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PTR:Orlando Nov/Dec'10


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(Cross-posted from another forum, but y'all may get a few moments distraction

from some of the snaps...(click though the better pics for larger versions on

Flickr))

 

--

 

Ok, end of the year comes around, too much holiday from work left, too much

disposable income and combined with the generally grouchy mood I've been in for

much of this year meant I needed to get away somewhere.

 

So off to Orlando I go (convieniently timed to avoid all that cold weather in the

UK too ).

 

Saturday - Day 1

 

Flew out on the Saturday morning (27thNov), nice simple direct flights (Virgin)

from Manchester UK to Orlando, pick up a car at MCO and a little later check into

the hotel.

 

My vehicle awaits!

 

Now it being "low season" meant I got a cheapo deal (well cheaper, if not cheap)

at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal resort, a bit of a step up from the I-Drive

motels.

 

View is more parking structure than theme parks though

 

So grab some eats at Citywalk and wander around for a bit before my time-zone

shift jet-lag (can never sleep on planes) catches up with me and I crash.

 

Sunday - Day 2

 

Get up, get in car, go to space place.

 

I had been here before, back in '94 and quite enjoyed it, but they apparently

changed the operator in 1995 and it had definately improved a lot since then.

 

I booked onto a "Yesterday and Today" tour (which was bit extra than the normal

tour) and killed a bit of time before the tour with a go on their "Shuttle Launch

Experience" ride;

 

Simulator

 

As a space center visitor attraction this was pretty good - well "themed" if you

like - but the simulator bit was a bit "tame" compared to your normal theme-park

simulator setups (which it essentially was) - but perhaps because of this was

a bit different; the restraints were not as limiting as at a theme-park and the

movement of the ride mainly simulated G-forces and a bit of shaking about. At

the end the roof of the "shuttle" opens up and there are lots of pretty stars.

 

OK after riding that, it was the time for the tour so get on a bus. The extra

bits on the tour were that we went down to see a bit of the older Cape Canaveral

stuff rather than the just the modern launch sites. We also went a lot closer

to the launch pad (that Discovery is (still) sitting on) than the normal tour

and got off the bus at a couple of stop not on the normal tour.

 

Was worth the extra $20 I think just to get a bit closer to the shuttle on the

pad;

 

Waiting around...

 

Big building (US flag is the size of a basketball court apparently);

 

VAB

 

At the end of the tour they drop you off at a "Saturn V" center (which was not

there the last time I went), where they house a bunch of stuff, including a real

(but obv. not used) Saturn V rocket (which used to be outside that big building

I think).

 

SaturnV

 

Pretty impressive being able to walk around/under the rocket (its hung from the

ceiling).

 

Saturn Rocket

 

Command Module

 

There was a lot of interesting artifacts there too;

 

Apollo 14 Command Module

 

After the tour I managed to wander around the visitor centre, doing the IMAX films

and looking ant all the "stuff" for the rest of the day;

 

Fake Shuttle

 

Module and Palms

 

Space Garden

 

Space Garden

 

Space Garden

 

Good trip out then, worth it to get to see the shuttle alone I think.

 

Discovery

 

 

Next up, some Univeral shennanigans...

 

----------------------

 

 

Monday - Day 3

 

Right then, some proper parks now after all that "educational tourism" from

yesterday! Since I was at an on-site Universal hotel, I got "Universal Express"

perks, which amount to a fastpass to all the Universal attractions EXCEPT the

two new biggies (i.e. Potter and Rockit). BUT the perk also includes early (8am)

entry to Islands of Adventure (actually just to the Wizarding World of Harry

Potter) - so I make a bit of use of that (and the fact that I can walk there from

the hotel in 10 minutes) to get into IoA at about 8:30 and have ridden the new

Potterride 3 times by 9am!

 

So here it is then;

 

Potterland

 

(note only had compact camera rather than DLSR with me today since there was

mainly going to be riding on agenda!)

 

First time through, since there was "no wait" I walked all through the queue.

Very well themed indeed, the oustide "greenhouse" bit is a bit cattle-pen (but

a well-themed cattle pen I guess) but once through that into the building proper

its all very well done, nice (obvious though) amount of moving portraits and the

like. Pretty long queue path though.

 

 

Eventually you get to the sorting-hat thing; (see how empty the ride is before the GP get let in!)

 

 

turn the corner and they assign you 4 at at time to a "bench" which you mount

from a moving carpet thingy. Seats are prtty comfy and you are fairly restricted

to a "forwards only" view of the action.

 

Ride-wise its very good; clever switching of the animatronic sections with the

film-based sections (projected onto huge curved screens that rotate around in

sync with the ride-vehicle making its way along the track). Lots of neat

animatronics / effects and fairly disorientating ride motion.

 

Cool ride - tops Spiderman (but it is 10years more modern so fair enough!).

 

I did get a bit nauseous on my third ride (in quick seccession), so left it at

that, just as the GP started arriving en-masse. Dunno whether it was the motion

that made me a bit queasy or me trying to look out of the vehicle in odd

directions to see the ride mechanics that did it. You can see the other vehicles

pretty easily in quite a few places through the ride - odd looking things them!

 

A note about the queue - the initial external queue (between the gated ride

entrance and where you enter the building at ground level) actually only takes

you up to the ride lock.ers - a host will get you to dump carryons into the (free)

lock.ers at that point then send you off into the main queue then. This is also

the point where you can take the single-rider queue... SO my point is, if you are

a single rider, with no baggage, you really don't want to join that external Q

at all - just go through the shop exit to the lock.ers and straight to the SRQ.

 

So the rest of Potterland; all very well themed and all. Was VERY popular with

the patrons ; so much so that even as I wandered in at early-entry time there had

formed a HUGE queue for the wand-shoppe thing - onviously Universal had not

missed a trick by restricting where young-Harryfans could purchase their wand

from to just that shoppe, you could get them from a cart in the street or any one

of a number of stores - but I guess (since I never went in) the real experience

was just to be had there!

 

 

Now after some breakfast watching the GP swarming into the park and heading

straight Potterwise I whiled away a few hours in the parks other, older (but

still mainly pretty good) attractions. I was still denied the Pteranodon Flyers

credit since I had no available small child to accompany me, pah!

 

 

Park was a bit quiet (apart from Potterland that is)

 

 

 

Anyway not too many pics today as I planned to return with a better camera later!

 

By early afternoon I was done, now I had NOT originally planned to do this (I

had planned to go to the studios a different day) but the new coaster had been

taunting me all morning in the distance;

 

 

so I quickly "replanned" and went off to the Studios next door to play for the

rest of the day.

 

I actually didn't race straight to Rockit, because I was rather hungry by then

so went for some food and beer and then on a few calmer rides before I tried

the new ride!

 

But also "new to me" was the Disaster! ride (I'd been on the old Earthquake ride)

and essentially its the same as that with a newer pre-show, and the Simpsons

ride was new as well (having been on various BTTFs around the world). I really

liked the Simpsons ride actually - lots of clever jokes (at theme parks expense)

and a great new updated ride experience. I approved!

 

So after looping the lake I found myself heading upto Rockit - rather squeezed

into the park along the one boundary and rather dominating the skyline too. I'm

not too convinced how the ride fits in with the "Studios" theme of it all though

(putting "Hollywood" in its name does not make it in keeping I feel!) - but as

a ride I really liked it!

 

 

I had heard of some "roughness" complaints, but can honestly say I had no such

problems (and I rode it in many positions from the front to the back).

 

 

Cool ride then.

 

 

OK, finished for that day now - took some pics as night fell;

 

 

but might well be back later in the week with a better camera for some more

pics!

 

 

 

-------------------

 

Tuesday - Day 4

 

Got up to 27 degrees C today - which was nice.

 

I'd not been to Seaworld for a while (missed it out on my last Florida trip) and

they had kindly build a new coaster since then anyway, so it was due a visit.

 

 

I like Seaworld(s) - been to all 3 of them (4 if you counted Ohio in its last days

as a animal-themed park). Never been completly comfortable with them filling up

with big coasters (surelys thats NOT the point of the place?), but what can you

do?

 

So I get it over with and head straight up to Manta, been looking forward to this

and its a pretty fine ride.

 

 

Plonked in the middle of the park you can wander around it in a way thats denied

to you on the other flyers.

 

 

One gripe was that they were running 2 trains (park was pretty empty) on 1 station

and that meant you were stacking waiting to unload for a longer than comfortable

amount of time, oh well.

 

 

 

Go off and do the other rides next,

 

Journey to Atlantis (which I think is rather rubbish; actually very rubbish)

 

 

I had to Q to ages last time I was here for this, walkon today.

 

 

Silly picture time;

 

 

Kraken (which I think is possibly the best coaster in Florida, definately in

Orlando anyway (have a soft spot for Kumba!))

 

 

 

Not many photo-vantage points though (unlike Manta!)

 

 

 

Rides done (although I did revisit Manta on my wait out later on), spend

the rest of the day pottering about the shows and stuff.

 

Someday I'll take a good picture of underwater stuff, until then its;

 

 

Above water works OK tho'

 

 

The place had their Xmas stuff going in full swing (if I heard Bruce Springsteen

singing about Father Xmas once I heard it a hundred times!)

 

They had re-themed Wild Arctic to Polar Express (which was OK) and put some

trees in the lake;

 

 

And FINALLY (for me), I have been at a Seaworld park when the tower ride had

been open (I have been DENIED a few times in the past), so had a trip on that

too;

 

Manta

 

Kracken

 

Atlantis

 

 

Having had a nice day at the park, I spent the evening wandering around the

hotel with my camera&tripod trying to take some pics in the dark.

 

Front

 

Fountains

 

Chairs

 

Pool

 

Volleyball

 

and a close up of their tree;

 

Xmas Tree

 

------

 

 

Wednesday - Day 5

 

Weather forcast said rain for the morning, brighter later, so figured I's go

somewhere with a reasonable amount of "indoors" for the morning then.

 

So off here I went;

 

Under some repair!

 

Needless to say, not a sign of rain all day, silly weather forecast.

 

So a few rides on the Tower (which is of course a top ride) and a few rides on the

Aerosmith (which is a good, if not outstanding ride)

 

 

 

 

and thats the big rides done at this somewhat lacking park. Not that I didn't

manage to occupy myself for most of the rest of the day, its just that I find this

place a bit 'meh' after you've done those rides.

 

Thought the stunt show was pretty good though (this wasn't here the last time I

came to the park)

 

 

and I quite enjoyed the Toy Story shooter thingy (but had to Q for over an hour

for it, rather low capacity and pretty popular - get a fastpass for this then d'oh!)

 

Otherwise I managed the back lot tour (rather poor), the Indy Stunt Show (pretty

good), the Great Movie ride (better than I remembered it to be?) before I got fed

up and headed off.

 

 

I didn't take many pics either so I'll just leave you with a picture of their tree

 

 

--------------------------------

 

Thursday - Day 6

 

Animals today!

 

 

- so off to the Animal Kingdom I go!

 

Quite enjoyed my day here last time I came, not so much this time (novelty factor

clearly having worn off), but still had a good enough day. Clearly the big ride

is the rather photogenic yeti-chase through the plastic mountains...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...the yeti at the end is static though - not sure how long its been broke, it

was definately moving the last time I was here (2007).

 

Good enough ride, great themeing of course but not what you'd call a great RIDE.

 

I forced myself to go on a Primeval Whirl (but really what a sad additional to

a DISNEY park these things are), and a spin on the Dinosaur ride (which I found

a little less scary than the time I went on it before). I didn't risk the rapids

ride though (got soaked last time) and thats kinda it for the 'rides' at this

park.

 

I did however do the Lion King show which I hadn't seen before (and which was

pretty good for even an old miserable cynic like me!)

 

Show;

 

 

 

I wandered around ann the animal zones too - which is a nice enough way to spend

a few hours - there were a lot less giant bats this time (only a couple) which I

found to be my fave animal there?

 

but I didn't take many pics at the park today either so I'll just leave you with a picture of their tree (suspicously similar to yesterdays tree at the Hollywood Studios!)

 

 

---

 

So then a little later I wandered around Citywalk with a good camera and my tripod

(only got quizzed by security twice for having a tripod - yes I am a tourist and

not a terrorist! In fairness they were not too evil!)

 

Not too impressed with my night's work, a few came out nice but I appear to

have also taken a lot of dross!

 

Edited highlights then...

 

Universal

 

Universal Studios

 

Rockit

 

Citywalk, NBA

 

Citywalk, NBA

 

IoA

 

Citywalk

 

Rockit, from Citywalk

 

Citywalk

 

Citywalk

 

Hard Rock Cafe, Orlando

 

Universal Studios

 

and my IR filter attempt was a bit poor...

 

IoA IR

 

 

----

 

Friday - Day 7

 

Ok, so I've done a lot of parks this week, but only spent a day at Universal

and I had a multi-day ticket; I was moving hotels the next day (cheapo deal at

the Hard Rock ran out) so today I went back to the Universal parks; but this time

armed with the good camera!

 

Up early to get in the park while its quiet!

 

Early Morning view

 

Potterland before it fills with punters;

 

More Potterland

 

Try to get this sort of shot later in the day!

 

More Potterland

 

The irony of the "theme snow" while the UK was covered in the real stuff

was not lost on me.

 

More Potterland

 

More Potterland

 

Nice snowman touch I thought;

 

Harry Potter Snowman

 

The exterior of the big ride is really rather impressive

 

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

 

Harry Potter Ride

 

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

 

Harry Potter...

Although it does rather impinge on next door!

 

Jurassic Potter

 

Some non-Potterland stuff

 

Hulk

 

Hulk

 

Hulk

 

Islands of Adventure

 

(took a lot of pics today, more to come!)

 

 

...I also spent quite a while wandering around the Studios on Friday, just have

not sorted through those pictures yet...

 

Muppet

 

Universal Studios

 

Mel's Drive-In

 

and went to see the Blue Man Group in the evening (again - seen the Florida show

a couple of times now and the Vegas one too; MUCH nicer theatre in Vegas).

 

 

Saturday - Day 8

 

Quite an odd day really I think, I checked out of the hotel (cheap deal done with)

and went down to the Magic Kingdom. Got there reasonably early so managed the big

rides before the crowds turned up... and turn up they did! Death by baby-stroller!

 

So the day was odd because I did some rides and wandered the park, all in somewhat

of a real grouchy mood. My grouchyness got the better of me and I quit the place

in the afternoon to find the next hotel (@ Downtown Disney) and thought I'd snap

myself out of my bad mood by trawling Downtown for some beer and food... even that

didn't work. Walked out of one eatery 'cos it was so slow and only managed a beer

and an $10 margeritta sat out in the cold.

 

Some pics from the Kingdom (compact camera) then (fairly horrible day tho')

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So easily the worst day of the hols!

 

 

Sunday - Day 9

 

So after my grumpy day yesterday, I got a resort bus to the last park of my

trip.

 

Dome!

 

Took the good camera along as well, since its pretty photogenic out there.

 

Earth?

 

And I had a thoroughly enjoyable day (you'll be glad to know; no moaning on

today!)

 

I managed to spend all day in the park, fuelled by taking pictures and the

"beer opportunities" afforded by wondering around the world (why I took

the resort bus rather than the hire care today! )

 

Got the big rides done first up though, Mission Space being cool (even if I was

the only passenger on the entire ride - can't be cost effective that!) - I was

somewhat confused by the "soft option" ride... the point being what exactly? The

ride is a centrifuge so you choose the centrifuge that doesn't spin????

 

Soarin' I was a tad dissappointed with ; I had it my mind that there was going to

be a different film to the one at DCA (can't explain why I though that); but

there wasn't... still I cool enough ride, but why no different film? Stupid

popular as well, fastpasses all gone early on, hour long queues and the park was

not even that busy. (I fastpast'd it naturally)

 

Then the aquarium but - this had been Nemo'd since I had been here before, and

the refit works pretty well I thought, even if all the ride tech pales rather

when you hit that HUGE fish tank.

 

Seas?

 

Really enjoyed wandering around with Nemo and his friends!

 

Next up was the rather bizarre Captain EO "tribute". Disney cashing in on the

demise of Jacko is a bit odd IMHO, but anything that gets rid of the awful

Honey I Shrunk the Audience film that replaced EO initially must be a good thing

right?

 

Wrong.

 

In fairness the film-quality was excellent on the 70mm print, but the film/story

was just awful... clearly not being a Jacko fan at all something is lost on me,

but even considering that its just pitiful.

 

OK dead-celebs aside, wandered around Imagination! and Test Track before making

my way into the World...

 

(for some reason I missed out Innovations and Universe of Energy completely

today, I meant to come back to do them later, but never got around to it - d'oh)

 

So I made my way around the World, riding the little rides they have (Mexico's

had been refitted since my previous visit) and watching their little films

(Canada's had been redone too), taking lots of pictures and partaking of

various "beers of the world" too! (Perhaps the latter explains my good

mood today then!)

 

China?

 

China

 

China 360

 

China pond

 

Epcot Lake

 

Germany?

 

Germany - they sell beer here!

 

Italy?

 

Venice?

 

Torri

 

Japan?

 

Torri, Dusk

 

These photos are brought to you with the assistance of BEER!

 

Kirin

 

Torii

 

France?

 

France Fountains

 

Started to get dark by the time I was in France...

 

Oh... Canada?

 

then after a quick trip around Spaceship Earth (and Soarin again 'cos I had

a fastpass still) I turned around and went back around the World.

 

Imagination!

 

Earth?

 

China?

 

Mexico?

 

Finished up watching the fireworks befors I grabbed the bus back to the hotel.

 

Bang

 

Pop

 

Whizz

 

NB all firework pics were hand-held as well, not bad I thought!

 

--

 

So best day of the holiday then today!

 

 

Monday - Day 10

 

OK then last day now...

 

Flight home was late afternoon, so just got up late, had some fast food breakfast

and wandered around (a mostly deserted) Downtown Disney for a while utterly

failing to purchase a Woody & Jessie doll for my niece & nephews Xmas present

(I figured that the packaging wasn't going to make it through my luggage so I

picked up the same dolls in the UK instead - for seemingly twice the price!)

 

Crabs?

 

Pub

 

Statue

 

Anyway it was COLD this morning, first real COLD day of my holidays.

 

I'd have had a go on this, but there was noone there (despite the opening times

board indicating that there should be!) Boo!

 

Characters in Flight

 

Perhaps they didn't like the COLD?

 

Characters in Flight

 

House of Blues

 

Characters in Flight

 

Lego

 

People

 

so after mooching in the COLD at Downtown Disney I did a bit of mall-hopping

to occupy a couple of hours (The Festival Bay mall up at the top of I-Drive

is a laugh; vast place almost entirely empty of shops... how does it survive?)

 

The Florida Mall towards the airport was much livelier - fairly busy in fact,

but it was just a time-filler before I headed back to MCO, dumped the car

(had managed the whole holiday on a single tank - thats what not going to Tampa

gets for you!) and caught a plane home to the COLD in Manchester.

 

So thats it! Pretty easy holiday, kept me fairly entertained and WARMER

than I'd have been in the UK anyway

 

 

 

Dave.

Edited by davidmorton
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You have some nice shots there. Great perspectives. I am heading down to IOA/Uni this coming Friday for 8 days and bringing all my camera gear with me, will have a field day down there.

 

Now I just have to add, as I am a photography-junkie:

 

I don't know how serious you are with your camera (if you are big into it, or just like to have a nicer camera than a point-n-shoot but checking out your flickr it seems like you are pretty serious about it), but as just a suggestion looking at the EXIF data in your images, you could of got much sharper images if you bumped up the ISO or lowered the aperture a bit on some of those shots, where your shutter speeds dropped to as low at 1/10 or so. They all look great resized (what camera doesn't!) but full size many of them seem to have a lower shutter speed then you could of easily got by getting those shutter speeds up a little and not sticking to ISO 100. The 450D can handle easily up through 1600 or so, don't be afraid to use it!

 

Many of your images have great processing on them, they look processed but not overly done which is nice. Many people go way-overboard or do it poorly.

 

Great TR though, makes me very excited for HP next week. I watched every single HP film in the past two weeks (including the one in theaters now) for the first time to enjoy the experience more. I really loved the movies, and makes me really excited to go check it out.

 

Thanks for sharing!

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Ta for comments all!

 

Now I just have to add, as I am a photography-junkie...

 

The "good" pictures* are mostly all 3 exposure HDRs taken on a DSLR - obv. the shutter speed is different in the 3 exposures so I'm not quite sure what happens to all the EXIF data when the HDR is produced (point out a picture and I'll have a look at the originals )? I process the 3xp from Lightroom into Photomatix (minimal changes made in Photomatix apart form the HDR/tone mapping) then play around back in Lightroom until I'm happy; not particularly scientific but helps avoid the common "overblown HDR" trap I think.

 

I do tend to try to shoot in a lower ISO as I have been caught out by noise in the past (its a bit easier to tell on the camera screen whether the shot is bad because of camera movement rather than bad because of noise).

 

* - The "less-good" pictures are on a little old compact though (Olympus C70z) ; when I can't be doing with carting the big camera around all day!

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Ahh that may be why. The EXIF may show only one of the exposure points for that image if done via HDR. I have tried doing a few HDR in the past but I always end up butchering it in someway. I should practice it a bit more though, but to the point the image looks natural and really does not look HDR at all. Those are the best IMO. So many people think its all about making some terrible image from pushing the limits just about everywhere on the image.

 

Have you tried exposing to the right for lower noise? Using higher ISO but purposely over-exposing the image, and bringing back down in post? That makes for a much less noisy image at higher ISO. I have a few I took at ISO 12,800 that look excellent using this method, here is one example from a Halloween party (along with EXIF)

 

Camera Model: Canon EOS 7D

Lens: EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Focal Length: 102.0mm

Focus Distance: 2.86m

Aperture: f/2.8

Exposure Time: 0.0050 s (1/200)

ISO equiv: 12800

Exposure Bias: +0.67 EV

Metering Mode: Center Weight

Exposure: aperture priority (semi-auto)

White Balance: Auto

Flash Fired: No (enforced)

 

 

I used no noise reduction other than some conservative reduction in Lightroom 3... Full size it looks a little noise (obviously), but resized for the web it looks excellent considering the light and ISO used.

 

You have many excellent images though in your TR... Some of the best I have seen on this website IMO.

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icks jaw up off the ground::

 

AMAZING! That was simply THE BEST PTR I have ever seen...really - EVER! Thank you so much for posting that!

 

I was in Flickr, checking out your shutter speeds and such, because while I figured they were HDR, I was hoping they were not. lol. Yeah, I -just want to be lazy and have my pictures look that way unprocessed. I have no patience and have never tried HDR photos. I do have Lightroom 2m and CS3, but have not tried to work it out. How long does it take you to get all three images together and complete? For example, on a trip to the parks, I take an average of 1200+ pictures each trip. There is no way I am processing that many in HDR. Do you take lots of pictures when you are out and about?

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Honestly, do you really need 1,200 HDR images? ^^

 

Usually, they are best left to images that you are not able to get due to high dynamic range. People do them just be "cool" and give the image a crazy look, but proper HDR is just enabling more stops of dynamic range by underexposing (for darks) and overexposing (for lights). Blending them in a way that is more natural to our own eyes, which has quite a high dynamic range.

 

You can always batch process in Photoshop though... You basically make a "recording" of what you do to process images. Once complete, you save it and can apply it over and over with identical settings to a batch of images. Not sure how well it will work with HDR, but I am sure there is a way to do it. Just google "Batch process HDR photoshop" and I am sure you will get plenty of results!

 

Hope this kind of helps with your question. I am sure there are ways to batch HDR if you really took that many, but you honestly would take that many HDR images? Considering most "real" HDR (not pushed in post from a single image) is done via three different bracketing images, and in low light probably need the aid of a tripod and shutter release. In nice light you can hand hold pretty easily and let PS merge them for you using continuous burst, though.

 

The best HDR looks like no HDR at all...

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I do take a LOT of pics in the parks though; I don't processes all of them though, only the ones that look interesting!

 

Camera is set to bracket (take 3 shots) almost all the of the time so providing me with lots of "raw material". Then when I get home and look at everything I can process 3 (raw) exposures into a HDR (Lr to Photomatix back to Lr) in a couple of minutes - sometimes I'll take longer if I need to mask back in the sky in Ps for example; but it doesn't take much time once you are "up to speed".

 

Not ever tried the batch processing though; I know you can do it, it just seems complex to me!

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I just arrived in FL on Friday and checked out Harry Potter that night... I must say, the area looks incredible. I have yet to check out all the stores and whatnot, but the area in general is VERY well done.

 

The Forbidden Journey ride I am very mixed on. The "real" scenes were excellent and a ton of fun. The video sections, to me, were terrible. The video looked low quality, and made for a nauseating experience. I thought they would of been able to improve the video quality a bit after all these years... The way they integrated them was good, but ugh, I just did not like at all. Much better ride if they did without IMO, and just used a ton of actual scenes. I know you need the storyline, but still... But yeah, after the first ride I was quite sick due to the video sequences.

 

Butterbeer is incredible. I am surprised how good it really was to be honest. Can't wait to get some more!

 

Finally rode Rip-Rockit after three times being down there since it was built... I was not expecting much, and the ride did not deliver at all for me. I found the first lift, drop and first element fun... Then the rest of the ride was very "meh". Awkward pacing, too many breaks and just bland. I really wish B&M got this contract...

 

Overall though, the new area is awesome. Whether you enjoy HP or not (books, video, etc...) the area is awesome, and superior to the one it replaced.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh no, I would never process THAT many HDR, if I ever tried. I took over 2000 pictures on vacation and there would be no way. Imagine that x3?? I take more and more pics, but DavidMorton answered the question... Always bracketing. I will try a few when I go... if I remember. I am always running around trying to capture everything. But I have implemented the slowing down factor and will do my best to remember. I have only used my camera's bracketing a few times. I don't feel I am completely ready yet. Since I am self taught... (I did not even want to get off manual approx. 6 months ago.) I work on a section of my camera for a bit, instead of learning ten things at once. Right now, I want to use no flash...like always - and natural lighting. I want to go for perfect exposure in camera, not using RAW. I used exposure compensation -/+ for the first time this weekend. I am trying to learn the safe levels on my camera to raise the ISO to. I really hate noise... REALLY REALLY. I sadly notice the slightest bit and it is a pet peeve of mine. I will continue to browse Flickr and stuff here and pay attention to the right exposure.

 

Thanks for the tips guys!

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