Due South on the Esplanade (HDR)

(Okay, I'm not too good with directions, but I think it's south).


I know nighttime shots of the California letters have been done before, but when I stumbled upon this giant compass, I thought to myself how I had never seen any photos of it (at least that I recalled). I thus busted out the UWA and let rip.


After seeing the blown highlights in the beautiful mosaic, I knew I had to take two more shots to capture all of its detail (even if most people won't view it large enough to notice). To produce the HDR, I stacked the images in Photoshop and masked where necessary (i.e. HDR by "hand").


California Adventure was easily my second favorite Western Disneyland Resort park. We were both pleasantly surprised, especially after all I've read about DCA. We both found it more enjoyable for us than AK, and very close to DHS. After all is done, I think it'll be better than DHS. I guess this goes to show the power of a park being located out West. If WDW had the kind of AP pull as DLR, I don't think there's a chance any of the WDW parks would be in their present conditions. Likewise, if DCA were located out East, I don't think it'd be getting an extreme makeover.


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  • Corey Dorsey 5y

    I think some of the reason that DCA gets a bad rap is only because of it's neighboor. If DCA was by itself or in WDW then it would have higher praises. Great shot by the way, I love seeing the same shots in completely new perspective.
  • Jeff Hamm 5y

    Great PoV and composition! Great shot!
  • Todd Hurley Photography 5y

    Awesome. Love that colorful reflection on the mosaic.
  • Larry White, Jr. 5y

    Stunning shot! Insta-fav!
  • travelwhimsy 5y

    wonderful work, Tom, as always!
  • Michael Greening 5y

    Taken at 4:30 am! and I thought I was a nut shooting at 2:00 am. It was well worth it though. Perfect point of view and angle down the lines. I LOVE It!!!
  • Doug 5y

    This is really awesome Tom! The pin-point centering of the compass and the UWA make this a real winner!
  • Jessica 5y

    Beautiful shot! The colors are gorgeous and great use of multiple exposures. Are the letters rainbow-colored for World of Color? I love how they always theme them to different events. My favorite is the candy corn "A's" for Halloween.

    I, too, think DCA gets a bad rep. I'll miss those beautiful mosaics - they are absolutely gorgeous. There's no need for a Pan Pacific Auditorium copycat design when they already have an entrance that's unique and fits the park well.
  • Peter Lee 5y

    Fantastic! I really love the inclusion of the compass and perfectly symmetrical composition.
  • Ryan Leemhuis 5y

    Really like the use of UWA to emphasize the depth in the shot.
  • Scott Barlow 5y

    Awesome photo!
  • Serge Babineau 5y

    Fantastic shot!
  • Kiki FL 5y

    Superb composition. The leading lines are fantastic. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
  • DigitalSLG 5y

    This is amazing Tom..awesome job!!

    Seen in my contacts' photos. (?)
  • Angel 5y

    Nice shot !!!
  • Jay Andruckow 5y

    My jaw is still on the floor!
    I agree about DCA, I really don't understand all the hate. I rank it above AK and DHS as well.
  • James 5y

    Nice shot: I don't see many incorporating the compass either.

    I feel like many of you never experienced or fail to recall DCA circa 2001. Superstar Limo? Nothing more needs be said about why DCA earned a bad rap. That ride made Journey into Imagination look like Pirates of the Caribbean. DCA has improved a great deal since 2001, and will be even better come 2012 with Little Mermaid, Carsland, Buena Vista Street, etc.

    The biggest problem that remains with DCA is the opening: instead of Main Street we get this thing called "Sunshine Plaza" which is just kind of a mish-mash of random CA concepts and concrete. So while the Golden Gate bridge looks nice on it's own, or even the letters, there's no thematic consistency. It constantly gets compared to some of the shopping malls we have out here in Southern California and I can't disagree. Personally, I can't wait until it the area gets themed as 1930's LA and becomes Buena Vista street: it will be a much deeper change than the "Mickey's face on the ferris wheel" thing and will give that "transported to another time and place" feeling that Disney does best.
  • Ryan Pastorino 5y


    You make some good points. Disney originally envisioned the park entrance to resemble a postcard. Unfortunately, no one ever caught on or "got it", so it just didn't work.
  • Bob Desmond 5y

    Tom-This will become an historic photo because that entire entrance to DCA is going to change soon. It will soon have an entrance similar to Disney's Hollywood Studios, art deco, from what I am told. I'm not crazy about DCA, however, it's competition is pretty tough, the ORIGINAL Disney park, DISNEYLAND, Anaheim.
  • Geoff Allen 5y

    The extreme wide angle and the lighting combine really well in this shot!
48 faves
Taken on August 19, 2010
  • 11.0-16.0 mm f/2.8
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