The American Museum of Natural History

During Memorial Day Weekend 2009 I set out to get comfortable with my first DSLR camera at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). While the museum features The Rose Center (home of the Hayden Planetarium) and several halls, I gravitated towards the fossils and dioramas which present great photo opportunities. 

The fourth floor of the museum contains a vast animal fossil collection of various shapes, sizes, and origins encased in glass or hovering several feet over visitors. Many of the fossils have been set up in positions which give the illusion of movement. The somewhat open floor plan and clear display cases offer a wide array of possible angles. However, the clear cases also mean that it’s fairly difficult to get shots without people. 

The diorama galleries set AMNH apart from any other museum I’ve visited so far. The halls are dimly lit allowing the dioramas along the walls to serve as beacons of light which guide photographers to unbelievably realistic wildlife scenes set against beautiful landscapes. The dioramas are only rivaled by a shot of the African Elephants from the upper level of the Akeley Hall of African Mammals and the experience of walking into the Hall of Ocean Life and seeing a large whale floating overhead. I had a great time revisiting the AMNH and photographing the exhibits for the first time. I definitely plan on returning to capture new images of old favorites.

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