Natural History Museum New Hintze Hall
The collections of the Natural History Museum go back to 1756. The present building was completed in 1880. The museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 80 million items. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Charles Darwin. The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and ornate architecture—sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature—both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast that dominated the vaulted central hall before it was replaced in 2017 with the skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling.
I had wanted to get a picture of the renovated main hall with a Blue Whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling since it reopened to the public in July. I was put off by the giant queues when I was in the area through summer until October. Regardless of the time of year though this hall is always full of people. I got round this by taking 34 pictures at intervals of about 3 seconds. There is a quick way of getting rid of the people by combining these shots using a special technique in Photoshop which discards anything not staying the same throughout the sequence. I set up at a central point overlooking the main hall. A Tripod was out of the question due to the number of people so I rested the camera on a wide ledge, held it steady and took the shots. To remove the people go to File –Scripts- Statistics. In the window set Stack Mode to Median, load the images and tick automatically align image sources to he presto remove the people. I deliberately left in 2 as they gave scale and some nice red on one.
Rather than do HDR for each image before combining I did an HDR of one set using Fusion Natural and added in a minus 4 image created in RAW to bring in some detail into the skylights. Then the image without people which was created from the jpegs was copied in as a layer, removed with a black layer mask and then painted back in on the floor and some of the balconies to get rid of the people. A bit of tidy up with the clone tool.
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