Florida After 10 Years

My best friend and I have been planning to go to Walt Disney World together for the entire duration of our over-a-decade-long friendship. There have been a couple instances where it almost happened but then didn’t, leaving us both broken hearted and disappointed.

BUT AFTER TEN YEARS, WE DID IT YA’LL

One of the perks of being an adult and out of college– you can go to Disney when you want (well, after over a year of planning and saving, but you get the picture.)

Allie, my bff, is an expert on all things Disney. She will smoke your ass in trivia, knows probably every song from every movie (even obscure ones,) and has been to WDW in Florida more times than years she has been alive. It’s wild, she’s wild, and our trip was amazing for it.

We drove down from Michigan for two days, finally stopping in Celebration, FL. Celebration is a town that was designed by Disney and it is very charming with its colorful buildings and hybrid 1950s-meets-Cuba architecture.

After Celebration, we went to our rented condo and relaxed for the night, going out to Old Town to check out the shops. There was an anime shop and the guy working there was so friendly and enthusiastic, I asked him to pose for a photograph. He moved his hands at the last second, but like I said… he was enthusiastic!

Our trip was jam-packed, wild, and AMAZING. We started our marathon with a full-day at Magic Kingdom, where we of course Disneybounded. My partner, Mitchell, was the Prince Charming to my Cinderella, and Allie was Merida. We made the cutest princesses ever, and it was super fun to hear parent’s say to their kids “Look honey, those girls are dressed as Cinderella and Merida!”

In the evening we ran home, changed, and went to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, also in Magic Kingdom. Mine and Allie’s favorite holiday is Halloween, so we got all dressed up as extra af. Allie went as a mermaid (she made her entire costume herself and it was INSANE) and her boyfriend, Dom, went as a pirate. I was a rainbow and Mitchell was the sun. Some Disney Cast Members stopped Mitchell and I and gave us pins that said “Most Dynamic Duo!” because they loved our couple costume so much. Yeah, we were all super damn cute.

I ADORED the Halloween party. As an adult who doesn’t like to go to adult-parties (where there is alcohol and awkward socializing,) it’s hard for me to celebrate Halloween. It’s legit my favorite holiday, but it’s not like I can go trick-or-treating, and I live in an apartment in the city so decorating my house and passing out candy is a no-go. The Halloween party at Disney was awesome because we got to actually go trick-or-treating, there was a dance party, and the park was only half-full because you have to have a special ticket to get in after 6PM. There was also a special Halloween parade and a Halloween stage show, which featured the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus and all our fav Disney Villains. I wish I could spend every Halloween there!

Our second day in Florida was spent at Universal Studios. We went on some of the rides, got super sick because apparently we are all old and can’t handle anything anymore, and spent the majority of the day at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This was my second time there, but the first time I went the park had just opened, so it was really like I was experiencing it again for the first time. The best part? Allie and I went to Ollivander’s Wand Shop, and there is a little show that they put on where Ollivander picks someone from the crowd and has a wand “choose” them. Allie and I were picked because we were dressed head-to-toe in Slytherin garb, so basically it was the coolest thing ever and Allie and I got interactive wands out of it. Best. Day. Ever.

The Disney-marathon continued with the Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT, which was AMAZING. It’s hard to say it was my favorite part because I adored Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, but man, it was incredible. I love food, EPCOT is my favorite park, and I got to Disneybound as my favorite character ever, Quasimodo. The whole gang had Hunchback themed bounds that day– Allie was Esmeralda, Dom was Phoebus, and Mitchell was Clopin.

After getting rolled out of EPCOT (we were sporting food babies after all the delicious food we consumed,) we took a break from the parks and spent a day walking around Disney Springs, formerly called Downtown Disney. We all Disneybounded as droids from the Star Wars franchise for this expedition. I was BB-8, Mitchell was C3PO, Dom was R2D2, and Allie was K-2SO. It was a pretty relaxing day, after spending three full days in the parks.

We picked back up with an adventure in Animal Kingdom, where we saw the new Avatar-themed world, Pandora. The new rides, Rivers of Light and Flight of Passage were AMAZING, especially Flights. Like, goodness, I could stay on that ride forever. For that day, Mitchell and I bounded as Pongo and Perdita from 101 Dalmatians, and Allie was Dr. Facilier from Princess and the Frog and Dom was Hades from Hercules.

Our last day at WDW was spent at Hollywood Studios (or as Allie and I will always call it, MGM,) where we got sick once more on simulators, I lost an umbrella (and FOUND IT BECAUSE DISNEY CAST MEMBERS ARE AMAZING,) and we saw the incredible show, Fantasmic. Mitchell and I also met Kylo Ren, which was an experience. You can tell that we were terrified to be in his awesome Vader-fanboy presence. (Side note: I constantly refer to Kylo Ren as my space-trash-husband, so this was a big deal.) For MGM, Allie bounded as Loki, Dom as Thor, and Mitchell and I went as Dipper and Mabel from Gravity Falls (my favorite show EVER.)

Disney was seriously a blast. Shout out to Allie for making sure we had a lot of photos together in our Disneybounds, and for putting the adorable borders on the photos!

Speaking of adorable borders… I brought my Fuji Instax Mini with me, and loaded it with Disney Tsum Tsum themed film. I adore these pictures so much, as they add just a little more magic to our already magical trip! You can find this same film (and other films with Disney-themed borders!) on Amazon or eBay. If you order from eBay, it’ll take a while to get to you, so keep that in mind when you order!

So, enough with the typical vacation photos. If you made it this far and you’re wondering where the photography is, you’ll be pleased to know it’s just a few more lines of text away!

The photographs I made in the Disney Parks and in Universal Studios were more formal studies and examinations of light, rather than normal tourist pictures. I can’t help that Disney and Universal make things so picturesque– it’s almost as if they want people to take pictures. Who knew?

It was a little bit of a challenge, though. I wanted to make really cool pictures of a few of the most popular places in the United States– hell, the world, even. I think I managed to get a couple shots in that aren’t so standard, but I’m content with the photographs that are a little more par-for-the-course, because hey, the light was really pretty and I dig it.

We ended our amazing trip with a visit to Daytona Beach, where I lounged like a beach bum, Mitchell built a sand castle, Allie sat in the sand and Dom let himself get knocked about by waves. I love the ocean, I think it is beautiful, but I am not keen on large, open bodies of water where all sorts of critters live and I freak out when seaweed so much as brushes my leg so I sat on the beach and enjoyed the sounds and sights.

Annnnddddd that’s my trip to Florida, told through my rambles, vacation photos, and photography. Again, shout out to my BFF for the best photos of our cute ass crew. I’ve been really spoiled these past few months with all the travel– and next month I’m off to Vermont, so keep an eye out for a post on that!

Safe Travels and Happy Shooting!

iPhoneography

Lately, I’ve been using my iPhone for daily photographic purposes. Because, you know, when you’re a photographer you see opportunities for a good photograph many, many times a day. Since phones nowadays have good quality, this makes the task easier. Anyone remember the sad quality of phone cameras just five years ago? Anyone?

I love editing apps. Some people hate them, and that’s fine, but I think they are missing out. It’s an elitist attitude to huff and puff how people these days think they are photographers because they go on Instagram and throw a filter on their food photo. Firstly– I haven’t really met anyone who thinks they are a photographer because of Instagram. Instagram is a wonderful tool, as it gets people thinking about taking photos. Who cares what they are of?

Plus, there are fabulous editing apps such at Afterlight, BeFunky, Lenslight, and Photoshop Express. I use these apps all the time to edit my iPhone photographs. I’ll be honest: I get real carried away with these apps, but I can’t help it. It’s so much fun.

A moment of silence for the ever growing collection of Titanic VHS tapes at the Salvation Army.

I used Afterlight for the light leak and dust effects. Shout out to Nick, who pointed this app out to me a couple years ago. It’s amazing and I never want to let it go.

Happy Shooting!

Memorial Day and How Hot Air Balloons Exist

It’s Memorial Day in the United States, which means it’s a holiday weekend! This weekend I did quite a bit in the way of photography, so here it goes!

I got a new camera. Kaiden and I went to a couple flea markets and I scored a Sears KS-1 camera with a fixed 50mm lens. The camera is semi-automatic and I can only set the aperture. The camera sets the shutter speed. So, it’s good for when I’m in a hurry. I also scored a Promatic FTD4500AF Hot Shoe Flash- which I am SUPER HAPPY about because I’ve been wanting a flash for my analog cameras but hadn’t gotten around to it. Now I can play with gels and TUNGSTEN FILM I AM USING ALL CAPS BECAUSE I’VE BEEN WANTING TO SHOOT TUNGSTEN WITH A YELLOW GEL FOR ABOUT A YEAR NOW AND MY TIME HAS COME.

So that was pretty great.

Sunday morning was the more intense adventure. My boyfriend and I woke up at 3AM to drive two hours to see a hot air balloon launch in Frankenmuth, MI. For those of you who have been around for a while, my hot air balloon attempts from last year ended with two good photos of the balloons on the ground (one of which is being published.) I’ve started the hot air balloon season with determination, and I was not disappointed.

I was, however, deeply confused.

I’m new to this whole hot air balloon culture. All I know is that they are pretty and they fly and I want to photograph them. Last year, I always went to evening launches, where there would be a giant roped-off field and crowds of people sitting around it waiting for the balloons to blow up and get flyin’. Since every evening launch I went to ended with no balloons, I did some research and found that the balloons are more likely to fly in the morning. I’m not a morning person, but it was a “challenge accepted” kind of thing.

We got to Frankenmuth.

Nothing.

No one.

There was a field, but no people.

Imagine my tired confusion.

I took to the interwebs and found that they were not launching from the designated field, but rather from different backyards in the area, and that they were going to meet over a nearby air field. The hunt was on. We found the air field, but saw no balloons. On our drive though, we saw some balloons being inflated. So we waited.

The sky was dotted with balloons within 15 minutes. We parked the car and started walking, looking for a place to see the balloons more clearly. We got to an open field where there was a clear shot to the air strip, where the balloons were congregating. Pictures ensued.

Thank goodness I brought my zoom lens, because those balloons were a bit too far for 80mm. They are a bit back-lit, but that couldn’t be helped because, y’know, I can’t control the sunrise. I got a little lens glare as a result, but c’est la vie. Live and learn, as always.

I’m not super pleased with the photos, but I am excited I got to see balloons in flight. I’m going to more launches this summer, and I’m hoping that I’ll get to go to an evening launch, where the balloons will be a lot closer and hopefully not back-lit.

I took a picture frame that had a stock image of a hot air balloon in it with us because I had an idea for an instax picture, but we ended up using it for more than just that. Some of my favorite pictures are from messing around with it.

And that’s the hot air balloon adventure.

Our adventures on Sunday did not end there. We went to the beach to see my family and ended up going on a nature trail. I had my Minolta X-700 with me, but it randomly stopped working, so I was out of luck. I had my Minolta Weathermatic A with me, but it only had 6 shots left on it and it was quickly filled (but I can finally send it off to get developed!) I had to resort to using my iPhone, but I got a few pretty shots.

It was an excellent weekend for photography. I’ll have a double-exposed roll of my hot air balloon and beach escapades, but I have to finish the roll. And, speaking of double exposures, I’m still taking submissions for my double exposure challenge. Follow the link for more details and email your images to owensbydanielle@gmail.com. I’ll be posting the submissions by the end of the first week of June.

That’s all for now- I’m looking forward to seeing more submissions! Happy shooting~