Dragon on Gringotts Bank

Dragon on Gringotts Bank, Universal Studios - Orlando, Florida

Dragon on Gringotts Bank, Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida

In addition to the few days at Disney World, we also spent a couple at Universal Studios. One of the most impressive areas is Diagon Alley, which recreates a world in London, within the Harry Potter series. I’m not exactly a Harry Potter fan. I never read any of the books and I think I watched two of the movies. But this area within Universal was the most magical and made you feel like you got transported to another world. Incidentally, this dragon on top of the building is called an Ukrainian Ironbelly.

As an urban photographer, I’m attracted to places like this with rich details, even when it’s fictitious. I would love to shoot it on tripod and create high quality images. Alas, this area was impossibly crowded and I decided against tripod photography. On a whim, I attempted to create hand-held HDRs, like I did at Disney World, but under even more extreme conditions — it was a lot darker here.

Using my 9-18mm super wide-angle lens, I set a shutter speed at 1/3 of a second. The ISO ranged from 640 to an iffy 6400. The blended results surprised me. It certainly was better, with more details and dynamic range, than a single RAW image. It’s too bad I didn’t shoot more of these hand-held HDR brackets.


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5 thoughts on “Dragon on Gringotts Bank

  1. The two times I was there, I didn’t even bring a camera. I regret not getting pictures, but the mirrorless cameras weren’t out yet — nor cell phone cameras. And the big DSLR was too much of a burden for those long days.

    1. Everyone told us with two teenage boys that they will like Universal more. Strangely my boys liked Disney better, at least Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.

      I also like the operational efficiency of Disney better as well as the shows and parades. Universal has better motion rides and roller coasters.

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