Last week, I spent several days attending a work-related conference in Orlando, Florida. This gave me the opportunity to visit Epcot’s World Showcase. The World Showcase is a collection of eleven pavilions representing specific countries, including Japan, China, France, and Mexico. I visited the World Showcase many years ago, and I realized this trip would give me the chance to photograph these areas.
A major challenge with photographing at Epcot, or any Disney theme park for that matter, is the huge number of people who attend the park. This makes using a tripod very difficult as it is likely other visitors will bump into or trip over it. Probably for these reasons, the parks prohibit “large” tripods from being brought onto the grounds, but I could never determine what they defined as a large tripod. In order to avoid any hassles from park security, I left my tripod in my room and shot all my images while hand-holding my camera. To improve my chances of obtaining sharp images, I raised my ISO to 400 and used the image stabilization feature on my lens.
I had planned to capture images of the buildings and landscapes in the different pavilions, but the large crowds frustrated my attempts to shoot those kinds of pictures. So, I began focusing more on smaller details, such as the fountain I discovered in an empty foyer of a restaurant in the Moroccan pavilion.
What caught my eye were the colors and design of the tile work and the overall symmetry of the scene. In a scene such as this one, I would normally mount my camera on a tripod, use a small aperture to ensure complete depth of field, and let the shutter speed be whatever it needs to be. In this case, though, because my camera was not mounted on a tripod, camera movement was my chief concern which meant I had to use the fastest shutter speed possible given the foyer’s dim lighting conditions. Using a small aperture to maximize depth of field was not an option here. To emphasize the symmetry of the fountain area, I positioned myself directly between the two side columns and took the picture.
When I shoot an image, my goal is to get the picture right in the camera. But sometimes, getting the image perfect when snapping the shutter doesn’t always happen – a tilted horizon or small limb in the corner of the frame you didn’t notice, for example. When I got home and examined the image on my computer, I found that, despite my best efforts, there was still some blurring caused by camera movement. It was subtle, but it was there. In the days of film, the image would have been thrown in the trash because there was nothing more that could be done with it. In the digital era, there are some amazing tools available in Photoshop that can be used to save a lot of images. One of these tools is Photoshop’s shake reduction filter (Filters > Sharpen > Shake Reduction). I applied the filter and, after tweaking the settings several times, was able to eliminate the blurring that would have otherwise sent this image to the recycle bin.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 28mm, 1/10 sec, f/5.6