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Old 04-18-2012, 09:08 PM   #646
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That is a beautiful hotel. I think I saw the sea. I love the Dwarf toiletries. They are too cute to use. If WDW did ever use them, they probably stopped for exactly that reason. The Snow White details in the room are gorgeous. I do not know the exchange rate, so I am not sure what US dollars to Aussie dollars are. Seeing $188 on the menu still makes me squirm. The food looks amazing though. Seeing the Chinese breakfast makes me smile. My in-laws have rice with every meal including breakfast, so I did not see anything unusual about it.

That maze is pretty cool. The hotel looks a lot like the Grand Floridian on the outside. Love the pathway. Not quite the yellow brick road but very beautiful. Even the kiddie playground looks regal. I love all of the topiaries and the fountain. I think Mickey’s eyes would look less strange if they were white like normal eyes.

The Crystal Lotus is beautiful, and the food looks amazing. I think Hong Kong Disneyland is beautiful, and you’re right. Main Street looks just like it does at MK other than the castle, which looks like a hybrid of Disneyland and magic Kingdom. Hopefully, we get to see it someday. I am sure we will all feel the Disney Magic there too.

I love that there are some things that look so similar to others and others that are completely unqiue to a park. That is so Disney. The UFO zone looks cool, and Buzz Lightyear looks different. You got great shots on the Buzz ride. It really makes me want to finally learn how to use my camera. That Stitch show looks cool. I agree with you that Laugh Factory is awesome. It is my favorite MK show (maybe even attraction). Is it just me or is Fantasyland there neater looking that WDW and Disneyland?

I like the Festival of the Lion King. The condensed story is probably better than just a collection of songs.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:26 PM   #647
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmedina View Post
That is a beautiful hotel. I think I saw the sea. I love the Dwarf toiletries. They are too cute to use. If WDW did ever use them, they probably stopped for exactly that reason. The Snow White details in the room are gorgeous. I do not know the exchange rate, so I am not sure what US dollars to Aussie dollars are. Seeing $188 on the menu still makes me squirm. The food looks amazing though. Seeing the Chinese breakfast makes me smile. My in-laws have rice with every meal including breakfast, so I did not see anything unusual about it.

That maze is pretty cool. The hotel looks a lot like the Grand Floridian on the outside. Love the pathway. Not quite the yellow brick road but very beautiful. Even the kiddie playground looks regal. I love all of the topiaries and the fountain. I think Mickey’s eyes would look less strange if they were white like normal eyes.

The Crystal Lotus is beautiful, and the food looks amazing. I think Hong Kong Disneyland is beautiful, and you’re right. Main Street looks just like it does at MK other than the castle, which looks like a hybrid of Disneyland and magic Kingdom. Hopefully, we get to see it someday. I am sure we will all feel the Disney Magic there too.

I love that there are some things that look so similar to others and others that are completely unqiue to a park. That is so Disney. The UFO zone looks cool, and Buzz Lightyear looks different. You got great shots on the Buzz ride. It really makes me want to finally learn how to use my camera. That Stitch show looks cool. I agree with you that Laugh Factory is awesome. It is my favorite MK show (maybe even attraction). Is it just me or is Fantasyland there neater looking that WDW and Disneyland?

I like the Festival of the Lion King. The condensed story is probably better than just a collection of songs.
I hope that you make it out to Hong Kong someday too.

HKDL was really really clean on this 1st day. I suspect that the park was probably less crowded than expected and there was all this extra staff on hand to work on cleaning.
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:36 PM   #648
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Dinner time at Comet Cafe


In a time long long ago, in a galaxy far far away, even before Disneyland ever existed, humans thought that comets were ‘hairy stars’. They viewed these objects in the sky with awe and alarm as these fiery swords in the sky appeared to them in an unpredictable fashion. The most ancient known mythology, the Babylonian ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ described fire, brimstone and flood with the arrival of a comet.


Well….we’d just seem some fire and brimstone in the FotLK show at Adventureland and we could not hold back the flood that was to engulf us all. My dad and DS were hungry. Very hungry.

Any thoughts I had of making it to Tarzan Treehouse or taking a trip through the Jungle were shelved.immediately. Afterall, with it was Day 1 of 12 into our family vacay and I was not going to rock the boat with either my father or DS by depriving them of their sustenance this early in the piece. I will add that it was only slightly after 5 pm Hong Kong time by this stage….which equated close to 8 pm Melbourne time, as we left still on daylight saving time. You really couldn’t blame either stomach.

We did look at the menu offerings at Tahitian Terrace in Adventureland. It is right next to the Theatre in the Wild; and with the option of Indian and South East Asian cuisine on the menu, I thought it would be a sure winner with my dad. Problem was….DH wasn’t too thrilled with the selection of vegetarian cuisine or fish dishes there.

Pesky-vegetarian, that one can be!


As it turned out, it didn’t appeal to my dad either. I wished I’d taken a picture of the Terrace and the menu but I had really thought I’d be back to experience the fare. Not this trip.
My dad had a different type of dinner in mind. He wanted rice for dinner.

Say phat? There was rice on offer at the TT!

With so many options for rice in the park, I figured we needed to head towards the other destination where I knew he would have Chinese options to go with the rice. I’d checked it out when DH was Lost in Space.

We headed back to the Comet Café in Tomorrowland.





In some of the Quick Service dining places at the American Disney locations, you queue up at the appropriate counter or bay for the meal that you want to eat. For example at Cosmic Ray’s at WDW, you choose the appropriate bay depending on whether you want the Chicken, Burger or Sandwich option. It really isn’t that different here….your choice is BBQ, Noodles or Wok.





Our food…

Braised Duo of Mushroom and Marrow Cucumber with rice; the obvious and only choice for the Pesky-Vegetarian.





Fried Pork Chop in Black Pepper Onion Sauce with rice.





Fujian Fried Rice.





Chauzhou Fish Ball Noodle Soup.





Three Treasures Specialties with Rice.





BBQ Pork with Rice.





Roast Chicken with Rice.





Most items around the HK$60 mark, equating to about $9 in our money.

This is definitely a quick service place. From the time I placed the order, most of the dishes were ready within a minute or two. Not much cooking to order involved here, no matter what wok they say. And like in America, payment was at the cashier as you exit.

It was at this point that I realised that we might have been in Disneyland but everything was just a little….‘bent’.

To date, we’d eaten at the Hotel Resort and the food had been bordering on brilliant. We were now in the PARK, eating Quick Service and with food that despite its looks, bordered on the wrong side of mediocre. I’m not saying it was bad…..as there was definitely L and N in there to break it up….b-L-a-N-d.

For my South East Asian tastebuds, this food was bland and for my Aussie banana tastebuds, this food was bland.

Take note – peeps – expect a distinct lack of sweetness and spicy-ness in the Chinese style food at HKDL. Even the soft drinks are toned down in sweetness. The taste is definitely tailored for the Mainland Chinese tastebud. The sweetness I did not mind but the spice.....!!!!!

That fiery sword was raining down brimstone and calamity in the Comet Café indeed! And if you are going here and must eat, I highly recommend sticking with the BBQ options.

One other thing – for those of you numerically minded, you may have noticed that there are 5 in my party but 7 food porn pictures. We weren’t being greedy or anything….we sat next to two Japanese tourists who graciously let me take pictures of their food before they started to eat.



(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:38 PM   #649
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Round-ing off Tomorrowland


The time was after 6 pm with a distinct chill in the air, and we were getting cold. My mum and DH volunteered to head back to the hotel to pick up jackets and more importantly to get tripods. It would take them about 40 minutes for this turnaround.

I stayed with my dad and DS. My dad was happy to find a park bench and sit to people watch; DS had other ideas! He wanted to go back to the Stitch Show and I was happy to indulge. However, when we got there, the showing was in a non-English language and DS was not having any of that. So, we went for another round of Astroblasters and the walk-on was even quicker than the first time round. For the record, I shot in the 300K range this second time round as I was definitely aiming for Zurg instead of infinity this time. Sadly, it doesn’t count because DH was not with us.


On the way out, we noticed a much shortened queue for the Orbitron.





It took us two rounds to get on, less than 10 minute wait.

They aren’t jets….they are saucers and will fit four people comfortably in them. Definitely a little bendy round change from the norm.





The view must be spectacular up here at night time when Tomorrowland is all lit up.









And I was left to wonder what dinner at the Starline would have been like as we went round and round and round and round.






If nothing else, this ride completed my rounds of all the Tomorrowland attractions.






(Continued in Next Post) 
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Old 04-18-2012, 09:42 PM   #650
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(Continued from Previous Post)


Twilight at the Hub with Pak and Milk



My dad was waiting for us at the Hub and had fun people watching. DH and my mum still had not returned and with twilight lighting, I figured I should try to get some shooting in.





NOTE for later: This is the circle area that would be roped off for the Star Diners. The CM would set up the rope and then invite everyone out of the area.



Afterall, twilight is meant to be one of those two (yee) golden periods for photography in the day.





I noticed one of the Main Street streetcars heading my way.

It was the Paddy van and it was driven by the sweetest CM I have ever met. is name is Pak. He was very gracious in letting me take a picture of him with the van.





When he realised I was there with DS and my dad, he then proceeded to take my camera and direct us to pose around his van. He shot the 3 generations around his van at all angles. As my dad is in those shots, I’m not sharing them here…..but it was such a sweet gesture on his part. Pak…I thank you for the pictures.

Shortly after Pak and his Paddy van disappeared into the twilight, my mum and DH arrived back with the promised reinforcements. It was now after 7 pm and DH and I were anxious to set up for the 8 pm fireworks.


I had done some reconnaissance of the area and had even consulted one of the CM, Milk. She told me that the best spot to view fireworks was in the circle, where the Star Dining Program had commandeered. Yeah. Our dinner for 5 came to about HK$300. The Star Dining Program was HK$360 per head.

Milk also told me that everyone wanted to sit in front of the castle to watch the fireworks.

Yes….S-I-T.

And for those of you veteran photographers out there, you can imagine my incredibility at the thought of being so close to the castle for fireworks shots. Most of the time, I would seeking to be in Main Street and shooting the fireworks from there.

I went back to double check and Milk, the CM, then proceeded to take me to the front of the Star Diner reserved area. She told me to sit with the rope behind me and to set my tripod up. Given the trouble she’d gone to, I figured that resistance was futile; so set up I did.




As time progressed, more and more people filled up this area.





You might notice that most of them are indeed sitting.





For those of you that haven’t followed my PTR, you won’t know it…but the Firework Gods and I were not on very good terms last year. I acknowledge that the shots in the PTR section are good; but they were always a little ‘bent’ and I was always out of position or something. And if you check out some of the other TRs, you’ll also find out that Disney fireworks and me have not clicked…..yet.

I was now placing faith in the fact the Firework Gods had been relatively kind to me in 2012…and also in a CM named Milk.





And yes….I AM going to make you wait a couple of days for fireworks.




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Old 04-18-2012, 11:17 PM   #651
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The food looks great. That stinks that it did not taste as good as it looked. I was impressed that quick service was served in real dishes. I have never scored 300k on any shooting games, so I am impressed. I love your twilight and evening pictures. The castle looks beautiful. I am glad you got to see the fireworks even if we have to wait a couple of days to see them.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:29 PM   #652
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Say what? Well, the food sounds like you either got bland or screaming hot. I take it they dont serve anything other than chinese . Kind of wierd they sit for fireworks. I cant wait to see them. How long does there firework show last? I love it though that your wait time for rides are really short.....
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:54 AM   #653
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Even the peppered pork wasn't spicy? Did they have any spice packets to add?

It did look good. What are the three treasures and what is the fourth?

Firework set up looks good, please don't let us down.
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:26 AM   #654
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Oh that is so mean! Just like on those bad reality TV shows lol! Still, I enjoyed looking at your twilight pictures :-)
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Old 04-19-2012, 05:38 AM   #655
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What a shame you were disappointed in the meal...but....by the sounds of it I would have liked it

I had a BBQ Pork burger at the Starline diner and I found it quite spicy. But...I don't do spice...so to you it might have been bland.

You were also comparing to the tastes of fine dining at the hotel....which is quite a change....

I'm just waiting for a child to be lifted into the air in between you and the castle
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Old 04-19-2012, 04:56 PM   #656
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
Dinner time at Comet Cafe


One other thing – for those of you numerically minded, you may have noticed that there are 5 in my party but 7 food porn pictures. We weren’t being greedy or anything….we sat next to two Japanese tourists who graciously let me take pictures of their food before they started to eat.
That's exactly what I was wondering! I thought you might have eaten family style and shared some of it.

Great pictures! HKDL looks a lot more like DL than the MK, I guess because the Castle looks so similar. I have a feeling we would have a hard time finding things to eat. I would be all over the noodle bowls, but her Not so much!

I'm looking forward to your fireworks pictures! I'm also glad to be all caught up for a few hours! Your turn!
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:12 AM   #657
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmedina View Post
The food looks great. That stinks that it did not taste as good as it looked. I was impressed that quick service was served in real dishes. I have never scored 300k on any shooting games, so I am impressed. I love your twilight and evening pictures. The castle looks beautiful. I am glad you got to see the fireworks even if we have to wait a couple of days to see them.
My record is in the 600K mark. I got lucky that day.

But it's strange....I'm okay at Buzz but completely suck at Toy Story Mania. Firefly can tell you how bad I am at that!


Quote:
Originally Posted by usnuzuloose View Post
Say what? Well, the food sounds like you either got bland or screaming hot. I take it they dont serve anything other than chinese . Kind of wierd they sit for fireworks. I cant wait to see them. How long does there firework show last? I love it though that your wait time for rides are really short.....
This particular QS place didn't offer much other option than Chinese.


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Even the peppered pork wasn't spicy? Did they have any spice packets to add?

It did look good. What are the three treasures and what is the fourth?

Firework set up looks good, please don't let us down.
The three treasures were the Chicken, Chinese Sausage and the Salted Duck Egg. It was tasty enough despite the chinese sausage having a rather strange taste....even for me!

The fourth dish? Some 'bent' version of Fish Ball Noodles. You'll see some pictures of FBN later on in the TR...more like what I'm used to seeing and what DS is used to eating. This one was just weird.....but DS still ate it.

As for letting down......that remains to be seen. I have no control over how you might or might not feel about fireworks.



Quote:
Originally Posted by zanzibar138 View Post
Oh that is so mean! Just like on those bad reality TV shows lol! Still, I enjoyed looking at your twilight pictures :-)
To paraphrase Jessica Rabbit.....

Mean? I'm not mean.....
I'm just drawn that way.




Quote:
Originally Posted by queenie82 View Post
What a shame you were disappointed in the meal...but....by the sounds of it I would have liked it

I had a BBQ Pork burger at the Starline diner and I found it quite spicy. But...I don't do spice...so to you it might have been bland.

You were also comparing to the tastes of fine dining at the hotel....which is quite a change....

I'm just waiting for a child to be lifted into the air in between you and the castle
I don't think there will be Hunchback in these sets of pictures.....we might have fruity loops instead; but no Hunchback.



Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
That's exactly what I was wondering! I thought you might have eaten family style and shared some of it.

Great pictures! HKDL looks a lot more like DL than the MK, I guess because the Castle looks so similar. I have a feeling we would have a hard time finding things to eat. I would be all over the noodle bowls, but her Not so much!

I'm looking forward to your fireworks pictures! I'm also glad to be all caught up for a few hours! Your turn!

Does this mean I can proceed without caution?



Looks like I might have the green light to go with the night photography folks!

Dang! Still need to work on the next set of posts!
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:05 AM   #658
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I think the Fireworks Gods have been Kind to me Tonight


With my faith firmly based on what a CM named Milk had told me, I’d decided to set up in a position one step removed from where the Star Diners would be heading out to.

The Star Diners would be allowed to stand and when they appeared, there were definitely 4 or 5 photonuts among them. They set up their tripods right behind me.

For those of you that have followed my PTR, you will recall that I debated about going to the Park on Sunday but in the figured that I would get the 1st night shooting in. It was always meant to be fireworks practise and the 2nd was meant to be the serious shooting.


In reality, reverse that!

Aside from one little fruit product, the shots from this night were probably as good as I could expect given my current level of photography. I am really happy with them.


And to set expectations for the 2nd shoot, those shots are not exactly terrible but they do not compare with what I got on the 1st night. But that's for Day 2.


I’d set my tripod up to this height.






With everyone sitting down and with the Star Diners behind me and with my arms only reaching so high, I figured I’d be safe. My set up shots were reasonable so I just enjoyed the time talking to a Pilipino brother and sister sitting next to me.


Time passes as time does.....






And then it was time for the show to begin.





I think the Fireworks Gods were kind to me on this night.
































You might have noticed the fruit-loop...or more appropriately, the fruit-square........in these pictures.

When I shot World of Colour last year at DCA, I had a similar problem – only with a Hunchback and with a Dumbo elephant arm. Given how I felt then, I was actually surprised to find that the fruit-loop didn’t bug me as much.

Afterall, as everyone said last year, the presence of Hunchback and Dumbo gave them a sense of being there….and the rest of the picture was wonderfully colourful.


So, despite the presence of the fruit product, I am really happy with these pictures.

The Disney in the Stars Fireworks show at HKDL runs for roughly 10 – 15 minutes. The show is set to music from Disney classics like Cinderella, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast; and Mulan.

The other thing about this DitS Show is that, at times, there are patches…minutes….where there are no fireworks because a montage of the appropriate movie is projected on to the castle wall; hence why everyone sits this close to the castle. Given the height (or lack of) of the castle, I figure that anyone at the back of the hub would have no chance of seeing the montage.

Because there are significantly less trees in the hub at HKDL than at the other castles, the fireworks are spread out over a wide area. Sitting this close to the castle worked out great for me because I had an ultra-wide angle lens in my collection. I’ve taken a look at some of DH’s pictures and for those photographers out there…it is a little tight with a normal lens. The Star Diner spot would have been perfect, if you want to spend the money!


The breaks in the fireworks provided one advantage to me. It gave me time to realise that I needed to think in 3D and it gave me time make one necessary adjustment.


Milk had been right. If I had been seated anywhere else, I would not have been able to raise my tripod up. The CM would have stopped me if I hadn’t been lynched by the surrounding viewers first. But in the spot I was in, I was able to raise the tripod to an advantageous height and yet still not get in the way of the Star Diners.


Take a look at the difference….


























































And towards the end, everyone raised their camera phones or tablet phones really high up. But it all added to the true capture of the moment.






I finally have a set of fireworks shots with a castle in the background!

Hope you enjoyed the show.





(Continued in Next Post)
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:09 AM   #659
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(Continued from Previous Post)


They Say the Neon Lights are Bright….and Lucky Chans


After the show, everyone started to head out of the park. I thought I’d stick around and try to get some night shots and said my goodbyes to the family.

However, I’d forgotten one little ph’act…..the park shut at 8 pm. The fireworks show was the last event of the day. My only excuse is that I wasn’t sure until close to lunchtime that we were actually going to make it into the park today! Still…..I should have been paying more attention to the closing hours.

That left me with one bad sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Undeterred, I thought I’d make the best of it and at least try to catch some of the neon lights of Tomorrowland.





I ‘chans’ my luck further. With no CM around, I walked in a little ways and set up the tripod and even managed to catch me a couple of shots of Space Mountain and Comet Café at night.

It was at this stage that a CM walked up to me and imperiously told me that the park was shut and I needed to head out. I KNOW from experience that CMs in the American parks will almost turn a blind eye to the photographers, providing that you’re quick about it and keep moving in the general direction of the exit.

So, I ‘chans’ my luck further. I appealed to the CM and showed him my Space Mountain shots. Turns out the Gods had not left me yet. The CM took one look at my shots....and then personally led me round Tomorrowland….

This is the shot of Space Mountain and Comet Café that I think turned the tide with the CM. These attractions are located to the left of the entrance on the side of the Orbitron.






From this position, you can see the Stitch Encounter Experience doorway. It’s on the left hand side of the SM building, with red writing at the top of the doorway. Past this doorway, you’ll be walking down the side passage into Fantasyland.






Autopia sits right at the back of Tomorrowland.






BuzzLightyear AstroBlasters is to the right of Autopia.






You can see how the Orbitron sits in reference to Comet Café and Space Mountain.






To the back of me is the Starline Café. Surprisingly, I didn’t take a night time shot of it.

The CM and I made reasonable small-talk during all of this. I don’t think he sees much of the guests wanting to take shots at night like I did.

At this point, he needed to get back to his duties but asked a favour of me. There was one night shot he wanted to see me get and we walked there. I happily obliged and showed it to him. I’d like to think that he was happy with his night’s work.






And with that, he headed back into Tomorrowland. I never got his name and Lucky Chans really seems to fit.

Left to my own devices, I figured I needed to head the way of the general population. Naturally, I took my time. Afterall, my camera was still in the tripod.





When I looked down Main Street, I figured I had heaps more time!






Like with the US parks, people are allowed to shop for about 30 – 60 minutes past park closing time.





Afterall, why would anyone not want Disney to make their merchandise sales targets?






I took some time to make sure that I got my fill of night shots of Main Street.









Looking back one last time at the Castle, I figured it was time to start heading out.





You know that feeling you get when you leave a Disney park for the day?

The one where you know that you have to return to reality when you walk past the main square?






And take a last look at the Main Street Station?






And then linger for that last look at the Flower Power?





Well….I glumly pondered that feeling as I walked out.





And then I smiled…as I realised that I would have another full day at the park.





I hope you’ll be sticking around for Day 2!





But be warned….some of them might not exactly be true Disney…rather more my kind of ‘bent’ TR reporting style.





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Old 04-20-2012, 02:33 AM   #660
usnuzuloose

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Those are awesome pics of the fireworks. It was so nice of the cm to take you around and let you take some extra pics. What is the wide angle lens you are using? Cant wait to see day 2.
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