An architectural menagerie

by Helen Hooker January. 24, 2020 515 views

I’ve always had a soft spot for the architecture of the Natural History Museum, with its menagerie of animals visible at every turn. The most obvious member of the family is Hope, the blue whale skeleton which was hung in the main hall in 2017 after Dippy the diplodocus dinosaur, the previous resident, headed off on a national tour.

Elsewhere around the building there are animals everywhere, from dogs guarding the bottom of the staircase to monkeys on the huge arches spanning the hall. I was shooting again today with just my 15mm lens for my prime lens project today so to get close to some of the animals I had to search hard to find vantage points from where to photograph them.

Sir Joseph Banks sits on one of the landings, keeping watch

Sir Joseph Banks sits on one of the landings, keeping watch

The other challenge this afternoon was dealing with the never ending flow of people wanting to take selfies of themselves at various points around the building. Charles Darwin attracted the biggest crowds, sitting in his vantage point half way up the stairs. I got around this by finding an elevated viewpoint and using my little beanbag as a support for my camera. This meant I could shoot exposures of a couple of seconds, blurring away most of the selfie-takers as they moved around.

Charles Darwin takes pride of place, half way up the main staircase

Charles Darwin takes pride of place, half way up the main staircase

In one of the galleries I discovered yet more creatures, moulded into the wall tiles. I’ve walked through this space many times, yet have somehow failed to spot them before!

My final location for the afternoon was the modern Darwin Centre, on the western end of the building. Inside it stands an eight story cocoon which contains interactive galleries showing off some of the museum’s collections. It’s an astonishing contrast to the rest of the museum, with a wonderful contrast between the cocoon’s curvaceous form and the sharp lines of the glass building which surrounds it.

The cocoon. The man walking past gives a sense of scale to this enormous structure!

The cocoon. The man walking past gives a sense of scale to this enormous structure!

24 January 2020

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Sherry Hill 2 months ago

I always dislike people in my shots, but I really like the look of them blurred..

2 months ago Edited
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