5 things you’ll need
- A camera with the ability to manually set the controls such as F-stop and ISO and Shutter Speed.
- Fresh batteries. Memory enough to take 100 shots. Later you want to try out an ND filter but for now leave it home.
- A stable surface such as a tripod, gorilla pod or the Disney Quadpod (trash can) which are conveniently located every 20 feet in the parks. I’m touting tripods but I really don’t like them. For years I wouldn’t bring one to the parks. Mine was just too cumbersome to carry on rides and if I stored it in a locker I didn’t enjoy going back for it before Wishes started. I would shoot handheld (with pretty good results) or place a small beanbag on a Disney Quadpod. My favorite Disney Quadpod is located in front of Casey’s Corner. You’ll need to get there early to claim it as it’s become quite popular over time. The Velbron UltraMax IF tripod changed my mind about tripods. Whereas my other tripods were heavy and big, the UltraMax is incredibly compact (14”) extends to 60”, weighs about 2lbs and it can hold 5lbs which does push the limit on my camera with a lens. Oh and it was reasonably priced too! I believe it’s been discontinued but I’m sure there’s a current model that’s far superior.
- A shutter release (cable or remote) or self-timer on the camera. I use a basic cable release. Nothing fancy with a short cable. You can do without it but why not have the extra stability for long exposures?
- A small flashlight on a lanyard that’s easy to turn on with one hand. Your other hand may be holding your camera, tripod or shutter release. Bright but compact as you don’t want to disturb guests during the show.
Next you’ll need a good location. You might want to scope this out earlier in the day. My favorite is on Main Street, USA. I like to be far enough back that I have a clear view of the front of the castle and a large expanse of sky framed by Main Street. Another great spot is the train station platform before they put up the Christmas tree, when the flagpole is removed. Even with the flagpole in place the view of the skyline is tremendous.