Before and After

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When we left Port Canaveral on our very first Disney Cruise back in 2011, we passed this ship on the way out.

And, less than five years later, we passed it again. This time it looked a little rusty.

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Disney Coronado Springs Resort

This was our first time staying at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort. We spent one night here before heading out on our Caribbean Cruise. Disney bills this property as a moderate resort. The rooms are more like what you would find at an older Holiday Inn property, and our room was a bit worn out and tired. Not really that magical feel that the more expensive Disney properties offer. That said, the resort grounds were really outstanding as you can see from the following photos.

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Travelling with a Fifty

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It is a park that I have been to many, many times over the years. It is my favourite park at Disney. I think it is because no matter how large the crowds, you can always find some quiet spots at Animal Kingdom. And, by late afternoon, most people give up on this park.

Shooting with a 50mm lens does provide a focus to your photography, if you will pardon the pun. And you have to become aware of the details in the frame. You can never be quite sure what might be lurking in the trees. A 50mm also provides some freedom. The camera is so much lighter. So much easier to carry.

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Trying to get the crowd out of a frame can be tough. Particularly when they are packed against a performance like this one. I did, however manage to find a frame where the crowd mostly disappeared.

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Every time I do the Kilimanjaro Safari, I take all sorts of pictures of animals. The animals are often too far away or too difficult to shoot when traveling in a rough riding vehicle.

I know. Why don’t I shoot the rough riding vehicle instead?

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Looks almost peaceful in that frame, doesn’t it?

Eating at the parks usually consists of stuffing down some junk food. But, if you do look around, you will find evidence of the Disney touch everywhere. Like the “i are smart” on the InternationalOsaurus trailer. I am not sure about the significance of the number 15244. It is the Zip Code for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Perhaps it has a deeper meaning. This is, after all, Disney.

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Wandering through the park, with the heat a searing 35 Celsius, this sign certainly had a deeper meaning for me. Something to do with survival.

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Travel Photography

I have tried all sorts of cameras for travel photography. Below is a set of shots over five years of trips to Walt Disney World.

The first one, from 2011, was taken with a Nikon D3s and a 50mm prime lens. The camera body was so very large and heavy that I wound up just taking the 50mm lens for this trip. It was still a heavy combination but that combination sure did take some fantastic shots. Shooting with a 50mm takes a bit of courage in terms of composition and, of course, lots of zooming with your feet.

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The following year, 2012, I decided to travel with a smaller camera system. I brought along a Fuji X-Pro 1 with a 35mm prime. A much smaller camera system than the Nikon D3s but also a quirky camera system. That said, I was really impressed with the images coming from that camera system. And it was a pleasure to walk around with a very lightweight camera. I was frustrated with the focusing and with the very low battery life. I carried three batteries with me for each day of shooting. And I used them all every day.

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In 2013, I decided to bring back the heavy Nikon rig. By now, I had traded my Nikon D3s for a Nikon D800. For this trip I brought two massive lenses: my 14-24mm and 24-70mm. My neck and shoulders are still sore from this trip.

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For 2014, I brought along an Olympus OM-D EM-1. A little jewel of a camera which I unfortunately dropped and damaged a few months after this trip.

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In 2015, I brought along my little Leica Typ 109. Very impressed with this compact mirrorless camera. So much so that I have to admit that I was almost tempted to use it in place of my Nikon gear when I recently traveled to Europe and the Caribbean.

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What have I learned by trying out all of these different cameras? They are all more than capable of taking great shots. The bigger DSLRs still have an advantage in focusing, battery life and low-light photography. The mirrorless cameras make up for these compromises in terms of lighter weight.

I still reach for one of my DSLRs when I am going someplace special. Despite the size and weight, I know that I can get most any shot with my bigger Nikons. I am more confident with a DSLR system. And yet I keep looking for ways to lighten my photography gear.

Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. A truly beautiful little gem of an island. Here are a few shots from our day.

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And proof that Lorraine and I were on the island. On a technical note, the first shot was zoomed into a mirror. My camera is too large for a selfie stick so you make do where you can.

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Falmouth, Jamaica

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An interesting port of call. Really not much more than a stop at a shopping plaza. A very nice shopping plaza, exclusive to the cruise ship passengers only. There were two ships in port, the Allure of the Seas on the left, one of the largest cruise ships on earth, and the Disney Fantasy on the right.

We did walk out to the exit gates and, upon seeing all of the police keeping people out of the area, we decided to just stay at the port. It really was a nice area to spend the day both on the cruise ship as well as periodically stepping outside to walk through the shops. And it seemed much safer than wandering out into the streets of Falmouth.

Grand Cayman

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Why would anyone ever want to come here?

Just another day in paradise.

Cozumel

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First port of call was into Cozumel, Mexico yesterday. Wonderful day in the Caribbean. Limited Internet connectivity so posts will be short over the next week.