Saturday, September 24, 2016

Capturing the Magic of the Magic Kingdom

Disney at Night

The Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom Park is certainly a magical place but even more so at night.  After dark, the lights add a special ambiance making it an even more magical experience.  In my "Disney At Night" articles, I'll share the locations, settings and techniques I use to capture the magic of Disney at night.

This view of Cinderella Castle with the Main Street Railroad station in the foreground was taken from the Transportation and Ticket Center just after you exit the ferry.  When you exit the ferry, you'll want to move past the exit gates due to the crowds, and people who like to linger in that area.  Look for a bench just past the exit gates on the left side.  This vantage point gives you a clear view of Cinderella Castle and it also helps to avoid the few guests lingering around.

You'll want to use a long focal length to cover the distance from the Transportation and Ticket Center to Magic Kingdom Park.  For this shot, I used my 18-200mm lens extended all the way to 200mm.  I have a Sony A6000 which has a crop factor of 1.5x so with my lens at 200mm, the 35mm equivalent would be 300mm.  The rest of the camera settings are f/8.0 aperture, 1/30 sec shutter speed, and 3200 ISO.  With a combination of the 200mm focal length and the long 1/30 sec shutter speed, a tripod is a must to minimize camera shake.  Another tip in minimizing camera shake is to use a remote shutter release or shutter delay if your camera supports it.  On my Sony A6000 there is actually a 2 second shutter delay setting, so instead of a remote shutter release, I set the delay to 2 seconds, pressed the shutter release and slowly removed my hand from the camera.  2 seconds later, the camera tripped the shutter.

Be prepared to spend a few minutes to capture this scene.  From having to wait for the guests from the ferry to clear out, to taking several shots to make sure you get one you will be happy with, this can take several minutes.  I took several shots and when I viewed them on my PC, I noticed that even with a tripod, the wind did cause some camera shake that made some pictures too blurry.

So there you have it.  The location, my camera settings, and a couple other tips.  I hope you get the magical shot you want.