As I draw toward the end of a truly amazing career with The Walt Disney Company which has spanned nearly 40 years, it becomes obvious to me that I have been truly blessed by the many friends I have made along the way, both in front of, and behind the camera. Having been long surrounded and supported by dedicated and talented team members and partners, I take away a lifetime of fond memories that will surely never fade.
It seems like yesterday when I took my first non-newspaper job – an experiment that I expected might last six months or so. Now, having lived “the dream,” I thank my friends and family for a lifetime of happiness and adventure.
Photography will always be in my blood, and I am carefully exploring future projects. I will still be reachable via Facebook, and hope to create a blog of my own in the near future. In the meantime, I offer one of my favorite portraits as a parting shot. Disney’s Animal Kingdom superstar Gino, the magnificent silverback gorilla, pondering his world. Thanks Gino, and thanks to you, Mickey.
Opening in 1963, The Enchanted Tiki Room was the first Disneyland park attraction to feature Audio-Animatronic figures, and due to their need to be operated with computers, it was the first fully air-conditioned attraction in the park.
At Walt Disney World Resort, we can experience a version of that attraction right here in our own Adventureland. I was asked if I could take a couple of photos, to help commemorate the 50th anniversary, so I revisited this iconic attraction yesterday morning, the first time in probably 10 or 15 years, for me.
I was pleasantly reminded what a delightful experience it is, from the time I entered the queue area, being swallowed up in lush tropical foliage, the sounds of a gigantic waterfall drowning out all other non-Polynesian sounds. The rhythmic drums in the distance welcomed me into a beautiful south-seas style thatched hut theater, and the air-conditioning felt wonderful!
The 12-minute show was such fun, with over a hundred brightly colored robotic birds, flowers and tiki gods singing a medley of songs, representing cultures from around the world. I was blown away by the beauty and attention to detail of each audio-animatronic figure, as well as the superb sound system that allows them to sing with such perfection. If you haven’t experienced this tropical treat, you should – plus, you will really enjoy the a/c this time of year, a bonus!
Today, we’re celebrating the 15th anniversary of the 1998 Disney animated film “Mulan,” so I traveled to the China Pavilion at Epcot this morning to photograph Fa Mulan in the shadow of the Temple of Heaven. She is a complex character, displaying balance between bringing honor to her family and staying true to herself. Her determination inspires others to have courage and believe in themselves.
Mulan comes from a time of dragons and a land of tradition, and lives on today to bring great joy and inspiration to guests from the world over. As I walked away, I captured two young admirers sharing their own excitement with the beautiful heroine.
The China Pavilion is an enchanted place to meet an enchanting princess, seven days a week.
Depending on where you live in Norway, you can go for months with the sun never setting, or rising. Hence, “The Land of the Midnight Sun” loosely defines much of this ancient country. As I recently visited the Norway Pavilion in Epcot, the weather happened to be dark and blustery-something Norwegians, no doubt, see a lot more than we do in Florida. I decided to exploit the weather a little, reaching into a little photographer’s bag of “tricks” to help heighten a sense of drama that faced Vikings as well as gnomes.
HDR, or High Dynamic Range, is a photographic process by which one can alter the appearance of reality-in small and large ways. Today, I thought it provided a different look to a pavilion that has been seen by countless guests over its 25-year existence. It is my hope to travel somewhere between history and mythology.
As we pause to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the opening of Tokyo Disneyland, I decided to take a walk through our own Japan Pavilion inside Epcot. I was immediately transformed by the tranquil environment, the gentle, smiling faces, and the beautiful art that surrounded me.
From bold bronze sculptures to the most delicately painted fabrics, I was truly transported into a magical and hypnotic culture through its artistic creations. I put this short slide show together to share just a few of the details that caught my eye. I hope you enjoy spending one minute in Japan, with no passport needed.
Yesterday afternoon was beautiful, and I found myself at Epcot, exploring the Land of Oz Garden – and I was not alone. This very interactive kids’ play zone was one of the happiest places I’ve ever seen, with children climbing, jumping, swinging and just laughing out loud. The theme was all about flowers – the real and the surreal. It was a visual treat for me, and a relaxing space for dozens of parents to just sit back and soak in the afternoon sunlight while the kids played with seemingly tireless energy.
Wildlife photography has always been a passion of mine. I was recently walking through Harambe Village early one morning after photographing gorillas inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom, when I was struck by the vast array of handmade items from Africa: hand-carved wood masks and animals, intricate beaded creations, beautiful woven baskets and so much more. Africa is one of the most fascinating and diverse countries I know of, and I stopped to capture some of the intriguing details, all the while being quietly transported to yet another paradise.
I hope these snapshots capture some of the beauty and history of this amazing place. I also included a gorilla photo from that morning.
I recently visited the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot, and took in the many vibrant colors and textures while strolling through its open marketplace. Exquisite handmade jewelry, magnificent fabrics and carpets, all the while enjoying the alluring aromas of nearby Restaurant Marrakesh, Morocco is one of those truly exotic locations that springs to life inside Epcot and encourages one to slow down, and savor the details.
Yesterday, I was testing a new camera at one of my favorite Epcot venues – the Italy Pavilion. World Showcase was not yet open to guests, and I became immersed in the rich Italian history that our Imagineers have so successfully brought to life. Mere steps carried me from Venice, to Tuscany, to Florence, and Rome.
During my peaceful fifteen-minute stroll through the piazza, I couldn’t help but snap a few details that can so often go unnoticed.
Sunset signals the awakening of a bygone era – the heyday of Hollywood, with all of its eclectic art deco flair. For those who enjoy the distinctive and powerful artistic elements that were so popular during the early twentieth century, strolling down Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard provides a rich canvas of lush textures, bold colors and smooth surfaces, clean yet elegant.
I know that many guests relish the nostalgia of art deco, and I hope you enjoy seeing a few of the details I captured at Disney’s Hollywood Studios recently.