A Train’s Life 2: The Disneyland Railroad

I hope you enjoyed the daytime photos of Disneyland Railroad from my last post.

This next photo was captured by using a technique called “panning.” I hand held the camera set at a slow shutter speed while moving (panning) it with the speed of the train. I like this technique because it makes the subject stand out by blurring the background.

Image of Train Taken With a Technique Called ‘Panning’, By: Paul Hiffmeyer

When I was scouting for this shot during the day, I liked the angle but decided that a photo at night would be much more interesting.

New Orleans Square Train Station, By: Paul Hiffmeyer

I really liked this photo when I first saw it, but what really made me want to share it was that Engineer Gary stood still for a full 4 seconds while I took the photo and the train’s headlight is lighting the tunnel so it gives this a picture a huge depth of field.

Engineer Gary in His Train, By: Paul Hiffmeyer

The main reason I wanted to photograph the trains at night was to get this next photo. I have photographed the trains at Main Street Station many times but always during the day. I just knew that a photo at night from this angle would make a very cool photo. What do you think?

Train at Main Street Station, By: Paul Hiffmeyer


  • So who else is an engineer and noticed the bottom picture the Pistons are “centered up” If the Train is In Tension the Engine will never be able to take off… The Engineer needs to back up a bit.

  • They are all fantisic, I really like the look of the last one with the fire from the engine boiler blazing under

  • Paul, I heard you got the best picks in the show. 🙂

  • I’m loving the train Photos, keep up the great work! As you continue this series I’d love to see some of the other engines too in addition to the #1, they all have attributes that make them individual, but if I had to pick a favorite it would probably be the #5 Ward Kimball.

  • The last shot made me feel like I it is a warm night with lots of stars. I can see myself getting on that train. Great job!

  • The last photo, is the most amazing photo – thank you so much for sharing!! The color and detail, is so beautiful – look at the stars in the sky!!

  • Your photo posts are some of my very favorite posts on the Disney Parks Blog! I especially love the shots that are taken at times and locations unavailable to guests to the park. The photography (which I’m sure is some of your work) on the website and other advertising media has always been very anonomous to me, but I love reading your commentary about the photos, it makes the outstanding shots we’re seeing more involving. Keep up the amazing work, and keep telling us all about it!

  • The motion shot is fun, but the last shot in front of Main St. Station is absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for sharing it!

    Voyages Extraordinaires: Scientific Romances in a Bygone Age

  • I’m sure this has been asked a lot, but what camera and lenses do you primarily use? I recently pre-ordered the new Nikon D7000 and can’t wait to try some low-light images based on the ISO samples I’ve seen so far.

    Also, to stay on topi… I like the third one the best. They’re all great though. 😀

  • Gotta throw in my vote for the last image. Great composition, and the colors are excellent.

  • They are all good, but I like the train going into the tunnel the best. Only…why is Engineer Gary facing backwards? LOL.

  • Paul,
    What tips can you offer for us amateur photographer hobbyists that want to shoot the park at night? A bit difficult to bring a lighting kit and tripod around the park with you. I have an SLR camera. Thanks for any tips..and great shots!

    • Well, Jennifer, there are a few things that you can do that will help with photography at night. By using a higher shutter speed you can get great results by holding the camera in your hand. I use 1600 and 3200 ISO a lot now, and you will get some noise, but it should be acceptable. You can also look for a sturdy surface to set the camera on, but make sure the you hold the camera so it doesn’t fall. I’ve done this to take long exposures of a couple of the waterfalls here at Disneyland park. The most important tips are to take a lot of photos, have fun and experiment with all of the camera settings.

  • We LOVE Disneyland after dark 🙂 It brings a whole new park to life with all the lights and shadows!! Those pictures of the Disneyland Railroad are AWESOME!!

  • I love that last one. Great shot – now will be my background.

  • Just stunning!

  • Beautiful pictures, Paul, really enjoy seeing these! The 1st and 4th are my favorites. The former because it captures the speed and excitement of trains, the latter because it’s so classic… looks like it belongs in a children’s storybook!

  • The last one is definitely my favorite! It feels very iconic.

  • LOve the last one it is classic

  • Absolutely Amazing!!!

  • Love the bottom one at night. My favorite time in Disneyland is nighttime when all the lights come one.

  • I love your photos Mr. Hiffmeyer. I always find photo ops when I visit Disneyland. Would be wonderful to be able to take photos from your positions. Thank you for sharing as I always enjoy viewing.

  • Love them all, I particularly like the one heading towards the tunnel!

  • Oh my goodness, I love these photos! The last one is my favorite 🙂

  • Beautiful photos!

  • You need to release these photos–especially this last one–at higher resolution so they can be used as desktop backgrounds. They’re great!

  • Great pics, I love the Disneyland trains. Thanks for sharing and letting us know how you were able to capture the different shots. Good stuff to know.

  • The last one is large mural / poster material. I hope it can be presented in that manner.

  • I love the symmetry and perspective of the fourth photo; it’s fantastic and, of course, an angle unavailable to a guest of the Parks. That said, photo number one will produce quite a few amateur attempts; thanks for sharing your technique!

  • That top one in action is great.

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