All Fired Up – Walt Disney World – Orlando, Florida

All you guys out there may be like me, I’m obsessed with fire. Not to the point where I would want to burn the house down (anyone seen the anti-depressants?) It’s quite relaxing to watch the flames dance. When I was a kid we did a lot of camping and we usually had a camp fire going. I guess this is where I got it from.

My wife and I had annual passes to Disney for awhile. We are Disney nuts. We live about two hours away so this is semi convenient for us. It was nice getting out of work and having dinner in France…in Epcot. We would watch the firework show then head home, hoping that I-4 would be nice to us.

When you make many trips to Disney after awhile, it can get difficult to come up with something new to photograph. Everyone goes through photographing the rides, the flowers, the castle, etc. Before you know it, you have tens of thousands of photos. I’m not one to give up however, I do like different things to photograph once in awhile. What would fuel the photographers soul? The stores.

If you have ever been to a Disney anything, everything is in it’s place. In the case of the stores, the product on the shelves is perfectly placed. If you are looking to photograph patterns, this is the place to go. My wife and I were walking through Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and we ducked into a store. To my surprise, my subject was being created.

It amazes me what glass blowers can come up with. Having lived close to Corning, New York, I really appreciate the talent these people have. When we arrived, the gentleman was working on some dolphins. He effortlessly, moved the glass rods around and his sculpture was starting to take shape. I have to say though that it was the blow torch that he was using that caught my eye. It was neat to see how the flame started blue and graduated to fiery orange at the tip. I thought that this would make a great environmental portrait. Then I started to look at what I had to deal with and it was going to be tricky.

How I photographed this…
The light in the room was pretty much nonexistent. The torch was lighting the room with a nice warm glow. As you can see in the photograph, the glass blower is behind a sheet of dark glass to help protect his eyes. What is a photographer to do with all of these lighting challenges? I looked at the scene and realized that you don’t see this type of flame just anywhere. I also had to contend with a sheet of glass that was in front of the public to keep them save. I wanted to keep the colors in the fire as much as possible with out turning the whole room black. I took a few test photos and I split the difference. I tried my pop up flash and it gave me the dreaded DMV look. I went back to using just the ambient light in the room. I exposed for the flame and dolphins that he was creating. I also cropped in tight because there was so much stuff on the shelves behind him. I rattled off a couple of different angles and we were off to another store. This isn’t an award winning photo by any means however, it’s something DIFFERENT.

Moral of the story is if you have shot your fill of all of the attractions and flowers, head towards the stores for content. (Disney should be paying me to tell you this. They love it when you buy stuff.) See what the staff is doing, I have seen people in pastry shops, baking shops, glass engraving, shirt embroidery just to name a few. They are always creating something. When you get home from your trip, you will have a well rounded collection of photographs to remind you of your stay.

Until next time…

Keep Your Glass Clean


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