Sept. Flickr Photo of the Month: Museum Reflected

Our science museum is lucky enough to have talented and enthusiastic people who visit us every day – wandering our halls, grounds and satellite facilities, capturing images of the wonders on display here that rival the beauty of the subjects themselves. Thankfully, many share their photos with us and everyone else in our HMNS Flickr group – and we’re posting our favorites here, once a month. (You can check out the first two picks: “Leaf’s Eye View,” by AlphaTangoBravo and “Rice Paper Butterfly” by emmiegrn.)

There are so many stunning images in the pool, it’s always tough to choose. This month’s pick, “Museum Reflected” by bryan.dawson is a striking portrayal of something most people don’t examine too closely – the globe on the tip of our sundial. Here’s what bryan.dawson had to say about his shot – which includes an interesting perspective on composition:

“It was only recently that I even realized that you could take photos in most of the museum. It wasn’t until one of my Flickr groups, Assignment Houston, had an assignment at the museum that I even considered taking my camera along. I missed the big group gathering (you might have seen it mentioned on the HMNS blog as well), so I went on my own later.

I think I drove my fiancee mad since I stopped every few feet to take a photo. This particular photo was one of the very last ones I took that day. My fiancee wanted to look around the gift shop, so I went outside to snap a few. The clouds were blocking the sun just enough to send out some tendrils of light. It was a beautiful sight, but I knew it would look better if there was something in the foreground. That’s when I noticed that the ball on top of the sundial was mirrored and you could see the museum reflected back in it.

That was it … I lined it up, and what you see is the result. I tried lots of different post-processing on it before deciding upon a monotone coloring. I like to think it lets you focus on the composition instead of being distracted by the colors.”

Many thanks to bryan.dawson for allowing us to share his beautiful photograph. We hope this and all the other amazing photography in our group on Flickr will inspire you to bring a camera along next time you’re here – and show us what you see.

Tomorrow’s scientists are giggling about sheep eyeballs today

Soon, the most talented and gifted future scientists from around the world will be gathering for a very special week at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.  It is slated to be the largest ever gathering of teenage researchers. 

These children are among the most motivated science students that the world has to offer.  They will come together to share their research on such topics as climate, disease, and pollution.  The conference is put on by GLOBE, a worldwide science and education program operated in part by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).

Here at the Houston Museum of Natural Science we have some of the world’s most talented future scientists as well.  During the eleven weeks of camp offered at the Museum and its satellite facilities, child scientists participate in such varied topics as robotics, chemistry, physics, biology, and anthropology, just to name a few.

This week we have robotics technicians working on programing robots in the Robo-Lab and they will even construct their own “battlebot” from a remote control car and recycled items (the Museum kid scientist always is thinking of the environment).  Friday, these experts will put their new skills to the test in different contests designed to let them flex their newly aquired skill-sets.  

Just up the hallway from our robotics experts, we have a class of up and coming science magicians in Super Science Magic class.  Here, they discover that magic is science in disguise.  They practice science magic showmanship as they learn to wow crowds with magic performed with an understanding of physics and chemistry concepts.  They also learn a thing or two about legerdemain (French for slight of hand).  On Friday, the young magicians have a magic show to amaze and thrill their families.

If you continue along the hallway, you will come upon the Photo Safari class, where the children learn how  a camera operates by dissecting a sheep’s eyeball and building their own pinhole camera to take pictures that are developed in class using real photographic chemicals.  In an age of digital photography the art and science of developing your own prints is fast becoming a lost science, but we are keeping that science alive by inspiring a new generation of scientists/artists. 

These are only three of the many, many classes that are offered to excite children about science.  As you can see from the videos, science can excite as well as enrich childrens’ lives.  Check back throughout the summer for more super summer camp updates.