Indiana Jones Exhibit

A few years ago we went to go see the Titanic Exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. The exhibit featured actual relics from the ship and props from the movie. It was tastefully done. This year in the same place we have an Indiana Jones exhibit on the Adventure of Archeology. The basic idea is to explore the history of archeology based on the characters and events from the four movies. The exhibit main flow takes you through each movie, introducing the characters and showing some props from the movie. Elements from each movie are explored or explained as mere Hollywood creations. For example the headpiece from the staff of Ra is shown. While this was just something made up for the movie they showed how its design was copied from some Egyptian earrings found in King Tut’s tomb.

After you pay your $21 and head up stairs to begin the tour, you are handed a small 7″ NFC-enabled tablet with attached headphones. You sign into the tablet and choose which artifact you want to find in the treasure hunt. All along the exhibit there are clue pedestals. You touch your tablet to the pedestal and get a clue. Some of the clues required you to touch objects in the exhibit so the NFC could register the touch. Some were small video games on the tablet. There were nine clues and if you got them all then you got your name on the board at the end. When it was not playing treasure hunt the tablet could also be used to access audio and video about each station. Sometimes there was just audio. Sometimes there was animation or video. And sometimes the audio was synchronized or streaming from a station playing a video on a large monitor. The tablet worked in Spanish or English.

If you’re a fan of the movies then the exhibit can be a lot of fun. It touched archeology from all over the world from China to Machu Picchu. It was just a touch on the archeology. If you are looking for rare Egyptian antiquities then this exhibit is not for you. May I suggest seeing King Tut when he wakes up again. This exhibit is a showcase for how Steve Spielberg and George Lucas uses existing legends and myths in a respectful way to create memorable entertainment.

I did realize that I have not watched the third and fourth films in quite a while. It is time to click on them on the AppleTV. The next exhibit at the FWMSH is Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition running October 11 through January 4. That should be good.

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Ansel Adams Exhibit

I finally broke away to see the Ansel Adams Exhibit at the Arlington Museum. The exhibit closes tomorrow. Nothing like waiting to the last minute. I’m familiar with Adams’ canonical Yosemite work. I was hoping the exhibit would expand my knowledge of the artist. The collection of 48 works we selected for this exhibit that include a nice sampling of his career displayed on the first two floors of the museum.

I found the captions for each picture to be very enlightening as they highlighted the mechanics of Adam’s style. His signature elements are multiple horizons, incredible tones, and complete depth of field. When you think that he was working with 8½ x 11 negative plates and controlling his exposure by removing the lens cap, it boggles the mind at the quality of his work. I can only ape in admiration.

There is a photograph on the second floor of a fallen log in some sort of forest scene. When I first looked at it the photograph really bothered me. I had a visceral abhorrence to it. I quickly moved on. One of the elderly ladies working the museum asked me what I thought about the photo. I said honestly that I didn’t like it. It did not belong in the collection. It was… blurry. It turns out it was one of Adams’ first pictures and an experiment with a soft focus lens that was in common use at the time. It is an anomaly for this collection where all his other work is in black and white in perfect clarity.

The exhibit featured a PBS special on his life that I’ll need to watch on my AppleTV. There was only passing reference to his work in color. There was a great quote that a noted. Adams’ did not like to do much dark room magic and manipulation. He preferred to get the image in the camera. But he did talk about getting his prints onto paper. He chose simple glossy paper as the best tool to show you his images. Being a pianist he saw the negative like the music score and the print like a performance. They should be judged accordingly.

Below are three pictures that I took last weekend. I have rendered them in black and white. I did not have clear skies for my pictures. I prefer the bokeh focus on the macro for the leaves. And I did not have sixty years of practice. I am inspired to go to Yosemite and Tetons to see the places in his pictures and try for myself.

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