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Old 02-04-2013, 07:58 AM   #1
Curious & Curiouser
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Indoor ride photos

Hello

I'm just wondering if anyone could share any tips for getting great photos inside of the attractions? I know not to use a flash and to not wreck the ride for other visitors. Thank you

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Old 02-04-2013, 08:51 AM   #2
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Which attractions? There's a big difference between shooting Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin queue and shooting the ride on Pirates of the Caribbean.

The extreme low light on some rides (Peter Pan, POTC) is one of those rare situations where there is a minimum you need equipment wise to get the job done. You really need to use a lens with a wide aperture. That's the opening in the lens that lets light in. A lower number, like f/2.8 or f/1.4, means a wider aperture. This used to mean getting a DSLR but some of the high end point and shoots now have really wide apertures as well. As far as how to get the shot.. use a fast enough shutter speed to stop whatever motion you need to. That's really the big thing here.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:33 AM   #3
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Most of the indoor rides are pretty dark, and it would be hopeless without the right gear.
That means a dSLR/mirrorless with a fast lens (aperture no worse than 2.8, though 1.4 or 1.8 would be much better). Or an advanced point and shoot with such a lens.

Without that basic requirement, you * might* still get some decent shots of slow moving bright indoor attractions -- truthfully, "it's a Small World" is the only example that comes to mind.

So even for Small World -- you want to use the largest possible aperture ( smallest number). Since most lenses have variable aperture -- you will want to be zoomed all the way out to get the best aperture.
Manually crank up your ISO. I hate to go all the way up to 6400 (or higher), but it can be necessary for the indoor rides. I try to get by with 3200, but it can be too slow.
Finally, watch your shutter speed -- since the ride is moving, and often the attraction has moving parts as well, you need a pretty fast shutter speed to avoid blur. On auto, the camera will try to use a slow shutter speed to counter the low light. (So you can't use auto mode). I'd try to keep shutter speed to 1/50 or faster.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:51 AM   #4
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Photo Chick and havoc315 are right that you will need equipment that is capable of a large aperture and usable high ISO that allows for a shutter speed fast enough to prevent blur. The extreme lowlight rides are some of the more difficult shots because, besides the lowlight, you are moving and the attraction, more than likely, may have some movement. Many of the P & S cameras just aren't capable of those shots. I was so obsessed with getting the lowlight rides, I bought a new DSLR (Pentax K5) and a lens (Sigma 30mm f1.4) to the tune of $1400 just to get those shots! Fortunately, I needed an upgrade anyway and am able to use the equipment for my primary source of photography (otherwise the DW may have sought out an attorney ). This shot was made at 1/100 sec, f1,4, ISO 12800


PP Mermaid by Terry McGraw Photography, on Flickr

This HM shot was at 1/125 sec, f2.5, ISO 12800


HM4 by Terry McGraw Photography, on Flickr

This GMR was at 1/100, f1.4, ISO 3200


GMR 3 by Terry McGraw Photography, on Flickr

Another HM at the same setting as before:


HM3 by Terry McGraw Photography, on Flickr

As you can see by looking at the EXIF data they involved high ISO and relatively fast shutter speeds. I let the camera choose the aperture which in many cases it chose the largest (which was f1.4). All of these shots did involve some post processing, but not to any major extent. I hope this is helpful.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:34 PM   #5
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Along with what others have noted there are a couple of different methods for settings for dark rides. One is to use S mode and set a minimum shutter speed that will give sharp photos. If the light is still too low for the maximum aperture we accept the underexposure and boost it later in software. The other method is to use A mode and set the aperture to maximum, guaranteeing the fastest possible shutter speed for the lighting conditions. If the shutter speed is too slow we accept the motion blur and move on.
Both of these are good methods and both can also use a little negative exposure compensation to help make the scene look more realistic, after all it is supposed to look dark in there. Spot metering can help with something like Madame Leota where we have a small relatively bright area surrounded by darkness. Some good noise reduction software is required for many cameras at the high ISO settings.

I sometimes try panning with the subject (opposite normal panning, here the subject is stationary and I am moving), maybe one out of four works well. As others have noted, it can take some specialized equipment so I sometimes use a f/1.4 lens and ISO 6400.
Many P&S that advertise a fast lens only have that fast lens at 28mm equivalent, the lens quickly becomes slower (as much as f/4.9 or worse) as focal length increases.
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Old 02-04-2013, 12:34 PM   #6
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I do pretty good shooting rides like pirates.

d7000, 50mm 1.4

shoot in A mode, set to 1.4 (wide open), iso at 800

no flash needed.
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Old 02-04-2013, 09:42 PM   #7
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What ever gear you have with you I would push it to it's limit and see what happens. Here are a couple of my ride shots. Shots were taken Pentax K-5 and Sigma 24-70 F2.8. TOT I use the 18-55 WR kit lens.

TOT- f/3.5 @ 18 mm, 1/250, ISO 80



Space Mountain- f/2.8 @ 24 mm, 1/15, ISO 6400,



Pirates-f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/25, ISO 10000,

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Old 02-11-2013, 09:07 AM   #8
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Something else to consider is what metering mode to use.

If you are shooting a scene that is mostly dark, but with brightly lit objects in the center, your camera in its defalut setting will probably overcompensate for all that darkness and bump up the exposure. And you will end up with overexposed blobs in the middle of a dark scene. To fix this, try using either spot metering or center weighted metering. Those settings tell the camera to consider only the small area right around your focal point when deciding how to balance the exposure.
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