Recently I had to take a business trip down to Orlando. It was a last minute trip and I knew there was no way for me to get in to the parks…..but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to see Wishes in person one last time before it goes away on May 12th for Happily Ever After. I’m a DVC member so I could have gone up to watch the fireworks from the top of Bay Lake Tower. Or I could have watched them from the observation deck of the Contemporary. I’ve watched Wishes from those locations before and but I’ve never tried watching the show from the TTC so I thought I would give that a shot.
First rule of fireworks photography. PACK ALL OF THE GEAR YOU NEED! Since this was an in and out trip to Orlando all I brought with me was the camera, tripod, and shutter release. I left my Variable ND filter at hope (DOH!) and my hot shoe mounted bubble level (DOH!), but I did remember to bring my step up rings. I didn’t even bother to bring all of my lenses. All I had with me was the my 50mm f/1.8.
Watching Wishes from the TTC is great! They pipe the music in and it’s not very crowded. The only real problem is the ferry. Once you get set up you have to guard your tripod set up from the crowds of people that are leaving the Magic Kingdom. One small dive down the rabbit hole. Who the heck leaves the Magic Kingdom right before the fireworks?!?!?!?! The ferry’s were PACKED with guests streaming out of the park. Don’t these people know that the show won’t be around for long? And who hates fireworks?!?!??!?
Back to shooting the fireworks at the TTC. First things first. During the beginning of the show the Ferry is still running. So you are going to get streaks of the Ferry running through your shot early on in the fireworks.
Second, 50mm f/1.8 is far too wide to shoot the fireworks. Look at the lead image of this blog post. The island on the left is so dark it acts as a dead spot in the photo. You probably want something at least 85mm.
Third, like I said above. Don’t forget all of your gear. I’ve never shot fireworks without my ND filter. Texting Cory right before the fireworks started, he told me to go with a smaller aperture. By the time the finale got around I had dropped down all the way to f/18. But I still left the shutter open too long. Blow out city man!
If I were going to do the show again I would definitely remember to bring my variable ND filter and my hot shoe bubble level. I know, I know. My Canon 60D has an on screen digital level. Trust me – the bubble level is much easier to use.
One other thing. There was a relatively small group of people shooting from the TTC with me that night. For the life of me I can’t imagine trying to shoot the fireworks in Bulb mode on your camera WITHOUT a remote shutter release. Look there are tons of them here on Amazon and there are a lot of models under $10. That’s all I spent on mine. The camera is going to vibrate when you press the shutter. It ruins the point of putting the camera up on a tripod.
I’m really happy I got to see Wishes in person one last time. Wishes has a special place in my heart. After seeing the teaser footage the new show and music could be really good, but it will never have the sentimental value of Wishes for me. I didn’t nail the images as well as I hoped but I still got some keepers out of it so I’ll take that as a win.
Do you like to go into the park with only your camera and one lens? Would you like to have quick access to a second lens WITHOUT using a big bag in the park? Well LensFlipper might be what you are looking for. The team at LensFlipper sent us a review unit and Ben’s review is going to be up on Monday. I’ve seen the review and you’ll definitely want to check back on Monday.