Darwin, Taxidermy, and the Spiders from Mars. Meandering the halls of The American Museum of Natural History

by davidbrommer

Skulls 1/50 Second f1.4 iso 1250 Processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0 “Yellowed Preset”

Taking class trips while in school when I was a kid always promised an exciting day. You got to jump on a bus and leave the tedium of the classrooms behind and explore some thing new. All it took was a permission slip singed, a few bucks from Mom and Dad and off you went to somewhere special and different. My favorite was a trip to the Museum of Natural History in NYC. So much to see; take in a planetarium show, rub a meteorite, and see arguably the best taxidermy in the world exhibited in very cool dioramas. The museum is where learning, culture, and adventure collide to stimulate your imagination to new heights. In a word, “neato”.

Entrance 1/1200 Second f2.8 iso 200

Barbara and I were off to see the Spiders Alive show on this lovely Columbus day. We had this planned for about 3 weeks and truth be told, I really couldn’t wait to connect to my inner child and hit the museum. So I grabbed my faithful Fujifilm X Pro 1 and figuring it would be dimly lit I chose the 35 f 1.4 to document the day. Normally I wouldn’t post these images, just keep them for myself as I am working on other blog entries of shall we say, “more important nature”? However, marching about the museum’s halls with the X Pro 1 gave me a photographic tingling and so I figured I’d share. Once again, experiencing the world is enhanced when you see it as a photographer and the results were better than I thought. This whole blog post was shot using the 35mm 1.4 capturing standard film sim mode as a jpeg.

Leslie the Tarantula Detail 1/100 Second f1.4 iso 200

Spider Detail (crop of 50%) 1/50 Second f1.4 iso 2000

The American kids were super respectful during the demonstration. Notice the hands up when they have a question? They were attentive and into everything the docent was describing.

Docent and kids 1/50 Second f1.4 iso 1250

Rows of specimen bottles 1/50 Second f5.6 iso 2000 Macro Mode

The following is various taxidermy.

Note: All images are  shot through glass.

1/50 sec f 1.8 iso 400

1/50 sec f 1.8 iso 800

1/50 sec f 1.4 iso 2000

1/50 sec f 1.8 iso 800

Something wonderful for all those curious about where we came from (humanity that is) is the Hall of Origins. Something I always remember from my childhood is the hominid couple walking across the plains. They are short, hairy and and have an affection to each other. They greet you entering this vast temple to Darwin and it’s always a pleasure to see the lovers from another epoch.

1/50 sec f 1.4 iso 3200 Processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.0 Antique 1 setting

I asked a security guard if any creationists had issue with this hall. After all, Adam and Eve have no place here, and with the abundant skulls and supporting arguments for evolution present, creationists would find no sympathizers. The guard said he had been on duty for three and half years and no one had ever spoken or acted with animosity to the exhibits singularity.

I was very impressed with the quality of the images two fold, first the auto focus did great shooting through the glass, secondly the quality of the overall image. I had set the camera to auto iso of 6400 and kept it in auto focus the whole time. I loved the shooting wide open most of the time and the depth of field accentuated the subject matter terrifically in my estimation. Once again, the Fujifilm X Pro 1 delivers stunning results and is a pleasure to keep as a companion around your neck as you explore the glorious world about you.

~David

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