Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wide Angles At Wizarding World

Here's a first for me: I have two "internet friends" visiting right now from two different states. Both are very dear to me, and I'm glad they could see through my introverted, work-obsessed, hermitage-loving social awkwardness enough to say, "Hey, we want to visit. Cool? Cool."

We all went to Universal on Friday, and I brought along a new 2.8 11-16 wide-angle lens to experiment with. I thought you guys might like to see some of my favorite shots!

Because you have to take a picture of the dragon. HAVE TO.

 The stage shows in Diagon Alley are just phenomenal, and I can't recommend them enough. Especially the puppets!

I keep trying to get some decent shots of my favorite shop, Wiseacres, but even the wide angle can't  seem to capture the magic:

 I guess I'll just have to keep trying. :)
 (My lens is about two inches from that Slytherin plaque here.)

I'd love to fill my house with all the steampunky telescopes and astrolabes ringing the room:

Another pic I've never had much luck with is this owlery tower:

I'm looking almost straight up the tower here. So far, this is the best I've managed of that owl, since he's usually lost in deep shadow.

 The wide-angle also let me capture this whole suit of troll armor; usually you can only see the feet from the window:

 I managed by leaning waaaay in and craning up.

 This dress in Madam Malkin's has a subtle projected pattern of cascading flowers on the skirt:

A colorful street scape:


 And possibly my favorite of the day:

  I like how off-kilter and monochromatic it feels. 
(I didn't edit the color at all; that's straight off the camera.)

 In Diagon Alley you'll also find Knockturn Alley, which is so dark you tend to stumble around until your eyes adjust, and even then, you can't see most of the buildings around you:

 Off to the side of one of the paths is a small iron gate, with a barely illuminated alleyway leading away from it.

On a whim, I stuck my lens between the iron bars of the gate and fired off several shots, no flash. 

Amazingly, one turned out pretty well!

Very little of this can be seen with the naked eye. Cool, right? (The sign reads "The White Wyvern.")

And finally, not the best shot, but LOOKIE:

I was chosen at Ollivander's! Woot woot!

This is right at the big dramatic moment, with the angelic music playing and the rushing wind blowing my shirt around. Hee. And while all of Ollivander's wizards are great, this guy was particularly awesome. His inflections and mannerisms were so, so good.

Well, guess I better get back to MegaCon photos now, huh?

Happy weekend, everyone!


Note: My camera is a Canon 7D, and all of these photos were edited in either iPhoto or Perfect Photo Suite 7.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing so many Wizarding World photos that I can enjoy all the way from Oregon! I don't think I'll be able to get to Florida any time soon, so I love getting to experience Wizarding World through these blog posts!! Epbot is the best :)

  2. What kind of wand did you get matched up with? Or is that too personal a question?

    1. It was the Vine wand. (I don't remember the specifics of it, but I think there's only one.)

      Funnily enough, the first wand he had me try was a Death Eater style (with the skull), and I was *this close* to mentioning I'd been a Death Eater before. I'm guessing that might have thrown a wrench in his presentation, though. Ha!

  3. Gorgeous shots, Jen! I want to go to Wizarding World with you and John! Next time I come down, maybe? :-)

  4. I love all your Disney and Wizarding World pics. Fingers crossed that the stars align and my daughter and I get to Orlando for a few days in the fall! I would love to meet you and your adorable hubby (other than just in a CakeWrecks book signing line...) and geek out and pick your brain about getting the amazing shots you do!

    And I'm so jealous that you were chosen at Olivanders!

  5. I have to first squeal with joy because those pictures are so wondrous and breathtaking. If any of those became postcards I would buy the whole pack. I too live on the West Coast, so flying to Florida is one of those back burner dreams that I want to achieve one day. So thank you for such awesomeness!

  6. I was just at Universal last week! Most of my pictures are much less amazing than yours are. I did get a good video of the dragon breathing fire, though!

  7. I was at Universal in photos are not this glorious! Mine from Ollivander's are so blurry and dark :( I was not chosen (lots of kids in the group I was back there with)...My favorite part of the Wizarding World (outside of Butterbeer and the fact I was in the Wizarding World, lol) was the attention to detail they have! The posters in Knockturn Alley -- Bellatrix sticks her tongue out -- and the signs in the fun!!

  8. I love your photos! It's great to see them because financially we just won't be able to get to WW any time soon, but we just introduced our kids to HP & they are loving it!

  9. Love the photos! We were there when it was only Hogsmeade. My son (who was 8 at the time and a total HP fanatic) got picked at Ollivander's. Since it was our first time there, it was extra special, because we didn't know about the special effects. And yes, we totally shelled out the money for the wand that picked him! Thanks for the fun memories. (And the burning desire to go back and see Diagon! But it's sooooo far from California.)

  10. Great photos! Hoping to come back in October. This time I will look for Knockturn Alley and Diagon Alley, both of which I missed last time! (I am blaming Butterbeer, being distracted by the Knight Bus and the Ministry of Magic entrance and nearly being eaten by that dragon, for my utter lack of observation! :-D )

  11. I really kind of horribly badly want to frame the "off-kilter" one and hang it up. Probably in my Geek Room. You know. In my Harry Potter corner. Doesn't everyone have those things? :-)

  12. Heh, now I can't help but see all the speakers in the pictures! Gorgeous photos!

    May I be nosey and ask how your agoraphobia is doing?

    1. Not nosey at all, I'm glad you're asking! I haven't been testing it too much, tbh, altho on this trip I spent about 30 minutes on my own while everyone else went on a ride. I was surprised that made me anxious, but I focused on my breathing & taking pictures, and by the end I was actually enjoying walking around on my own.

      Tomorrow we're going back to the parks & planning to ride some rides, so that'll be another test. I desperately want to go on E.T., since I haven't been in more years than I can remember, so I'm hoping the extra moral support will carry me through. (It really helps to have extra friends along for the distraction.) Send me some positive vibes, K? And I'll try to give you guys an update next post!

  13. Really beautiful set of photos, thank you!

  14. Jen, I just want to say thank you so much for making this post. It's been a stressful couple of weeks for my family and seeing the magic of Diagon Alley come to life through your photography reminded me that there's so much beauty and magic in the world (even if I know some of it is simulated!), and so much I have left to see and work towards. So, thank you for sharing your beautiful photography, and your adventures, and your life with us. I read Epbot several times a week but very rarely say hello (I have anxiety myself, and interaction is hard) but I just had to say something today. Thanks.

  15. I'm totally making those Wiseacres pictures my desktop background. I love that store. It's so beautiful and detailed.

  16. We saw that guy at Ollivander's too! He hassled someone in the audience for looking at his phone instead of paying attention, it was great. Great shots, especially love that starry ceiling, which was my favorite building when we were there! And thanks for your advice; had the clotted cream ice cream and it was great!

  17. Beautiful photos. We visited in December and it's so difficult to resist taking a billion photos. Great post.

  18. I've only been once and now I must return because I missed so many great details!

  19. I always love your pictures, but your shots of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are my favorites!

    I try to stop and take in my surroundings, but the shops are so small that most of the time I just try to get what I need and get out. It is great to see these places that I love so much from your point of view.

  20. We have the same camera and you make me want a wide angle with all my wants.

    These shots are amazing. You picked up things I missed IRL with this lens. Props for the photography skills.

  21. Love your photos!! On my wish list of places to travel and you bring a little bit to me here.

  22. My BFF and I are planning a trip to FL next March just to see all of this wonderfullness.

  23. Amazing photos! I was there too that day with my girlfriend. We spent the day riding a few rides, exploring and discovering all the fun little details to the shops. Got a great slo-mo shot of the dragon shooting the fire.

  24. Great pics Jen!! I can't wait to some day make my way down to Florida to see Disney and Harry Potter World! Hopefully within the next year!

  25. I feel like now that I've seen what photos should look like - I can never take one again with my sub-par phone camera.
    The silver lining to that - they offer photography classes at the local community college... I smell a hobby brewing...
    Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing windows into your life, I love every adventure.

  26. Oooo fun! I've never played with a lens that wide since I usually shoot people (and it makes them look cray), but now I'm tempted to rent one for a weekend! :)

  27. this looks so fun.
    1 photography thing :: your outside shots seem overexposed. you might try dropping your fstop 1 or 2 levels.

    also, if you're up to it for that owl tower, take 2 shots. the only thing you change from 1 shot to the other is the fstop.
    then you meld them together in photoshop. that way, you'll get the owl out of shadow, but you'll see the details farther up the building without the blinding sky.

    that dark alleyway shot is awesome, btw. the white wyvern sounds like a good pub.

  28. Great pictures! My favorite shirt is Bourgin & Burke's - it's just so macabre. I bought a scarf with a giant dark mark on it there and I absolutely love it!


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