Beautiful Cinderella’s Castle at Sunset

Secret Photo Spots at Disney?

If you know any, be sure to share! I share this one below…

I have a lot of Disney shots here on the site. Just be sure to click the “Disney” category that is attached to this post to see them all! :)

Daily Photo – Beautiful Cinderella's Castle at Sunset

This is a great place to watch the sunset. Not that your kids will be interested in watching the sunset or anything, but maybe you will. Give them a bunch of money and ice cream and tell them you'll be back in an hour. That's what I do! :)

There's only a few places around the castle where you get a reflection shot. This is one of them. If you move around near the bridge in Tomorrow Land, you can go into the exits of the Lilo & Stitch ride to find this secret spot!

Beautiful Cinderella's Castle at Sunset

Beautiful Cinderella's Castle at Sunset

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D2Xs
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time3
  • Aperture5
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length16.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias+1

My 7 Favorite Disney Photos

I wanted to share some of my favorite Disney photos with you, all in one place. Enjoy! :)

The Magic of Disney If you want to see how I made this (and how you can too!), visit my HDR Tutorial. I hope it gives you some new tricks!This was taken this evening at MGM Studios in Disney World before we went to go see the big fireworks show. The only problem with making your family and 6-year-old son (he is now 8) stand around while you set up your tripod and take a bunch of shots is that it gives them ample opportunity to see little toys they cannot live without.I took so long to nail this shot that we ended up buying two things that lit up in garish colors and made a lot of racket.This is a 5 exposure HDR shot at 100 ISO. Whenever there is anything like streaming lights, sun rays, search lights, and the like, the HDR process always makes them pop a bit.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Above: Mickey’s magical hat glows under and between the lights one evening.

Ancient China No it isn’t! This was shot at Disneyworld at Epcot center. Want to know a great Disney shooting trick? They won’t like me telling you this… but I’ll tell you anyway. The Disney people are very nice to me, but that won’t stop me from being totally honest with tricky advice!The advice is this. Stay at a resort (this gives you extra hours), and be sure to go to Epcot on their extra-hours night. While there, get the the point as far away from possible as the exit gate at close time. Then you can slowly take your time and work your way back. You’ll see no tourists or anyone! I saw this place almost totally alone… so cool!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Above: Epcot is full of beautiful places like this, where the lights change dramatically after the sun sets.

The Disney Fantasy Cruise ShipI am here on the maiden voyage of the Disney Fantasy.  It's an amazing ship (50% bigger than the other ships) and a great playground for photographers!  Forget the kids!  In fact, I almost did a few times… but they are having fun in all the kids' clubs…  Well… I have a ton to talk about and show… but busy busy busy with photos and not much internet!  Anyway, debate away on whether or not this is HDR…  Either I'm tricking you, I double-tricking you, or something unknowable... I look forward to coming back and seeing what you think!- Trey RatcliffRead the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Above: This is the main lobby inside Disney’s newest cruise ship.

Abandoned Chinese DisneyworldSo, outside of Beijing, to the north, is a huge abandoned Disneyland. It was partially built, and now just the husk of it just remains. While driving around, I could have sworn I saw the top of the spires of Cinderella's castle, so I tried to figure out a way to get in closer. After I finally got inside, well, it was as awesome as an abandoned, fake Disneyland sounds!The official name and location is the Wonderland Amusement Park Chenzhuang Village, Nankou Town, Changping district. 昌平区南口镇陈- Trey RatcliffRead more and see a video from this strange spot here at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Above: This is a tricky one! It is from a fake-abandoned Disneyworld in China that has now been taken over by farmers.

The Tori Gate What a perfect post-storm dusk!  I was going photo-crazy.This is a replica of the exact same place I have been near Nikko, Japan.  The Nikko one is quite hard to shoot!  There are many things in the way, and setting up for the ideal shot is no easy matter.  Plus, when I was in Japan, the sky was not so great that evening.  It's the luck of the cards sometimes!But this evening in Disney World was ultra-perfect.  Epcot is the park that has all the little international areas.  Japan, Germany, France, etc etc.  It's all a little silly and fake -- but it's also very cool and scenic!  I don't know how it can be both... but it is.  Those Disney imagineers do an incredible job of making things look dreamy.  I do the best I can to capture the magic as I saw it.- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Above: I set up here on the lake at Epcot to take fireworks photos.

Beautiful Disney World at Sunset Hey, you know... I can't stay mad at Disney for too long.  I think those issues are just at Downtown Disney.This photo below, from Epcot, is one of the reasons I keep coming back again and again.  It's such an amazing place, and Epcot may be my favorite new spot for photography at Disney.This is the "France" area of the World Showcase, which is a huge lake that is circumnavigated by about 10 different countries or so.  Each one has a cluster of buildings set in the theme of the country.  They are all quite authentic, and the areas are staffed with people from the countries.  The Norway area has authentic-looking and -sounding Norwegians.  The Germany area is filled with Germans in postcard-German-clothes.  The Canada area has people that look and sound like Americans.The afternoon had ripped open a wicked thunderstorm on the whole park.  It was subsiding around sunset, so the clouds were swirling about with these wonderful tempestuous formations.  I set up to take this shot before moving over to the Japanese area to watch the big fireworks show on the lake.  While I was taking these shots, by the way, I had sent my family into one of the pastry shoppes here in the France area to load up on wonderful little morsels to keep us fully loaded during the fireworks show!- Trey RatcliffClick here to read the rest of this post at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Above: This is the French area of Epcot that had amazing skies swirling overhead one evening while the shrubbery swirled beneath.

Where the Princess Dwells at Night…I called for a little PhotoWalk at Disney! It was really really really fun - and getting this shot was tough! I think +William Beem +Gilmar Smith +Keith Barrett or perhaps +Ali Elhajj got a video of me trying to convince half a dozen Disney workers to "sweep water" in front of my camera, which was splayed on the ground. At first, one guy didn't want to do it because he might get in trouble... then the other acquiesced... and then, before they knew it, they were all being controlled like crystal farmers in Starcraft... we eventually got all the water in the right place!I had to go over and whip out my sweet Android phone to show them some photos from Google+ -- I found the one from Paris with the puddle - I said I needed a puddle about thiiiiis big … and eventually we got it all engineered out. They were all very helpful and nice… I convinced them all to come onto Google+ to see the final result -- so I hope they are here! Hi guys - Y muchas gracias!- Trey RatcliffRead the rest at the Stuck in Customs blog.

Above: And we’ll end with this one. Here is Cinderella’s castle just before deep night sets in…

Ancient China

Better than actual China shots?

This is a good question! Is Disney’s China more picturesque than the actual China? Yes and no are my answers. There is certainly an undefinable “authenticity” to the actual China that I can’t pull out of al the imagineer’s wranglings at Disney. It’s kind of hard to explain, but maybe you know what I mean! :)

Daily Photo – Ancient China

No it isn’t!

This was shot at Disneyworld at Epcot center. Want to know a great Disney shooting trick? They won’t like me telling you this… but I’ll tell you anyway. The Disney people are very nice to me, but that won’t stop me from being totally honest with tricky advice!

The advice is this. Stay at a resort (this gives you extra hours), and be sure to go to Epcot on their extra-hours night. While there, get the the point as far away from possible as the exit gate at close time. Then you can slowly take your time and work your way back. You’ll see no tourists or anyone! I saw this place almost totally alone… so cool!

Ancient China

Ancient China

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time20
  • Aperture5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length18.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Cirque du Soliel in Downtown Disney

Camera Police

I don’t understand why the Cirque du Soliel people are so militant about not letting you take photos. I really don’t get what the big deal is. I assume they are worried that someone will steal their ideas? I understand no flashes, but a good camera doesn’t need a flash to take a photo. Maybe they are trying to force people to enjoy it without using cameras? Or maybe if everyone does it, they will hold up cameras over their heads and block everyone? I don’t know… but it is quite annoying!

Daily Photo – Cirque du Soliel in Downtown Disney

Here’s the awesome tent they built just for Cirque du Soliel. I’ve always liked this architecture design. It looks both temporary and permanent.

This was my son’s very first Cirque du Soliel and he loved it. Yes, he was a little freaked out by parts of it, but I think everyone is! :)

Cirque du Soliel in Downtown Disney

Cirque du Soliel in Downtown Disney

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • CameraNIKON D3X
  • Camera MakeNikon
  • Exposure Time1/20
  • Aperture8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14.0 mm
  • FlashNo Flash
  • Exposure ProgramAperture-priority AE
  • Exposure Bias

Morning on the wet decks

Camera Straps – Many Flavors!

We recently gave away a bunch of camera straps at the event in Austin. These things are hard to keep in stock. We also sold out of all the t-shirts right away… then we ordered more AND got more girl sizes! Anyway, everything is back in stock now and ready for you. There are a few different camera straps for you to choose from as well. Let me know if you have any questions!

This leather one pictured here is pretty cool because it slides up and down your diagonally across chest AND allows you to attach it to your tripod. Usually it’s one or the other… but I wanted one that did both since I’m often on-and-off the tripod. It’s all hand-made with leather and metal fittings and stuff… quite a bit of labor goes into each one, and they are all unique in that way.

Daily Photo – Morning on the wet decks

On the Disney Cruise, I made it up for sunrise about 4/7 mornings. That’s not so bad. My goal was to do 7/7 mornings, but I’m only human.

The room was always cool and dry, and the outdoors was warm and wet. My lenses needed more time to wake up than me. That foggy-covering lasted a good 10 minutes, and then I gave it a bonus 5 minutes because there is a very slow final ramp-down of the moisture upon the glass. I heard that if you keep your camera in a ziplock bag then take it out that the moisture will form there instead of on the lens. I don’t know if I believe it, but I will try it next time.

Morning on the wet decks Disney Cruise

Morning on the wet decks

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length19mm (19mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Germanialand

Updated Dutch Tutorial

I forgot to mention the Dutch tutorial has been updated… And I think that Japanese and Hebrew are on the way soon too! :)

Links International HDR Tutorial!

Daily Photo – Germanialand

This is the German area of Epcot at DisneyWorld. I know it’s always a bit disappointing when I say this, isn’t it? I wish it was all real too… but, it is close-enough to real, so that’s not so bad. It’s like getting a pretty good milkshake or an above-average massage. No one complains about these things. And I didn’t complain while here either… the architecture and feel was pretty cool… the food was good… no bitter-looking German tourists… a pretty good combo! :)

Disney Germany

Germanialand

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/6.7
  • ISO400
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Light Camera, Mark I

Officially Released, The Light Camera Mark I

More info at TheLightCameraApp.com — or a Direct iTunes link. in limited supply of 50,000!

Quickly, all you need to know is that the “cool” thing about this camera is that it has all real-time Live filters and effects, in addition to real-time edge detection and live sharpening. You can also use your fingers to adjust the intensity of the effect, move around lens flares, etc etc… it’s cool!

Tell All: (what’s really goin on here???)

Why did you do a Limited Edition App? Are you Crazy?!?

Why would anyone want to limit the upside? We didn’t do this with our other camera app, and it had over 1 million downloads… so, yes, I know it is a little crazy! And, I don’t know if anyone has ever done a limited-edition app, but here is my thinking, in case you were curious. I mean, I might as well be totally transparent about my motivations and desires and stuff, right?

So, I think this real-time edge-detection and sharpening feature is really cool. There are so many apps out there, and I wanted this one to be different and special. I love filters, and the idea of Live Filters is really cool… you know when you put on someone else’s funky sunglasses and everything looks kinda crazy-cool? That’s what this is like, but with more intense effects.

Anyway, I wanted people to actually try it and get excited about it. There are currently two pretty good working theories about marketing and stuff online… and if you want more info on this, read some of the books of Guy Kawasaki , Kevin Kelly, Gary Vaynerchuk or many other people out there!

Long-Tail – This is the idea that something might be niche and low price, but it continues to make money for years and years and years. This is what we did with our other apps… it’s neverending as long as you have a quality product.

Rarity – People do want what is rare. In many ways, this is the opposite of the “inifinte” supply of the Long-Tail above. If people can have something that others cannot, they just want it! It’s just the way humans are hardwired, as irrational as it may be. So, the idea that you can have an app that your friends don’t is, well, just kinda cool!

Combo-Theory – so, with this, I thought it would be fun to experiment and combine the two above into my Combo-Theory. _I think we can do something that has a Long Tail AND is Rare_. We’ll have The Light Camera: Mark I here until it sells out. At that point, we’ll look at the good/bad of the camera… what people liked and what people hated (we will of course fix bugs in free updates!)… and then we will improve upon everything for The Light Camera: Mark II, which will also be in limited quantities… then the Mark III, etc etc. We will continue this until we run out of ideas (hard to imagine) or if people get really tired of camera apps (also hard to imagine)! Anyway, this is the idea we are going for here.

Also, thank you very much to the team here at Stuck In Customs that helped out with this app – Mark Powell, Curtis Simmons, Will Kelly, Luke Lakatosh and more!

Logistically: How do you make something limited in the app store?
Okay, THIS is a problem! Hehe… for one, I don’t want to “remove” it from the app store, because then customers cannot get the free updates and bug fixes that I promised. So, instead, I just have crank up the price to something INSANE like $999 or however high it goes. I know, it’s kinda wierd… and people that arrive late will be thinking, “WTF!” And they may buy it for $999 and then write a horrible one-star review that says, “This app is NOT worth $999!” But, really, honestly, that’s okay… they can write a one star review for $999. I’m only kinda kidding… but… just thinking into the future of things that might happen.

Android Support?!?!? Let me head this one off at the pass! I already know I’ll get many questions about this. The GOOD news is that we have begun Android development of Stuck On Earth, the Free travel app ( www.stuckonearthapp.com)! But our Android team is small, and execution is the problem. Personally, I am an Android user (!!), so I am very anxious to get all these apps on the Android ASAP. Like you, I know that Android is the present and future.

Daily Photo – On Top of the Disney Fantasy

This was my first Disney cruise, so I don’t know if I was lucky with the clouds, or if they are usually full of oceanic-drama. I know some of you in the audience are big ocean-sailing-boat people, so you would know…

What you see here is one of the “Adult Only” areas of the ship. I was surprised that there were many of these areas spread around, and at least three pools just for grown-ups. It was a nice surprise! :)

Disney Cruise Fantasy

On Top of the Disney Fantasy

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/8
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length14mm (14mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

Hard Drinking on a Disney Cruise

Gelaskins and Trey Ratcliff

Well, I guess that is Gelaskins and Me — check out that link if you are looking for some goodies for your mobile device! :)

Daily Photo – Hard Drinking on a Disney Cruise

I guess if that is what you want to do on a Disney Cruise, this is the place to do it. What an amazing bar this is! This is the second photo I posted from this location, and it shows another one of the dynamic backgrounds that swap in and out every few minutes.

I spent most of my time up very close to the screens. Not only do they change — but they are also fully animated, showing all the traffic of cars and pedestrians as they move around the city.

Bar Disney Fantasy

Hard Drinking on a Disney Cruise

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/4
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length22mm (22mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The View from the Contemporary Resort

Disney Fireworks

Which of the Disney firework shows are your favorite? They have one at all the parks except Animal Kingdom (I think). I’ve seen and photographed them all many times…

Daily Photo – The View from the Contemporary Resort

After I got off the cruise, we spent a few nights in Disneyworld. I had not stayed in the Contemporary since I was a little boy, so it was kind of fun to be back again.

We had a great room with this view out the window. I was only there in the room one night to capture this scene off the balcony, so I tried to make the most of it!

The View from the Contemporary Resort

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/5.6
  • ISO200
  • Focal Length122mm (122mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire, compulsory flash mode
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

The Shuttle Machine

Segment on Fox News

Here is part 1 of something I did with Fox News. I know many of you saw it live, but in case you missed, click play below! :)

No More Space Shuttle

It’s kind of a bummer, eh? I wish NASA had something exciting on the heels of the space shuttle to get everyone excited. Surely they have designed some awesome new ships… let’s see them and get ‘em up there! :)

Daily Photo – The Shuttle Machine

I went out to the launchpad during the “retraction event” which is quite exciting. Well, it’s kind of exciting because it’s all in slow motion. The unit retracts very very slowly – so slowly you barely even notice it. The whole thing takes over an hour, but it’s still pretty cool.

About halfway through, I got the feeling that the shuttle was intertwined into this huge, hulking machine, and that is when I grabbed this shot.

The Shuttle Machine

Photo Information

  • Date Taken
  • Camera
  • Camera Make
  • Exposure Time
  • Aperturef/6.7
  • ISO100
  • Focal Length230mm (230mm in 35mm)
  • Flashflash did not fire
  • Exposure Programaperture priority
  • Exposure Bias

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