Man, did I need a vacation (and did I get one!!!). Two full weeks off, starting at Disney’s new Aulani resort on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, and it was supposed to end there, but we got “Disney fever” after seeing a TV ad for new Carsland area of Disney’s California Adventure theme park, so we changed our flight home to stop in LA so we could take the kids of Disneyland  for a few days.

The photo above was taken in “Carsland” —- that’s the life-sized Flo’s V8 Cafe from the movie Cars. Disney recreated Radiator Springs, full size, right down to the street lights, and they did an absolutely brilliant job — it was like walking into the movie. It was way better than I even thought it would be, and of course, the kid’s absolutely loved it! (and we rode all the rides everywhere!).

So, where are the Hawaii photos? Where’s the photo book?
Well….here’s the thing. There aren’t any. I never went out shooting the entire time. I really needed to take a break, and I wanted to spend some uninterrupted time with my family so I basically hung out around the pool, swam with the kids, and just did a whole lotta nuthin’ for days on end. It was awesome!!!!

I did have my camera gear with me to take a few shots at the Battleship Missouri and the USS Bowfin WWII sub, but nothing worth sharing. So, I mostly took shots at Disneyland (which was awesome all the way around, though  I’m still amazed at how small their castle is compared to Cinderella’s castle at Disney World in Florida), and hung out with the wifey and kids, and it really recharged my batteries (besides which, I’m heading to Ireland soon and I’m hoping to take PLENTY of shots on that trip).

One note: if you’re wondering how to get shots where there’s virtually no tourists in the scene, here’s one trick: wait until late, and be really, really, really patient. If you wait long enough, you’ll get a short gap in in the non-stop sea of people where you can grab about two frames. I did it in the middle of the afternoon at the castle and got the bridge in front completely tourist free! Keep the camera up to your eye, and your other eye open so you can see when a gap is about to appear.

Back to reality
Today I’m back in the office and back to reality (sob, sob), but I did miss all my friends here at work so part of me is really glad to be back in the saddle (though the other part is already missing those cool tropical breezes and that frozen pina colada beside the winding lazy river pool).

Have a great Monday everyday (sniff, sniff). ;-)

About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.

47 Comments

  1. Hey Scott,

    Awesome images. As an annual passholder, I keep saying that I’m going to go late at night just to get some night photos…maybe during the winter. Glad you had a great time out here in Southern California!

    ~Kristina

  2. Great to have you back Scott… But hey, you’ve got great people on your back…
    I’m looking forward for your up coming book “The Adobe Photoshop CS6 Book for Digital Photographers” but I want the spiral bound edition. I know it’s coming, please!!!

  3. Love the processing on the “Cars” photo.  As soon as I saw it (before I noticed the people in it), I thought it was an actual frame from the movie.

  4. That’s awesome not taking photos while on vacation. I know the family loved that! We all need to take that lesson.

  5. We (and the SNOW clan) missed ya buddy! :)

  6. Please next time be a Dad, and take a point and shoot with the family. Prove to the Kelby nation that it can be done professionally without the family aware of it.

  7. Glad you had fun and also glad you are back. But most of all, glad to see you do have some non-photographer moments in your life. We all do, don’t we? That’s a good subject for The Grid, this blog or anywhere else – Do we ever leave the camera behind/ When and why ? =)

  8. Cool Scott! Me and the wife were just talkin about doing Carsland and then Aulani from LAX in October today! Since San Fran is incredibly close ($59 trip) its very likely! Glad you had a good time!

  9. sometimes one needs another vacation to recover from previous one … I hope that is not the case 

  10. Vacations … I do need one :-) In my case, I’ll take the camera and leave the computer at home! hehehehe

    Scott, you gotta come to Munich and visit the Neuschwanstein Castle, the one that inspired the Disney ones!! I’d be glad to take you there!

  11. You’ll love Ireland. I wouldn’t spend more than 2 days in Dublin and make sure to hit the southern and west coast. Kenmare and Galway are great cities.

  12. Delighted to hear of your impending visit to Ireland, Scott. I’m glad you’ve gotten your “whole lotta nuthin” days out of your system though as Ireland is definitely a destination to bring and use your gear! Enjoy.

  13. Hawaii and Disney .. if that doesn’t get you recharged and the creative juices flowing .. well, check to see if you have a pulse !
    You may have rested your camera (for part of the trip), but I’ll bet Kalebra’s iPhone was busy taking pics, right ?!!

    ** your post brought back some GOOD memories ** – thanks and welcome back to the “rat race”

  14. Hey Scott … glad you had fun.  Sometimes you really do  have to disconnect to recharge and refocus.  My family and I have to get that on the docket soon!

  15. Hey Scott, Welcome Back. I’m sure glad you had a great time.  My wife leaves Tampa tomorrow. I’m glad, tired of being single.
    Just got the notification from Amazon that your new CS6 book will be in a week earlier than scheduled. Woot!!

  16. Awesome to spend time like that with family!!! So glad, sounds like the Lord blessed you with rest and relaxation — that Sabbath principle is there for a purpose :)

  17. Welcome back!

  18. There’s something to be said for putting the camera aside and enjoying time with your family.  I’ll try that sometime if I ever start a family of my own.

  19. Hi Scott,
    in Dublin you have to go to Windmill Lane Studios, U2’s old studios, you can legally paint / write on the walls, and you’ll see thousands of peoples messages to the band, it’s not far from O’Connell Street.

    Galway is were you will get those beautiful landscapes, AND it’s what a lot of people still think of when you say Ireland, Thatched cottages, Lakes (Lough Corrib). Horse drawn carriages, men smoking while watching the world go by.

    Outside of Galway is a small village called Cong, also known as the town that time forgot !!

    This is where John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara filmed The Quiet Man 
    Maureen O’Hara still lives nearby, i was lucky enough to photograph her a few years ago 

    You will see Pat Cohans bar, where they had the fight, Ashford Castle, and it is such a beautiful part of the world you and the family will love it.

    Thw white of Mourn cottage where John and Maureen lived in the movie, is partialy standing, along with the bridge where he stood and watched the bed taken over the river, if Brad e mails me i’ll send you all the links etc for you to look at.

    Russell.

    • Russell: WOW!!! This is really helpful. Galway is one of our over-night stops, and now I’m really looking even more forward to it (and I will look for the village of Cong for sure). Also, I’ve got to see some of the locales from the movie. Thanks so much for sharing this. 

  20. Nice shot of Flo’s Café. we saw the same ads in Orlando when we were there 2 weeks ago. Kids would like to go do the ‘Cars’ rides. If we do go to Hawaii again, we would like to visit the Aulani resort. They were still building it when we went there the last time. Mahalo for inspiring us to be better. You need to time to walk away and re-energize your creativity. 

  21. Glad you’re back Scott.  How did you like Aulani?  Is it all we’ve come to expect from a Disney resort?  We are DVC members and 25th anniversary next year so it is a thought.

    • The resort is very nice, but as they told us when we got there; they planned the resort so it’s a big on H (Hawaii) and little on D (Disney), which to me was a bit disappointing. In fact, you wouldn’t know it was a Disney resort if you didn’t go to the Character Breakfast. It was the most un-Disney-like hotel ever. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very pretty, with great pools, and a beautiful beach, but I wouldn’t even rate it in my top five Hawaii hotels. When you choose a Disney resort it’s because you want a Disney experience. It was more like a nice Fairmont or Hyatt property. The food was good (but VERY expensive), and the service was good as well, but again, you wouldn’t know you were at a Disney resort. No game room for the kids. No beautiful tiki-torches dotting the landscape at night. My wife said it best:  It was a bit “underwhelming.”

      • Thanks for the great reply.  We are big Disney fans I agree with you that it always needs a little D in it.  Even though my kids are a little older (17 & 14) we always enjoy the little Disney touches.  It is disappointing to hear those might be missing even though it sounds like a great resort.  We are doing DL in August and WDW in Oct as my older son will be off to college the following year so we don’t know when we’ll all get to do it again and experience the Disney way.  Thanks again.

  22. Wow that top image rocks man!!! So cool!

  23. Welcome back Scott, and good for you! I came back from Ireland a couple of weeks ago after being there for a week of shooting. Make sure you pack “RAIN GEAR” It rained 6 of the 7 days we were there, and friends tell me it’s still raining over there. One does not go to Ireland for the sunshine… If I may offer any suggestions, 1 day of Dublin is more than enough, and as several others have mentioned, head for the west coast.  When you have visions of Ireland, that’s the west coast. The Cliffs of Moher are absolutely breathtaking! (Hope you’re not afraid of heights…) 

    Welcome back. 

    • Hi Frank. That’s the plan: One night in Dublin (the land the day before), and the first thing in the morning we’re headed out to Kerry Co, and the Cliffs of Moher are a planned stop along our route which takes us from through the south over to the West and then back to Dublin. Thanks for the tips! :)

  24. Welcome back, Scott! Sounds like this non-photography vacation was just what you needed. It’s great to spend some quality time with the family. The kids grow up too fast!

    A lot of shenanigans were afoot while you away, mostly involving ninja costumes, copious amounts of Chinese food and what was referred to as “gear porn”. I hope you can bring some order back to Kelby Media!

    –John

  25. Great post on Dland, hope you had a chance to visit Club 33 while there. 

  26. Hi Scott, are you doing any seminars/workshops when in Ireland ? If you happen to pass through Cavan when you are here look us up! We are in the heart of rural Ireland and have a huge traditional Irish music festival on in August called Fleadh Cheoil an hEireann (music festival of Ireland) from 10th to 20th. Lots of traditional music on streets, pubs and competitions with artists aged from 4 to 80+!

    Richard,
    Cavan, Ireland.

  27. Hey Scott

    I know this is off topic but didn’t know where else to post it.  I am a member of NAPP and Kelby Training and I was wondering if you are planning to do a training video on how to shoot or shooting the Nikon D800?

    Thanks,
    Dave Updegraff

  28. Great Idea to take a break. I think photography is one of thise things that every amateur wants to do professionally but many pro’s miss doing as a hobby! All work and no play… :) 

  29. That first shot I so totally would have on my wall! Simple awesome and I’m jealous. Now, I gotta go and get a shot similar to it! ;)

  30. Hope you’ll really enjoy Ireland – I’ll agree with the other commenters who suggested minimising time spent in Dublin (although the centre has a lot of character (and characters!)  – a trip to Trinity College and the Guiness Storehouse might be worth your while. West Cork/Kerry (south-west coast) and Galway/Mayo (west coast are the best locations for beautiful landscapes. If your itinerary takes you to Tipperary (where I live) or to Kilkenny or Waterford feel free to get in touch and I may be able to make some suggestions to fit in with your photography plans.
    In any case you’ll have a ball in Ireland!

  31. Scott
      Hope  you can make it west of Galway City into the heart of Connamara. If you can I’ll be only to glad to give you a few pointers. One thing though, the Sun doesn’t always shine (doesn’t always rain either) but in between the showers is some fantastic photography. Enjoy your stay here. 

  32. Man Id love a 1920×1200 wallpaper of this top image for my 28inch screens..  I can just sit there and look at it for so long..lol

  33. What camera settings did you use?

  34. Hey, I too took a vacation at Disney Land; in Florida though. Talking about the sea of people, man I wish I had tried what you did, just wait till the very end. I did however manage to get some good shots.. sure made me happy… :) and I didn’t waste time in getting the prints :) :) Mpix.com!

  35. Wow, love that shot of Flo’s. I’ve seen many since Carsland opened, and this is the best one so far. Has a really great graphic look to it.

  36. I can`t wait to go to Hawaii on next month w/ my friends. We don`t have a problem to where we will stay-in because we already chose and booked on where to stay by the help of http://www.stopsleepgo.com… and we`ll do many shots…….and after we`ll gonna go to Disneyland……

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