Orlando, FL – Epcot – Spaceship Earth (HDR)

When I visited Epcot a few weeks back…this was my target shot…sunset /blue hour of Spaceship Earth.  The beautiful sphere at the entrance at Epcot.  It is a challenge as there are many people walking by…so timing and the crowds being nice enough to see you have a tripod set up and walk around.  Patience does pay off.  I was here for about an hour taking many shots until the sky went beyond the blue hour.  The sphere slowly colorizes. So the better shots all depend on when this occurs….and you hope it is a perfect time in the sky!  For me it was a bit after sunset and the sky was a nice blue.   Thanks Mother Nature!   I’ll have a few more shots of the cool sphere in posts to come…another cool shot I had was directly under the sphere using a fisheye lens!   I very different perspective!

Info from the web:  Spaceship Earth is the iconic and symbolic structure of Epcot, a theme park that is part of the Walt Disney World Resort. One of the most recognizable structures at the Walt Disney World Resort, it is not only the centerpiece and main focal point of Epcot, but also the name of the attraction housed within the 18-story geodesic sphere that takes guests on a time machine themed experience using the Omnimover system. The 13-minute dark ride shows guests how advancements in human communication have helped to create the future one step at a time. The attraction involves a timeline from the origins of prehistoric man to the dawn of the 21st century, where guests can then create a future for themselves.

The structure is similar in texture to the United States pavilion from Expo 67 in Montreal, but unlike that structure, Spaceship Earth is a complete sphere, supported on legs. The structure is often humorously referred to as a giant golf ball.

Geometrically, Spaceship Earth is a derivative of a pentakis dodecahedron, with each of the 60 isosceles triangle faces divided into 16 smaller equilateral triangles (with a bit of fudging to make it rounder)[citation needed]. Each of those 960 flat panels is sub-divided into four triangles, each of which is divided into three isosceles triangles to form each point. In theory, there are 11,520 total isosceles triangles forming 3840 points. In reality, some of those triangles are partially or fully nonexistent due to supports and doors; there are actually only 11,324 of them, with 954 partial or full flat panels.

The appearance of being a monolithic sphere is an architectural goal that was achieved through a structural trick. Spaceship Earth’s is in fact two structural domes. Six legs are supported on pile groups that are driven up to 160 feet into Central Florida’s soft earth. Those legs support a steel box-shaped ring at the sphere’s perimeter, at about 30 degrees south latitude in earth-terms. The upper structural dome sits on this ring. A grid of trusses inside the ring supports the two helical structures of the ride and show system. Below the ring, a second dome is hung from the bottom, completing the spherical shape. The ring and trusses form a table-like structure which separates the upper dome from the lower. Supported by and about three feet off of the structural domes is a cladding sphere to which the shiny Alucobond panels and drainage system are mounted.

The cladding was designed so that when it rains, no water pours off the sides onto the ground. (All water is “absorbed” through one inch gaps in the facets and is collected in a gutter system – and finally channeled into the World Showcase Lagoon.)

Oh yes, one camera note…my cable release pin connection is worn out and no longer working…too many HDR’s??….so my HDR’s for a bit to come will be completed by pressing the button!  As long as you are steady and careful…your pics will be ok!  I hope to get the camera sent back for repair in May.  A few weeks without a camera?  Yikes!   What will I do?  Read??  LOL

Talke Photography Settings:

  • Camera:  Nikon D300
  • Lens: Nikon 12-24 f/4.0
  • Setting: Aperture  Mode
  • Focal Length: 12.0mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Exposure:  HDR 5 exposures (+2 to -2)
  • Aperture:  f/22.0
  • Gear:  Tripod
  • Post Process: Adobe CS4, Photomatix, Viveza