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Photographing Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom – Walt Disney World

Photographing Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom – Walt Disney World

On a recent trip to Walt Disney World I packed all my camera gear tripod included on the airplane with the idea that I would attempt to do some night photography at the parks!

Our first day was spent at the Magic Kingdom with plans to take a break during the afternoon Monsoons to go hang out at the room  and spend some time in the pool if the weather permitted. Then head back into the Magic Kingdom for the Parade and Fireworks.

I grabbed my tripod and camera and headed back to the park with my family. I was a bit worried that security might say something to me about my tripod as there are signs posted at every entrance that “Selfie Sticks” are not allowed in any Disney Park.
selfie-placardThankfully, tripods are still allowed and I trudged on. We find a place near the theater to sit and wait for the Parade with the idea to follow the parade up Main St. and find a spot to set up for the Fireworks at the end of Main St. The plan worked perfectly! I found my spot on a little rise in the middle of Main St. Not wanting to leave my little rise in the middle of the street I allowed a few people to filter in, in front of me. This was fine until the lady showed up with her LED Mouse Ears! I asked nicely if they could be turned off, or taken off during the show and the answer to both questions was no. So I got a few nice Firework shots with glowing mouse ears obscuring the bottom of the castle. I knew I was going to capture a few heads in the frame, but I wasn’t planning on the ears…

Oh well, it was still good fun! I chose an aperture of ƒ/6.7 and a 3 second shutter speed at ISO 200… I was pleased with the streams and colors. After looking through firework photos from the evening the glowing pink ears are starting to grow on me…

I’m still not sure where the best place is to capture the Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom… I’m thinking the only way to really good ones is either a lightly populated night, a special VIP spot, or a two foot taller tripod!

I made my family suffer through the first night (they are not big Firework fans, they can take them or leave them… ) and so we never sat through another show so I didn’t get a chance to try again!




0 Comments Filed Under: Family, Photography, Travel

A Video of Iceland from 3500 still photos!

In the Summer of 2014, I spent the first week of July in the Southern part of Iceland! I took over 3500 still images! Most with my Canon 5D Mark III and many with my trusty iPhone 5S. I was trying to figure out how to preserve all those images so that they could be viewable in some way. Not all are keepers, but all tell part of the story.


I dumped all the photos into Lightroom and made some minor edits(in hindsight maybe I should have cropped the vertical images to get rid of the black bars on the sides, or just selected the horizontal ones, I don’t know). I then exported all the images in their full resolution as JPEGS into a folder order by number. I then opened up those images as an Image Sequence in the Pro version of Quicktime 7(Note this does not work with Quicktime 10, you need Quicktime 7 PRO). This creates the video which can then be imported into iMovie or the editor of your choice. I have very limited video editing skills, so this is an area that I need to work on, but I added a few stills and slowed down and sped up a few areas.

I am sure there are a few different ways to accomplish this, but this worked well for my needs.

In the end I think it’s a fun way to take all the photos from a trip and turn them into something..

0 Comments Filed Under: Photography, Tech, Travel

Yellow Lilly and My Apple Watch purchase!

Yellow Lilly and My Apple Watch purchase!

Today’s photo is a Yellow Lilly from my Mother’s garden.

Taken with a Canon 5D Mark III and edited in Adobe Lightroom CC and Perfect Photo Suite 9.5

Recently my son and I ended up at the Apple Store to kill sometime!

Killing time at the Apple Store can be dangerous to one’s pocket book!

My son we playing with the various iPad Air and iPad Air 2’s and trying to figure out which would would be best for him! Meanwhile I was hanging out by the Apple Watch table. I have been thinking about getting an Apple Watch since they were introduced but wasn’t sure. I haven’t worn a watch in probably 10 years and had barely missed one.

There are a couple of things that interested me about the Apple Watch. One is Health Tracking, being able to get quality heart rate data while exercising is intriguing. Another is the ability to better manage calendar items and short text notifications. I have never been in the habit of checking my iPhone calendar even after I have it synced with the family calendar, I still miss stuff and get in trouble for not being aware of events. Also, there are times when you get a quick text message, like “coffee?” or something rather trivial, but still important and I have to dig my phone out of my pocket to check the message. Granted, both of these are “first world” problems and in the scope of world hunger and California’s water problem no big deal. As a fan of tech these were reasonable justifications in my mind.

So I eventually started chatting with one of the employees at the Apple Store and started discussing these items of interest. After that conversation I walked out of the Apple Store with a Smoke Grey Apple Watch Sport! Apple WatchI’m currently compiling a list of items that I find helpful about the Apple Watch!


0 Comments Filed Under: Photography, Tech

White Pocket at Sunset!

After a bit of delay, i’m back to posting photos from White Pocket!

And I just received notice that the On1 Summer Sale has been extended through Monday July 6, you can grab On1’s Perfect Photo Studio 9.5 for $79 with some fun add ons! Grab it here!

White Pocket is a place that many photographers may or may not have ever heard of. It’s in the Paria Canyon/Vermillion Cliffs area. The area is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and not a National Park. There is a well run BLM office in Kanab, UT with quite a bit of info about the area. I’m hopeful to return soon!

This is a favorite from a recent trip! Love the “moon rocks”!

I edited this image in Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe Photoshop CC and Perfect Photo Studio 9.5. The Dynamic Contrast Effect in Perfect Photo Effects 9.5 is turning into my favorite and “goto” effect to enhance textures! Grab the whole Suite for $79 with a few cool add ons thrown in as well while you can! It’s a steal!

Oh, I also just picked up an Apple Watch! Apple Watch posts coming soon!

0 Comments Filed Under: Photography, Travel

Red Cut, White Pocket

White Pocket At Dawn

Canon 5D Mark III; ƒ/4; t/ 1/8s ISO:160


Sunrise at White Pocket, AZ is fantastic! White Pocket isn’t the easiest place to get to, it’s approximately 2.5 hours south east of Kanab, UT. The last two hours require a 4WD vehicle and depending on road conditions it can be challenging. Our plan was to drive to White Pocket midday on Friday and then spend the night to enjoy both sunset and sunrise. This is an image just as the sun was preparing to arrive for the day!

Edited this image in Adobe Ligthroom CC and Perfect Photo Studio 9.5 from On1 Software!

0 Comments Filed Under: Photography, Travel

Calla Lilies in Big Sur

Calla Lilies in Big Sur

A quick update and photos of Calla Lilies

I just realized that I haven’t posted in over two months! Where has the time gone!

I was invited to join a cohort in The Arcanum. Im excited about the opportunity to grow my photographic arts via this medium! The Arcanum is approximately 2 years old now. I filled out a profile when they launched. As with most new ventures there are growing pains, so it took awhile for them to find enough Photographic Masters to meet the demand. I feel fortunate to have been picked by Les Saucier. He’s a fantastic photographer and so far a great mentor! I’m looking forward to this venture! The good news is that this project will encourage me to take more photos! Watch this space for new work!

OnOneSoftware is now On1 Software. On1 makes Perfect Photo Suite a collection of plugs and great tools to use either on it’s own or alongside Lightroom and Photoshop. Perfect Photo Suite has gone through a significant upgrade path over the past few years and On1 is ready to launch Perfect Photo Suite 9.5 soon. I use Perfect Photo Suite on most of my images. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t.

In Big Sur calla lilies grow in the wild. I have never seen how or where Calla Lilies grow. These grow in a area where water from the hills filters down into drainage ditches and onto the beach and into the ocean.

They grow in wet muck! As you see their beauty you don’t really worry about the muck or the poison oak, but you try to avoid both! If you ever get to Big Sur go spend a few hours at Garapatta State Park and look for the Calla Lilies!


0 Comments Filed Under: Photography, Travel

Picking the Right Time of Day

Picking the Right Time of Day

I think every photographer knows that taking pictures with the sun low on the horizon is better than when its right above. Recently I had the opportunity to capture a scene at Mid-Morning and at Sunset and the difference is striking!

Here’s Soberanes Point at Garrapatta State Beach mid morning captured with an iPhone image of the scene. We were on the way back from Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and it was a quick stop to check the beach out. It would have been easy to just take photos here at mid-morning and never come back.

Mid Morning- iPhone 5s capture
Mid Morning- iPhone 5s capture

You can tell by the image that this is a beautiful spot. The two rocks in the surf, the boulders on the beach and the amazing coastline to the north. The only problem is the flat light. The sun is already to harsh.

Earlier in my photography learning curve I would try to make the best of the light and try to make a compelling image in any light. I have learned that unless you are in a studio or have access to a huge lighting/light blocking set up dealing with a high sun leads to flat and rather un-interesting pictures.

Here’s an image from the same spot(from our earlier stop we knew we wanted to work here during a sunset!), with the same iPhone 5s about 30 minutes before sunset.

Captured with an iPhone 5S
Captured with an iPhone 5S

The golden hues really help to set off the two rocks in the surf. The image has more depth and straight out of my phone with no editing. I think I could improve it with a brief trip through Lightroom.

Getting the right light does take effort to drop everything to get to the spot before the light disappears and luck that the clouds and sky will cooperate.

When I’m traveling with family etc. its really difficult to drop everything and run to the sunset spot and if I try for a sunrise I’m usually spent for the rest of the day! Therefore when I travel with my family I try to make the best of the current light scenarios which leads to many photos in mid-day light.

Thankfully my family is more than happy to stay home and let me head out on occasion with a group of hard corp photographers and hunt the best light. Wake up well before dawn, and take off at 2pm to get into place as the sun starts to dip behind horizon.

I made this image about 40 minutes after the previous iPhone capture with my Canon 5D Mark III on a tripod

Yes the technique to capture this image would have been much harder with an iPhone, I probably could have gotten close had I used a tripod for my iPhone, but I couldn’t have made this image with mid morning sun.

Shooting landscapes is hard work… much harder than I ever imagined. Picking the right time of day requires planning and effort to get to the spot at the right time. It is rewarding when the effort pays off!

I guess that’s true for any endeavor in life.

You can view more images from my Big Sur trip at:

0 Comments Filed Under: Family, Photography

Gluten Free Pizza at Pizza Hut!

Pizza Hut is rolling out Gluten Free Pizzas( with Udi’s Crusts in cooperation with  Gluten Intolerance Group’s(GIG) Gluten-Free Food Service Training & Management Certification Program (GFFS).

Erica over at has the a fun write up!

Sounds like Pizza Hut is trying to roll this out with reasonable safeguards against cross contamination. That said contamination is still an issue, the restaurants are small, lots of people have the opportunity to mess up just once and there may be some that are still to sensitive to give it a try.

We’ll probably give it a try when they arrive in our area as sometimes it’s fun to just order a pizza!

0 Comments Filed Under: Family, Food, Gluten Free

McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Getting to this fantastic beach before sunrise requires a fun ride down California Highway 1 in the pitch dark! I had no idea how close we were to the massive cliffs over the Pacific Ocean! I’m glad I didn’t know as we were in a hurry to get to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State park and McWay Falls! According to the Wiki on Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park , the property was owned from 1924 by US Representative Lathrop Brown who built one of he first electrified homes on this part of the coast and then dedicated the property to Julia Pfeiffer Burns as a donation to the State of California in 1961 and the home was torn down as part of the gift. Remnants of the home can still be seen right behind where i’m standing.

This photo was taken just as the sun starting to appear on the horizon to the left. There is evidence of a landslide into the cove a few few years back but it didn’t really take away from the beauty of this location! 

Purchase this Print 

One of the reasons for getting there before sunrise was to try and capture a few stars over McWay falls.

Purchase this Print

I was pleased with this capture and happened to get the Orion over the falls!

Both images edited in Adobe Photoshop CS2014 and OnOneSoftware Perfect Photo Studio 9

I also have a gallery of Big Sur photos  at with Print purchases available.



0 Comments Filed Under: Photography, Travel

Sunbeam at Pfeiffer Rock-Big Sur, CA

Updated with 2 new photos from Pfeiffer Rock

Spent an incredible afternoon/evening at Pfeiffer Rock and watched the sun set through the key hole in the rock! This is a blend of 3 exposures in Adobe Photoshop and finished with Perfect Photo Effects 9. Click on the photo to see it bigger!

If you ever get a chance to head to Pfeiffer Rock in Big Sur during the winter time, Go!

0 Comments Filed Under: Photography, Travel

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