THE PICTURE OF THE DAY, 1/29/2014
During Pixelmania 2013, we had the opportunity to walk around Disney’s Animal Kingdom after the sun had set and shoot for about an hour and a half in the dark. I have said before (and I am probably one of the biggest advocates for DAK after dark) that I LOVE Animal Kingdom at night and it kills me that the night-time extra magic hours were discontinued several years ago. Therefore, I always try to take maximum advantage of the opportunity to shoot some night shots at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This shot is one that I would probably have overlooked if it had not been pointed out by my good buddy, Justin (zackiedawg). Justin and I have “known” each other since well before the days of The Magic in Pixels, going back to when I was a newbie starting out and posting on a different photography website. He is one of my most trusted members and a really good friend and talented photographer. He is also a huge proponent of the Sony NEX mirrorless system. We were walking from Asia toward Africa to try to sneak in a few shots of Harambe before it got to be time to leave and he asked me if I had ever tried shooting the Asia Bridge at night. Since I had not tried that before, we went down to the platform near the Coke shop in Asia close to Yak and Yeti where there are a few tables and chairs and it is a really peaceful place to unwind. The darkness was crushing and it was very difficult to even see the bridge from our vantage point but I focused on one of the bridge lights and let the camera do its thing. I was not disappointed. This picture was made using the in-camera, 3 shot HDR mode. I also used the PlayMemories Mobile app on my Samsung Galaxy to control the camera so as to not introduce any vibration into the capture, as the capture process was agonizingly long. The base shot was 10 seconds, the -2 shot was 2.5 seconds, and the +2 shot was a whopping 40 seconds for a grand total of 52.5 seconds. For one picture! It took a few tries to get the focus just right so Justin and I got to have a good talk while listening to the hauntingly beautiful Asia music loop, which was the only thing piercing the silence. I gave the Asia Bridge some adjustments in Lightroom (yes, I am a new convert) and applied a few HDR presets until I got the look that I was seeking. A little bit of follow-up in Photoshop and you see the finished image.