Saturday, November 22, 2014

Travel: Disneyland - Day 2

Family At Disneyland - Anaheim, California
ISO 100, f4.5, 1/160, 11/11/14 at 9:43 AM.

On the second day of our Disneyland adventure we headed straight for the California Adventure park to grab tickets for The World of Color show. There is only one place to get these tickets (over by the Grizzly River Run) and they run out quickly.

Once that was taken care of we made our way to Starbucks over on Buena Vista Street. I'm one of those people that require a good cup of coffee to get the day going, so this was a much-welcomed addition to the park. There is also a Starbucks on Main Street in Disneyland.

With those to essentials out of the way, we left California Adventure and crossed over to Disneyland for the first time this trip. We boarded the Disneyland Railroad at the Main Street station and rode it around to the New Orleans Square station.
Buena Vista Street Trolley - Anaheim, California
ISO 320, f7.1, 1/125, 11/11/14 at 9:49 AM.
We went to Mickey's Toontown, and I took the two older kids on Gadget's Go Coaster. The line was a bit long, but the kids had a blast. This roller coaster reminded me a little of the Roadrunner coaster at Magic Mountain.

Next we rode the Storybook Land Canal Boat because the line wasn't very long. This is definitely a slow-paced attraction. After that we went to the Royal Theatre to catch a Tangled play, which was great for the kids and mildly entertaining for the adults.

We ate lunch at the Plaza Inn on Main Street. The food was way overpriced, but that is what is expected inside the park.
Kid's Coaster - Anaheim, California
ISO 180, f7.1, 1/125, 11/11/14 at 11:02 AM.
By this time the crowds were growing quite large. It was Veterans Day, and it became obvious to us that visiting Disneyland on a holiday is not a great idea.

After lunch we went to Tomorrowland. I took the two older kids on Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. It was very close, but my five-year-old son edged out my six-year-old daughter with a comeback victory (two riders go head-to-head in their fight against Zurg and his minions). We also went through Innovations. My son liked the Ironman suits, but otherwise this was a disappointment.

We needed a break, so we found some seats on the Monorail and rode it round-trip twice. The kids loved the ride, and we loved not walking or dealing with the thick crowds.
Monochrome Curves - Anaheim, California
ISO 2200, f11, 1/125, 11:10 AM.
Just as the sun was setting we climbed aboard the Sailing Ship Columbia. This is a full-size replica of the Columbia Rediviva, which was the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe and also the first ship to sail the Columbia River (the river is named after the ship).

My five-year-old son was a little afraid of the big ship because he thought it was a pirate ship (a real pirate ship). Our next stop was Pirates of The Caribbean, so we made sure to not let him know what that ride was.

Surprisingly he did very well on Pirates of The Caribbean, but the ride was perhaps a little much for our 11-month-old (he was a little nervous on the drops at the beginning of the ride). Otherwise, this was one of the highlights of our trip.
Boy & Mouse - Anaheim, California
ISO 100, f5.6, 1/200, 11/11/14 at 11:24 AM.
We had dinner at the Stage Door Cafe. The chicken strips were alright, the corn dogs were below average and the fries were not good at all. All of it was way too expensive. On the bright side the funnel cake was quite tasty.

At this point our day at Disneyland was over. We hurried back over to California Adventure to catch The World of Color show.

Our viewing location was decent enough. We were close enough to feel the heat from the fire, but far enough away that we didn't get wet. The wait for the show to begin was a little much for the kids.
Girl & Mouse - Anaheim, California
ISO 100, f5.6, 1/160, 11/11/14 at 11:25 AM.
The World of Color is a really cool light/water/fire show with clips of Disney movies and cartoons included. It is entertaining for people of all ages, including young children. It was worth the effort to get the tickets.

After the show we called it a night and headed back to the hotel. Once again, we saw some of the Disneyland fireworks while walking back to our hotel.

It seemed that the crowds and long lines kept us from doing all that we were hoping. The next day wasn't a holiday, so we went to bed hoping to experience even more fun on day three. 
Pink & Yellow Blossom - Anaheim, California
ISO 1100, f11, 1/125, 11/11/14 at 11:51 AM.
A Whale of A Mouth - Anaheim, California
ISO 2000, f11, 1/125, 11/11/14 at 12:01 PM.
Stages of Blossom - Anaheim, California
ISO 800, f10, 1/125, 11/11/14 at 12:16 PM.
Happy Girl & Tired Baby - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f3.5, 1/100, 11/11/14 at 3:59 PM.
Columbia Sunset - Anaheim, California
ISO 220, f7.1, 1/125, 11/11/14 at 4:34 PM.
Disney's California Adventure - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f2.8, 1/40, 11/11/14 at 7:04 PM.
Paradise Pier - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f2.8, 1/40, 11/11/14 at 7:25 PM.
Blue Water - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f2.8, 1/100, 11/11/14 at 8:17 PM.
Laser Zurg - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f2.8, 1/25, 11/11/14 at 8:24 PM.
Bright Fire - Anaheim, California
ISO 100, f2.8, 1/250, 11/11/14 at 8:35 PM.
Fire Show - Anaheim, California
ISO 100, f2.8, 1/2000, 11/11/14 at 8:36 PM.
Frightening Fire - Anaheim, California
ISO 100, f2.8 1/640, 11/11/14 at 8:36 PM.
Colorful Mickey Mouse - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f2.8, 1/80, 11/11/14 at 8:44 PM.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Travel: Disneyland - Day 1

Carthey Circle Theatre - Anaheim, California
ISO 100, f9, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 2:57 PM.
Disneyland. The happiest place on Earth. This may be the absolute best place to take a young family (which, for me, includes three kids under the age of seven) on vacation.

I recently did just that. I purchased a "3-Day Hopper Pass" for each of us, booked a hotel just outside the park entrance, and took the four-hour drive (including traffic and a stop for lunch) to Anaheim.

There are actually two Disney theme parks right next to each other in Anaheim. Everyone knows Disneyland, the original vision of Walt Disney. The other park is called California Adventure. A "Hopper Pass" allows entrance to both parks.
Red Car Trolley - Anaheim, California
ISO 1400, f9, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 2:58 PM.
We arrived in the afternoon a little after two o'clock. The crowds were large, with long lines to enter Disneyland. The wait to get into California Adventure was much shorter, so we headed there first.

The Buena Vista district, which has received a recent makeover, is what initially greeted us. Even though it was the second week of November the park was decorated for Christmas with holiday tunes for our listening enjoyment. It was a nice atmosphere. The weather was slightly cool, but close to perfect.

The first stop was Cars Land. My five-year-old son has wanted to experience this since before it was even opened. He's a huge Lightning McQueen fan. This was high on the to-do list.
Mater's Junkyard - Anaheim, California
ISO 560, f8, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 3:52 PM.
In case you are unaware, Cars Land is based on the fictional Route 66 town of Radiator Springs, Arizona, as seen in the two animated Cars movies and Mater's Tall Tales short cartoons. Disney did an exceptional job of not only recreating the movie town, but also of making you feel as though you are in a real Route 66 community.

The first attraction for us was Mater's Junkyard Jamboree. This is similar to the famous tea cup ride in the other park, but instead of spinning you get "whipped" side-to-side. It was alright. The best part for me was spotting the details of Mater's junkyard while waiting in line.

Next was Luigi's Flying Tires. This is a remake of the Flying Saucers ride that used to be in Disneyland back in the 1960's. Basically, it is a combination of air hockey and bumper cars. It wasn't worth the wait in my opinion, but the kids thought it was fun.
Two In Mater's Junkyard - Anaheim, California
ISO 500, f8, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 3:52 PM.
We wanted to ride Radiator Springs Racers, but the line was much too long (two hours!), so we decided to come back another day for that. Instead, we headed over to the Cozy Cone for a snack. We got to see Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen parked in front of the place. After that we watched the neon lights turn on throughout Radiator Springs.

We left Cars Land and strolled through A Bug's Land, riding Heimlich's Chew Chew Train. It was pretty lame to me, but (surprisingly) the kids really liked it. Then we started towards Hollywood Land and just happened to be right on time to catch the Pixar Parade. This wasn't planned, but it worked out well.

After the parade we went to the Hyperion Theater to see a broadway-like show. Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular was showing, and it did not disappoint. It was a lot of fun and all three kids, including our 11-month-old, enjoyed the play.
Mater's Petting Zoo - Anaheim, California
ISO 125, f8, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 3:55 PM. 
We finished our evening in the park with dinner at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta. The ravioli was excellent, the pizza was not. On our walk back to the hotel we got to see the fireworks over Disneyland. The "grand finale" was viewed from our hotel balcony. Day one was done.

This is a photography blog, so let me tell you a little about the gear. I brought with me a Nikon D3300 DSLR, which provides high-quality results in a reasonably small and lightweight body. I attached a Nikkor 40mm AF-S DX f/2.8G Micro lens to the camera. I also brought with me a Nikkor 55-20mm AF-S DX f/4-5.6G ED lens, but left it in the hotel and never used it. I also had with me a Nokia Lumia 1020, but did not use it even once for photography. All of the photographs were post-processed using Alien Skin Exposure 6 software. Not all of the photographs are being shared on my blog (many are family pictures).

One camera and one lens is all that I used and all that I needed. Less is more in photography. Photographic vision is always more important than equipment.

Stay tuned for Day 2.
Jonathan Waiting - Anaheim, California
ISO 2200, f5.6, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 4:17 PM.
Garden Art - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f9, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 4:24 PM.
Ornament Valley From Radiator Springs - Anaheim, California
ISO 900, f9, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 4:26 PM.
Here It Is, McQueen - Anaheim, California
ISO 2800, f5.6, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 4:42 PM.
Flo's V8 Cafe - Anaheim, California
ISO 1400, f5, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 5:08 PM.
Body Art - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f5, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 5:09 PM.
Luigi's Tires - Anaheim, California
ISO 2200, f5, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 5:10 PM. 
Flo's Cafe - Anaheim, California
ISO 2800, f6.3, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 5:11 PM.
Lightning McQueen - Anaheim, California
ISO 2500, f2.8, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 5:41 PM.
Tow Mater - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f2.8, 1/100, 11/10/14 at 5:41 PM.
Santa Over Hollywood - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f2.8, 1/80, 11/10/14 at 5:49 PM.
Aladdin Play - Anaheim, California
ISO 280, f2.8, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 6:46 PM.
Scary Monsters In Training - Anaheim, California
ISO 3200, f4.5, 1/125, 11/10/14 at 7:31 PM.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Photography Should Be Uncomfortable

On A Brighter Day - Tehachapi, California
The enemy of creativity is complacency. Being content stifles photographic vision. Photographers should find themselves uncomfortable.

In my post Limitations Improve Art I quoted Pablo Picasso, who said, "If you have five elements available use only four. If you have four elements use three." This principal can be applied to several aspects of photography.

If you own five lenses only ever use four of them. If you own four cameras only ever use three of them.   Actually, I'd make those numbers smaller. If you own three lenses only use two of them. If you own two cameras only use one.
Mystery Drive - Stallion Springs, California
The less options you have, the more likely you'll think outside-the-box with the options that you do have. Renown poet Charles Bernstein said, "Art often thrives on limitations."

If there are five compositional elements in a scene use only four. If there are four compositional elements use three. Don't include too much and keep things as simple as possible. "Art lives only on the restraint it imposes on itself, and dies of all others," said Nobel Prize winning author Albert Camus.

Less is more in photography. Don't include too much in your images or in your camera bag. This goes against what society says, but you'll never be satisfied with "more." You will never have enough "more." All "more" does is make you lazy.
Cathedral Spires From Cook's Meadow - Yosemite National Park, California
This is why almost all of the great innovations are made in garages and basements. Big corporations with seemingly unlimited resources are not able to do what some individual can accomplish on his own in his spare time and with a limited budget. It's the opposite of what one would think, but it is true. Less is indeed more.

The concepts of limitations and less may not sound appealing. Society says that we should have more, not less. Society says that we should free ourselves of limitations. "Embracing the limitation can actually drive creativity," artist Phil Hansen said. "We need to first be limited in order to become limitless."

Photography should be uncomfortable. If it isn't, you have too much in your camera bag. If it isn't, you're not limiting yourself enough. If it isn't, you are not pushing yourself enough--taking roads less travelled and going opposite the flow. Your photography can be even better--my photography can be even better--simply by being uncomfortable.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Post About Nothing Has Value (Google Searches)

Flo's V8 Cafe - Anaheim, California
ISO 1400, f5, 1/125, 40mm.
When you don't post for a few day on Blogger, Google forgets that you exist.

Google has a complex system to determine what pages are important and which ones are not. When you do an internet search they want relevant pages to come up first.

Well, the first web pages that come up are often purchased. Businesses pay Google money to be the first few to be displayed.

After that, Google tries to have the most relevant websites displayed first and the least relevant sites last. They have developed a complex (and ever changing) system to figure out what is relevant and what is not.

For articles published on Blogger, a large part of Google's equation is how active the blog is. If you don't publish something for a couple of days, Google thinks that the blog is inactive.

For example, I spent several days at Disneyland, so I haven't published anything for six days. The amount of traffic that comes to the Roesch Photography Blog via Google searches has dropped about 20% since my last post was published.

What Google has been doing is displaying my posts further and further down whenever someone searches about photography (or whatever else). The majority of web surfers will not go beyond the first page of displayed search results, Some will go to page two if they don't see what they're looking for on the first page, but most will simply redefine their search criteria (word it in a different way). It's a very small percentage that will go beyond the first two pages of search results.

The further down the list your page is, the less likely that web surfers will find it.

A post like this, which is about absolutely nothing, has value because it shows Google that I'm still here. I haven't died or given up. I simply took a short vacation. Because I published this, Google will display my other pages further up in search results, and more people will visit my blog.

Over the coming week be sure to look for posts about my trip to Disneyland.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Going To The Happiest Place On Earth - Disneyland

Mickey Watching World of Color - Anaheim, California
I'm taking my family to Disneyland this week. Yea! It's the happiest place on earth, at least for my little ones. It should be an unforgettable family getaway.

Disneyland is also a wonderful opportunity for photography. There are great scenes all over the place. While my camera's lens should most certainly be pointed at my young children, there are all sorts of other things to point it at, as well.

About two-and-a-half years ago I visited the park, and I came away with some nice images, I'm hoping to be even more successful this time around. All of the photographs in this post were captured on that last trip using a Samsung NX200 camera.
Pink Flowers - Anaheim, California
Disconnected - Anaheim, California
Ferris Wheel #2 - Anaheim, California 
Ferris Wheel #3 - Anaheim, California
World of Color #1 - Anaheim, California
Clydesdale - Anaheim, California 
Red Lamp - Anaheim, California
African Daisy - Anaheim, California
Castle Wall - Anaheim, California