Release the Kraken

Sailors have long told tales of a large sea monsters that could pull down large sailing vessels, never to be seen again. While such animals may not actually exist today, it may have been possible in prehistoric times. An octopus or squid back then would have been measured by yards, not feet.

This very large specimen hangs from the ceiling in the Morian Hall of Paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. While it might not be “the” kraken of old tales, it no doubt would bring fear to any poor sole that it happened to seek out for dinner.

 

A Dinosaur Panorama

One area of photography that camera phones have made easy are panoramic images. Creating one using a traditional camera yields much higher quality images, but takes considerable more effort. You have to use a tripod to steady the camera, take multiple images, then stitch them together using computer software.

As part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s Pixel Party, I was able to shoot a panorama in the Morian Hall of Paleontology. It’s a great place take in the large exhibits of dinosaurs many of us dreamed of as kids.

This is a partial of the original image. I had to crop out a portion on the left, only because the head of the brontosaurus was backlit by a large ceiling light and couldn’t be seen. When shooting, it was dark and hard to see fine details on the camera’s small viewfinder, but next time, I’ll have to pay closer attention.

Though it may not appear that large on this blog, be assured that panos have more detail than a single prints. In this case, the original file is over 18,700 pixels wide, meaning it would make a great large wall print.

 

A pano of the Morian Hall of Paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Photo by Tim Stanley

Face-Off

Museums are a great place to wonder about the past and get a glimpse at how things might have been. At the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Morian Hall of Paleontology is a permanent collection packed with prehistoric beasts, guaranteed to excite kids of all ages. This is one of my favorite exhibits at the museum and one I hope to shoot again.

Here, a triceratops and a tyrannosaurus rex face off in a remake of a stand off that might have took place a long time ago.

I had a chance to participate in a recent #pixelparty allowing access to certain exhibits after hours.

The Samurai Warrior Gallery

One thing I enjoy about good museums is the atmosphere they create for their exhibits and the Houston Museum of Natural Science does it as good as anyone. Walking through the “Samurai, the Age of the Warrior” exhibit, you enter a room with several “warriors” sitting, awaiting your arrival. Needless to say, this was my favorite part of the exhibit. This display of ancient warrior armor

With a room full of photographers, I had to wait until minutes before closing to get a view with no one else in the photo.

 


The Samurai, the Age of the Warrior is a great display of Samurai artifacts, including weapons, armor and more.gMug

This photo is part of my #pixelparty collection from HMNS.

The Samurai Warrior

For almost seven centuries, the Age of the Samurai is a period of Japanese history when “those who serve” started as armed supporters of wealthy landowners and became warrior-administrators. The Houston Museum of Natural Science has a great display of Samurai artifacts, including weapons, armor and more. Though not what I would call a large exhibit, the unique items on display are very rare and well worth the visit. The exhibit is runs until September 13, 2015.

Shooting in a museum can be quite challenging. The glass display cases present constant glare problems and the low light dictates the use of a tripod for most cameras. I’ll be posting a few more images in later this week.

 

The Houston Museum of Natural Science has a great display of Samurai artifacts, including weapons, armor and more.

 

This photo is part of my #pixelparty collection from HMNS.

Stuart Tank

When you visit the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, TX, you need to take out the extra time and take a stroll a few block away to the extra exhibits. Only about 20% of the visitors do this, which is too bad. There you will find a restored warbird, PT boat, and tanks. Several times a year, they have actual reenactments that with actual tanks, flame-throwers and more. We hit an off-day, so though there were no crowds, there were no reenactments either. This Stuart tank is used during the show and looks like it just came off the battlefield.

The M3 Stuart was an American light tank used in World War II. They were the first American-crewed tanks to engage the enemy in tank versus tank combat.

 

The M3 Stuart was an American light tank used in World War II. They were the first American-crewed tanks to engage the enemy in tank versus tank combat. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

Presidential Documentation

I would imagine that Presidents generate a lot of paperwork. Considering the number of letters, briefs, reports and the bills they sign into law, it has to be quite the job to collect and mange those for the presidential library that is sure to follow. Living in Texas, we are fortunate to have several within driving distance. Last summer, our family visited the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, TX and recently visited the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin.

While not visible in the Bush Library, the LBJ had a multi-story viewing area where visitors could see bookcase after bookcase containing binders of documents from Johnson’s term in office. While those floors are not open to the general public, they can be visited by appointment for historians, researchers and others.

I have driven by this building many times when visiting Austin over the years, and am glad we finally took the time to visit it. Tickets are very affordable and the exhibits only takes a few hours to go through. Even if you are not a Democrat, you will still enjoy the visit 😉

 

While not visible in the Bush Library, the LBJ had a multi-story viewing area where visitors could see bookcase after bookcase containing binders of documents from Johnson's term in office. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.