Big Thunder Mountain at Night in Walt Disney World

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Big Thunder Mountain at Night in Walt Disney World

Big Thunder Mountain glows with color at night in Frontierland in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, as seen during our recent 2019 Band and Chorus Disney Trip that I went on with Jaylin’s school group.

On this particular night, my friends that I was hanging around with all had a Fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Everyone had one except for me; I was not quick enough to get one before they were all gone. That was not a big deal to me, because I have been on the ride several times before. Besides, I figured they would not be gone all that long since they had a Fastpass.

It was a beautiful evening out with a nice, clear sky. So I thought I might as well use the time to attempt a photo or two. I went up to the lookout by one of the exit areas, because I always enjoy the view of Big Thunder Mountain from there. I did not know for certain if my group would be coming out of that exit or out of the one closer to the rest of Frontierland, but I figured I had time for a photo or two.

Fortunately, I had a small table-top tripod with me. I attached it to the camera and set it on one of the rocks on the other side of the rail that I was standing near, because I knew I would need a long exposure for everything to look right. It took me a few attempts, but I got something that I was happy with before moving back between the two exits to watch for my group. That was a good thing, because they did come out of the other exit just a couple of minutes after I finished my photo session with the mountain. Perfect timing!

And as you can see, I was happy with the results. Because I would not have posted it otherwise, after all.

Support System

If you do not have a good support system, go right now and get one. You will be glad that you did whenever a need arises.

In the past few weeks, we have had a couple of small crises come up. I suppose we could have handled everything on our own. But fortunately, we did not have to. We had a good support system of people who were right there with us. For one, they were there with us once they found out what happened. For the other, several people were there when it happened, and they all sprang into action immediately.

After the fact in both instances, we have received all kinds of support, from people offering to help, providing food, calling or texting to check on everything, and more. While overall there has not really been anything that we needed, it was still great to know that people were there for us if we needed them. The emotional support was every bit as helpful as the physical support. I don’t know how some people make it without that.

On the flip side of that, don’t forget to be that support system to others in your group when they need it. After all, life is (or should be) more about what we give than what we get. So don’t be afraid to call or text someone just to make sure they are okay, because that might just mean the world to them.

We actually have a few different groups in our support system. The first is family, and we are blessed to enjoy a wonderful immediate family, as well as a wonderful extended family. The next is our church family, many of whom are just like real family to us, and in fact we do consider them to be real family even if there is no physical blood relation there. And then there is another, somewhat related group at the Christian school where Laura works and Jaylin attends. Some of the people that I was waiting on while I took the above photo were among those that checked on us, just to see how things were going and to let us know that they care.

Be sure to find a support system, and be a part of someone else’s support system. Because you never know when there might be a need. After all, none of us on our on is as strong as a mountain. But you just might need a good support system to help you face those mountains. Even if they are just man-made theme park mountains.

Bible Verse

For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. - Hebrews 6:10

About the Photo

I mentioned above that I used a small tripod for this photo. That was essential because I ended up using a 10 second exposure a f/3.5 and ISO 400. There was no way I could have held the camera steady for that long without a tripod.

Back at home, I did some work to make the photo look a little better. I have become fond of using Aurora HDR to process my photos, and that is what I used here. However, I ended up using two different versions that I created in Aurora. The first is the main part of the image that you see. However, I wanted the sky to be a bit bluer than it was in that version. When I increased the blue level, the blue area at the base of Big Thunder Mountain got way out of control.

To keep all the levels right, I made a second version in Aurora with the blue night sky. I then used Photoshop to blend the two together, with the result that you see above. You can even see some stars in the sky if you look close enough.

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Aurora HDR. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: March 7, 2019
Location: Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Florida

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.