Friday, June 13, 2014

Disney Fantasy Nighttime Photo Walk

Starting on the  Royal Princess over Christmas, I've made it a habit to bring my tripod and remote so that I can take long exposure photos in the late evening or early morning around the ship.  Between 11 PM and 6 AM, most guests are in their staterooms which allows for the opportunity to take photos of large public spaces without people.  Not only that, but the lighting design on the latest cruise ships has become quite beautiful, and taking photos after dark allows you to really showcase the light both indoors and out on deck.

I was especially excited to photograph the Disney Fantasy because the ship is so beautiful.  On the first night of the cruise, Max and I were walking back from the hot tub late at night, and he even admitted that he was excited to photograph the ship because the lighting on the Disney Fantasy is so incredible.

Well.... in all of the fun that I was having with my family, enjoying activities that the Disney Fantasy had to offer, I put my long exposures off until the last night.  This was a mistake, and I will never be so careless again because on our way from Castaway Cay to Port Canaveral, we sailed high winds, rough waters, and periods of rain. I was really upset with myself and concerned that I wasn't going to be able to take the photos I wanted.

Cabanas

Cabanas

We started in Cabanas because I absolutely love this mosaic and wanted to make sure that I photographed it.



Creating a 'correct' exposure is balancing the three elements of the exposure triangle - aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  The idea behind long exposures is that setting your camera on a tripod for stability allows you to lengthen the shutter speed so that can have a higher narrower aperture (meaning greater detail is rendered) and lower ISO (meaning less noise), and light is allowed into the camera over a longer period of time.

I am not an expert, I am simply a hobbyist photographer who enjoys improving my craft.  I'm also not the best teacher, as I've taken Max with me several times to take long exposure photos, and I still can't seem to explain it to him so that it makes perfect sense.  So if you are interested in photography and how to create manual exposures, I strongly recommend that you read Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure.  It's the book that really taught me how to shoot in manual mode.

All of my long exposures were taken with my Tokina f/2.8 11-16mm lens using my Mefoto Backpacker travel tripod and a wireless remote control to minimize camera shake for the sharpest possible photos.

Cabanas

Pool Deck

Mickey Pool

Max volunteered to go with me, and thank goodness for him! Like in Aruba on the Carnival Breeze, Max helped me block the wind from the camera and steady the tripod. He also really enjoys clicking the remote and helping me with the composition of the shots. I've learned that Max has an eye for detail, and he'll give me suggestions on how to compose each shot.

This shot was actually entirely Max's idea -

Mickey Pool

Because the wind was so fast and strong, a really long shutter speed just didn't work, as the wind would shake the camera a bit over a period of 30-45 seconds. So I bumped up the ISO and was able to use a shutter speed of around 1-3 seconds while battling the wind.

Disney Cruise LIne

The shot pictured above was almost dangerous! The wind was really fast, so we were really cautious while on the top deck. We decided that trying to take photos on Goofy's Sport Deck would be unsuccessful and dangerous.

Nemo's Reef

Nemo's Reef is the shaded splash area for small children.

Aqua Duck

The photo of the Aqua Duck entrance might be my favorite shot, even with the carts and the cones in the background (which I would have attempted to move out of the frame if the wind wasn't enough of a battle). I really love the up-lit staircase.

Quiet Cove Pool (adult-only)

Quiet Cove Pool

The Quiet Cove Pool was protected from the wind and a much easier location to shoot. They must put the net up early on the last night because normally the pool stayed open until midnight.

Quiet Cove Pool

Shutters

Shutters

I really like how Disney Cruise Line designed "Shutters" their photo store. Each guest has a folio book which is stocked with hard copies of the photos they take on the ship throughout the cruise. Disney uses face-matching software, as well as Key To The World cards (room keys) to assign the photos to the appropriate folders. The folders look like library books and are stored on shelves. This keeps the lobby area a bit controlled and organized. I also suppose that this works well for Disney because there is such a high demand for photos with the character photo ops around the ship, so they aren't really losing out on a marketing opportunity by displaying all guests photos for everyone to see.

Shutters

There is beautiful art in this gallery. I picked out a Captain Mickey original canvas that I really wanted.

Vista Cafe

Vista Cafe

The Vista Cafe is where we met Jesse, our wonderful bartender at the Captain's Reception!

Vista Cafe

Atrium

Atrium

And the most grand lobby that I have ever seen on a cruise ship. Disney Fantasy, you have stolen my heart.

Atrium

Atrium

Atrium

Atrium

Bon Voyage Lounge

Bon Voyage

Royalty

Preludes

Preludes

Preludes is the atrium connecting all of the shops.  We were told on the second day when we took a ship tour that Preludes is actually the name of the snack bar outside of the Walt Disney Theatre (which was showing Million Dollar Arm, so I couldn't photograph), but whenever the Navigator says to meet at Preludes, it means here.

Europa (adults-only)

After 9:00 PM, Europa is the adults-only (18 and older) nightlife district on the ship.  It consists of four distinctly themed lounges and a nightclub.

La Piazza

La Piazza

La Piazza is the Italian-themed lounge with classic Italian drinks like prosecco, wine, grappa, and limoncello.  There is often live music, and the lounge has the capability to serve as overflow seating for The Tube, equipped with a drop-down projector screen.  Also at La Piazza is a small bar with self-serve hors d'oeuvres.

La Piazza

Ooh La La

Ooh La La

Ooh La La is the French champagne lounge offering exclusive champagnes, as well as delicious champagne cocktails.  The lounge is restricted to guests 18 and older at all times of the day.

Ooh La La

Ooh La La

We really enjoyed Ooh La La as a quiet getaway for great pre-dinner cocktails.  I also love the decor in Ooh La La.  The ceilings are beautiful.

O'Gills Pub

O'Gill's Pub

We really didn't hang out in O'Gills this cruise.  Max and Dad went there once to get a draft beer that had been recommended to them, but they were really annoyed because the bartender wouldn't let them sample the beer before they purchased it (this was the only time that occurred on the cruise).  Sure enough, they were both stuck with 22 ounces of a beer they didn't like.

O'Gills Pub

Skyline Lounge

Skyline Lounge

The Skyline Lounge is where our mixology class was held on the first sea day.  The concept of this lounge is that the skyline changes, so you always have a different view.  The menu features drinks created for each of the skylines that appear - Paris, London, Barcelona, Athens, Florence, Budapest, and St. Petersburg.

Skyline Lounge

The bartenders saw me photographing the lounge and called me over to take their photo!  The one on the right is Arthur who taught our mixology class.

The Tube

The Tube

The Tube

The Tube

Cave of Bathrooms

Cave of Bathrooms

If you are offended by photos of bathrooms, I'd like to strongly recommend that you briefly push that aversion to toilet pictures aside so that you may enjoy the next photograph.

Cave of Bathrooms

The "Cave of Bathrooms" located inside Europa contains the most beautiful bathrooms I have ever seen.  The walls are completely mosaic.  The stalls are actually mosaic-covered pods that you shut yourself in by pulling a round pocket door.  Also, these bathrooms are always sparkling clean.  I think as soon as the cast member finishes cleaning all of the bathrooms, she immediately starts back again.  Disney Cruise Line easily has the cleanest and most beautiful public bathrooms at sea.

Enchanted Garden

Enchanted Garden Lobby

Disney closes their three rotational dining rooms when they are not in use, so I was unable to take a long exposure photo of the interior.  However, I did take photograph the entrances to each.

Royal Court

Royal Court

Animator's Palate

Animator's Palate

The door to Animator's Palate had been left open, so I crept in.  They do, however, cover their table settings with yellow cloth, I suppose so that they do not become infected overnight and they do not have to redo them in the morning.

Animator's Palate

Deck 3

The long hallway above connects the aft of the ship on the third deck (Animator's Palate) to the atrium.  We called it the 'Puke Hallway' because twice we walked by and there was vomit there that we almost stepped on.  I suppose because the hallway is so long, people (well, I hope children) who feel an incredible urge of seasickness while dining in Royal Court are unable to run to the bathroom or a trashcan in time, so they just spew their digested food all over the marble tile which makes for a slippery, disgusting mess in a high-traffic area.  Disney does clean it up quickly.

Elevator Lobby

Deck 5

This is the hallway on the fifth deck which leads to the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab.  Notice that the ceilings are lowered.  Disney Imagineers designed it so that the children's areas had low ceilings so they don't feel so small in spaces designed specifically for them.

Pepe's Door

And speaking about designing small, Pepe's cabin door is sized just for him!

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NEXT: Day 8 - Disembarkation