Planning a trip to Orlando? Perhaps the most important item on your packing list is your camera. Many people would argue that money is the most important, but even if you travel to Florida without a penny to your name, it would be a shame not to capture its natural beauty on film. With digital photography gaining rapid ground as America’s top choice, taking pictures is incredibly easy for every member of your family. If your Orlando itinerary includes Disney’s EPCOT, your camera will be put to good use.
As with any camera, digital or 35mm, it’s important to remember to check three things before you leave on your vacation; film (if you have a 35mm camera), batteries, and memory card (if you have a digital). If you’re lacking one or all of these things, your photography experience will be impossible. It’s a good idea to keep your camera in a case when you’re not using it; the hot Florida sun can damage a camera that is left on a console or inside a car or outside place. Also, it will keep dust out so you won’t have to constantly clean it.
EPCOT is a wonderland of photographic opportunities, from the high-tech wonders of Innoventions to the quaint European charm of World Showcase. One thing I particularly like to keep in mind concerns visitors who have been to EPCOT before. If you already have ten dozen pictures of the EPCOT ball (which, by the way, houses the popular ride Spaceship Earth) you might want to forego another picture or take it from a different angle. Taking pictures of kids? Don’t take the traditional route; turn your camera sideways, on photograph them in different positions and angles than usual. Pictures that look posed will probably not be the happiest vacation photos.
Some great photo spots in World Showcase include the replica of the Eiffel Tower at EPCOT’s France, the Aztec temple in the Mexico pavilion, and the beautiful Temple of Heaven in the China pavilion. Keep in mind that even in World Showcase, you can occasionally catch costumed Disney denizens such as Mickey or Goofy and these make for great photos. Don’t forget to ask if you can get a picture before parading your kids over to Mickey, because even though they probably do hundreds of photos like this a day, it’s still nice to be polite. And if *you* want a picture with a Disney character, don’t be afraid to ask for that either! Everybody’s a kid in Orlando.
If you’re going to be taking pictures in dark areas, such as the interior of the Norway pavilion’s stave church or the beautiful shadowy boat ride “El Rio del Tiempo” in the Mexico pavilion, you’ll need to adjust your camera’s settings to make the most of the dim light and shadows. Nothing is worse than thinking you got a wonderful shot and seeing it’s all dark and you can’t see a thing. If you’re going to be outside, you might want to change the tint or flash on your camera (if you have a digital) because changing every little setting makes a noticeable difference in how your photos come out.
If you plan to ask another person in the park to take a group shot with your camera, there are some precautions you may wish to take. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable handing my digital to a stranger and assuming they’ll stay to take a photo of my family without fleeing with the camera, but that’s just my opinion and mostly this would not apply. Just incase, you may want to download the pictures if you’ve brought the laptop that would make your possible; that way, even if the worst happens, you would still have your treasured photos.
Always make sure to *keep track* of your camera. EPCOT is a huge place with hundreds of people milling about in one place every day, and you want to keep it safe. Also, if you wear the camera case on your shoulder or keep the camera strap around your wrist, one jostle from an onlooker can send the equipment crashing to the ground (and there aren’t too many soft places to land on the pavement). Always be alert.
If you use a laptop on vacation it’s great fun to download digital pictures in your hotel room at the end of the day so everyone can see their photography results. This way, if you’re going back to EPCOT two days in a row and see that a picture didn’t turn out the way you planned, you can always retake it.
By Lacie R. Schaeffer