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Old Jan 21, 2007, 5:36 PM   #1
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I just purchased a Canon PowerShot S3 IS as an upgarde to the A95 I had. So far I am pleased as it seems to have a few more features than my A95 had. I also like the general feel of it over the A95. But I digress...

One of my passions is visiting Walt Disney World and this passion combined with the love of my 10 month old son who will be making his first trip to WDW in about 3 weeks is what pushed me to find a better camera.

A general photography dummy, my desire has always been to set a camera on Auto and point-and-click my way to photographs. Since my son was born though I've been starting to get more interested in some ammature photography for scrapbooking his memories with wonderful shots. As such, I've found a few tutorial sites out there that have explained shutter speed, aperature and ISO to me in terms I understood a lot better than the camera manuals provided.

So... after all that babbling, let's get onto my question...

What I'm looking for is some suggestions on settings to take great shots at night around Disney to capture the lights on Main Street or on a specific ride/attraction.

Additionally I'd like some suggestions on how to best take photos inside of attractions using the lighting provided (i.e. theatrical lighting type situations) without the typical blurr problem found when trying to take a non-flash photo on "Auto". Anyone who's been to Disney knows that on almost every ride/attraction they allow photos... just not "flash photography". So I'd like to try to capture some shots of oh say the Carousel of Progress or Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. (yes I know many of you have no idea what I'm talking about)

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!!
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 4:06 PM   #2
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Hard to say with your S3; possible w/a dSLR. Try it with your on board flash...

D50 w/18-70 Nikon DX

or w/o.. Nikon D50 w/18-70 DX

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Old Jan 23, 2007, 3:36 AM   #3
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well, with your S3, i would say test and see how different settings work/act in different ambient lighting.

Along with Auto mode, settings like 'High ISO' or 'ISO 800' or 'Night Snapshot' shooting mode should help. Knowing their differences/similarities will help you decide which settings (or combinations) you should choose in different situations.

Also, try different Exposure modes of your camera like Shutter Speed Priority or Aperture Priority. I usually use aperture priority.

If at all possible, use a tripod, if not, then a monopod.
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Old Jan 23, 2007, 9:32 AM   #4
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there are 2 parts to the question:

Part 1:shots of lights outdoors:

the best results in this situation require long exposures (possibly a second or more)at low ISO values. The best way to get those is a tripod - but that's not very practical in your case - not sure your family wants you lugging around a tripod (or even a monopod). If that's the case, the next idea is to see if there is something you can set the camera on - a wall or whatever - then simply use the camera's timer to take the photo. If that isn't possible the next best thing is to brace your arms against something for stability - a wall, tree or other non-moving object and use the IS in the camera to it's best advantage.

You can try modes like night scene if you like - I'm not that familiar with them as I shoot in Aperture priority or Manual mode. So, I'll throw this out as a suggestion - IF there are no people in the photo (i.e. you're not trying to take a photo of your family with the lights as a backdrop) then put the camera in aperture priority mode, set ISO to 200 and aperture to f8 and try the shot - the camera will select the shutter speed to properly expose the shot (well, what it thinks is proper anyway). Review the shot - if you like it, good. If you don't like it because it's too dark, dial in a positive Exposure Compensation (look in the manual for what this is). If you don't like it because it's too bright, dial in a negative exposure compensation.

The great thing about inanimate objects is they'll stay right where they are while you take 3 shots. And 3 is all it should really take.

If you want your family in front with all that as a backdrop, they'll need to keep very still (if you want the back to look good). If so, do everything the same as above except turn the flash on - the camera will expose the background just as it did before and the flash will expose your family. If you take a picture of your family in auto mode, the background will likely be dark since the camera is exposing for your family and knows the flash will fire (and of course the flash is not going to illuminate main street).

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Old Jan 24, 2007, 8:07 PM   #5
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Or...if you are using a good lens at a decent speed, you can shoot something like this out of your car window:

I shot this with a Minolta 70-210/f.4, Here's the Exif info:
112mm (in 35mm film)
1/40 sec, f/5.6
Mode: Av
Metering: Multi-segment
ISO: 400
White balance: Auto
Flash: Off
File size: 109KB
Image size: 650 x 500
Saturation: Normal
Sharpness: Normal
Contrast: Normal
Color profile: IEC 61966-2.1
Default RGB colour space - sRGB

Hard to beat good ISO performance of a DSLR....
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