Friday, December 30, 2016

Aulani Sunsets

Sunsets at Aulani are simply breathtaking.  From a photography standpoint, three things make them really interesting.  (1) The colors are vivid, (2) the clouds make for very interesting skies, and (3) there is always a nice foreground element like a palm tree or a beach which makes for a nice tropical sunset feel, plus it's always good to get a foreground element to give the shot some depth.

This first sunset above was taken from our room (1056).  I like this image because it's your typical sunset shot with a nice round sun touching the horizon.  The clouds add a bit of interest and I composed this image to get some of the coconut trees in the foreground for some of that depth I talked about above.  I also used the "rule of thirds" to set the horizon to the lower third of the frame.  To get the full dynamic range in a sunset, I shot this one using three bracketed images to make an HDR image which I later tone mapped in Lightroom.  The normal exposure was set to f/8.0 with ISO 100.  I let the camera set the shutter speed to give me the three brackets.  I also used a tripod for this show, but I probably could have done this handheld.

When I went to get this sunset, I was not expecting this at all.  I expected another typical sunset like the one above, except from the beach.  At first I was disappointed that there were so many clouds and I actually packed up my gear and started walking back to the room.  Then the sun started to light up the clouds from behind the other clouds.  So I quickly picked this spot and setup my gear to get this shot.  I like this shot for a few reasons.  One is just the way the sun lit up the clouds.  Next is the fact that in this shot, I have three points of interest, the leading line created by the curve of the beach, the midpoint of the peninsula with the silhouette of the coconut trees, and of course, the dramatic impact of the dark rain clouds with the sun lighting them up in the background and reflecting in the lagoon.  This was also another HDR image with the normal exposure set to f/8.0 at ISO100 and as above, I let the camera set the shutter speed.  I had my tripod, so I was not worried about the shutter speed.

This was also not a sunset I planned to get.  I was actually planning to watch storytelling with Uncle and Moana, but it also happened at the same time as this sunset.  Fortunately for me, just a few steps to the left of the fire pit I was able to frame up the above shot.  Before the sun hit the horizon I actually thought I'd get another typical sunset with a nice coconut tree in the foreground looking like a Jimmy Buffet Tee Shirt.  As it got closer to sunset, the cloud started to move across the horizon and moved right in front of the sun as it hit the horizon.  I loved how this caused the sunrays to come from behind the cloud.  Since I was also walking back and forth between the fire pit to get Moana and this sunset, I didn't use my tripod.  This was a handheld HDR shot with the normal image set to f/8.0 at ISO100 with the camera picking the shutter speeds.

Aulani has so many different vantage points to get sunsets, I bet you could shoot there for a year and get something different each time.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Aulani - A Disney Resort

The Maka'ala Lobby

The first thing you notice as you enter the main lobby is the how open it is and how many things there are to see.  The lobby is called "Maka'ala" which means "watchful".  While you may notice many things, here are a few things you may want to watch for.

The lobby is open on two sides, once faces the mountains (Mauka), and one faces the sea (Makai).  The stained glass above the Mauka side can get a green tint to them, while the stained glass above the Makai side can get a blue tint to them.

The other subtle detail in the lobby is the mural that surrounds the lobby.  If you are facing the Mauka side you may notice that the mural depicts all the responsibilities of the men (Kane) and the right side depicts the responsibilities of the women (Wahine).  Hence, from the center of the lobby, all the artwork and theming of the entire resort of divided into Kane and Wahine artwork.  That includes everything from the large relief panels on the outside of the buildings.  Even the geometric patterns in the panels that line the lobby roof inspired by Hawaiian kapa cloth and are themed to Kane and Wahine patterns.  Another subtle detail is in the some of the columns in the lobby.  The process of making kapa (textile made from tree bark) is to pound it with a "beater" called an i'e kuku.  The shape of the i'e kuku can be found in some of the columns of the lobby.

Another subtle detail is in the center of the lobby on the floor.  If you are facing the Makai side, at your  feet you will see a compass rose embedded in the floor.  This compass does not point to your traditional North, South, East and West.  Instead, they correspond to directions that ancient Hawaiians relied on - up toward the Makai, down to the Mauka, and again picking up the theming of the resort, the Wahine on the left, made of a more smooth lava, and on the right, the Kane side, made up of a more rough lava rock.

One not so subtle detail is the curved arch of the lobby which is based on traditional Hawaiian canoe houses.  This theme is echoed throughout the resort.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Moana at Aulani - A Disney Resort

I haven't posted in a while since I was on vacation at Aulani, in Oahu, Hawaii.  What a fantastic place.  One of the special things they do is to have storytelling time with "Uncle" and Moana by the firepit at sunset.  The setting is simply spectacular.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Prince Eric's Castle, Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom

Prince Eric's Castle in the Enchanted Forest in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

This is an HDR image with the normal exposure taken at f/11, 1/125 sec shutter speed, ISO 100 with a 16mm focal length.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Gaston's Tavern, Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom

Gaston's Tavern in Belle's Village in Fantasyland, in the Magic Kingdom, at Walt Disney World is a great place to stop in for a snack.  They serve up mixed vegetable cups, hummus with chips, fruit cups and warm cinnamon rolls.  While there, enjoy a pint of LaFou's Brew - it's non-alcoholic.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Belle's Village, Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom

There is a very quaint area tucked in the back of Belle's Village between Gaston's Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.  If you take time to sit on one of the benches as you rest your feet, you'll notice the amazing detail in the buildings of the village.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Once Upon A Christmastime Parade

My favorite parade is Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade.  I'm not great with the Dwarf names, but this one looked right at me and waved.

This was taken on the bridge between the hub and Liberty Square.  I actually stood by the wall next to the courtyard by the Christmas Shop and zoomed all the way in at 200mm focal length.  I took it handheld with a shutter speed of 1/320 sec with an aperture of f/6.3 at ISO 100.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Be Our Guest - Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is a magical place to dine, but even moreso during the holidays.  If you are fortunate enough to get a seat by the window, you can see the snow falling outside.  That with the three, the wreaths and other decorations, make it a magical dining experience.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Can you really see Olaf and not sing "In Summer" in your head!  As part of Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime ParadeOlaf appears in the procession.

This was a handheld shot of a moving float so I set my camera to shutter priority mode with the shutter speed at 1/500 sec.  This was more than enough for the 35mm focal length I was using.  With the ISO being set to 100, the camera set the f/stop to f/8.0.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The American Adventure at Epcot

The American Adventure at Epcot at Walt Disney World during Christmas.  

This is an HDR image taken with my Sony A6000.  The normal exposure was set to aperture f/8.0, 1/200 sec shutter, ISO 100 at 40mm focal length.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

The renovation of the lobby of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort was completed in 2014.  One of the most noticeable features of the new lobby is the lighting.  As you enter the lobby your eyes are immediately drawn upwards to see the fishing village inspired lighting.

This is an HDR image taken from the second floor of the lobby area.  The normal exposure image was taken at aperture f/5.6, 1/50 sec shutter speed, ISO 100 and 86mm focal length. 

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Happy Holidays - Epcot

During the holidays everywhere you look around the World Showcase at Epcot at Walt Disney World, you'll find something festive.

Just a quick snapshot with my camera set to aperture f/8.0, 1/640 sec shutter speed, ISO 100 at 16mm focal length.

Have fun capturing the magic of Disney.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Mission Space - Epcot

Disney At Night

Mission Space is located in Epcot at Walt Disney World.  Your journey to Mars begins aboard the X-2 Deep Space Shuttle from the International Space Training Center.  Aboard each rocket is a 4 person crew, each having an important role: navigator, pilot, commander, engineer.  The ride has two levels, Green and Orange.  For the Orange level, the ride is spun in a centrifuge to simulate the speed and G-forces of spacecraft launch and re-entry.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Morocco - Epcot

Disney At Night

One of the dominant features of the Morocco Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World in the the tall prayer tower called a Minaret.  This tower can be seen across the World Showcase lagoon and is ubiquitous in Islamic countries.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Big Guy

To find Santa climbing the building, you have to go to Disney's Hollywood Studios, at Walt Disney World, then wander toward the back by Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano.  I actually don't know if he is there year round since we only go during Christmas.  The case for him being there year round is because he is also right near a Christmas Shop that is opened year round.