No Flash or Tripod Allowed

What do you do when you are at a location where you are not allowed to use flash or tripod?  In May of 2018 I was at the 50 Years of Star Trek exhibit in the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle.  I was informed that flash would damage the items on display in the exhibit.  I also knew from doing my own research online that use of a tripod in museums is often not allowed and would be a trip hazard for people.

Fortunately for me I had my camera bag which contained my two lenses; an 18-55mm kit lens, and the very remarkable 70-200mm F4L IS Canon.  Walking around the exhibit taking photographs was a challenge in many ways; some original props were behind glass cases, others were suspended from the ceiling, and a few things were very close to one another and picking up the different lighting from a nearby display.

I had to stand off at an angle from the glass cased items in the exhibit and cropped the composition as close as possible.

This costume was worn by William Shatner in the Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror.”

Above is the result of standing to one side.  The camera and lens details; Canon Rebel XS, 18-55mm, 1/4 shutter, F4, ISO 400.  It was necessary to use a higher ISO since flash was not allowed.

The really cool and amazing part of the exhibit was the large shooting model used for the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I had watched on You Tube many times the auction where the USS Enterprise 1701-D was auctioned off for an astounding $500, 000.  I wondered who had purchased it and what would happen to this piece of Star Trek history.  While at this exhibit I had learned it was bought by Paul Allen.  It was on display during this exhibit and here it is in this next photo.

The shooting model from Star Trek: The Next Generation.


I used my Canon 18-55mm lens braced on a solid metal railing to create this stunning photo of the USS Enterprise 1701-D.  The camera and lens details; 28mm, F8, ISO 1600, 1/25 shutter speed.

What an incredible experience for this Star Trek fan and photographer.  This was a once in a lifetime event that I was so very fortunate to see and photograph.  I will never forget the fun of seeing the many props on display from a franchise I have loved since I was 10 years old.

What museum would you like to see and if allowed, photograph?  Are you ready and able to use all of your camera and lens settings to compensate for no flash or tripod?  Are you confident in your skills to create fabulous tack sharp photographs of museum displays?


About Douglas Wilks Photography

I am an advanced photographer who lives in western Montana. I create a variety of strong images using a DSLR, computer, and digital software. I am available for hire for full time, part time, or projects. Most of my images are of landscapes, still life, and events. I am always looking to improve my skills, network of friends and professionals, and portfolio. I look forward to creating new friends, contacts, and others who are interested in photography.
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