Vienna Museums: The Naturhistorisches Museum

| December 9, 2012
Vienna Museums: The Naturhistorisches Museum

The Interior of Vienna’s Naturhistorisches Museum

We are back from our Christmastime trip to Vienna and, as usual, I have a lot of images to share. Today’s post features a few images from one of the many Vienna Museums…the Naturhistorisches Museum, or Museum of Natural History. The museum, among the largest of its kind, houses 39 exhibition halls and thousands of earth and life sciences objects. In all honesty, we went to this museum by accident. The natural history museum looks exactly like the Kunsthistorisches Museum, which is full of incredible works of art. The two enormous museums face each other across a park and, let’s just say, we turned left instead of right. We realized our mistake AFTER we had bought our ticket but in the end we are glad we went because we thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

Vienna Museums: The Naturhistorisches Museum

The grand staircase at the Naturhistorisches Museum

Vienna Museums: The Naturhistorisches

Part of the joy of visiting Vienna’s museums museums is seeing their stunning interiors. The Naturhistorisches does not disappoint. The photo at the top shows what we saw as we entered the museum and walked up the grand staircase. The photo is made up three images panning upwards, which were hand stitched in Photoshop to manage lens distortion. I felt that the vertical panorama was the best way to capture the essence of the space and show it to you in all its glory. From the marble balcony to the statues and the Circle of Life painting on the ceiling, I was in heaven! Just click the image to see more detail.

I did not have my tripod and I doubt I would have been permitted to use it anyway. As a result, all the interior photos in this post were all shot hand held. To manage the low light and the potential for camera shake, I pushed my ISO up to 3200 and shot at my lens’ widest aperture, which was f/4.0.

The resulting shutter speed of about 1/30th to 1/40th of a second along with the image stabilization capability of my lens allowed me to shoot acceptably clear, shake-free images. Flash would be useless in spaces this large. Learning how to shoot large interiors like the Naturhistorsches without a flash will render much more satisfying images when you get home!

Naturhistorisches Museum

Robotic Allosaurus at the Vienna Naturhistorisches Museum

The museum is full of every sort of wildlife you can imagine. From the antelopes you see below to what must have been a thousand varieties of birds, we were fascinated by the comprehensiveness and quality of the exhibits.

Vienna Museums: The Naturhistorisches Museum

Antelope exhibit at the Naturhistorisches Museum

Vienna’s architecture is stunning. A variety of architectural styles can be found in Vienna, including  Romanesque and Baroque. What’s more, the structures are in very good condition and the city is going to great lengths to keep them that way. If you look at the image below of the exterior of the museum, you can see the pristine center section compared to the dirtier right wing. The before and after is remarkable. As shown in the photo, scaffolding was erected across the entire left wing as they continued the restoration work. Once cleaned, the facades look incredible, which adds to the city’s beautiful presence and ambiance.

I found the exteriors of Vienna museums tough to photograph in December. Many of the buildings had Christmas markets in front of them and the fountains were boarded up for winter. Combine that with predominantly grey skies and scaffolding here and there and you have a challenging environment for shooting architecture. Fortunately there was more than enough other subject matter to pursue!

Naturhistorisches Museum

The Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna, Austria

Stay tuned for more on Vienna. During our eight day stay, We went to a concert, attended the opera, shopped the Christmas markets, ate wiener schnitzel, and even made day trips to the Melk Abbey as well as Bratislava in Slovakia. Have a great week!

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Category: Austria, Photography, Travel