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More Than Meets the Eye at Epcot

posted on March 9th, 2011 by Kent Phillips, Photographer, Walt Disney World

Spaceship Earth at Epcot

The second installment of my near infrared photographic jaunt through the parks of Walt Disney World finds me at Epcot. For those who missed last week’s look at Magic Kingdom, these images, shot using a special filter, look at familiar Disney landmarks photographed beyond the spectrum of visible light.

Spaceship Earth at Epcot

As I play with this technique a little more, I’m slowly figuring out how to anticipate what the final shot might look like in black-and-white, which has led to compositions I would not have considered for a traditional color photograph. The shot from Japan is a prime example. I like the way the light tone of the leaves frame and set off the dark tones of the pagoda. In color it could have been a pretty shot, but also pretty unremarkable.

Pagoda at Epcot

(By the way, did you know the five stories of the pagoda symbolize earth, water, fire, wind and sky? No? Neither did I.)

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Filed: Epcot, Walt Disney World Resort



Gemma on March 9th, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Very lovely pictures!! Was just wondering if you have ever watched IllumiNations from the car park to see the fireworks go above Spaceship Earth? I love my pictures of this view, wish there was a way to share them!! :)


Lynsie on March 9th, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I really love these, especially the pagoda shot.


Michael from MO on March 9th, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I so loved the images of the Magic Kingdom, that I printed them at home and have them hanging in my “Disney” room at home! Thank you for these gorgeous images!


Dorothea on March 9th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

VERY cool. Especially the pagoda!


Janet from NS on March 9th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I LOVE infrared photography. What a great way to see the parks from a new perspective.


Eric from AL on March 9th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

All I can say is…WOW! They appear as pictures from an old movie. The ones of the castle look as though they were taken in a winter wonderland. Excellent work.


ginger on March 9th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Amazing photos. Love the infared work.


denise on March 9th, 2011 at 5:55 pm

These pictures are as stunning as the first ones posted. I have to admit, when I looked at the first one here I thought, wow, Kent must have gotten really low to take pictures through dandelions! It took a few seconds to realize my mistake, and I don’t think WDW even allows dandelions. These need to be available to purchase!


Mary from NY on March 9th, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Beautiful pictures Kent!


Kimberly from FL on March 9th, 2011 at 6:52 pm

These are amazing!! This is my favorite park!!


Dawn from MA on March 10th, 2011 at 10:24 am

Once again these pictures are awesome! Love the Japan pic! Keep them coming!!


Paul on March 13th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

“(By the way, did you know the five stories of the pagoda symbolize earth, water, fire, wind and sky? No? Neither did I.)”

The Elements are earth, metal, water, wood and fire.
Very nice photos I love them.


Kent Phillips on March 14th, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Having spent 17 years as a photojournalist before coming to work at Walt Disney World, I still have a primal, overwhelming fear of being responsible for any error in print. (One particularly strict editor-in-chief held a daily tribunal called Error Court, and you did NOT want to find yourself on the docket). So, with my stomach in my throat, I went quickly (but in a safe and completely legal fashion) over to Epcot to re-read the placard at the pagoda.

It reads, “The Goju-No-To, or ‘Five Storey Pagoda,’ traditionally represents the five elements from which Buddhists believe all things in the universe are produced. In ascending order, the elements are earth, water, fire, wind and sky. Similar in design to the Horyuji Temple in Nara, this Goju-No-To stands nearly 83 feet tall. It is a true monument to the skills and accomplishments of early Japanese architects.”

I also did some searching online and found that different societies embrace different “classical elements.” The most prevalent philosophy in Japan is the ‘godai,’ which is derived largely from Buddhist beliefs and includes the five elements listed above. It is primarily Chinese philosophy that includes Fire, Earth, Water, Metal and Wood, although one philosophy in Japan, called ‘gogyo,’ does incorporate the Chinese five elements.