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Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2017 Floridian Trip

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:37 am
by The Great Zo
Thanks for the comments!

BryanRph wrote:You have a great eye (and probably lots of patience to wait for the perfect shot!)


Too much, maybe! Sometimes have to wait for a few coaster trains in order to get things timed out right, which means I'm standing on the midway for 5-10 minutes, knowing there's no line and I could be on the ride. :lmao:

SFOGdude25 wrote:Gotta ask, if you're willing to share, what do you shoot with? Love the depth-of-field on a lot of those shots!

Nothing super special. Canon T2i with the cheapo 18-55 and 55-250 lenses. I'm not always thrilled with the performance of the latter, especially at the far end of the zoom, so for every one good shot there may be 1-10 lousy ones I don't use.

TheCoasterKid211 wrote:BE THE THUNDER! :b

Not giving up hope for this season! :D

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2017 Floridian Trip

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:28 am
by anonymouscactus
Thank you for sharing your reports and photos! Your photos are phenomenal. Every once in a great while I miss living in Florida, reading this was one of those times :-P

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2017 Floridian Trip

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:24 pm
by tanthonyam
This park is awesome if you can hit it on a slow day. And when the weather is not so bad. Feb and Oct, or Nov are good months. Weekdays if you can. I love the Lorikeets! Montu and Kumba are still very intense rides and have aged well. A question though, why has Universal replaced the Hulk track and Kumba's original track is still going strong? They are about the same age.

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2017 Floridian Trip

PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:55 pm
by mattnz
Great photos Andy! (As always!)

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2017 Floridian Trip

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:01 pm
by Brent York
Banshee vs. Montu: IMO, Banshee wins, no contest. :)

coasterbill wrote:Those pictures are sick. Glad you had fun! This is easily my favorite park in Florida, I really need to get back there, I'm having withdrawals.

PS: I want her job

boldikus wrote:Your photos are phenomenal! I'm so excited to hopefully, finally get to BGT later this year.


Heads up by the way, don't go from 8/7 to 9/1.

Wonder if that means it's finally getting painted?
And yes, I'd like that job too.

I really hope this guy gets what he deserves:
http://www.tampabay.com/news/courts/criminal/man-accused-in-killing-of-pinky-busch-gardens-flamingo-found-incompetent/2313603

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2017 Floridian Trip

PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:42 pm
by SFOGdude25
The Great Zo wrote:Nothing super special. Canon T2i with the cheapo 18-55 and 55-250 lenses. I'm not always thrilled with the performance of the latter, especially at the far end of the zoom, so for every one good shot there may be 1-10 lousy ones I don't use.


Hey just proves that it's not the camera that makes great pictures. It's the person behind it. =)
Also proves how well the T2i holds up today for a camera that was released 7 years ago!

SeaWorld Orlando

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:38 pm
by The Great Zo
Thanks again for the comments! Moving ahead a little over a week -- and skipping something I'll get back to later -- I'll jump over to Orlando for a visit to SeaWorld.

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SeaWorld!

Though my family has averaged a trip to Disney World about once every three years, I've been extremely negligent in visiting the other major parks in central Florida. Though I got to both Fun Spot parks in 2015, I had not been to SeaWorld since 1995 -- when I was ten years old. It's so long ago that I have virtually no memory of the park, though I do remember riding the Sky Tower -- so hey, at least I got that credit 22 years ago, since it wasn't operating this time.

I visited the park on Monday, February 13. Crowds were very light in terms of locals and domestic visitors, but this was also my first time visiting an Orlando-area park during Brazilian tour group season -- thankfully, there were only a few large groups, and they added only negligible stress to the day. Actually, they kept the coaster trains at least partially full, which was better for photography's sake!

Scorecard for the day:
manta x2
kraken x2
mako x3
wild arctic
-- lunch --
blue horizons
turtle trek
manta x2
antarctica
kraken x2
mako x2
one ocean
mako x3

My closest comparisons to this park are SeaWorld San Antonio (which I visited with TPR in 2013) and Busch Gardens Tampa (which, well, it's on Page 1). This is definitely a better and more full park than San Antonio, but it probably doesn't win the battle with BGT. Both parks are impeccably landscaped and quite beautiful, and they both contain an excellent (and very different) assortment of animals. However, for as much as I love SeaWorld's three B&Ms, BGT wins the ride battle in a landslide. Kraken's a good mid-tier Floorless, though it's a little shaky in spots. Manta is my easily favorite flying coaster, and the first I've been on that wasn't a Superman clone, a Vekoma deathtrap, or a Volare torture device. Mako was a surprise hit -- I went in expecting a mid-tier B&M hyper, but it's probably one of my favorites, and I'll take it over Diamondback here in Ohio. Yes, most of the air is floater, but don't tell me the first drop in the back row isn't a little more! Unfortunately, that's about it -- Turtle Trek is OK, Antarctica is a disappointment, and Wild Arctic is best not spoken of. Still, I'm totally happy to mini-marathon the B&Ms in between watching the animals and shows -- this park is worth a day for those reasons alone.

Pictures and additional details to follow!

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2017 Floridian Trip

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:39 pm
by The Great Zo
Pictures from SeaWorld -- Part 1.

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2017 Floridian Trip

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:39 pm
by The Great Zo
Pictures from SeaWorld -- Part 2.

Re: Photo TR: Andy's 2017 Floridian Trip

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 10:39 pm
by The Great Zo
Alright, as I did with the last segment, part of this report is going to be "other stuff in Florida" in addition to the roller coasters. Yes, there's more to do in the Sunshine state than resorts and theme parks!

So here's the addendum to Part 2 -- stuff I did in the couple days after leaving Tampa and before visiting SeaWorld.

First, on Saturday February 11, I made a very quick stop in Lakeland.

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Here, a giant swan. Because if there's anything I've learned from visiting lakefront urban parks in Florida, it's that large birds are /everywhere/.

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A fountain on Lake Mirror.

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Fountain, art, and a road in the distance. Yep, probably about all there is to see in Lakeland.

Next, I spent a few hours at the Circle B Bar Reserve, a nature preserve southeast of Lakeland.

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This place went viral shortly before my visit, after somebody filmed a ridiculously large Alligator on one of the trails. I figured this place would see a spike in visitors, but on the Saturday I visited, it was even worse than I'd expected! Actually, some of the preserve workers seemed slightly annoyed by it. Eh, ultimately, it's not an awful thing if it's motivated people to take a hike outdoors.

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To be truthful, this was one of the better nature preserves I've visited -- an awesome variety of wild animals, and as this picture shows, a Hitchcockian number of birds. See this tree?

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Take these trees, multiply them by 30, and add up all the birds. That gets you close to how many birds were in just one section of the preserve.

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Was able to get closer to some of the birds, like this Great Blue Heron.

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Or the Osprey on a tree branch.

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An Anhinga spreading its wings.

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This might have been the first time I ever saw a Sandhill Crane.

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Honestly, there's something just a little different about seeing animals like this in the wild -- not that I don't enjoy places like Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, or a nice zoo.

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Somebody's gone fishing.

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A small viewing area offered views over Lake Hancock.

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The lake was pretty well populated by alligators, many just slightly poking out above the water.

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The swampy areas of the preserve contained several more alligators.

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This one was the largest I saw -- the king of the castle on top of that rise.

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I like turtles.

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Snails!

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Even an armadillo!


There's a certain scenery to the area...

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What else is central Florida known for? Orange groves everywhere.

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And yes, there are hills in Florida, and the views actually aren't awful in spots. Orange groves as far as the eye can see.

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Even some just-planted groves!

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Fading colors on Lake Tohopekaliga near Kissimmee.

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Orange sky, reflections, palm trees -- that's pretty much Florida.

The next night -- Sunday February 12 -- I went to no-man's land. Here's the funny part about Orlando -- it's the one city everyone has visited, but the one downtown no visitor goes to. I mean, it's not like downtown Orlando is a miserable ghost town. It's just not a tourist draw on anywhere near the magnitude of the resorts just to the southwest.

But, I like downtowns, and I like night photography, so I went "off the beaten path" and gave downtown Orlando a visit!

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Welcome to Lake Eola Park -- another urban waterfront park with nice paths, nice landscaping, and /lots/ of birds.

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Yep, Orlando's got a big downtown, and it looks pretty nice from here.

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Lake Eola is located just east of the main downtown core, but most of the skyscrapers are visible from various vantage points around the lake.

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I did this photo set between 10PM and midnight, but there was never any concern about safety -- there were /lots/ of people in the park. Joggers, readers, bikers, and even one couple practicing salsa dancing.

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A sculpture of birds, because of course.

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The majestic Lake Eola fountain.

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An orange glow on Washington Street.

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More buildings and reflections.

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Finishing my loop around the lake.

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A good spot to end. The Universal parks are up next, and part 3 of this trip report will be posted in another week or two.