Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, at Night, Handheld, Via Fuji X-E1

As the title suggests, this is the Spaceship Earth, commonly known as the Epcot Golf Ball. I just spent a week with my family down in Orlando, most of it at the various Walt Disney World theme parks, with a one-day expedition to Universal Orlando for the Harry Potter experience.

We drove for the first time, which allowed me to take an extra bag of photographic equipment, but in the end I only used one camera and two lenses: the Fuji X-E1 camera with the kit zoom 18-55mm f/2.8-f.40, and a fixed 14mm f/2.8.  I also packed my Nikon DSLR gear and a tripod, but I never even unpacked them. In part, this was because I planned to use them late at night, but was too tired. It is a fairly well known secret, especially among photographers, that the Disney parks do not close at their posted closing hour. That is just when the rides and attractions shut down. You can generally take a good hour after that time before they push you out, and can get some great shots of the park, empty, at night. One of the classics of this genre is the golf ball, and you can find many many examples of shots similar to this, usually taken with a tripod, often merging multiple bracketed shots into an HDR blend. But with my family Disney is a pre-dawn to nighttime daily marathon, and staying up late just to take some pretty photos turned out to be too hard, especially after I found I could get some amazing shots like this straight from the X-E1, if I just paused a moment while with my family.

This is handheld, using the 18-55mm lens at 35mm (51mm equivalent) at f/3.6, 1/25 sec, and ISO 6400. The lens has image stabilization so shooting at 1/25 sec still yields a nice sharp image. This is also a JPG straight from  the camera. I have found that the X-E1 does a great job handling noise at high ISO when it renders JPGs.  The Raw version of this shot has a substantial amount of noise that can be removed manually in post, but I was so taken with the out-of-camera JPEG rendering that I decided to publish it as is.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. That’s pretty impressive right out of the camera! Love those colors! Sounds like an awesome trip too! Well done!

    1. Thanks, Jim. It was a great trip.

  2. I’m amazed at the quality of that from a JPG straight out of camera at that high ISO. Superbly sharp, it almost has a 3D quality to it.
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  3. Great shot here Mark! kinda stinks about not getting the tripod out, but that happens, been there done that

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