First, Disney banned it. Then, Six Flags followed.
No more selfie sticks.
But that hardly means no more photography at theme parks…though this might be a good time to think about the subject of your taking photos.
What happened with the selfies?
They (Six Flags) explained:
“Nothing is more important to us than your safety. After careful review we've decided to prohibit selfie sticks, monopods, and similar devices at all Six Flags theme and water parks effective immediately. Guests who bring selfie sticks to the park will be asked to store them in their cars during their visit. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes, and thank you for helping us keep Six Flags among the safest theme parks in the world!”
They don’t say it directly but the issue is not just you taking selfies.
It is also for protection of the park.
Details about what happened to selfies
If you want more detail, a Disneyland employee in California wrote a lengthy blog on what was behind the selfie ban:
Envelopes of protection.
What in the world is that?
All attractions since 1965, before Disney came to Orlando, are designed with these.
They are giant contraptions that are placed on rides to simulate what might happen if a rider extended his or her arms or legs while moving.
The Envelope of Protection tries to make sure that people's limbs couldn't possibly get hit while riding a roller coaster.
Selfie sticks extend several feet. The result: they can be very dangerous for both you and the attractions.
Say you’re traveling even a slow speed of 30 miles an hour, the use of a selfie hits some part of the ride.
Dangers not just to self
It can damage your camera or cell phone. But also the selfie can fly out of your hands, possibly hitting someone else on the ride.
Or the loose item can derail the vehicle behind you.
The Disney employee said the park tried simply banning selfie sticks on some rides where they might have an impact.
But riders kept bringing them on the ride.
When cast members saw an item, they asked that it be put away.
But that caused ride delays.
Inconvenience, of course.
Not the Disney way.
So the issue is not really selfie sticks but safety.
Or using them on rides.
An issue beyond selfies
But that takes us to another issue: photos at parks.
None of this prevents you from taking photos.
However, how often do you get memorable photos?
More likely, you get a lot of barely visible friends or family shots that you are not particularly proud to show others.
When it comes to taking photos, some things are obvious.
Available light is necessary, for example.
You almost certainly knew that.
But have you considered garbage cans?
No, not to shoot them (unless your occupation is some type of sanitary engineering, and you want to show your fellow workers how it’s done here).
But think of tripods (professional photographers do) tripods.
Garbage cans are good substitutes
They serve as braces for longer shots that require a more steady hand.
This brings us to 20 tips of what to shoot, where, when and more…some of these you probably know but probably not all of them…so here goes:
- Unusual angles. Say a roller coaster hangs over a sidewalk, for one example. That might be a great and memorable place to shoot it. Unusual angles add a lot of interest to your photos. So make an effort to look for them.
- Compose and frame your shots. This is a very basic tip, but most professionals will remind you of it. Take your time. Be patient. Wait a few seconds if necessary to let others get out of your picture, or into it, if that is your choice. Placing things in the foreground adds depth of field and helps adds interest to your photos. Try to experiment with different angles.
- You are in a theme park. So what could be more logical them theming your own photos. Show them all with characters or eating or trying on crazy hats. Find a common theme with all of your party or friends/family on the monorail or wearing Safari hats in Animal Kingdom. Or take a photo every hour or so to show your progress through one park or another. No, not all photos are should be themed. Not all elements of a park have themes, either. So use judgment.
- Fireworks over the park are always dramatic. When it comes to shooting fireworks, you need to stake out a good spot. Park attendants or Disney cast members can suggest places. But keep in mind they go quickly. So find your spot early. And patiently wait.
- Are you always ready? Or is your camera ready for that shot when you get an unusual look at a character or other photo opportunity. Be aware of possibilities. When it comes to characters, shooting them is fine. But a better picture is a child’s delightful expression when spotting Minnie during a parade. Remember that photos are highly personal and reflect emotions. Characters combined with members of your own party (adults or children) are potent 1-2 combinations.
- Be aware of overshooting. Remember that later you may have to go through all these photos. That is not so hard when you have dozens, say, instead of hundreds and hundreds. If you don’t want to look at all of them, neither do your chosen viewers. Shoot two or three of the same shots, from different angles, then stop. Know when to stop. Even if you are a dedicated shooter, put your camera away for a while.
- Phones and various cameras give you a lot of options, including a variety of lenses. But remember you have to lug them all around all day. So try to be realistic when deciding what you really need for the photos you want. Zoom lenses are nice, of course. But obviously, if you are just shooting family shots, you don’t need a half dozen lenses and three new expensive Hasselblad cameras.
- Food is also always a good subject for photos. Why? It brings people together and perhaps reminds us of our shared humanity. For whatever reasons, someone munching on a Dole whip or ice cream cone is always a good subject, worth preserving. Mid-bite is a good time to catch it.
- Be generous. If you have a child or a significant other, he or she might also like to take some pictures. Why not? The only real deterrent is age. So if they’re old enough, let them try it. Maybe it will not come out as professional as your own (you might be embarrassed if it did), but give them a chance.
- Be sure to store your camera during rain or inclement weather, and keep it protected during roller coaster rides. Ziploc bags are helpful.
- Disney is not the only place where you can shoot tons of animals, of course. Real and imaginary. They provide great dramatic images. That’s true whether they are eating, showing off or simply heavy-lidded and ready to fall asleep.
- Learn to wait. Sure, you know how to wait for rides because you stand in line. But stand around for a few minutes watching a potential scene so that the next time there is a repetition, you know when to shoot it. Patience, patience.
- Don’t overlook landscaping. Part of the beauty of parks is the shrubbery and the way they are laid out. Floral clocks or arrangements are common at Disney (and other parks), so use them as attractive backdrops.
- Things at Disney seem larger than life, so when you take photos of kids make sure you get on their level but also consider the background. Consider carefully the background of your people photos. By doing that, you will end up producing a more natural perspective of your kids or family or friends.
- Think about including other outside your own family. Yourself included. Ask someone else to shoot you (the main photographer) so you have a record. You can also ask the official park photographers too snap a shot or two with your equipment. They are usually agreeable.
- At the same time, don't spend the entire day with the camera held up to your face. You want to enjoy the theme park, too, which can be difficult if you constantly have a camera in your hand. If you're someone who has a hard time putting the camera down, you may want to shoot a series of images and then force yourself to put the camera away for an hour or other designated time..
- Have a sense of silliness. Why not? This is a theme park, not an accident scene. Playful pictures are always welcome. Particularly when they portray people enjoying the “Happiest Place on Earth.”
- And selfies? Yes, do it all you want...but get by without the selfie sticks. Some things you can do without. ###