(I get many requests on how I do these...it comes from my HDR Tutorial ) - sorry in advance - I get many emails and no time to answer -- but most of what you ask is in that tutorial! :)
Actually, maybe I should change that title to: "I think I'd like to always be in Disney World!"
They shoot off fireworks every night in the Magic Kingdom, and I feel bad if I miss it. I'm sure that's a strange thing to feel bad about... To get everything in, I have to plan the days and nights like a neo-Clark Griswald to ensure the perfect storm of technology meets up with whatever spectacular events are happening that day. For this shot, I had got reservations three months in advance at the California Grill restaurant, which has a nice majestic view of the show as the restaurant empties out onto the roof of the Contemporary Resort.
There is not much of a viewing area up there, and there were a bunch of people around me while I tried to get my tripod in place. I could deal with the crowds and fleshy shouldering, but the one thing that always annoys me is people beside me with little cameras that use their flashes to take photos of something a mile away. Sometimes they see I have a big camera, and they turn to ask for advice. They ask, "Do you think my flash helps?" I am really a totally nice and approachable guy, but since this is one of the very few things that annoy me, I usually just give them a shameful negative nod of the head.
This doesn't have anything to do with the shot, but I had some great sushi in that restaurant. It was made by a Japanese female sushi chef, and she is one of only three "official" sushi chefs in the world (or so the matri'd told me). The Japanese do not let women be sushi chefs normally, as their hands are too "weak".
from the blog at www.stuckincustoms.com