Walt Disney World Part II: Animal Kingdom

One of my favorite parts of the movie Jurassic Park is when everything starts to fail and they talk about having all the problems of a major theme park and a zoo combined. This is how the builders of Animal Kingdom must have felt. The eclectic nature of this park makes it a lot of fun and it is a "photographically rich" environment. Not only do you get to use a wide perspective to take photos of the great scenery/architecture, you also get to utilize longer focal lengths to capture some "easy wildlife". Below, the two bird photos (parrots and Roseate spoonbill) were taken with the MZD 45mm portrait lens at enclosures near the entrance of the park. The two after were taken with my 40-150mm "kit zoom" while on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. I bet the MZD 75mm f/1.8 would yeild some extraordinary photos of Animal Kingdom's wildlife... and it may be reason enough to purchase the beast.

Of course all the parks are filled with people so you have plenty of subject matter to hone in on your street and environmental portrait photography skills. I usually try to get some candid shots and of course photograph my partner when he consents ;)  There are also many "street performers" and getting shots of the parades are a blast as long as you get a good spot.

Another thing I found fun to photograph is the "park landscape" in addition to the "wait in line" areas that you frequent in order to ride attractions. When a ride is busy, you can spend up to 45-1 hr waiting so theres plenty of time observe your surroundings and find something interesting to photograph. Disney has done a really good job of making sure that you are at least mildly entertained while waiting and taking photos is a good way to pass the time.

Finally, I wanted to share some photos of one of my favorite attractions at Animal Kingom. The first time my partner and I saw it we were AMAZED and we have even seen people in tears after the show. If it all possible, try not to miss... "Finding Nemo - The Musical". When you consider the talent of the actors, their use of acrobatics, and the crazy amount of work put into the stage production and costuming, it is just so good on multiple levels. Also, try to get there 30-45 minutes before the show starts. Even with a fast past to one of the times, getting there 10 minutes before the show did not cut it and we were not sat "center stage". Olympus' 45mm f1.8 proved very useful here as it allowed a bunch of light in wide open and I was able to use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action. Also from the height and distance I was sitting it was a perfect focal length allowing me to photograph most of what was happening onstage.

Really the photos I presented here are maybe 10% of the visually awesome things you can encounter in this park. One disclaimer is that I do not to Disney with the sole purpose of photography. It is also important to me to have fun and I try not ignore my partner by having my face glued to the viewfinder. Its hard though because at all the parks there is so much to photograph. Luckily we went three times in 2013 so I had plenty of chances for photography. Next up is EPCOT, which is like travelling to space and 11 different countries in one day. Hope you enjoyed at lest a few of these photos, happy shooting =)

Sam D.

Walt Disney World Series:

Part I: Introduction
Part II: Animal Kingdom
Part IV: Post Processing in China
Part V: Hollywood Studios