My daughter loves the Little Mermaid ride in New Fantasyland so I found myself spending a lot of time in the queue during our last family trip. During one of the waits, I stood right where this photo was taken and said to myself, I bet this would make an interesting photo at night. So after I got the family turned in for the evening I headed back into the parks for some late night and after hours shooting. It was an Extra Magic Hours night and the park was pretty empty so I thought I would have a good shot at grabbing the brackets I needed for an HDR image. Boy was I wrong! Every time I started the +2 exposure bracket someone would wind up walking into the queue and I would have to start again. I know, I know, many HDR images have that ghost effect where you can see people moving through the shot, but I wanted a truly empty picture. Looking back at the time stamps I spent over 30 minutes standing in the queue to get an empty shot. There would be a gap of now people, I’d start the shot, and then a group of teenagers would come running through the line. Which brings me to the next story……
So I’m standing there in the queue, grabbing the shot and there’s an “excuse me” from behind. People had been passing me from the front of the queue for a while and occasionally someone would stop to chat about the shot. But this was the first time someone had approached from behind so it startled me. I turned around to find one of the ride’s Cast Members standing there. As I turned around she added “Can I ask what you are doing, you’ve been standing here for a long time?” Uh-oh, I’m in trouble I thought. I explained to her I was trying to get a photograph and showed her some of the images on the back of the camera. I won’t lie, I thought she was going to kick me out of the queue right there and I wasn’t going to end up with the shot I wanted. But after a long pause she said “Ok, we just wanted to make sure everything was ok and find out what you were doing.”
Not trusting that the camera didn’t move while I was showing the Cast Member the photos on the back of the camera, I started the sequence over again. This time, however, I got all three shots with no waiting in between and nobody came running down the queue. Checking the time stamp of the photo, the final shot in the bracket was captured at 12:08 am. I thought about trying to get a few more extra exposures (I had 5), but the interaction with the cast member made me feel like I was pushing my luck so I packed my stuff up and ventured on to Gaston’s Tavern for some more long exposure shots.
To edit the bracketed images into a single HDR, I used both Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop which are a part of the Photography Plan for only $9.99 / month. We will do a longer piece on HDR image editing shortly, but if you are looking for some basic tips, might we suggest starting with this video here provided by Adobe.
I’m not 100% happy with the way this shot turned out, so I think I’m going to try and get this one again next time I go down to the parks. Either that or I’ll try editing the brackets again. When it comes to creating HDR images I’m definitely a novice.
This image was shot with my Canon 60D and the kit 18-135 lens at f/8 and I was using my MeFoto RoadTrip tripod (which I reviewed on the site here). Please consider following the Amazon link as it helps support the site.
So, have any of you had any good interactions with a Cast Member when getting a shot in the parks? Share your story in the comments section below.