Photographers usually think differently than most other people. Whether it is a foggy sunrise, an old barn, a rural cemetery or a flock of birds, these are the things that drive us to do what we do – capture, interpret, enjoy. To quote a great photographer and friend, Burk Uzzle: “The ordinary is particularly special.”
In this Disney Parks Blog post, I cannot explain exactly what motivated me to stop my car and leap out with camera in hand but I think at first glance, it was the graphic design – black on white. Then it became the chaos and noise of dozens of crows interacting with one another. Finally, the group behavior itself was mesmerizing – the constant need for each bird to flit from one branch to another, one tree to the other trees.
I began with an artsy approach, employing my trusty Lensbaby to create those dreamy slices of life. Then I switched to a conventional lens to allow me to be more of a documentarian. During the 8 ½ minutes I spent shooting, I made nearly 200 images. Now the really interesting tidbit for me is just how much time was actually captured. When I added the exposures up, the grand total was .1943 seconds. That, my friends, is a very thin slice of life.
The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion is a huge showplace for almost all things aquatic in Epcot. Containing one of the largest salt water tanks in the world, a delightful ride, hilarious shows and fascinating exhibits, not to mention a world-class restaurant, it is overflowing with entertainment and education for guests of all ages.
Last week, while working on a “people” photo assignment, I was drawn into what the Seas zoological staff refers to as the “Nemo module,” and I was blown away by the incredible assortment of aquatic life exhibits I found there. I only had a couple of minutes to take a few snapshots, but I thought I would share them with you. See how many of these you can identify and I will post their names at the end.
Pterois radiata (tailbar lionfish)
Hippocampus reidi (longsnout seahorse)
Echidna nebulosa (snowflake moray)
Zebrasoma flavescens (yellow tang)
Clibanarius vittatus (striped hermit crab)
Pterois volitans (red lionfish)
Thanks to the Seas staff for their assistance – I didn’t know any of these!
Take a look back at what else you can find at The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion:
One of my Disney Legend heroes is Blaine Gibson, the acclaimed sculptor responsible for creating untold numbers of pirates, presidents and other magical Disney figures. Beginning as a Disney Studios animator in 1939, and working on many classic Disney films, Blaine had a passion for sculpting that he carried from childhood, and after finishing with his “day job,” he would take sculpting lessons at night.
In 1954, Walt tapped Blaine as one of the very first Imagineers who would put so many faces on the Walt Disney Company over the years. Two of Blaine’s most recent works were delivered long after he retired in 1983, with the “Partners” statue depicting Walt and Mickey standing together first created for Disneyland Resort in 1993, then Walt Disney World in 1995. In 1999, at the age of 81, Blaine delivered “Sharing the Magic” to Walt Disney World.
The iconic park bench occupied by co-founding father Roy O. Disney seated next to Minnie Mouse greets millions of guests each year and is one of the most prized photo locations ever. Although it was originally placed inside the fence in Town Square at Magic Kingdom Park, guests routinely climbed over it to sit next to Minnie. Within a year, it was relocated just outside the fence. Guests may feel that the empty space to the right of Minnie was made for them, but Blaine’s intent was to show Minnie’s conscious decision to sit right next to Roy as a way to make him more “approachable,” as he was rarely in the limelight as was Walt.
Blaine also purposefully had Roy support Minnie’s hand from underneath, a creative acknowledgment of how Roy supported his brother in their new business venture. Amazing…I hope the next few photos reveal a bit of the magic that Blaine so masterfully created from the heart.
As I walked past the Norway Pavilion at Epcot last week, I spotted two young sisters who had just enjoyed breakfast with the Disney princesses at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. The younger of the two sisters was channeling her inner “Belle” from head to almost toe (she smartly opted for sneakers over heels) in a beautiful gold dress, shimmering tiara, locket and pin. The older sister, positively radiant in a green Tinker Bell outfit, seemed to be in a world of her own – a ballerina dancing to a soundtrack only she could hear. As she twirled in front of me, I looked down to see the most magical of shadows. But was this the shadow of a little girl? Or an enchanted fairy flitting by? Some enchanted morning indeed…
I love strolling through World Showcase at Epcot. There’s just nothing like stepping from country to country…becoming completely immersed in each unique culture through its architecture, entertainment, food, merchandise and the many friendly Cast Members who are happy to tell you about their homelands. This week, I wandered into the charming, old-world country of Germany, and was intrigued with the many whimsical details that help create the “face” of this historic place. And as I share a few of the snapshots I took there, my hope is that you enjoy the journey as much as I did…
Giorgio Iurcotta is a true Venetian Mask artisan and has been a part of a centuries-old tradition that is as colorful and complicated as Venice itself. He relocated to Florida from Venice, Italy, in 2001 to represent the company his mother owns – Balocoloc Artisans of Venice – and can be found quietly painting beautiful and mysterious paper mache masks inside a small shop within the Italy Pavilion.
I had the pleasure of visiting my friend Giorgio recently and want to share a few images of some of the magnificent masks that he and his family have created.
If you have never taken in the spirit of Carnevale di Venezia, I would encourage you to stop by on your next Epcot visit. You won’t be disappointed.
I was standing in Town Square at Magic Kingdom this week, taking in the wonderful sights and sounds of the holiday season. I was drawn to Old Glory, flapping briskly in the breeze, creating a protective frame for the magnificent 65′ tall tree that anchors Town Square throughout the holiday season. What a dramatic combination of colors…
Throughout Town Square stands a small brigade of brightly painted soldiers. I wondered about the history of these whimsical fellows, and was able to contact Steven Vagnini, Archivist at the Walt Disney Archives, who was quick to explain:
“Indeed, the marching toy soldiers were inspired by those seen in the 1961 Disney musical, ‘Babes in Toyland.’ In the film, the toy-sized soldiers were given the illusion of life through stop-motion animation by Disney Legends X. Atencio and Bill Justice. Life-size versions of the soldiers first appeared in Disneyland in the 1960’s and have become a Disney Parks tradition ever since.”