Text and Photos by Gilmar Smith
It is no secret that Disney is a photographers' playground. Every little corner in the parks was carefully elaborated to be visually appealing. I am a Disney annual passholder, and I have been going to Disney for many years, and every time I go, I find new details and perspectives to photograph. Whenever I am in the parks with my kids, I try to keep my photography load light, so I only take my camera, one lens, and my Platypod Ultra.
This past Saturday, we were at Disney's Animal Kingdom. We decided to have some fun doing the Wilderness Explorer Challenge. The Wilderness Explorer Challenge is a self-guided activity around the park based in one of my most favorite Disney movies, "UP".
To start the challenge, you simply stop by one of the Wilderness Explorers kiosks around the park (there are around 30) and ask them to join. You will receive a book, and you will say the Wilderness Explorer Pledge. Then off you go on an adventure around the park learning all kinds of facts about animals and their habitats while earning badges. It is an entertaining and educational activity for all ages. It also took us to parts of the parks we don't usually visit.
While walking around, searching for our next badge, I stopped to take a couple of pictures of the Tree of Life. I placed my camera and my Platypod on top of wooden rails and used the spiked feet for extra support.
The Tree of Life is truly beautiful. As most of you may know, it is not a real tree. The base of the tree is an oil rig and was built to withstand hurricane winds. The tree has 300 beautiful carvings; it is 14 stories high and 50 feet wide. It is hard not to stare in awe every time you walk by it.
The last thing you want to do while walking around Disney is carrying a bunch of gear and heavy camera bag. Pick your gear wisely. I know that I can place my Platypod pretty much everywhere. On top or a railing, strap it on a pole, put it on top of a trash can, on the floor for a low angle perspective, put in in a tight corner for an unusual perspective, etc.