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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Disney Castle Fireworks

Today's post contains three photos, but all were taken during the same time frame so I included all of them in one post. The very first day at the Magic Kingdom we got to experience the Electric Light Parade as well as the show "Wishes" which contains a pretty extravagant firework display. Unfortunately the first night the vantage point that I picked out was not prime for taking shots of the fireworks so I scouted out a few possible locations to set up at for when we went back a few nights later. I finally decided on a spot across from the castle that had a nice viewing angle and, most importantly, no obstructions. I got to the spot at about 7:30 and waited until the fireworks show slated for 10:00. I probably could have set up around 8:00, but by 8:15 people were already trying to get a prime location for watching the parade, day in the park photo/video presentation, and the fireworks, so I think arriving on the early side was a much better approach.

The first shot is of the castle itself illuminated in one of the many colors that it can be seen in starting shortly before sunset. I like the way that this color turned out the most, but the clouds in the background also made the photo a little more complete in my eyes. I cranked up the aperature to f/13 a bit to try to get the motion more blurred to help the stationary people pop out a bit more from the motion in the background.

Green Disney Castle
Canon 60D, on tripod, 3 shots (-2,0-2), EF 17-40mm f/4L (@17mm), Aperature f/13

The next two shots are from the "Wishes" fireworks display which was pretty impressive to watch (although the best overall show we saw at Disney was Fantasmic!, held at Hollywood Studios, which I didn't bring my camera for). I managed to get several shots (around 75 I think) of the fireworks but these two are by far what I consider the most appealing. These photos are once again not really HDR (HDR firework shots really don't come out looking that good) but I modified them using the Nik Software suite and other tweaks such as selective coloring and curves to try to bring out the photo more vividly than the way it was captured with my camera.

Capturing fireworks are tough, you have to be quick enough to get the shot, but you don't want to let too much light in and oversaturate the rest of the photo. There is a very fine line and I think every setting is unique, you just have to try a few different approaches early in the display to hopefully get the details just right so you can capture most of the show.

Disney Castle Fireworks I
Canon 60D, on tripod, 1 RAW shot, EF 17-40mm f/4L (@17mm), Aperature f/8, manual 3.2 second exposure

Disney Castle Fireworks II
Canon 60D, on tripod, 1 RAW shot, EF 17-40mm f/4L (@17mm), Aperature f/8, manual 3.2 second exposure

If you are so inclined, please feel free to leave any comments or feedback. Also remember that clicking on the photo takes you to my online gallery hosted over at smugmug where you can view the photos that I have posted in various sizes. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. First off Wow!!! I've seen a lot of shots of the Disney Castle but I have to say these are the best I've seen and the first shot is absolutely gorgeous.
    The color of the castle, the flowers and the reflections off the water are fantastic!!!

  2. Thanks Cathy! I've got a few more shots that I took as the sun was setting that I will eventually get around to processing, but I liked the green color the most and decided to process it first!