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Old 02-12-2013, 04:54 PM   #1
iowacedar
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Taking Great Pictures: DISABLE YOUR FLASH!

While on our Disney World trip I quickly learned that a flash is NOT required to take great pictures while at the attractions or even at night when taking shots of Cinderella's Castle during fireworks. Just remember that a flash is designed to illuminate a subject within feet of the camera lens, it is useless in taking pictures at Disney World. Sadly, most camera users don't realize this and ruin others enjoyment of rides with their constant camera flashing.
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:00 PM   #2
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Thanks for the tip!!
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:23 PM   #3
TexasJule
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Does this also work when taking pictures with characters inside? I have the hardest time getting my camera to take a picture inside at Disney and usually it is showing me the flash icon.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasJule View Post
Does this also work when taking pictures with characters inside? I have the hardest time getting my camera to take a picture inside at Disney and usually it is showing me the flash icon.
Depends on the relative "newness"/sophistication of your digital camera. Some of the newer models, even the consumer-level ones, are offering things like custom ISO and/or exposure control, and that's often what you need for these kinds of shots.

Let me preface this by saying you should practice this with your camera and see what kind of results you get, because each camera is different. Caveat photographemtor, or something like that

If your camera supports it, experiment with pushing up what might be termed "ISO Equivalent" or "ISO Rating" on your camera in increments from about 400, to 800, and even as high as 1600. Each of those ratings gives you a better chance to capture something in low-light situations with less or no need for a flash. In fact, some cameras have a specific "no-flash" mode.

Be aware that there's a trade-off as you push up the ISO, because as ISO increases, so increases the risk for what's called "noise" or "grain" in the background of the picture. Some cameras have built-in "high ISO noise compensation" for precisely that reason. Keep in mind, too, that any ISO noise is magnified as you increase (enlarge) the picture for printing. The key is to experiment as much as possible with your camera, because every camera has its own variety of sensor and firmware that makes the results peculiar to that manufacturer. Learning the details of your camera can help you get a LOT more enjoyment out of it. I surprised myself taking some Wishes fireworks shots a couple of years ago with my Nikon pushed up to an ISO of 3200 with manual focus and rapid-fire shooting as an experiment. I wasn't really expecting them to be great, but when I looked at them at the hotel that night, I found several had turned out really well, and one of them was so good I blew the thing up and framed it. So experiment, experiment, experiment!

The only other real option is to go the opposite extreme and push the ISO very *low*, like 100, but that's typically only useful for long-exposure shots with the camera mounted on a tripod, and that's not typically how most Disney pics are being taken.

Hope that helps!
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Old 02-25-2013, 07:26 PM   #5
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In some instances, yes. However, even in full sun, a properly used flash can get rid of small shadows, such as under a person's eyes. The trick is to know how far your flash will light up, and to frame your subjects accordingly.

So if you are just doing a shot of Cinderella's castle from Main St, a flash does nothing. However, take that same shot and insert your family say 3 feet away from you with the castle in the background, then I would use the flash.

Basically, you will have to experiment and see what you like best.

I try to never use a flash on a dark ride, even if it means i won't get a pic on it, because the ride is dark for a reason. Don't spoil it for others and let them enjoy it how it was meant to be viewed.

Fireworks also do not turn out great when you use a flash because the flash tells the camera to use a fast shutter speed. To get a nice firework shot, you want the shutter speed to be slow so you capture the burst effect of the fireworks. Unfortunately, slow shutter speeds mean that any movement of the camera, even from you breathing while holding it, will produce camera shake - a not so clear image. To combat this, use a tripod and a remote shutter release.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:38 PM   #6
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Thank you for reminding folks of this.

The worst example of this was when a woman took flash pictures throughout Soarin. The whole ride.

Flash pictures of a film. Not very productive.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:13 PM   #7
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This is a great rule just in general. I take a lot of photos just in my daily life, and I never use my flash. I've found that if I need to use a flash, it's not worth taking the photo anyway, because it never comes out well. (Very few exceptions, e.g. taking a posed picture of people at night. In fact, that might be my only exception, and even then, I hate using the flash! It's never flattering!)
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobrastrike View Post
However, even in full sun, a properly used flash can get rid of small shadows, such as under a person's eyes. The trick is to know how far your flash will light up, and to frame your subjects accordingly.
I never thought of this, though. That's very interesting, I'll have to try that out!
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Old 03-21-2013, 12:17 PM   #9
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More people need to know this.

I was at MK in January, watching Celebrate the Magic on the castle. The show is awesome, but there are like 4 flashes a second from cameras in the crowds. It was really annoying.
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Old 03-24-2013, 08:58 AM   #10
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Is it possible to take a tripod into the MK?
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Old 03-24-2013, 06:39 PM   #11
iowacedar
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On our trip to WDW last month I was amazed at how many people in dark rides were taking flash picture after flash picture with no regard to others enjoyment of the ride and the cast members request to not use flash photography.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:48 PM   #12
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I have seen a few compact tripods being carried strapped to backpacks. I normally shoot with a Velbon Sherpa tripod, but for Disney trips (cruises or parks), I find it much easier to bring a Gorilla Pod. With its bendable legs, you can attach it to a railing, or hang it off a branch, or stand it on top of something like a table or trash bin. If used properly, it can be very securely wrapped against something without having to worry about it falling. (I've had it wrapped around the rail over the side of the Disney ships to shoot fireworks, and same with shooting down to the pirate deck party on the deck below).
So to answer your question, yes some die hards do bring tripods, but not a lot.
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Old 03-30-2013, 10:46 AM   #13
FtWildrns5
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Thanks. I will have to look into a Gorilla Pod. I've been trying to find something that would allow for more out of the ordinary uses.
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