Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lighting nightmares at Disney's Hollywood Studios

We took the kids to Disney's Hollywood Studios for the first time last weekend. Disney is running a Florida residents special that is too good to pass up (4 parks, 4 days, $99). They've really changed Hollywood Studios a lot since the last time I was there (probably 10 years ago) and it's got a lot more to do now and much more for the kids. Since Disney bought Pixar, they have really started to exploit the characters at the park. The parade is all Pixar characters and the line to meet the characters from "Up" was longer that the line to meet Mickey Mouse!

One thing that hasn't changed is Disney's total lack of caring when it comes to color temperature. I'm joking... I don't expect them to care about the lone professional photographer who wants to take really good pictures of his kids meeting Buzz Lightyear. Still, It can be a little frustrating when you enter a room with three different types of light and black walls behind me. Help a brother out! Just give me a little bit of neutral wall I can bounce my flash off of!

When we met Woody and Buzz there were actually 4 types of light: studio floods, tungsten, tungsten with gels and sunlight. Impossible to color balance and you can forget trying to gel your flash to match. I found myself frequently having to shoot straight on with my flash (which I hate).

More after the jump...

It's so much easier if you are a photographer who prefers to overpower all the existing light with your flash (this is what point-and-shoots do). It doesn't matter what the ambient light is if you are going to blow everything out with the flash. But if you are like me and prefer to work with the ambient light, using the flash only to augment the scene, all those different color temperatures are a nightmare.

When you are waiting in line to meet Woody and Buzz, they have several "scenes" set up so you can take cute pictures while you wait. Unfortunately, they have tungsten light in the hallway, photo lights on the "scenes" and sunlight coming in from the window. I tried my best to bounce flash off the wall behind me but still had issues with the color. You can see that the different color temperatures are fighting for dominance on her face.
Still, it's a cute pic. :)
Notice the orange color on top of Sam's head? Now look at Woody's shoulder and arm... no orange there. That's because there was a tungsten light on Sam and a photo light on Woody.
I know I'm probably the only person on the planet who notices this sort of thing at Disney but I can't help it. Once you start noticing light, you can't stop!
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