Carole Meeter Photography: Blog en-us (C) Carole Meeter Photography (Carole Meeter Photography) Fri, 31 Jul 2020 20:12:00 GMT Fri, 31 Jul 2020 20:12:00 GMT Carole Meeter Photography: Blog 79 120 Walt Disney World ~ Pandemic Style ~ Safety Protocols                                          PrintPrint                                 

Hello Everyone and thanks for joining me !!

I am a travel advisor and small business owner with Cruise Planners. I recently spent a week at Walt Disney World with my 14 year old son. We were there from July 21 - 28, 2020. I wanted to share with you what we experienced as far as safety protocols and over all enjoyment of the trip.

We flew out of Denver July 21st on a 6:15 am flight on Southwest. The airport itself was not busy and the food vendors were practicing social distancing. There are hand sanitizer dispensers all over the airport so there is no excuse not to use them often. Get used to seeing the spacing dots on the floor to guide you where to stand, they will be with us for a while and truth be told, I am a fan of them. Everyone is required to wear a mask unless you are actively eating or drinking.

  Distance DotsGet used to seeing and utilizing the distance dots they have in place You must wear masks   It got a little busier as our flight departure time neared

The flight itself was good, they did NOT take our temperature before boarding. I was a little surprised by this but was not uncomfortable with it. Other airlines may take your temp so be prepared for it. The flight was 2/3 full. They are leaving the middle seat empty to allow for social distancing. This is at the discretion of the airline so check the website for your air carrier to see what exact guidelines they are taking in regards to this. During the flight you must keep your mask on (covering your nose and mouth) if you are over the age of 2 years old. I found this to be very easy as the temperature in the airplane was cooler. I even took a nice nap during the flight while wearing mine. They served a small snack and pre-filled water cups during the flight. The cups came with a lid that I removed for the photo. We had a connecting flight but did not have to change aircrafts. They allowed us to stay on the plane while the cleaning crew came through and cleaned and sanitized the seats and areas of the people that did exit the plane.

        The flight was uneventful and we were excited to get to our next destination !   


We rented a car so we did not take the Magical Express to the resort. We were originally booked at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside but since that resort had not re-opened yet we got a nice lil' upgrade to The Cabins at Fort Wilderness. Here is a video of our cabin upon our arrival. 


The room was very clean and things like the tv remote, or other items that are multiple touch use, were wrapped in plastic with a seal on them to show they had been cleaned and sanitized. The resorts are not presently doing standard daily housekeeping. They came every other day to change the towels and empty the garbage. 

We got settled and unpacked and then headed to Disney Springs to explore and get dinner. This is where we had our first temperature screening. They used a no touch scanner and the process was so quick and painless that you barely noticed it ! All cast member are required to wear masks and most times they also wore a face shield on top of the mask. You will see that later in my photos.


When parking at the parks they even had the vehicles social distance !  That pretty white one was our fun ride for the week. Outside each park they had white tents to go into to have your temperature screened. A very quick process, we did not wait in line for this more than one other group in front of us. We arrived each day at park opening. They do have reduced hours and no extra magic hours so I would highly recommend getting there at opening time. If you are taking a Disney World Resort bus within resorts or the parks they have partitions in place between every few seats to keep parties distanced safely. ** Masks are required to be worn properly over the mouth and nose at all times while in the parks and public areas * * The only exception is while you are actively eating or drinking while stationary, so you must sit down to eat and drink, no sipping your coffee or licking your ice cream while walking around. The other exception is while at the resort pools you are not required to wear you mask but it is suggested unless you are physically in the pool or hot tub. 


Social distancing while in lines for rides is set up very well. You will see the markers on the floors of where to stand. The photos below are from inside Haunted Mansion & Rise of the Resistance. It should also be noted that there are sooooo many hand sanitizer dispensers all over all the parks and resorts. You literally can see at least one from where you stand every moment of the day. There are multiple one's at the entrance and exit of every single ride, restaurant, bathroom & attraction. We brought our own small bottles for our backpack but we never used them once because there was an abundance of them readily available to us at any given moment.


While waiting to get on the ride they have plexiglass partitions between the loading stalls, and even then they had the stall next to you empty whenever feasible and possible. They placed you in cars or rows with several empty between parties. The photos below are from Toy Story Mania & Pirates of the Caribbean.


They did not have shows with live performers but they did have all the one's with animatronics or movies. They clearly marked where exactly you should sit and had roped off every other row so that you could not enter it. Photos below are from Country Bear Jamboree & Mickey's PhilharMagic, where you had the dot on the floor to stand on while waiting to enter and then seats marked similarly once inside the theater. 


Dining was a great experience. You can still make reservations for sit down dinners or quick service dining is available everywhere. Keep in mind that most of the places were not open for breakfast so if you are going to the parks early you might want to eat before you arrive. There is no character dining with the exception of the Garden Grill at Epcot where Chip & Dale will come out and interact with you from a distance but not take photos standing next to you. They highly encouraged mobile orders and had a QR code outside each restaurant for you to scan and see the menu and place your order. Once you got your food you could easily find a table as the photos below show. They are from Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe in Frontierland & Pinocchio Village Haus in Fantasyland. We did eat at Rain Forest Cafe at Animal Kingdom with a reservation. We arrived about 1/2 hour early but were seated right away. They gave us paper disposable menus. Masks are required to be worn while sitting at your table until food and beverages are served. 

They had these awesome Relaxation Stations at various locations around all 4 parks. They are a place where you can just go and take a break from the mask while social distancing. We utilized them often as it was upper 90's every day while we were there. 


Now the million dollar question .... how were the crowds and wait times ? For the particular week we were there they were extremely low and minimal. Since we have returned home, Disney has re-opened a few more hotels so expect for those numbers to increase. They have suspended all fast passes and gone old school to where you just wait in line for the desired ride. We did not wait for any ride for more than 20 mins. and we went on everything multiple times, most times we walked right on. I will elaborate more on that when I cover the individual parks. The photos below are from Soarin' at Epcot and walking to Pandora in Animal Kingdom, both photos were taken in the early afternoon.



Stay tuned for more info on each individual park !  Feel free to contact me at if you have a specific question. I hope you have enjoyed my piece on the awesome safety protocols that Disney has taken great care in putting in place to keep you safe while visiting the parks and resorts. 

As always, I would love to help you plan your next adventure or call me direct at 970-732-0801

find me on FB & Instagram #SeaThisWorld2020 














]]> (Carole Meeter Photography) Airlines Animal DIA Disney Epcot Florida Hollywood Kingdom Magic Orlando Pandemic Southwest Studios Walt World Fri, 31 Jul 2020 20:08:19 GMT
You don't see THAT everyday !!  

Last week I was walking around Fossil Creek Open Space, which is a beautiful National Audubon Society designated bird sanctuary. It as an important bird area for nesting, feeding, and roosting for both resident and migratory birds. Approx 180 species of birds have been seen in the trees, shrubs, open water, wetlands mud flats, and grasslands of this area. As I quickly found out as I hiked around, there is much more wildlife besides birds to observe.......


So I am walking the trail, minding my own business when BAM !!  Right in front of me I see a big bull snake blocking the path. I notice that the bull snake is wiggling quite a bit and then I see two tails, son of a gun there are TWO snakes. They are all twisted together and it looks like one snake is eating the other.  So my first thought was this is two males fighting over breeding rights and trying to look good in front of the ladies. OR ...... can this be right ?  they are gettin' their freak on ?  Sooooooo happy I am not a female snake because that is indeed what was being witnessed. I researched it when I got home and found that there are pretty much two ways that snakes breed. One is the smooth method where the male will gently massage the back of the female with his belly until she is receptive and gives it up. The second is the aggressive method where the male will bite the back of the female's head and pin her to force her to lift her tail and give it up. Scenario #2 was definately going down here. I am not a huge fan of snakes but this was quite fascinating to watch. 


Here again you can see he is biting her neck.


And again here, at this point, is it wrong that I thougt it would be AWESOME for a huge hawk to swoop down and grab them both ??

They were at it a VERY long time and my research told me breeding can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days ....... DAYS !!  


Even though I am a still photographer I thought this event warranted video. I will apologize in advance for the shaky camera. My disclaimer is that my lens was very large and heavy and I had it on a monopod, which was a bit difficult to keep balanced and not sway, PLUS I was standing about 10 ft. away from two snakes after all  .... just sayin' 


So there you have it ladies and gentlemen .... baby snakes being made.  You're welcome !


I hope you enjoyed today's topic and did not get the heebie jeebie's. In closing, here is an adorable pic of a cute, fluffy eastern Screech Owl .... because owls are just too cool ... 



Every great story seeems to begin with a snake. ~~ Nicolas Cage








]]> (Carole Meeter Photography) CO bull snake breeding eastern screech owl fossil creek open space ft. collins Mon, 04 May 2015 12:30:00 GMT
My Photography Tips & Tricks - Sports Some of the most common questions I get asked as a professional photographer are "What camera should I buy so I can take great pictures like you ?" or "How do I get great shots of my kid while they are playing sports ?" While a good camera is certainly helpful, a bigger part is knowing how to use the camera to create the images that you want. You do that, not the camera. For this blog I am going to assume that you will be using a DSLR of some sort. Quite honestly, a small point and shoot won't yield the type of results you are wanting to achieve if you are reading this. It just would not be the right tool, sort of like using a butter knife to chop down a tree. I am a Nikon gal and own three camera bodies, Nikon D7000, Nikon D90, and Nikon D3300 (just bought last week so still getting acquainted) . I know these cameras pretty well and could probably program and take photos with them in my sleep. That being said, I still have my owner's manual for each model on hand to refer to when needed. My first piece of advice is to really familiarize yourself with your camera and what all the buttons do. The first time you ever drove a car, did you just get in and turn it on and expect it to get you to your destination safely all on it's own ? I doubt it, you had to learn how to operate it and got better over time and with practice.

I get more sports photography questions than anything else so today we will focus on some basic tips and tricks to help you create those great sports shots. Sports photography can take place indoors or out. How you approach photographing them are completely different. Outdoor, you of course have the natural light which is much easier to work with. Indoors gets a bit trickier because you have to rely on the gym lights and usually are not allowed to use flash. Sometimes you get wndows that provide natural light, but it can be very harsh in the area that it illuminates. 

Tips for shooting sports:

1)  Have the right lens to get the job done. I recommend at least a 200 mm focal length lens. If it is too heavy to hand hold then use a monopod.

This is a great lens for sports photography


I took this image of The Thunderbirds at Rockford Air Show 2012 using a Nikon 55-300 mm lens, as you can imagine they were quite a distance away from me but zoomed in all the way I got great overall detail.


2) DO NOT shoot in auto mode. Auto is not your friend, plain and simple.  It is the one setting that I truly wish they would leave off of future camera models, but they won't. Instead, use Shutter Priority (S)  Turn the dial so that the white line is on the "S"

Then turn the dial located on the top right corner of the camera until you have the shutter speed you desire, 1/500 for outdoors

The next important thing you want to do when shooting indoor sports, or in any low light situation, is bump your ISO up. This is MAJORLY important and will allow the camera to absorb light more quickly and result in a brighter, clearer image. Bump it to at least 1000 and possibly as high as 3200. The only catch to this is that the higher the ISO is set, the greater chance of the image becoming slightly grainy (better known as "noise"), but we can't have everything when lighting is not perfect now can we ? The good news is that at ISO 3200 the noise level in the images should not be deafening. Find the ISO button on your camera (may need to refer to owner's manual) Then press it and again use the dial on the top right to set the ISO.


Use a shutter speed of 1/125 or the highest you can for indoors (monopod may be needed). Start at 1/125 and go up one click to 1/160, take a test shot to see if the image is too dark. If it is too dark, go back down to 1/125, if it is fine then go up another click, and so on until you reach the right setting for the lighting situation you are in. The faster the shutter speed, the crisper your images will be so we want that shutter as fast as it can be.


3) Position yourself as best you can to have nothing obstructing your camera's view of the subject. Don't be afraid to walk up as close to the competition area as they will allow you to without being a distraction.

This image was taken from a high up angle. There may always be slight "soft focus" when taking indoor sports photos, especially when the subject is moving quickly. You can only do what you can do, but good images are certainly possible, a monopod was used.

4)  Zoom your lens in on the subject so that it more or less fills the frame with action. Composition can make all the difference. 

This was taken from a lower angle and makes the subject appear larger.

5) Take many, many photos. Once you have the subject in your sights, follow them with the camera and keep on clicking. Just hold that shutter button down. This is the age of digital, who cares if you delete 500 images but get that one great shot to show off to your friends. To set your camera to shoot image after image continuously, please refer to your camera manual. I would be happy to walk you through it, just message me with your camera model.

6) Hold your breath when taking the photo. When we breath our body moves, thus causing camera shake = blurry image. Take a deep breath right before you depress the shutter, and hold that breath until you hear the shutter close.

7)  Experiment with shooting from different angles or a series of photos. Shoot from high up in the stands, and from close to the floor while down on your knees, as I did for this series of images.  

order in wide size only, 12 x 24 or any size that does not require croppingorder in wide size only, 12 x 24 or any size that does not require cropping


Now you may be asking, what about the pre-set sports setting that most cameras have ?  I admit that I do use that setting on occasion when I don't want to put too much thought into the shots. All DSLR cameras come with pre-sets that are optimized for specific lighting situations. There is a sports setting that is usually marked with an icon of a lil' guy running. I have gotten good shots while using this setting, much more success outside than inside. I have better luck inside using the "no flash" setting (lightning bolt with circle around it). Feel free to give that setting a try, trial and error is the best way to learn.

Many of the pre-sets cameras have these days are very good. They have them for all sorts of photography situations like pets, food, flowers, night, landscape, night landscape, close-up, beach/snow, and many more. This image was taken on my Nikon D7000 using the "sunset" setting and it is spot on for exposure and color. It looks very true to life of how I remember it. I had this enlarged into a metal print and it is truly exquisite. It hangs on my husbands office wall at work.  It was taken at Rock Cut Mt, near the top of RMNP. sunset at Rock Cut RMNPsunset at Rock Cut RMNPTaken at Rock Cut, near the top of Rocky Mt. Nat. Park

And now for a camera recommendation, as I mentioned earlier I just purchased the Nikon D3300 24.2 megapixels . I am in LOVE with this camera. For 95% of the people out there looking for a great camera this one is perfect. It is smaller and lighter than my other two but is just as capable. I decided on this one because I wanted to get a more suitable camera to take on vacation and stomp around the mountains with instead of lugging my pro one's along. The buttons are simplified for the beginner and it is very user friendly. I am not going to say that you need to put no effort into your photos, you still will have to do your part but there is nothing too overwhelming about this camera. It is affordable and has some cool features that many of you will appreciate. If you choose to, you can add the Nikon WU-1a mobile adapter to connect to wifi and be able to send images right from the camera to an Android or iOS device. I have not played with that feature yet because I am a rare breed and do not have a smart phone. I plan to experiment with it soon as it may be something I would use in my business. Other key features to this gem of a camera are: 1080/60p HD video, 5 frames per second of continuous shooting (great for sports photography), a 700 shot re-chargeable battery life, and Expeed 4 processor. This camera is available at Amazon with a bundle that includes a 18 - 55 mm lens as well as a 55 - 200 mm lens, a carry case and SD card for under $650


I hope my tips will help you achieve your photography goals. Feel free to ask any specific questions or request topics for future blogs.


~~ Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still ~~

]]> (Carole Meeter Photography) Mon, 23 Mar 2015 12:00:00 GMT
Blast Off Endeavor ! I absolutely love looking through old photos. I stumbled upon these as I was unpacking and going through my mountains of photo discs, and here is how the story goes.... 

Back in March 2008 we had a very much anticipated 8 day family trip planned to Disney World. We are meeting some friends there so good times and great memories are guaranteed. I adore Disney and could not wait to get away from the cold Chicago winter and into the sunshine of Florida. Three days before we are to leave I come down with the flu, strain B and I am miserable. Can NOT function miserable, y'all know the kind of sick I'm talking about. I am a last minute packer so I have nothing done and now I am sick and nothing will get done until the absolute very last minute. My son is only 2 years old, so he is no help but luckily I do have a husband that is pretty capable and is the only reason we were at all prepared for this trip. We were flying out of Rockford Regional Airport, which is fabulous to fly out of, especially with a young child. It is small and easy to navigate and only have commercial flights going in and out a couple times a week. Two days before we are to leave, I get a phone call from the airlines saying that they have changed our flight and we now have to leave one day earlier than planned or find a different flight.  Seriously ?? What the "F" was my one and only thought. At this point it is too late to get another flight at a reasonable price so I just need to "Suck It Up Buttercup" and find a hotel for the extra night and get my sickly butt in gear and get us packed because we leave tomorrow !  Anyone that knows me is probably thinking how very out of character it is for me to complain about having to leave early and spend an extra day on vacation. As sick as I was, I truly NEEDED that extra day. I am pissed that this is happening and am not sure how I am going to get better at all now and be able to enjoy this vacation. As I am booking a hotel for the extra night and extending the rental car a day, I see a headline pop up that changes my whole perspective of this tragic situation that has been thrust upon me. It reads ......

"Shuttle Appears Ready for Launch Early Tuesday" 


Now I am in the midst of a, "Seriously ??  How cool is that ?" moment. I have always dreamed of seeing a shuttle launch but never thought I would actually have the chance to see one literally fall in my lap like this. It seemed too good to be true. As I read the story, I discovered that the Space Shuttle Endeavor is set to launch from Titusville, FL at 2:28 am, which is less than 12 hrs after we are due to arrive in FL,  now that our flight time has been changed, and is only a short 45 minute drive away from where we are staying. You guessed it, sick or not I am going to go watch this amazing event ..... no longer pissed that the stupid airline changed my flight time either....

We arrive on schedule in FL and get settled in our hotel. After dinner I take a nap,  get as much cold & flu medicine in me as is needed to get me through the night and set off on my great adventure. My amazing husband graciously agreed to stay at the hotel with our son so I am to go it alone. I am the adventurous type by nature, so it's all good. The drive to the coast in the middle of the night was very pleasant.  There was soooooo much traffic, as to be expected. I had left early enough that I had plenty of time to get there. The atmosphere of everyone driving to view the launch was absolutely electric. Everyone had their windows down and were whooping and hollering with excitement as our cars inched their way down the highway to Titusville.  Even with leaving extra early, I only arrived about 1/2 hr. before the shuttle was scheduled to launch. I got lucky and amazingly found a parking space. I had no idea where to go so I followed the mass of people and found my way to a dock where I had a clear view of the shuttle sitting on the launch pad across the bay. 

I don't know if it was the meds really working well or just the sheer excitement of BEING there, but for the first time in days I felt great. I mean FANTASTIC. Not at all sick. Incredible. 

The amount of people lined up all along the coast went on as far as the eye could see. I can not even attempt a guess at how many proud Americans were there to witness this awesome event, in the middle of this gorgeous night. They had a P.A. system set up with a live broadcast going on. We could hear Mission Control and the astronauts talking and going through all their last minute safety checks. When they started the final countdown before blast off the crowd erupted in cheer. I can still hear it ... 10, 9, 8 ....


I saw the roll of smoke and what appeared to be a fireball, but there was no loud sound like I expected. it was silent. I don't even remember the vast crowd making noise, everyone was in utter amazement of what was happening before us.  I never took my camera away from my eye for the entire launch. I kept the shutter depressed and saw it all through my lens. 

This was the first image in the series I captured.

The entire launch from the moment Mission control completed the countdown and I saw the first smoke appear until I could no longer see the shuttle took less than 12 seconds. 

I started to tear up, it was a very "Proud To Be An American" moment for me.



12 seconds of one of the most vivid memories I will ever have.


I sometimes wonder if it would have looked different, or more amazing if I had taken my eye away from my viewfinder to watch. No regrets, I don't believe in them. These images are very special to me and I know I would have regreted NOT capturing them. 


Just like that, the shuttles leaves the atmosphere. 12 seconds is all it took.....

The shuttle is out of sight, and NOW is when we hear it's roar. I stood on that dock, completely silent, staring up in awe at where it had left it path of smoke,  until I could no longer hear it's mighty roar. One of the most amazing experiences in my life, occurring on March 11, 2008. 

This image is slightly blurry from me shaking with such raw emotion. Notice how bright the sky looks. Let me remind you that it is 2:28 am. The entire sky was completely lit up as if it was daytime by the launch. It remained that way for what seemed like several minutes after, but I am not sure how long in lasted in real time. 


The Space Shuttle Endeavor is now on display at The Samuel Oschin Pavilion while they construct it's permanent home, a new addition that will be called Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center, located south of downtown Los Angeles. Once the project is complete, I will be making my way there to view it once again - up close and personal this time.


"Anyone who sits on top of the largest hydrogen-oxygen fueled system in the world, knowing they are going to light the bottom, and doesn't get a little worried, does not fully understand the situation"  ~~ John Young, after being asked if he was nervous about making the first Space Shuttle flight in 1981.




]]> (Carole Meeter Photography) (Shuttle (Space Endeavor) Florida Launch) NASA Shuttle Titusville Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:32:00 GMT
Same Old View, Different Day So I am told I should blog ..... here goes nothing !  Since this is my first real blog post I feel compelled to start with a blanket disclaimer. I don't believe or feel like I am a writer in any way, shape, or form. I am a Mom/Wife first, a retired cop second .... and then I am a photographer. What started as a hobby many moons ago is now a passion, and a career ..... in that order. I am not a long winded person by nature. I am more a blunt and to the point kind of gal so we shall see how this goes. However, I do hope you enjoy my lil' snippets of the world through my eyes and come back to visit often. 


As many of you know, I recently moved from a very flat and often boring IL to Colorful Colorado !  It has been an adventure thus far and I CAN NOT wait for what my future holds. . Each morning I wake up is so vastly different from any other morning that has come before. No sunrise or sunset is quite the same. Yes, the view may be the same, but each and every time I look out my window (more like stare in awe of the beauty) it is subtly and uniquely different. 


These next few images are of the exact same view but they are so very different in appearance. All of them are stunning, but they all seem to possess their own personality and mood. This is my absolute favorite view from the lane that leads to our home. I could get lost in it all day long, and sometimes do. The layers and details involved in this truly majestic view often make it hard for my old eyes to really focus and take it all in. 


A little about this view, the first image was captured this morning as I drove my son down to the bus. I find it almost impossible to just drive by and not snap a shot. Today there just happened to be that big, beautiful moon hanging overhead, pair that with the not a cloud in the incredibly bue sky and it takes your breath away......  In the far distance you can clearly see Rocky Mt. Nat. Park, Long's Peak. 



This image was taken shortly after we moved here where I woke up to what appeared to be just a frozen winter wonderland (not to be confused with Arrandale). There was not any real snow to speak of but the temps were fairly warm during the day and cold at night, so everything just got "frozen" with a thin layer of ice. It was like nothing I had every really seen before. Just plain gorgeous and peaceful.




This was taken last week after we got about a foot and a half of snow dumped on us. I never thought I would appreciate snow ...... until I moved HERE !



This last image for today is the same as the first, just in black & white. I am in love with images like these, the mood they convey, and timelessness of them.



So there it it !  I did it !  My first blog entry is complete. If you made it this far, I hope you enjoyed it and want to thank you for spending a few minutes out of your busy day with me. 


Feel free to subscribe if you want to be informed as I post future entries and I would love to hear your comments !


Have a great Day !




~ ~  Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate ~ ~  Steve Jobs


]]> (Carole Meeter Photography) Collins Ft. Laporte Long's Peak RMNP Mon, 09 Mar 2015 18:41:09 GMT
My Lil' Rock Star !


I recently finally got my lil' man out for a shoot with his guitar. Nothing cooler than playing on the tracks ...


]]> (Carole Meeter Photography) Thu, 17 Oct 2013 14:00:10 GMT