Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sleeping Beauty Castle

The diamonds are gone, but the magic is still there

As the Disneyland 60th Anniversary winds down, all the diamonds are gone, but the magic is still there.

Sleeping Beauty Castle stands at the center of Disneyland.  It was inspired by Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany with a little French architectural influence.  Opened on July 17, 1955, it is the oldest of all Disney castles.  Although the castle is only 77 feet tall, it appears taller through a technique called "forced perspective" where in this case, design elements at the bottom of the castle are disproportionately larger than the design elements at the top of the castle.

To get this shot, I used two techniques.  One was HDR, and the other was "reversing" the bokeh effect.  If you are not familiar with HDR photography, check out my post here.

First let's talk about the HDR settings.  I took three bracketed images handheld without a tripod, with the normal exposure set to an aperture of f/4.5, ISO 100, 37mm (with a 1.5x crop factor), and a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second.  I shoot all of my HDR brackets using aperture priority so it doesn't change the depth-of-field.  Hence, the camera adjusted the shutter speed to achieve the other 2 images in the bracket giving me a -2EV (1/4000 sec) and a +2EV (1/250 sec).

Now let's talk about the bokeh effect.   I purposely picked a somewhat wide aperture of f/4.5 to give a shallower depth-of-field.  I had to play around with this a little since I wanted to get most of the castle in focus while rendering the flowers in the foreground out of focus.  Above I say "reversing" the bokeh effect because generally people use bokeh for the background.

So with these two techniques, I was able to get an HDR image where I could control the highlights in the sky while bringing up the dark and shadow areas, and a bokeh effect to add an interesting foreground element that hopefully is not too distracting from the main subject which was Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Have fun playing around with how to apply bokeh and HDR.  You can get some really interesting pictures.