Don't mind me, just sliding in here to share a few photos I took in Disney's Pandora last week.
Fun Fact: Did you know you can use your phone's panorama feature vertically?
Try it sometime, it's fun!
Pandora is one of the trickiest areas in Disney to photograph, so keep in mind every decent photo you see of it - including mine - has been edited juuuuust about to death. You don't need a tripod and fancy DSLR, though; I shot and edited everything here on my iPhone.
I can't tell you how much of a difference editing makes... so let me show you!
Here's a photo directly off my phone:
Looks like a lost cause, right?
But here's the same photo after (extensive) editing:
Most of the time my pics aren't QUITE that different, but I hope this shows you how editing can be an art form. It flexes all your creative muscles and lets you make something totally new, right on your phone! Plus it's easy and free, if you use an app like SnapSeed.
Ahh, I love Before & Afters. Let's do another one.
... and After!
I tried to make this one more dream-like and glowy.
If your phone has an HDR function, definitely turn that on for backlit shots like this. It's not a huge difference, but it can help.
Here comes my favorite flower/tree thing:
I love that twisty trunk!
Finding unusual angles to avoid the crowds is half the challenge, half the fun.
If you reduce the contrast in your pics you'll find they flatten out, which can look both more alien and more like an old-timey postcard:
For the record I don't actually know what I'm doing; I just play around with settings 'til I like the look.
In SnapSeed the tools I use most are HDR, Drama, and Glamour Glow, but I also do extensive photo-tuning and brushing. Trust me, once you start down this path you'll never be satisfied with a single Instagram filter again. ;)
Oh! While I've got you here, let me plug the best meal in Animal Kingdom, which is also in Pandora. It's the Satu'li Canteen's smoked chicken over sweet potato hash bowl:
John's been looking at smokers this week JUST to make this dish. When you get it be sure to ask for the sauce on the side, though; it's better on its own, no sauce. (Plus there are three different sauces, so if you get it on the side you can ask for more than one to try! See? I'm sneaky like that.)
Here's the smoker room where they cook the chicken:
You can also get sliced beef or fried tofu in your bowls, which are both pretty good... but trust me, you want the chicken.
We ended our day with a viewing of Rivers of Light, which I covered last year when it first opened. I'm sad to say the stadium seating for the show was a disappointment; our view was obstructed by half a dozen light poles and we were way off-center, so I couldn't even try to take photos.
By contrast when we watched it last time on the bridge, I got great shots like this:
From this vantage point (again, standing on the bridge) the two seating stadiums are on either side - one behind the blue boat and one behind the orange one. The bridge is directly in the middle, looking straight down the performance area of the lake.
Obviously some of the stadium seating is better than where we were, but the premium sections are reserved for dining packages (harrumph) and Fast Pass holders, so the odds are NOT in our favor, ha.
All that to say, in the future we'll stick to the bridge. The CMs will try to convince you to sit in the stadiums, since they like to fill the bridge area last, but you ARE allowed to stand there. There's a taped-off section and everything. Just show up late, I guess? (And how's that for a bonus: you get a better view by showing up late?? SIGN ME UP.)
Hope you guys enjoyed your virtual meander through Pandora with me! Any requests for next time? We have about 3 more days of below-80-degree weather here in Florida, so I'm taking advantage while I can!