Hotel du Canada

Today’s blog post features one of my favorite buildings at Disney’s EPCOT. It is located in the Canada section of the world showcase. The building was designed to resemble The Fairmont Château Laurier that is located in Ottawa, Ontario. There is a fantastic steakhouse that resembles a wine cellar underneath the building aptly named Le Cellier Steakhouse. Here is the story about this photo.

It was a chilly moonlit night. There was a breeze in the air that said fall is on the way…

Ok wait a second, that was all a vision in my head!

For a long time I have wanted to get a picture of this beautiful scene at night. However the dilemma has been to get the shot without people. The way the lights illuminate the area always catches my eye. So how can I turn my vision into reality? Shoot it the early morning hours before anybody is there and then use a little Photoshop magic to turn day into night! The original picture is an HDR from three bracketed exposures, then processed to my taste. A little time with a brush tool to turn the lights on and create the glow added a lot of character. The clouds were perfect to add in a little bit of diffused moonlight. Add in some light beams to illuminate the top and finish off with some maple leaves and it’s done.

So whenever you think you can’t get the shot you want, just think out of the box. You never know where you’re creativity will take you!

If you would like to view more pictures on my blog from Disney, just click here.

Also here is a link to a previous blog post from the Canada area titled “The Cottage.”

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Please consider leaving a comment as I always enjoy hearing from my visitors! 😀

Please click on the image below to view full-screen.

Hotel du Canada

Disney Artwork

I am really excited to share some news! I now have artwork for sale at Disney! I have four new pieces that were created exclusively for Disney. Due to contractual agreements I can’t show any photos of them here. But if you would like to see these in person or if you are interested in purchasing one, you can find them at The Art of Disney at the Downtown Disney Marketplace.

The titles of the four pieces are as follows:

  1. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant sign
  2. The Great Movie Ride sign
  3. Mama Melrose’s sign
  4. Oscar’s Truck sign

All four pieces were created from my original photographs.

The first of the four pieces was inspired by the movie classic “Lady and the Tramp.” It is from Tony’s Town Square Restaurant located right up front in the Magic Kingdom theme park. The finished piece is a die-cut shaped like the original sign that hangs outside.

The second piece is from one of the attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Great Movie Ride takes guests on a ride through the movies. This piece is also a die-cut and resembles the original sign.

The third piece is the sign that is painted on the building of the restaurant “Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano” which is also located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It features a resemblance of the Mona Lisa wearing sunglasses. This piece is printed on wood.

The fourth piece is of a classic tow truck named “Oscar’s” located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios as well. It is situated in front of a replica of an old-time gas station. It is also printed on wood.

Stop by and check these out if you are in the area.

If you can dream it, you can do it. – Walt Disney

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Please consider leaving a comment as I always enjoy hearing from my visitors! 😀

Privateer Lynx

I had read about this ship coming in to Tampa from Fort Myers called Lynx. The arrival date was set for January 15th. It is a replica of an 1812 warship complete with cannons and full sails. Its path into Tampa would take it through St. Petersburg and under the Sunshine Skyway bridge. It seemed like the perfect photo opportunity so I decided to make the two hour drive down there.

I did some research online to see if I could find the exact time it would be sailing under the bridge, but I had no luck. I went to the website of the ship and contacted their main office. I was told that the ship would be sailing under the bridge at 9:00 am. The next step was looking at Google maps to determine the best shooting location. The south fishing pier looked promising as it was about as close as you could get to the center of the bridge. Also for that time of day the sun would be behind me and should have provided some nice light. I got to the pier around 8:15 and setup my tripod. The sky was kind of overcast so the lighting unfortunately was flat and dull. The wind was blowing so I had to hold my lens steady on the tripod to make sure my photos were sharp. This wasn’t exactly the image I had planned on getting but you have to accept the hand you are dealt and roll with it. In the end though  I was very happy!

In post processing the first image I added a texture to give it a vintage post card look. Kind of like old meets new.

Please be sure to click on each of the images below to view the larger and sharper versions!

The Passage of Time

After the ship sailed under the bridge, I watched it for a few minutes and decided it was time to head to Tampa. I read online that when it was going to be in Tampa that the sails would be down. Since it was scheduled to arrive in downtown Tampa at 12:00 noon, I figured that should give me plenty of time to get another shot of it with the sails still up. When I got over there I drove out to a park that has a nice long fishing pier. I got there about 10:30 and didn’t see any signs of the ship. I waited around for awhile and thought “what if it already passed through here and I missed it?” I took the gamble and left to head to it’s destination – The Tampa Convention Center.  I ended up beating it there by about 30 minutes.

I went up to the observation deck at the back of the convention center to see if I could spot it. When I saw it coming in they had already pulled the sails down. I missed the shot I had planned out in my head but now I had decent lighting so I was still happy. Once the ship was situated in the harbor I went to work. The final image I made is an HDR composed of 6 brackets.

Privateer Lynx

The ship is going to be going back and forth between Tampa and St. Pete until March 13th so I am hoping to get back down there for some more pics.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Please consider leaving a comment as I always enjoy hearing from my visitors! 😀

Happy New Year

Here is a “blast from the past.” This is a fireworks shot I took in 2010 at EPCOT. Originally titled “Fireworks Over Torii Gate” this was a 25 second exposure in order to capture multiple fireworks in one picture. Just wanted to share a quick post and wish everybody a very Happy New Year. I hope your 2014 is your best year ever. I truly appreciate all of the support and encouragement of my blog over the years. Thanks for all your friendship!

Fireworks Over Torii Gate

Camping at Lake Kissimmee State Park

At the beginning of October I took a little camping trip. I reserved a campsite at one of Florida’s many beautiful state parks: Lake Kissimmee State Park. If you are a nature lover and want to get away from the lights and sounds of the city then this is the place for you. Located about 15 miles away from the main city area of Lake Wales is a park that is hidden from urban development. Once you arrive at the entrance the campground is still 3 miles back in the park. With extremely dark skies the park is a wonderful place for stargazing.

Please click on each of the images below to view full-screen.

Upon my arrival I checked in at the ranger station and drove back to the campground to get my site all setup.

CampsiteAfter setting up the site it was time grill up some burgers! No food pics as I was pretty hungry by the time I got to eat so the camera was put up.

When I checked in on  Friday evening the ranger informed me that their cow camp had just opened for visitors. I was intrigued at the photo opportunities so I perused the brochure to find out more information.

1870's Florida Cow CampThe open prairies of the area were a real draw to the cowboys of the day. They even had a real cowboy on hand to tell the stories of survival in the wild of the 1870’s.

1870's CowboyThey had some authentic items on hand to complete the theme as well. This saddle was a great example of the way of life back then.

Saddle 'em Up!

Here is a close-up of the metal emblem on the horse bridle hanging on the end of the wooden post.

US Horse Bridle

And this old wooden canteen for carrying drinking water was another great find.

CS Wooden CanteenAnd nothing completes a great day better than a spectacular sunset provided by mother nature.

Sunset Canal

But to really finish off the night nothing can beat a sky full of stars!

Starry Starry Night

I hope you enjoyed today’s post. Please consider leaving a comment as I always enjoy hearing from my visitors! 😀