Pirates of the Caribbean – Holy Grail


Pirates of the Caribbean - Holy Grail

1/50 sec, f/1.8, ISO 51,200 — taken 11/12/2013

“Pirates of the Caribbean – Holy Grail”

One of the shots on my list of “Holy Grails” is the skeletal captain from Pirates of the Caribbean’s hurricane/ squall scene, right before you descend down the drop.  No matter how many times I’ve tried, I have never been able to capture this scene with my camera.  Either I could not get a focus lock or, in the event that I actually did, I could not get the image to come out.  Until now!  I present to you my Pirates of the Caribbean – Holy Grail shot.

Using my Canon 1Dx‘s 61 autofocus points, I was able to secure a focus lock on the skeletal captain and tried to time the shot so that I could get some ambient light and maybe a touch of the strobe lights that are used to simulate the lightning from the storm.  I tried to keep the shutter speed slow enough to capture the scene but fast enough to still produce an image and set to blasting away as my boat began to pass by this scene.

I definitely pushed my camera and lens to their utmost capabilities with this shot.  With nearly all dark rides, you will need to get a fast prime lens (usually f/1.8 or faster), as standard zoom lenses will not have an aperture large enough to capture enough light in the miniscule amount of time needed.  I have three fast primes (28mm, 50mm, and 85mm) and used my 85mm f/1.8 to get in nice and close to the Captain for this image.  Although Pirates of the Caribbean is not the most difficult dark ride to photography (see Pan, Peter) , it is certainly not the easiest either.  Sometimes it pays to be a touch lucky and, if you’re really on top of your magic, everything will come together and you will get a really tough shot to come out.  That is why I call this one, “Pirates of the Caribbean – Holy Grail”.


Canon 1Dx

Canon 85mm f/1.8

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