March 31, 2018

Japan 2017 Trip Report - Part Four

Like every other Disney park, Mediterranean Harbor really shines at night! Because the dark obscures a lot of detail, it's easier for our minds to accept the illusion constructed by the Imagineers. If you thought this area was impressive during the day, the magic triples once the sun goes down.

As we get further along into my report, you may notice a lesser amount of night images than usual, or that composition/perspective seems a little askew at times. It boils down to no tripods being allowed in the parks. I'm not sure when the ban started, but it was done for safety reasons (I wouldn't be surprised at all if this rule is eventually enforced at the USA parks). Fortunately, the Tokyo parks do have a fair amount of walls and ledges that provide some stability for cameras, along with the usual standby of rubbish cans and dining tables.

The image above, taken a little after sunset, was accomplished by balancing my camera on a narrow ledge. Careful not to shake my Nikon, I kept the strap (attached to the camera) on my neck because the drop below was quite far. I normally like to more panoramas, but without a tripod, the necessity of matching up the individual shots proved difficult to say the least. I did manage to stitch together the image below (comprising of 5 separate shots) thanks to the use of a bean bag (tip courtesy of the awesome Tom Bricker). I found it quite handy for mounting my camera on poles or any support that was not flat or even.

The other method I found useful was a Platypod. It's basically a flat metal plate that mounts a tripod head. Perfect for the top of walls, I was able to do a fair number of long exposure shots using this gizmo.

I remember the first day at the park, wandering around feeling overwhelmed and a bit down as the light faded. Beautiful scenery that I would have gobbled up with a tripod, now seemed to tease me with an elusive demeanor. As time headed towards evening and crowds began to slowly dwindle, I hung out at the Palazzo Canals, an area almost deserted due to the gondola ride closing down for the evening. 

Other than the occasional guest heading to "Ristorante de Canaletto" for late dinner (picture below), I pretty much had the place to myself. I decided to use the Platypod since the walls blocking off the canal were low and wide. Setting the camera for a 30 second exposure, I crossed my fingers, and finally began seeing some decent images of this beautifully lit area!

This location really became my home base of sorts, a place I would retreat to when I needed to get away from the crowds or to decompress. It's the same with Main Street when I'm at Disneyland or WDW. Something about the vibe that makes me feel safe and comfortable.

Remember when I mentioned earlier how gray skies were the norm while I was in Tokyo? Although cloud cover will suck the blues right out of the sky, I tend to view clouds as more of a positive in photography, especially at night. Clouds will automatically increase the dramatic mood of an image . This is especially true at sunset and the blue hour. 

I initially planned not to show any images of Mt. Prometheus until I got to the section covering Mysterious Island, but that icon is visible from nearly every area in the park (Not that it's a bad thing. The mountain integrates itself seamlessly into whatever port you're visiting...enhancing, rather than shattering any Disney designed theme/illusion). 

Another icon that is hard to escape is the Tower of Terror. It is clearly visible from both Mediterranean and American Waterfront. 

Again, the Christmas decorations are done tastefully with some measure of restraint giving this entire port a truly classic feel and look!

A water show titled "Color of Christmas" took place every night on the water with lighted trees covering the water. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to shoot it, so a picture of the general area where the show takes place is all I can provide.

This wraps up my coverage of Mediterranean Harbor. I'll take a short hiatus and return with a report on Tokyo Disneyland (I'm going to hop back and forth between the two parks to keep things fresh).

Until then, wishing everyone a Happy Easter and remember...Christ has risen!


Mark Taft said...

Len, we've been to Venice, and I must say that the Imagineers seemed to have done an amazing job! Thank you again for this trip report!

Len Yokoyama said...

My pleasure Mark! My wife and I will be visiting Italy in September so I'll be able to experience the real thing!