Something old something new something really old

Picture(s): Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil skeleton in front foyer of the California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California

Over the Thanksgiving Holiday week, I got my first chance, along with my family, to see the new home of the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Golden Gate Park. I had been to the old Academy many times, including when I shot for my book, Our San Francisco. I always loved being ‘greeted’ by this massive dinosaur, which clearly reigned as one of the prize exhibits.

During the long rebuilding process, the CAS moved to a (very) small temporary home in downtown San Francisco. It was tough going to visit there and see so few exhibits when you knew the CAS housed so much. But this last year, with lots of fan fare, the new CAS re-opened at it’s home in Golden Gate Park. I was excited to see all of the new exhibits, and to see what remained of the old exhibits.

Once again, I got special permission to photograph at the CAS for my upcoming book project. Unfortunately, my very first moment in the new CAS was a photographic disappointment.

Yes, I was again ‘greeted’ by my old friend. However, the new design, with lots of glass and sunlight, meant that I could no longer photographically isolate Mr. Rex the way I had years ago. Back then, there was glass on both sides of my oversized fossil friend, but by standing in just the exact right spot, aiming my camera down the long entrance hall, I was able to get a relatively clean shot of this impressive creature.

Not to be outdone by modern architecture and design, the best I could do was to incorporate my new friend into his (forgive the gender bias) new environs. So in the end, it wasn’t so much as a disappointment, as a new opportunity, a challenge, a visual problem to be photographically solved. After all, that’s what being a photographer is all about.

The new CAS is truly a great place to visit, and should be very high on the list of must-do / should-do for out of town visitors and tourists coming to visit San Francisco.

PS: In case you may not have noticed, my “catch all – etc.” category for this weblog, since its beginning has been called the “Fossil Beds”. It’s only appropriate that I include this post in that category

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3 Comments on “Something old something new something really old”

  1. G Dan Mitchell Says:

    Hey, Gary, you’ve probably already figured this out, but I’ll bet that if Mr./Ms. Dino is artificially lit that shooting when the outside light diminishes might make for a striking shot.


  2. Richard Wong Says:

    Judging from the latest image, the new museum looks like a fantastic place to visit. I remember on my last visit to the old building – Steinhart Aquarium, there was two families of Piranhas fighting over their babies. Each of the parents had their babies behind them on their side of the tank while they would threaten to attack each other again and again. it was the most fascinating thing I have ever seen in an aquarium.

  3. Peter T. Says:

    I was thinking in his/her new environs, a nighttime shot might work best for your dinosaur friend.

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