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Lesson Plans

Re: Photographing inside a museum

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sat, 3 Apr 1999 16:06:39 EST

First thing I'd do is check with the museum's education department and see
what slides I could check out, then check with the museum store for
postcards. Their official pictures are always going to be of higher quality
than what I can take with my camera walking through the galleries. And in
some cases it is cheaper as well. I find it more cost effective to spend $5
for 5-10 postcards then spend $25 for a 36 exp roll of film and processing,
most of which won't turn out the way I want.

Under no circumstances would I use the flash mounted on the camera. On a
technical level, it contributes to the deterioration of the pigments and most
museums don't let you do it anyway. On an aesthetic level, it produces a very
unflattering light on the subject. Most museums go to great lengths to
properly light works so their strengths are accentuated. The flash will wash
out the subtle lighting with a broad fill that flattens everything. Yech. A
great work of art with bad lighting is going to look like bad art.

If you are after slides, I'd use a tungsten based slide film (no flash) to
balance out the orange of the lights in the gallery. Under these low light
conditions you would have to use a tripod, so it wouldn't matter if the film
was 100, 200 or 400 ... so I'd go with the 100 since it has less grain. I'd
use a 100 if I was shooting prints as well. There is a filter that Cokin
makes ( I forget the number). I think it is 80a or 80b. It's blue. It
balances out the orange cast inherent in the tungsten lights. The filters
can be pricey. If I didnt have that I would make sure the photo lab
understood that the photos were shot in a museum under tungsten light and ask
them to do their best to correct the color shift.

Geoff Black

In a message dated 4/3/99 5:04:29 AM Pacific Daylight Time, colmans1

> Marcia,
> What kind of film do you use? Do you use a flash? I would like to do this
> when I visit DC but I'm not sure how to get the best results. Thanks for
> your advice! Marian