Micky’s Fun Wheel at Disney’s California Adventure Park

California Adventure

Micky’s Ferris Wheel at night at the Disney California Adventure Park

Yesterday I headed over to the Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim. We had perfect weather and also the same plans as thousands of other people, because the place was packed with visitors. It took us over and hour and a half in line at the new Carsland ride. Crazy!

I took over 200 photos, but the night shots were the best. There’s something about the lights and configuration at this park that makes it fun to shoot.

The challenge for me was to capture the night scenes without a tripod, yet not use a high ISO. So I improvised. I constantly looked for places where I could set my camera down, compose a shot and shoot at 100 ISO but with a longer exposure time. It worked! Well most of the time.

The top image with the reflection of the Micky Fun Wheel turned out great. However, my “almost” best shot is below. If it were not for the end of the ledge (left lower side, where I placed the camera down), the image would have been my top pick.

Tip on how to take night pictures at Disney Parks

I know this has been said a million times before by others, but for those people out there who are taking pictures at night with a flash, remember, an on camera flash cannot reach and brighten up a subject that is as far and as tall as this ferris wheel. This is the right way to accomplish it:

  1. Use a slower shutter speed (in my case it was 2 seconds long)
  2. Use a stable tripod (or ledge in my case)
  3. Use a low ISO speed (I used 100).
  4. Aperture setting will depend on distant from subject and what you want to be in focus. (In my case I used f/3.5)

And remember, never hand hold a camera with a shutter speed slower than 1/30th of second, chances are it will be blurred. Best thing is to use a tripod or place your camera on something stable, like a table.

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Starting line of the 2011 Disney Half Marathon

start of race photo

Starting line of the Disney Half Marathon 2011

Earlier today I was at the starting line of the 2011 Disney Half Marathon supporting my wife who was a runner at the event. The event drew over 12K runners, actually there were 12,875 finishers according to the 2011 Disney Half Marathon results page.

If you haven’t seen or ran this fun event, I suggest you give it a try next year. The crowd is fun and very lively, it has that “Disney” feel, very family oriented. Many of the runners dress up in themed costumes┬ámaking it not only fun to run but also to watch! Like most running events, the start time is early in the morning, but as you can see here, it didn’t stop these 12K people from participating!

California Adventure World of Color night show

California Adventure world of color

California Adventure World of Color night show

One of the pleasures of living in Southern California is the proximity to the Disneyland resort. Last night I took the kids to California Adventure for their World of Color night show.

If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you make it a priority next time you visit the park. It’s true what they say, the lights seem to come alive! A very creative show and a hit with my kids, they always love seeing it. Which I’m sure we’ll be doing it again very soon.

Because the show takes place at night, it’s a little difficult to take pictures, however I was able to capture this nice colorful moment in the show. Using my Blackberry, I was able to include Micky’s Fun Wheel and the water light show in the same frame.

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Downtown Disney orange water fountain

Downtown Disney water fountain

Downtown Disney’s colorful water fountain in Anaheim.

Downtown Disney is always a colorful place to visit. Located just outside of the Disney front gates, one can visit for a short period of time and get the feel of Disneyland without having to enter the park itself.

Each weekend this area is full of local and international tourists. The area has multiple stores, restaurants, sports bars and concert venue. Home to the ESPN Sports Bar, movie theaters, Disney Hotel and the House of Blues, makes this place a center of attraction in the Anaheim area.

It’s also a great deal in Orange County, parking is free for the first 3 hours, more than enough time to walk and have some ice cream, take in a movie or eat at one of the restaurants. Or simply take a leisurely photo walk, that’s what I did this past weekend. The area is very “Disney” with colorful building, live music and an overall family atmosphere. A perfect place to take pictures.

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