Tag Archives: photography

Disney Photography – New Trends

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On our recent trip to Disney World, we discovered a few new photography trends.  First, of course, is that there were no more “selfie” sticks.  The use of them didn’t bother us, but it is nicer to get pictures of say, the castle, without a backdrop of selfie sticks.

Although we never owned or used a selfie stick, we did utilize a couple things to make phone photography better in the parks.

First, is the Shoulderpod S1.  This is a smartphone grip with a handle and strap that we purchased from Amazon.  The grip is adjustable to hold various sizes of phones/cameras and tightens securely.

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The handle was a little short for my husband’s taste, but perfect for our daughter and me.  So nice to not worry about dropping your phone off of Astro Orbiters!

smartphone grip at Disney World

You can see it in use here.

The second smartphone grip we purchased was the Reticam, also purchased at Amazon.

reticam phone grip

You can see the grip fits a larger hand more easily.  Using these grips made taking video much more steady.

The 3rd phone accessory we purchased is the Gostrap.  These are on our phone cases at all times and make it a lot easier to securely grab a photograph or send a message with just one hand on the phone.  It has been particularly great with our larger phones.

smartphone go strap

The second photography trend we noticed was an almost absence of iPads as cameras in the parks!  It was wonderful to watch parades, fireworks, and shows in real life and not through the screen of someones iPad.

Chinese acrobats at Epcot

In fact, as this picture shows, most people were just enjoying the show as it happened and not filming every second of this show with any device.  It is a trend that we saw throughout the week we were there.

The 3rd trend is that again, we took even more photos than the previous trips.  We were in the parks for 6 days again this year and took a total of 1320 images.  Last year, in 6 days, we took 1242.  I was a little surprised to see the number go up, but attribute it to a couple of things.  Isabella only took a rest once or twice during the week, so we were active all day every day.  This year seemed a little less crowded, so she was able to meet many more characters and she was enough taller to be able to ride several new rides.

It sounds like a lot of pictures, doesn’t it?  But, from all those images, we’ve printed a photo book and edited the photographs and video into a movie already.  More images will be used in our Project Life Disney album which will also include the journaling from the trip.  And, because you can see that these memories matter a lot to us, they are all backed up multiple times.

A Disney Photographic Timeline

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The other day, our family was talking about how many times each of us had been to Disney parks.  For my husband, whose 1st visit was in 1955, the only record of it is a notation in his baby book saying that he had his first train ride there.  As a southern Californian, he went many times as a child, but there are no photographs of the visits.

Before our daughter was born, I had been to Disney World 2 times previously, but there is only 1 picture that I am in since I am usually the person behind the camera.

Most of our daughter’s Disney experiences have at least SOME record of her having been there, but looking at HOW I recorded her park visits is a little cringe-inducing now.

scrapbook page

Take a look at this page for instance.  Remember cutting photos into shapes and using decorative scissors?  It screams 1995 which is exactly when it was made.  At least I remembered to save the $22 Disneyland paper ticket!  That said, it might be time to make a new album of her Disney visits with just a little more modern look.  Perhaps, say, keeping the photographs square or rectangles?!  And maybe no decorative scissors?!

Fortunately, I still have all of my negatives safely stored in archival sleeves in binders.

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I don’t have a film scanner, but, as an Android user, there is a great free app called the Helmut Film Scanner that works simply and effectively with reasonable photo quality.  Take for instance, this photo of our dog meeting Mickey at a relay race.  This is a 35 mm scan with no sharpening, color correction, etc. done prior to or after the scan.

Border Collie meets Mickey Mouse

As I scanned negatives, I started keeping a tally of how many photographs were taken during each Disney visit.  The increase is staggering.

1992 – 9  (daughter’s first visit to Disneyland.)

1993 – 8

1994 – 22

1995 – 6 (birthday trip to DL with friend)

1996 – 3

1998 – 26 (first trip to WDW)

1999 – 2

2001 – 16

2003 – 59 (film + digital)

2010 – 513 (all digital from here on)

2012 – 76 (half marathon only)

2013 – 769

2014 – 1242

The ease of digital photography now means that everyone in our family has a way to capture memories and the quality of most of the images is really excellent.  The job of sorting through, editing, and laying out pages for scrapbooks and photo books is a lot more daunting though than the years where 4 or 5 pictures per trip was all you came home with.

The Good, Bad, and the Ugly – Photography at Disney

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Not too many years ago, there were only film cameras and a trip to Disney might mean upgrading from a 24 exposure roll of film to a 36 exposure roll that had to last you for the whole day or even trip.  One or two shots were taken per character and you didn’t realize the image would have bad lens flare until you got your prints back from the developer.

The amount of photography taken at Disney parks is insane.  One site states that 100-200,000 photos are taken each day just by Photopass photographers and that is probably a conservative number.  Add in cell phones, iPads, digital cameras, etc. and the numbers must be staggering.

Now, I will go out on a limb and speculate that many of the images/videos/etc. that are taken, will not make it beyond Facebook or Instagram and stand a good chance of being lost when a hard drive crashes or phone gets dropped in the lake.  But, that is each person’s individual problem and their responsibility to prevent.  And to be honest, it’s easy to assume that many of the images are never looked at again, anyway.

ipad blocking view at WDW

That is what makes some of the photography trends at Disney parks kind of interesting to look at.  This was what we saw over and over in 2013.  Huge tablets with full keyboards videoing EVERY SINGLE MINUTE of the Christmas parade.  We even saw one person carrying a 17″ laptop through the park during Christmas week.  Crazy.

ipad as camera at disney world

Luckily, it seems as if the iPad is not a Camera message was getting through, because 2014 was the year of the “selfie stick”.  And in my opinion, it is a HUGE improvement over the iPad craze.  At least you can see through it and don’t have to watch a live event in the screen of the person in front of you.

Disney sketchbook

I didn’t take any pictures of the selfie stick craze, but you can see it in my sketchbook.

A lot of articles are floating around seeking to ban the selfie stick at theme parks, but if that means the return of the iPad as camera, I say keep the selfie sticks around.

No matter what the trend of the day is, it would be fascinating to know if many of the thousands of photos and videos get edited and make their way off of the phone/tablet/etc. and into a easier to view format?

As for me, I will stick to whatever images I can get while carrying the least amount of gear – a Sony RX100 II.  At 2.3 inches by 4 inches and a weight of about 9 ounces, it is a great theme park camera.  Unobtrusive, lightweight, and a battery that lasts 2 days since the flash is almost never used.

ISO 3200, f1.8, 1/250

ISO 3200, f1.8, 1/250