hoping against hope (as well as the weather forecast) that I might be able to catch a bit of some sort of sunrise. Alas, it was not to be, but the clouds that morning were pretty dramatic, and with some Photoshopping, I decided to shape this photo into something more impressionistic.  Hence, Paradise Bay was transformed from its normal sunny, cheerful disposition to a dark and brooding environment.  Hey, photographers are artists in their own little way, too!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Eyes of Mara

You're warned time and time again--"Do not look into the eyes of the idol!"  Mara is, they say, an incredibly powerful and dastardly supernatural entity, and his anger at those who apparently violate his vanity is very great.  The rewards can be immensely grand, but for anyone who disobeys that one simple instruction, the consequences are unenviable.  But does that stop people from sneaking a peek?  I'll give you one guess on the answer to that!

In line, visitors are shielded from the dangerous eyes of this double dealing deity.

But inevitably, once onboard, someone takes a look and sends everyone on a detour to doom!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One Year of Disney Photoblography

One year ago, I started a little blog to showcase photos that I took at the Disneyland Resort.  Inspired by friends who had found success with their own online exploits and motivated by a beautiful, reborn theme park in Disney California Adventure, I figured it would be worth a shot at staking my own place in the world of Disney-related photography.  This was no guaranteed thing, because while I'd delved into web sites and hobbies before, I'd rarely followed through consistently and maintained regular updates on such activities.  I even questioned how long this grand little experiment would last, but noted that surely, I could manage to do a "photo a day" (or even every couple of days) for a while.

Well, a year later, and I've only missed one day total.  There have been 364 posts made, and hundreds of photos displayed, and somehow, Disney Photoblography has grown from a little hobby to something that actually has a bit of a following--albeit a small one, but a deeply appreciated one.  And although I did hope that it could become something, I could have never expected this to be as successful as it has.  It's just not the type of thing I would take for granted.  So thank you to everyone who has followed this humble little blog of Disney park photography over the past year.  Thank you to those who have expressed kind words to me, those who've shared links on Facebook or retweeted on Twitter or the surprising mass legion of followers I've gained on Instagram. It's all so incredibly flattering yet humbling at the same time, and I say that with great sincerity.

But I'm never one to rest on my laurels, so I'm aiming higher and wider for this next year.  This means hopefully more video projects, but definitely more locales, and of course more photos.  Stay tuned. It should be fun.  I know there are a lot of wonderful places on the internetz where you can find fantastic photos from Disney parks, so thank you for stopping here and making this one of them.

Radiator Springs Racers stands still, before sunrise, in the early morning light.

Soon, Cars Land will be full of gleeful activity. But for now, all is calm.
I figured that for the one year anniversary post, I ought to take it back to where it all began.  Disney Photoblography's first ever post showcased the incredible Pacific Wharf entrance into Cars Land. So I think it's fitting that this year's post look back toward that vantagepoint.

And if you want to be so generous as to celebrate Disney Photoblography's anniversary, it would be incredibly awesome if you shared this on your social media platforms, be it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or anything else.  Head over to the Facebook page and "like" Disney Photoblography!  Follow Disney Photoblography on Instagram--most photos are repeats from what's featured on this site, but I'll also throw a few live photos from when I visit the parks.  Leave comments too; I enjoy the feedback, and you can even throw in requests that I'll try to accomodate.  So keep doing what you do, and I'll do the same on my end!  Thanks!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Next Stop, Hollywood!

Seeing the Red Car Trolley parked over by the Hollywood Tower Hotel stop feels very fitting.  Back in early 1900s Los Angeles, the Red Cars were the lifeline to the nodes of activity in a much less developed Southern California, and in the L.A. area, they symbolized the bustling, busy, showbiz city at the time.  The glitz and glamor and activity all came together in a land where dreams united with Hollywood reality, and even unknowns could be thrust into stardom, if the cards broke just right.  So it's appropriate that the Red Car Trolleys have found their way to the Disneyland Resort, which epitomizes the idea of dreams come true!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Some Imagination, Huh?

Ever since it's debut in 1992, FANTASMIC! has held a special place in my heart.  After the first time I saw it, I spent days replaying the triumphant instrumentals in my head, seeing the vivid and memorable scenes of action and adventure and beauty play out.  A magical mixing of music, theater, and pyrotechnics, FANTASMIC! remains my absolute all-time favorite Disney show.  And given its nostalgia value, I doubt anything else will ever replace it.

One of my favorite scenes of the show occurs at the very end, when Sorcerer Mickey re-appears atop the tavern on Tom Sawyer's Island, conjuring a victorious medley of lasers and fireworks to celebrate his vivid imagination.  It's a dazzling display of majestic flourish, and it caps off an unbelievable show that I still make a point to see, even to this day, whenever I'm in the park around showtime.

Sorcerer Mickey re-appears in a burst of pyrotechnics.

He conducts a series of fireworks as the familiar trumpeted refrains resonate throughout the Rivers of America.

Lasers, pyros, and water all burst forth.
It's an exciting and unforgettable ending to a magnificent show.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Over the Hill

Today, we wish a happy one-year birthday to the rebirth of Disney California Adventure, including Buena Vista Street and, of course, Cars Land.  Can you believe it's been a year already since this incredible expansion was unveiled?

I've shot this scene many times before, but this head-on angle is not a perspective I've bothered to engage often. But in stumbling across it recently, I thought it'd be worth a shot at processing, and wouldn't you know... it's kind of cool! At least I think it is.  The Radiator Springs Racers cars power over those hills on their way around Willy's Butte, and from this angle, it's just a quick glimpse before they zip back down and around.  But oh, that backdrop! That spectacular Cars Land backdrop never gets old!

Cars race among majestic rockwork at Radiator Springs Racers!
If you like what you see on this blog, do me a favor and check out the Disney Photoblography Facebook page via the link on the left. Go and "like" it and get updates every day a new post is made (which I've managed to make daily for almost a year!) and my favorite blog photos grouped in albums organized by parks and themed lands! Thanks!

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Night Blossom

Obviously, I take a lot of pictures at Disneyland for the ambiance.  Sometimes, that doesn't have to be a full blown layered scene, but rather a single object that conveys a sense of warmth and life that triggers all sorts of nice, cozy sentiments.  For example, the vibrant pink blossoms around The Hub... at night.  Certainly, there's a different atmosphere than during the daytime, but nonetheless, there's a sense of belonging and peace that comes with this.  It feels magical... with just the right touch of illumination to draw everything in.

The lovely and vibrant blossoms around The Hub at night.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

An Uplifting Entrance

Have a specialty lens long enough, and you start to experiment with different angles and perspectives to really amp up the effects and characteristics of that lens.  So in the shot below, I'm using my Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 wide angle zoom at its widest angle to really capture the upward, soaring nature of the four piers that anchor the new entrance to Disney California Adventure.  Looking at this live will, of course, reveal that these plinths are all quite vertical, but I find it fun to exaggerate the perspective with help from a wide angle.  Frankly--and maybe it's just the architect in me--but things just look a lot cooler when shot wide, with the perspective emphasized!

The entrance to Disney California Adventure, at twilight.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Burning the Toontown Oil

I mentioned the other day that I don't really ever go to Mickey's Toontown at night, but when I found myself there during the Monstrous Summer All Nighter event, I knew that one of the shots I needed to get was a nighttime version of the fountain in front of Mickey's House.  It's got quite vibrant colors during the day, and I was curious to see what it would be like at night.  Well, it's pretty splendid after dark as well... the colorful aqua of the water matching nicely with the bronze of the fountain sculptures.  So I guess there are some incentives to visit Toontown at night after all!

The Toontown Fountain in the middle of the night!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Colorful Birthday

It's hard to believe, but it was three years ago that World of Color made it's vibrant and watery debut at Paradise Pier, giving Disney California Adventure the prime nighttime spectacular it needed to finally hold guests over till dark.  The project to construct the infrastructure for this elaborate and beautiful show was intense, complicated, and time consuming.  Paradise Bay was drained, and a complex network of fountains, flame throwers, platforms, projectors, and electrical and plumbing systems was built into support a show intended to be DCA's premiere nighttime event for years to come.  Fortunately, the end result was worth it--a breath-taking journey through Disney's most famous animated hits, via fountains, lasers, fire, and projections.

To celebrate, here's a look back almost exactly three years ago, with photos I took the first night I ever saw World of Color!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Once Upon a Dream

I've gone to Disneyland hundreds of times, and I still encounter little details of features that take me by surprise, because I've either never noticed them at all before or never taken a closer look to truly appreciate them.  This picture below falls somewhere in between.  I've passed this spot so many times, but it wasn't one night a couple of months ago that I stopped to take a closer look at this little statue of Prince Phillip dancing with Princess Aurora, as the good fairies wisp around, presumably changing the color of Aurora's gown.  It's such a small but delightful touch--the capture of a beautiful and classic moment of Disney animation, and I had never really registered it before.

People ask me why I keep on going to Disneyland so often, and things like this are the reason why!

This statue of Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip can be found on the backside of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Spectre of a Time Long Gone

Probably the greatest part of the eerily and immersively themed ambiance inside the lobby at the Tower of Terror is the fact that no one really has to maintain it--it's supposed to look old, dilapidated, and neglected!  Of course, given the Disney magic that goes into artificially aging things, I'm sure there actually is a decent amount of maintenance that occurs.  But I enjoy looking upon this scene and taking in the creepy, ghostly vibes it's trying to project.  After all, this is but a prelude to a ride to another dimension.  So it's got to be brimming with at least a little bit of supernatural energy!

The lobby at the Hollywood Tower Hotel, left the way it was on that one fateful night...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Royal Swing

Last summer, the Carnation Plaza Gardens was closed to be transformed into the Fantasy Faire.  In the course of that makeover, the beloved Saturday night swing dancing was put on hiatus, much to the disappointment of swing dancers and fans everywhere of this special event.  At the time, though, Disney promised that the swing dancing would make a return, and last month, during the Monstrous Summer All Nighter event, it did!  From 10PM to 2AM, the Tim Gill All Stars played the night away with the smooth, upbeat jazz tones to get Disney's nimble guests going. 

The Tim Gill All Stars, playing the night away!
Not long after, the Disneyland Resort announced that swing dancing would return for select nights this summer.  While they haven't since elaborated on which specific nights those will be, one can only hope and assume they'll be the traditional Saturday evenings.  Regardless, it's great to have this fun event back.  So here's a look at some of the scenes at the Royal Theatre, where swing dancing made its triumphant return on Disney's most recent 24-hour day!

Friday, June 7, 2013

A Carousel to Tomorrow

Before Innoventions was Innoventions, the circular building on the east side of Tomorrowland was originally home to the Carousel of Progress, an animatronic-filled exhibition of the progression of technology through the decades, from the turn of the previous century to the present day.  Highlighted by the catchy tune, "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," the attraction featured a revolving seating section that rotated through each era around a six-part stage, each part showcasing what life was like for a typical American family during that time. 

The Carousel of Progress eventually made its way to Walt Disney World, where it's been playing at the Magic Kingdom's Tomorrowland ever since, but Innoventions eventually picked up on the exhibition of progress when it opened.  These days, there's not much to tie the two attractions together, except for the building shape and the occasional evidence that the ground floor used to revolve, much like its predecessor did.

The pathway up to Innoventions on a beautiful day.

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