Disney California Adventures Paradise Pier Long Exposure Photos

Christmas and New Year’s Eve fall within the busiest time of the year at the Disneyland Resort which meant we had to expect that we would be spending a lot of time waiting around on this trip. Our time was managed fairly carefully and I was pleasantly surprised at how much we got done despite the crowds.  While waiting in lineups for rides and waiting for tables to eat at, we became pretty creative on how to keep everyone engaged and having fun.

On our very first day in the parks we bought picnic basket dinners that got us into a reserved viewing area for the World of Color light show at the California Adventures park. We wanted to get the best possible seats within the reserved area so we showed up 30 minutes early and waited until the section opened. Then we waited for the show to start.

To pass the time I took out my camera and started playing around with some long exposure photos. All of the lights and motion in the Paradise Pier area were ideal for some experimentation and my kids and their cousins are just starting to get the photography bug. I ran a mini tutorial which kept everyone entertained – or at least I had a good time. Here are some of the results.

Golden Zephyr Time lapse at Disney California Adventures

Golden Zephyr Zoom Effect at Disney California Adventures

Mickey`s Fun Wheel Time Lapse at Disney California Adventures

Mickey's Fun Wheel Zoom Effect at Disney California Adventures

The theme for Disney Wordless Wednesday this week is Time. Check out Focused on the Magic to see some more Disney related photos. This post was also shared with Travel Photo Thursday hosted by Budget Traveler’s Sandbox.

32 thoughts on “Disney California Adventures Paradise Pier Long Exposure Photos

    • Thanks! Paradise Pier is pretty nice. Even with all the updates I think California Adventures still lags behind Disneyland but that might be a personal bias as the kids seemed to enjoy both parks equally.

    • With all the lights that come up at night Disneyland might be one of the best places to practice night shots. I might even consider bringing a tripod next time if the park rules allow it.

    • Yes, these were all mine but the kids did come up with a few nice ones. While I tried to keep the camera steady the kids tended to try moving the camera around for more surreal images. Maybe I’ll put together a follow-up post with images that the kids took!

    • If you have a DSLR it’s pretty easy to set up. Your camera should have a shutter priority (Tv) setting that allows you to leave the shutter open for long exposures. The tough part is keeping the camera steady without using a tripod! I took these shots propping the camera against a fence top and for each of these ones that turned out there are probably 10 that came out too blurry! The beauty of digital is you can keep experimenting with very low cost for failure.

  1. These are gorgeous photos, Ryan! Love how you captured all the colors. I hope you enjoyed your vacation down here. We stayed away from the parks until this weekend plus our annual passes were blocked out 🙂 I leave all the nighttime shots to the hubby but I guess I should learn something one of these days. Happy New Year!

    • Thanks! I was a little surprised by how cold it was at night around New Year’s Eve but enjoyed the warm California sun later in the week. We had so much fun at Disney that we’ll probably be back very soon! It’s been 5 years since we’ve been to the original park and I’d almost forgotten how much better it is than all the other ones.

  2. I grew up down the road from Disney but we moved before the California Adventures Park opened up. I would love to go back and visit. I would also love to learn how to take these long exposure pictures. Mine don’t ever look as sharp!

    • I can’t imagine what it would be like to grow up next to Disneyland. My earliest memories are from a Disneyland trip when I was just a toddler which is why I’m always drawn back there!

      The hard part about getting sharp long exposure shots is keeping the camera steady. It’s easy if you have a tripod but if you don’t (I didn’t for these shots) try to find something to prop your camera against and just keep shooting. Eventually you should get a good one!

  3. Where am I going wrong? I’m lucky I can keep my children from fighting long enough let alone capable of figuring out how to adjust the camera for the perfect night shot. Great shots!

    • I’m pretty lucky that my kids are easily amused. I’ll write up a post about some of the games that we played to pass the time, but I also bring my Nexus7 tablet so they can play Angry Birds if I really need some me time 😉

  4. These are AWESOME – I love them. How was Carsland? My kids are dying to go!

    I also host a weekly link-up on Fridays that I am trying to get new recruits for – it’s called Friday Daydreamin – asking everyone to link up their favorite post of the week – hope you can link up this week! Thanks!

    • Thanks! Cars Land was amazing! I’m catching up with work after a week off so I’m recycling a single post this week but I’ve got a couple of posts in mind for next week. I’ll save some Cars Land photos for Friday Daydreamin’!

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