The Museum of Natural History is filled with incredible, awesome, interesting, and impossibly hard to photograph things. I’ve visited it several times in the past, and only had very limited success for all my efforts.

The basic problem is that there’s just not a lot of light to work with in the building, and using a flash tends to result in a lot of harsh glares and reflections. The dinosaur skeletons in particular look pretty bad using a flash (see this example from my flickr photostream where I did use the flash).

So I was excited on my most recent trip to try out my 50mm f/1.8 lens – the best low light lens in my repertoire. I found that with the aperture wide open, I could get away with shooting at a fast enough shutter speed for acceptable photos without either a tripod or my flash.

But the downside of shooting at f/1.8, of course, is that it results in an incredibly shallow depth of field. So I had to take that into account when shooting, and adapt accordingly. I found I was able to use it to my advantage; I think the shallow depth of field in the image above really gives the T Rex a three dimensional feel – it helps him to jump out of the photo and really look threatening, without losing too much of the skeleton’s detail.

Shot with a Nikon D70 using a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens, 1/40 second exposure. Adjusted using Adobe Lightroom.


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