Friday, June 3, 2016

FANaddicts Club: Disney Photo Tour - Double Issue!

We have gotten a little behind on our tour, but today we present a special DOUBLE ISSUE of some of the incredible photos & tips shared by Disney Photo Tour photographer Mike Billick in our Disney FANaddicts Club on Facebook. Grab a snack and something cool to drink, relive all your "Happy Place memories & learn some fantastic photo & vacation tips along the way...

"Shining, Shimmering & Splendid" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/13: Today's photo tour sends us to the Magic Kingdom for a shot of Cinderella Castle dressed up in her beautiful dream lights. This has got to be one of my favorite shots that I have ever taken of the castle during this time of the holiday season. There is just something about the way the castle looks that makes me view it in amazement every time I see it. If you could choose just one word to describe how you feel when you see this picture, what would it be?

Tour Tip of the Day - While on vacation in Disney, especially during the holidays, we are always rushing around trying to get everything in. If you have the time to stay at the Magic Kingdom until it closes, you have to come up to the Castle and sit at the hub and let the crowds clear. This is a great time to relax and enjoy Cinderella Castle in all her beauty. You may even stir up a memory or two from the past and that will give you an awesome, warm feeling inside to end the perfect magical day.

"Do You Remember Having This?" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/16: Today's photo tour sends us to Disney's Pop Century for a shot of one of my favorite childhood toys, the Big Wheel. I remember zipping up and down the driveway in this thing, having the time of my life. One night, while walking around photographing the resort, I decided to try and get some elevated shots of the grounds. I took this from the first level but what made this really interesting, is how the handlebars from the Big Wheel framed the Mickey phone perfectly. I was very happy with the end result. Do you like to walk up to the different floors of the resorts to get your shots? Have a magical day!

Tour Tip of the Day - If you're looking for some really interesting and unique views of the resorts, try going to different levels and taking your shots. It will give you a very different perspective then shooting from on the ground. It also allows you to see everything in one shot as opposed to just bits of pieces and having to take many shots. Give this a try on your next visit!

"Out in the Distance" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/17: Today's photo tour sends us to Epcot for a beautiful sunset. I have seen so many awesome sunsets here that this has become one of my favorite places in Disney to photograph them. I really love how the flowered bushes and trees frame both the top and the bottom of this photo. It seems to add a little something extra to the composition. Where has been your "go-to" place for a sunset shot in Disney?

Tour Tip of the Day - A lot of people think that you have to have this "All Mighty" expensive lens to capture great shots. While partly true, you can also shoot with a great kit lens like I did here, using my 24-85mm. This lens is one of the sharpest in my bag even though I have some pretty high quality lenses to choose from. It's a great "walk-around" lens if you don't want to carry one of those heavy, expensive lenses.

"Hollywood Hills Amphitheater" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/18: Today's photo tour sends us to Disney's Hollywood Studios for a shot of the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater sign. I took this shot one night while exiting Fantasmic. Since I already had my tripod out, I decided to take a few photos. Interestingly enough, there is a very unique shot of the Hollywood Tower Hotel you can only get in this area that you can't get or even see anywhere else in the park. Can you guess what this is? Wanna see more? Check out Disney Photo Tour on Instagram

Tour Tip of the Day - Always be ready with your camera because you never know what opportunity will arise. I never not have my camera around my neck. It always seems that when I have my camera in my bag, something always happens and I don't have enough time to get it out and snap the photo. I have learned that if my camera is always ready, I will never miss anything.

"Thumbs Up" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/19: Today's photo tour sends us to Disney's Animal Kingdom for a shot of Expedition Everest. I mentioned the other day that you don't need to buy an expensive lens to get quality shots, so here is another example. This shot was taken with the 70-300 kit lens that came with my D610 when I had it. The sharpness is amazing, especially at the distance that I took this shot from and we all know that I wasn't that close to the ride. I love the fact that you can see the riders and the expressions on their faces. What lens do you use for a shot like this?

Tour Tip of the Day - Just because you don't know the people riding the rides, it's doesn't mean that you can't photograph the ride. You're never going to get an empty coaster train to photograph unless they are testing it. My point is, the looks on people's faces are what makes photos, whether they are happy, excited or terrified, it makes for a great story. The kid in the front seat of this coaster with his thumb up and the other riders smiling make this picture what it is.

"Let's All Make A Wish" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/20: Today's photo tour sends us to the Magic Kingdom for a shot of my favorite nighttime show, Wishes. Usually, I like to be centered with the castle but back last May, when all the construction was going on, I had to choose a different location. This wasn't my ideal spot but I kind of liked the fact that Cinderella Castle was off to the right and the fireworks were exploding behind a silhouette of trees. It really made for a new and unique shot. Where do you head to when you can't get your perfect location for the show?

Tour Tip of the Day - There are going to be a lot of times that you are not going to be able to shoot at the location you want to shoot at. This is the time for you to get creative and find new places that might in fact be better then your original place. Take this shot for example, I really didn't think that I would get any awesome shots but after I got home and really looked at them, I found that I had a lot of nice ones to choose from. Don't always go to the same spot. Try something new and you might be surprised at what you may discover to be your new "go-to" spot.

"Heavy Traffic" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/23: Today's photo tour sends us to the Magic Kingdom for a shot of the Tomorrowland Speedway. There are only a few places in the park where you can get a shot of this attraction. I stumbled across this location while walking through the new Fantasyland. This isn't a shot I have taken before so I thought I would take it to add to my collection. What's that one ride that you rarely ever take a photo of?

Tour Tip of the Day - It's very important to have a fast shutter speed while taking pics of anything that is moving in Walt Disney World. By doing this, your photos will be very sharp and have no motion blur. If you are looking for that little bit of motion blur, that's also fine. You just have to change your shutter speed to be a little slower. The main thing is to try a lot of different shots to see what best works for you

"The Frozen Topiary" - Photo Mike Billick
Posted 5/24: Today's photo tour sends us to Disney's Hollywood Studios for a shot of Anna and Elsa in their topiary form. Disney always does a great job of making this area right by the entrance, stand out. Whether its Sorcerer Mickey or in this case, Anna and Elsa, you can't go wrong with capturing a great photo. What's your favorite topiary created in this special space?

Tour Tip of the Day - If you're looking for a really great shot of a character topiary, the entrance of the Disney Hollywood Studios is a great place to go. It may get a little crowded during the day but with a little cropping, you can get that awesome shot you are looking for. If you're looking for a less crowded time to get this shot, take it just before or after the park closes. There is never really any people to get in your shot.

"Looking Towards Earth" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/25: Today's photo tour sends us to Epcot, once again during the Flower and Garden Festival for a very unique shot of Snow White and Spaceship Earth. My main focus here was Spaceship Earth, which is why I have the soft, blur on Snow White. We have this nice little frame around Spaceship Earth, from all sides, allowing it to be showcased in a very creative way. I feel that if I would have made Snow White sharp as well, the photo would have been less interesting. How often do you blur your foreground objects to keep the focus on your background or vice versa?

Tour Tip of the Day - Don't be afraid to add a little blur to your photos. By doing this, you create a more interesting and unique photo to show everyone. This technique is very easy to do. All you have to do is open up your aperture and focus on the background object to blur the foreground or focus on the foreground object to blur the background. Go out and give it a try.

"Drop In & Stay For Awhile" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/26: Today's photo tour sends us for an early "check-in" to The Hollywood Tower Hotel at The Disney Studios. Marked as one of the studios classic, iconic landmarks, this hotel is anything but ordinary, however; it is very unique. You can ride this over and over and never experience the same ride twice due to how it's been programmed. On a little side note, I think the Imagineers should have put an actual room in here like in Cinderella Castle. Who else here agrees with me?

Tour Tip of the Day
- There's more to the Tower of Terror then just the front side. You also have some really nice side views. Recently, they opened up the gate right by the entrance to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster giving guests a whole other side of the hotel to photograph. Also, when you exit the ride itself, there is a view of the right side of the hotel as well. So, the next time you're photographing this iconic structure, give the left and right views a try.

"A View of the Kingdom" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/27: Today's photo tour sends us to the roof of the Disney Contemporary Resort Hotel for an aerial shot of the Magic Kingdom. This area goes down as one of my all time favorite spots to take photographs in all of Walt Disney World. The sunset was perfect that night, with a beautiful, orange colored sky. If you're looking to get this shot, you have to have reservations at the California Grill because they just don't let anybody up there to take pictures. Also, this is just another example of what your kit lens can do for you. Give it a "LIKE" if you have ever enjoyed this amazing view before?

Tour Tip of the Day - A lot of people may not know this but I have been told that if you eat lunch at the California Grill and you would like to return back to the roof to view wishes, all you have to do is show your receipt and they will let you go up. When you're up there, I suggest that you go all the way to the right side and go to the corner near the stairs. This would be the left side if you are facing the Contemporary. It's a perfect place to setup a tripod and not have anybody in your view.

"A Tree Full of Carvings" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 5/31: Today's photo tour is sending us back to Disney's Animal Kingdom for a shot of the Tree of Life. This grand structure is the parks icon and greets you as you enter into the lands. Carved with hundreds of animals, finding them all might be a real challenge but a fun one to try. This area is so beautiful, ranking it one of my all-time favorite Disney spots to take a photograph from. Is the Tree of Life one of your "all-time" favorite spots? 

Tour Tip of the Day - The Tree of Life is one of those shots that you can almost guarantee to get without people in your way. This shot, for example, was taken midway through the day when the park was crowded. I only wish Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth was this easy to photograph mid-day. Give it a go next trip!

"Pooh & His Red Balloon" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 6/1: Today's Photo Tour sends us to the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot for a shot of Pooh holding his red balloon. Every which way you turn, you see something new and exciting to photograph this time of the year. I think what really makes this shot stand out is the sky. I'm not sure but if the sky was completely blue, I may not have liked it as much. The clouds give it a little character, no pun intended. LOL. What's your favorite topiary?

Tour Tip of the Day
- When shooting the Flower and Garden Festival, because of all the plants, flowers and foliage, your main subject can sometimes get lost in the mix. I have had this happen to me a few times and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it. It's a good idea to plan out your shot. By doing something as simple as shooting from a different angle and not head-on, you can really make those topiary's pop.

"A Sunset Behind the SS Down The Hatch" - Photo Mike Billick

Posted 6/1: Today's photo tour sends us to the Disney's Studios for yet another amazing sunset. I'm totally convinced that there is no bad sunset in all of Walt Disney World. No matter what park you are at, whether it be Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom or in this case The Disney Hollywood Studios, if you don't come back with an awesome sunset shot, you're doing something wrong. Which park have you taken your favorite sunset at?

Tour Tip of the Day - Sunsets at Walt Disney World, to me, are like no other. Maybe it's because Disney is my true Happy place but it just seems more magical. I have one place that I'm going to share with you, which ranks in my top three places to get a great sunset shot. This place I'm referring to is right in front of Splash mountain. Taken at the right time of the day, you will have this beautiful sunset behind the mountain with awesome reflections coming off the water as well. You can't go wrong here.

For tips on how you can capture images like these, and more fantastic photos follow Disney Photo Tour on Facebook and make sure to join the Disney FANaddicts Club for fun and friendly discussion of all things Disney!

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