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Sep 4, 2011
Well I was at Busch Gardens this past weekend on July 7th 2012. The weather was hot to say the least with temperatures in the triple digits and heat indexes approaching 110 degrees. The crowd was as light as I can remember it was closer to a crowd i would expect to see at Christmastown than one i would see on a Saturday in July.

Anyways the purpose of my trip was simply to take photos. I have taken photography as a hobby and I wanted to explore Busch Gardens and take many more photos. I think i left with 900 photos and a hope that some of them might be good. So I am going to write a little of what we did and experienced and some of the accompanying photos.

Well first I planned on seeing the different animals and visited the stable area followed by the areas where I could seebald eagles, wolves, lorikeets and other birds. Here is one of my photos of the parrot that was sitting behind the lorikeet aviary along with a photo of a peregrine falcon that could be seen near where the entrance to 13 would be.

Great Pose by LVnative, on Flickr

Duke by LVnative, on Flickr

We continued around the park taking pictures of some of the other decorations that had been placed for illuminights. Also we saw the early show for Pet Shenanigans. With the high heat the trainers were even dripping with sweat. Two other shows that we saw early on included Celtic Fyre and also the Wolf show. However the wolf show was more of training than the normal show you would see at the end of the year. I thought Celtic Fyre was ok as it gave us time to cool off. I believe previous shows have been more entertaining but that is just my opinion. This did give me the opportunity to use one of my lenses that is meant for dark photography. Here are two pictures one from each show. Notice in the wolf photo you can see slobber going from tongue to trainers face in the picture displaying emotion.

Slobber by LVnative, on Flickr

Altogether by LVnative, on Flickr

It took a while to make it to germany but we finally got there so that we could see the new ride verbolten. Here are a few pictures of the ride that i took. It looked very interesting. One of the pictures was taken from the Rhine River cruise as i thought it gave an interesting angle.

Final Drop by LVnative, on Flickr

Verbolten Panorama by LVnative, on Flickr

Verbolten Car by LVnative, on Flickr

After walking around the park working up quite the sweat it was just about time for dinner. We decided to see some of the illuminights shows before we went for dinner. We ate at the festhaus and got to watch the show Entwined. I will say not like the old show but I will say i have seen worse. I did not get my camera out for this show. After dinner we were ready to go see some of the Illuminights shows. In fact we only saw 2. We saw the 5 and 8 showings of Giardino Magico and the 6 oclock showing of Voila. I will say i think the music and tempo was more exciting for Voila but the Giardino Magico show was more impressive which is why we saw it twice. Here are a few pictures from those shows.

Smile for the camera by LVnative, on Flickr

They both are flexible by LVnative, on Flickr

Focus by LVnative, on Flickr

Can Can by LVnative, on Flickr

I felt that the can can dancers were ok but the real star was the juggler. The dancers were an ok interlude. I am not trying to take away from those performers but there abilities may not have been showcased as well as they could have been.

Finally we made our way to Italy near the Roman Rapids to watch the fireworks. Now getting their was no problem but i tried asking different employees where was the best place to watch the fireworks. I was given multiple answers by the different employees i asked. I was told that right there near the roman rapids was best by two employees, on the bridge by another, and anywhere as the fireworks were set off all around the park by a highly uniformed employee. Anyways if you go on the bridge you can see platforms that have been rolled onto the railroad trestle. I am pretty sure this was the launch station. Anyways I went just on the backside of the merchandise stand near the roman rapids set up my tripod and watched. The fireworks were just about right above me, in fact after the show some of the burned paper ash was coming down onto me. Keep that in mind if you are a photographer worrying about your lens. Also i will say the music seemed pretty light in that area. So here are a few of the photos i took.

Illuminights Fireworks by LVnative, on Flickr

Illuminights Fireworks by LVnative, on Flickr

Illuminights Fireworks by LVnative, on Flickr

After the show i packed up my gear and headed back to the england lot to get into my hot car and leave. The firework show was at 9:30 and i was on 64 heading home by 10. So that time included me watching the show, stopping at the bathroom, walking out of the park and to the car, exiting the lot and getting on the highway.

If you are interested in seeing any other photos i took from this trip the set can be seen here:
I have many more of the shows and other places around the park.

If you have any questions or comments about the trip or photos feel free to post as i am always welcome to any comments or critiques.
Thank you swiftman and B-Mac. I really enjoy trying to take good pictures. As time goes by i believe i am getting better which makes me enjoy it more. I do appreciate the feedback and I am glad people enjoy them.

As of right now B-Mac i have not taken any photos at any other parks. This fall I have planned a trip down to Disney World and I might end up going to Busch or Sea World there as well. Most of my other photos as you can see in my main photo album ( ) if you go back a few pages are mainly of wildlife or some still life type photos. I am part of a camera club and it has gotten me to take different type of photos each month.

Recently because of July 4th i had taken a few of a local firework show so that i would learn how to do it when i visited illuminights. But again you can see the other types of photos i have taken in my other sets.
iheartbgw2020 said:
I just want to know what lenses you used! Im heading to the park on Tuesday and I want to get good pics with my T2i, but honestly, its the lenses you used that made those pictures so amazing!

Well when i took this trip I had used three lenses. So i have a nikon d3100 for my body. For most of the animal photos where i got up close i used my 55-300 lens. I also used this lens for some of the Illuminights shows as well. For the Celtic Fyre show i used my 50mm 1.8 lens mainly i used this lens because i knew it would be dark in the show and it is a bit faster since i can have a larger aperture. Lastly i used my 18-55 kit lens for some photos of the Illuminights show in Italy and also for the fireworks. I saw that illuminights show twice so i used those two lenses for each time. Had i seen it a third time i would have used my 50mm lens. The fireworks i used an ND4 filter along with the 18-55 and a tripod so that i could take longer exposures to give the fireworks that effect.

On a certain photo if you go to the right of the page near the map you should see it says Nikon D3100 and it looks like a link. If you click on that it will show you the settings i had used as well as the zoom that i used whether it was 60 or 100 or 240 or 300 mm so you can kind of tell which lens i was using that way as well.

If you have any other questions just let me know and i can try to help.
Wow, I basically am trying to get the look that you got with the fireworks, but if all it takes if the kit lens and the filter, I've got to give it try. I have the Canon 50mm f/1.8 as well, so I will definitely bring that. If I get some pics i will share for sure!
Yeah so for the fireworks it is not that hard i have come to realize. I can say the lens you will want is based on where you stand. The farther away you are the longer lens you might need. I would say anywhere in Italy or Germany you are fine with the kit lens. If anything a wider angle like 12mm might be better but those are expensive. Also it will be very very very useful to have a shutter release whether it is wireless or wired. The reason for this is that you dont want to be touching your camera and causing it to shake. I do have a wireless remote for my camera so that I just kept taking pictures.

So let me say these were my steps when doing the fireworks.

1. Put on the 18 - 55 kit lens with ND4 filter. I set my Exposure to 3 seconds and the aperture to F8. Now i may have played with exposure and aperture to get better pictures but they are pretty close to those settings.

2. attach the wireless shutter release and tripod. This will make it so you dont cause the camera to shake. Worst case scenario you will want the time delay in picture because you dont want to have any shake. This will help you get the sharp look that i have.

3. Make sure camera is turned to burst mode. This means i can just sit there holding my shutter release down which means it will continuously take 3 second exposures. Gives me a better chance at taking better photos and getting different combinations of fireworks.

4. Once the show is about to start i will look through the viewfinder. Part of this is so that i can get the zoom correct on the lens and secondly to make sure i am pointing the camera in the right direction. While doing this you will want to manually focus. My understanding although i have not tried myself is that autofocus can struggle with fireworks.

So now you have the camera settings close it is aiming at the fireworks and focused correctly. You are pretty much set. Keep your image review on that way you can make sure your photos look right. If you need to make them brighter or darker you can play with your settings.

Now here is the best part. If you have a wireless remote you can enjoy the fireworks show as though your camera wasnt there. Just hold the button down and enjoy. Now this is what I did and it was fun. But there are two things that helped me. One was with the illuminights fireworks is they started to low and kept getting higher in the sky. This meant i just had to change the angle of the camera on the tripod. Secondly the final was really nice but it will come out mostly white if you take the same exposure. I wasnt thinking about this but you could shorten the exposure time to say 1 second or so and take more photos so that it doesnt come out like a ball of white light.

Again i hope this helps and let me know if you have more questions.
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