Q: Who are you?
A: My name is Matt Valeriote. I’m a college-grad with a BS in psychology, living in Cypress, California. Although I enjoyed studying the subject, I haven’t quite had the passion for it that I feel when I have my camera in my hands. Photography has been my hobby for a number of years now, and I enjoy sharing my very personal experience of the magic of Disneyland with others.
Q: How do you make your photos look like that? They’re so detailed and colorful!
A: I create the majority of my pictures with a process called HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. In its simplest form, this means I take a bracket of three photos in a row with different exposures – a normally exposed shot, a very underexposed one, and a very overexposed one. I then run those three photos through HDR software like Photomatix which combines them into a single image, with all the blown-out brights and underexposed darks of a single photo neatly filled in. After that, it’s just a matter of some touching-up in Photoshop before each image is ready for the web!
Q: What camera/equipment do you use?
A: Many of the photos in my gallery were taken with a Nikon D90, but I’ve now upgraded to a D7100. I use a number of lenses when I shoot but this Tokina wide angle lens is more or less my workhorse. If you are tempted to buy any of this equipment simply on my recommendation here, it’s important to know first that virtually any camera is capable of producing good photos. One of my best photos was taken with just a little point and shoot camera.
Q: How long have you been a photographer?
A: I first became interested in photography in late 2012, after a trip to Disneyland. I was feeling the post-Disney-trip blues and looked to the internet to dull the longing. That is when I discovered Tours Departing Daily – my first exposure to HDR photography, and my gateway drug into photography as an artform.
Q: Why Disneyland?
A: I like to refer to Disneyland as the photographer’s playground. Suppose you – a photographer – want to get pictures of a city street, a castle, a mountain, a lagoon, and a cave. In ordinary life, you’d probably need a long weekend and some plane tickets to accomplish that. At Disneyland, you can accomplish all of that in a three minute walk, mostly in a straight line! Aside from simply being a fantastic sandbox for photographers to practice their craft in, I have a great personal love of Disneyland. What Walt Disney created in Anaheim, California was completely unprecedented in his time, and it continues to be the most renowned of its kind even today.
Q: How do you get all these shots of Disneyland without people in them?
A: Some of the more hardcore Disney photographers accomplish that by waiting until an hour after the park closes. While I have done that myself to get some shots, for me it is more often a matter of either scouting out angles that don’t reveal the huge crowds, or exposing my shots for so long that the people passing through them just become white foggy ghosts.
Q: I want to buy a print of one of your photos. How can I get a print of it?
A: Just ask! Contact me through any of my websites and tell me which photo you’d like to purchase a print of.