This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at our favorite @bioreconstruct photos from 2020! Despite the last year being almost a complete dumpster fire, there are a couple positives here and there that we can look back upon. The Space Mountain cookie jar was an awesome piece of merchandise that was released. I took Bacini – the official dog of DisTwitter – for our first ever stay in a cabin at Fort Wilderness and discovered it may be our favorite place on Disney property. Answering my prayers, the Disney Outlet Stores finally closed for a little while to give me a break from visiting that wretched hive of scum and villainy.
One thing that was consistant throughout 2020 was awesome photos from our favorite blogger-in-the-sky, @bioreconstruct. Today we’re going to look back at some of our favorite photos that our pal “Bio” took over the past 12 months, even getting a chance to pick his brain on a couple of them. Let’s kick it off with…
# 6 – Right Place, Right Time
There’s an old saying that “it’s better to be lucky than good,” but in our case Bio is both lucky and good. Getting a good shot of lightning can be challenging for any theme park photographer, because you never know where or when it is going to arrive out of the sky. This past year Bio was able to get several incredible pictures because he just so happened to be in the right place at the right time (and was well prepared!).
Who doesn’t love seeing a rainbow? Makes a day 22% better immediately.
How often do we get photos of blimps looking down at them?!
Some of my all time favorite shots from Bio are those taken at night, such as this incredible photo of Islands of Adventure taken on May 5. The lighting packages of the various islands just pop and Jurassic Park at the center of the photo is extra illuminated for construction lighting.
I asked Bio what was it about nighttime shots that appeal to him as a photographer. His reply:
Another one of Bio’s nighttime flights got this amazing shot of several of Universal’s on-site hotels. The photo below was taken back at the end of March, and it was one of the first flights around Orlando by anyone after pretty much the entire city was closed down in mid-March. (Reminder that Walt Disney World shut down its parks on March 16.) You can see in the photos below that large hearts have been created on Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Aventura Hotel, and Loews Sapphire Falls Resort.
Soon after, Bio got a shot from ground level of the heart which was created for Aventura Hotel.
One of the more humorous stories involving a nighttime photo shoot came on May 30. While flying over the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure, Bio saw that the maintenance lights were on for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. A photo with these lights on is something I don’t think had ever been captured by a photographer before.
However, the lights didn’t stay on for long with someone noticed a helicopter circling above…
There are some things you just can’t plan for, such as back in June when Bio was flying around Walt Disney World taking aerial photos of pretty much empty theme parks. However, when flying above Disney’s Magic Kingdom, he noticed some activity on the ground.
For most of us, that information was gone probably the day after we saw it, if not sooner. Bio never forgets anything, and was Johnny-on-the-spot to immediately remind us of his earlier photo when Disney unveiled a new television commercial over four months later on October 17th.
# 5 – The Rocket’s Red Glare
Those of us living in Central and Eastern Florida get the opportunity to see a decent amount of rocket launches over the course of a year. It’s one of the benefits of your state having a “Space Coast.” We may get used to seeing palm trees and great beaches, but a rocket launch is something that honestly never gets old. In fact, just a couple weeks ago – on December 19 of last year – I remember rushing outside to the backyard with my family to see the last SpaceX rocket launch of the year. We live on the Treasure Coast section of Florida, well over 100 miles south of Cape Canaveral, and yet we still were able to see the bright trail from the rocket.
What’s better than seeing rocket launches from your house? Seeing them from Disney and Universal….
# 4 – Moon
We’ve done several articles in this Fine Blog Series on the craft of theme park photography. The best photographers can take something we’ve all seen a million times and present it in a way that is unique and eye catching. For example, despite being something ubiquitous that we see just about each and every day of our lives, photographs of the moon mixed with theme parks can be extremely special. Because the moon has different phases, there can be various striking images taken of it.
# 3 – Planets
While we may see the moon every day, one thing that we don’t see with the naked eye nearly as often is other planets. While most of us park goers aren’t astronomers, I think most guests would enjoy being able to see other planets from inside the theme parks. The good news is: you can. The bad news is: since most of us aren’t astronomers, we don’t know when or where to look. Thankfully, Bio has us covered. This year, we even got a even rarer treat, as two different planets were visible at the same time over the course of several days as they moved closer and closer to each other.
Here is an illustration from an article in Sky and Telescope. It shows how closely Jupiter and Saturn are passing from our perspective on Earth.
Being able to see various moons of these planets without using a telescope is pretty extraordinary, but that wasn’t the only thing which floored Bio.
# 2 – Velociraptor Coaster Construction
When it comes to covering the construction of any theme park attraction, Disney or Universal, Bio is the guy we can all count on. Since 2020 saw the elimination or slow down on many projects in Orlando, there wasn’t as much going on as in previous years. One project was full steam ahead though, the VelociCoaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Bio was there every single step of the way, giving us spectacular views of the attraction along with spotlighting some teriffic details!
Bio was also in or around the parks to catch both the first ever nighttime and daytime testing of the coaster.
With ride vehicles running on the track, it allowed Bio to get some good shots using the attraction’s theming in the composition.
However, something caught Bio’s attention while photographing this coaster…
# 1 – The Osprey Odyssey
We covered the incredible saga of ospreys taking over the VelociCoaster in our award-winning 2020 Turkeys of the Year article. An odd story that took many interesting turns over the course of several months, it also allowed Bio to get some wonderful photos.
Ospreys aren’t our only fine fowl friends that Bio has caught with his camera this past year. On December 22, he was able to photograph this flock of birds flying above the EPCOT service canal at sunset.
This broadwinged hawk was pictured at the Universal Orlando Resort.
This red-shouldered hawk was seen on the Universal Garden Walk on August 8.
However, if there is one bird that is beloved by theme park guests, it is the duck. In fact, one guest got a bit of notoriety this past year when they had the temerity to pick up a duck in Disney’s Magic Kingdom. One of the unspoken rules of theme park blogging is “you see a duck, you take a picture of it, period.”
What part of social distancing don’t you understand?!!!
HONORABLE MENTION – An Empty Orlando
Back in March of 2020, we did a SATURDAY SIX looking at the empty theme parks. For those of us who live and work in Florida, it was just as jaw dropping to see otherwise busy areas completely desolate of people.
So there you have it: Our Favorite @bioreconstruct Photos From 2020! See you next weekend for the latest installment of the SATURDAY SIX, where we’ll look at something fun from the world of Disney and Universal. If you enjoyed yourself, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles covering the latest from the Disney Outlet Stores. You can also follow Your Humble Author on Twitter (@derekburgan).
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Special Thanks to The Elite Brandon Glover, the bio-est of all reconstructs @bioreconstruct, Captain Cruiseline Scott Sanders of the world famous Disney Cruise Line Blog, my personal protege Hunter “Elvey” Underwood, the SAT SIX Fun Squad of Parkscope Joe and “the Dadalorian” Nick, hot shot Michael Carelli, charter member of the Universal Four @Nitro230, and Hermione Granger’s tutor Megan Stump for their invaluable assistance with this article. The SAT SIX is inspired each week by goofballs Aengus Mackenzie and LitemAndHyde and you Potterheads will enjoy Meg’s other blog work over at the Central Florida Slug Club.