Thursday, February 23, 2012

color inspiration from Disneyland and Disney California Adventure

Last month we took the boys to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure.  This was our second time going as a family and I was worried that the magic from our first trip wouldn't be met, but it was all I could have hoped for.  As we learned last year, the end of January seems to be the perfect time for visiting the Disney parks.  Not only did we get a great deal on our stay at the Disneyland Paradise Pier Hotel (included in the package were two Fastpasses per person to be used at any time in any park and Magic Morning Hour privileges) but we found that all of the lines were tolerable.  In fact, the boys are quite spoiled.  They seem to think that waiting any longer than twenty minutes in line is pure torture.  Oh if only they knew what this magical place looked like in the middle of Summer!

As always, I had my own kind of fun just walking around, taking pictures and finding inspiration in the most unlikely places.  This is Disneyland, afterall, where every single detail is intentional.  Once I got home and began looking through the photos I'd snapped I found myself quite pleased with my compositions and the way that I'd captured the color.  But then it occured to me... ANYONE could have taken this photo!  These details were planned and arranged to appear just perfectly (or, not so perfectly - but again, it's intentional) in the lens. 

I love this "dilapidated" shoreside fence that leans and looks like it's been through years of wind and salty air.  Things like this always make me smirk, shake my head and chuckle with amusement.  Since we stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel across the street from California Adventure, this bay and the ferris wheel were our view for two nights.  Such a pretty view with lights twinkling and reflecting in the water.  [Tip: We booked a "theme park view" room and got a room on the 10th floor which was perfect for seeing the World of Color water and light show.]

So, color, right?  I wish I could find a place around the house to do a mosaic like this one at California Adventure!  If you look closely you'll even see things like spoons and marbles.  The boys took delight in finding the common objects hidden in this colorful artwork.  It's chaos, but reeled in enough to make it beautiful.

As we walked around the parks I took mental notes of color combinations and patterns.  I have strange photos of tiles, floor design, murals and light fixtures.  If anyone noticed, they must have thought I was crazy pointing my camera down at the ground or standing six inches away from the wall and trying to focus on the hand-painted detail.  My poor family, always saying, "Where did Mom go? Oh, she's taking a picture."  What I really need to do is put together an album for all these inspiration shots.  A lot of them aren't very pretty photographs (too dark, too bright or out of focus), but all I'm after is recording this thing that inspired me.  When I go back through these pictures I can remember what it was about that detail that appealed to me.  So I wouldn't really call myself a photographer - I'm more like an explorer, a scientist or a surveyor taking notes and compiling a document of inspiration.  And it's not really worth sharing here because what inspires me isn't necessarily what might inspire you.  It's a very personal thing.  A collection of images that will get me one step closer to seeing my own creative visions.

But what's probably the greatest thing about Disneyland is just the fact that it is there.  That it began as this little concept in sketchbook - like so many of my ideas.  That after all these years it has become what it's become.  Yeah, it's magical.  And as much as I'd love to get season passes and go every month, I think it's important to hold back and go once a year.  Preserve that magic.  I don't want to get tired of it.  I like that I still get excited about going and I want the boys to feel the same way. 

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