" Zeiss 55mm "

What Happens When You Change Your F-Stop

Happy Monday everyone! For today’s post, we’re going to take a look at what happened when you adjust your aperture, or F-Stop. Understanding what this means is a crucial part of understanding photography, and knowing what situations to use certain apertures in can make the difference between nailing the shot and missing it.

That said, I have a composition from Hollywood Studios over in the Muppet area. I took the same shot roughly six times, starting at 1.8 and then moving up one full stop every shot, until I hit f/9. Check them out!

f/1.8

f/1.8

f/2.5

f/2.5

f/3.5

f/3.5

f/5

f/5

f/7.1

f/7.1

f/9

f/9

So, there are a few things to notice here. When you start at the lower numeric value, like 1.8, the corners are darker. This is called vignetting, and it happens the most at a lens’ most shallow aperture. Some people like that, others don’t. It’s really up to the artist whether to keep the natural vignette, or to correct it in software like Lightroom or Photoshop. The vignetting goes away the higher the f-stop number goes.

You’ll also notice that at f/1.8, the fellas in the boat are nice and sharp, but nothing else is. Using that works really well when doing portraits for a dramatic look, or when you are in low light and want to keep your ISO as low as possible. Once you get up to f/5.6 and higher, you start to see more things in focus and sharp across the entire range of the frame. For most landscape photos, you’ll want to do that to ensure sharpness. But, a higher aperture number will also require a slower shutter speed or bumping up your ISO, so be ready for that.

You may also notice, depending on the quality of the lens, that shooting with a lower f-stop number not only ensures sharpness on only certain parts of the photo, but you may see some softness due to the razor thin depth of field. Because of this, any time you are shooting stage shows or action, like Disney parades, that sacrificing some of that smooth bokeh may be worth it to get a sharp shot.

Hopefully reading about this can help you understand apertures a little bit better and improve your shots the next you are out in the field. The many variations on the Muppets were taken with the Sony a7 and the Zeiss 55mm F1.8, both of which can be purchased over at our Amazon store. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, thanks for reading!

 

2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Preview

Happy Monday! We are only a little more than a week away from the 2016 Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, and preparation is well underway at the park. Many of the flowers and topiaries are already installed, and I wanted to share a few photos of them with all of you today that I shot over the weekend.

The flower beds are installed, and monorail reflections frame them wonderfully.

The flower beds are installed, and monorail reflections frame them wonderfully.

The classic monorail shot from the other side of Future World.

The classic monorail shot from the other side of Future World.

Anna and Elsa have moved from the center of the park to Norway, which makes sense, as their ride and meet and greet open later this year in that location.

Anna and Elsa have moved from the center of the park to Norway, which makes sense, as their ride and meet and greet open later this year in that location.

They'll be replaced by a Ranger Mickey topiary in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service!

They’ll be replaced by a Ranger Mickey topiary in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service!

The festival is a great chance to get lots of colors in your photos and make some pretty great compositions.

The festival is a great chance to get lots of colors in your photos and make some pretty great compositions.

Captain Hook and Pan are back in the UK again this year.

Captain Hook and Pan are back in the UK again this year.

There is nothing quite like a monorail shot. Add all these flowers and color and it really is the best time of the year at Epcot.

There is nothing quite like a monorail shot. Add all these flowers and color and it really is the best time of the year at Epcot.

We’ll be sharing plenty of photos as the festival officially starts as well as some tutorials on ways to capture it best, so definitely make sure to keep an eye out for that. Are you excited to photograph Epcot in bloom? What’s your favorite lens for Flower and Garden Festival? Let us know in the comments!!

For those curious, these were all shot with the Sony a7 and either the Zeiss 55mm F1.8 or Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lenses, both of which are available at our Amazon store. If you need anything from Amazon, clicking the link helps us keep the site running, at no extra cost to you! Thanks for reading!

Late Afternoon Magic Kingdom Photo Spots

Happy Monday! For today’s post, I wanted to share some great photo spots with you. Now, these spots are all great places to take photos at, but they are particularly nice when the sun is starting to set for the day and the warm light of the late afternoon creates an awesome glow. Let’s go!

Rivers of America

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If any of you know me, you’ll know that Rivers of America is one of my favorite spots for photography period, but, there is a certain type of magic once the light starts to get low for the day. To achieve maximum warm colors, shooting from over near Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will set you up for success, as the sun will be coming from behind where you are standing.

Tangled Tower

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Walt Disney World’s most decorated restroom area looks particularly nice during the late afternoon, plus there are these nice trees in which you can frame your shot. This one was taken at 55mm from over on the walkway near Columbia Harbor House, next to the Memento Mori gift shop.

it’s a small world

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The face for it’s a small world is relatively high off of the ground, which means that it won’t get too heavy of shadows from any of the buildings around it. Plus, when the sun hits all the colors on the building, they really pop off of the screen. Since the top of the building is the more interesting part, you also don’t have to worry about people walking in front of your shot!

Cinderella Castle

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This shot is a must do for the vast majority of WDW visitors. But, it looks even better once that golden light is lightly touching the castle. This is from the Liberty Square side of the castle, as shooting from the Tomorrowland side would mean shooting straight into the sun. That isn’t a bad idea for a shot either, but for the purposes of capturing the golden light, you’ll want to shoot it from this angle. This shot can be a tiny bit difficult, though. With the sun setting, the entire area underneath the castle can be covered in shadow when you expose properly for the castle. So, you’ll have to work some magic in Lightroom to level everything out.

Main Street USA

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Back when I used to vacation at Walt Disney World before moving to Florida, I would almost never be on Main Street USA during the early evening hours. That time would be reserved for dinner, taking photos, or riding attractions. But, Main Street USA is absolutely beautiful as the sun sets. Some of my favorite shots I’ve taken of this area of the park have come from while walking out of the park to head home for dinner and seeing the golden light touching the castle and the Main Street USA buildings. Seeing Main Street drenched in golden light with a castle at the end hits a nostalgic note for many people, as it would remind them of their own vacations, or looking at brochures or photo souvenirs before or after their vacations.

I hope you all enjoy seeing some of my favorite places to shoot in the park. Now, that was just 5 spots, and there are definitely a whole lot more that are awesome when the light starts getting nice. Which are your favorite? We would love for you to share them in the comments below.

For those curious, everything in this article was shot with the Sony a7 and either the Zeiss 55mm F1.8 or the Rokinon 14mm F2.8 lenses, all of which can be purchased through our Amazon link, which helps us run the site at no additional cost to you. Thanks for reading!

Which is better? Grand Floridian Sunset

Welcome to another new week, and a new set of posts here at Disney Photography Blog. For today’s post, I would like to get some discussion going. I was lucky to be leaving the Magic Kingdom yesterday when it was very overcast and then have the clouds part and make way for a beautiful sunset. Naturally, I postponed my ferryboat ride back to the car to take a few photos. I had two of my lenses with me on this jaunt out to the park – a 14mm f/2.8 and a 55mm f/1.8. Since I didn’t have a ton of time and I was already out of the park, I decided to walk out past the boat launch for the Polynesian and Grand Floridian to get some photos with the sunset of the Floridian from across the Seven Seas Lagoon. So, I took a few shots with both lenses, and I’m going to post them both below. They were shot roughly at the same time and edited almost exactly the same way. I’ll explain what I like about each one, and then I’m going to ask for all of you wonderful readers to share which one you like best and why. So, here’s the wide one:

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Ok, so here’s what I like about this one. It’s wide. Like, stupid wide. Shooting with lenses like this 14mm are a ton of fun down at WDW. And to me, this photo shows what Walt Disney World is all about. It is huge and epic and grand and all those superlatives combined into one. The clouds here are incredible and nature at its best. It’s also hard to believe the busiest theme park on the planet is just a few hundred yards behind where I was standing. What I’m not really a fan of is the focus of the shot. Is it on the Grand Floridian? Yes. I know that because I shot it. But, someone else might think this was just a pretty lagoon photo with a building that happens to be in the background. Alright, on to the tighter version shot with the 55mm.

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So, I like that this one has a clear and defined subject. This is 100% a shot about the flagship resort of the Vacation Kingdom of the World. It still has some pretty epic clouds, although they aren’t quite as massive looking as the ones in the wide angle shot. But, it doesn’t necessarily have that ‘wow’ factor when you first take a look at it. By shooting it tighter, I also wasn’t able to get really any of the blue color that was in the higher parts of the sky that the 14mm caught.

I don’t want to say which one is my favorite, but I would love to hear from you. Which one do you prefer? Why do you prefer it? Which one puts you more into the atmosphere of WDW? Please let us know in the comments below.

For those curious, these were both shot with the Sony a7 and the Rokinon 14mm F2.8 and the Zeiss 55mm F1.8, both of which can be purchased at Amazon. Thanks for reading!