London Trip 2009: Part 2

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The great thing about museums in London is that they are absolutely free! You can spend the whole day there learning new things. During this trip I went to over 6 museums and a 4 exhibitions both in London and Birmingham.

The Natural History Museum.

On the 2nd day of my trip, I went to the World Wildlife Photography exhibition at the Natural History Museum. As the name implies, the photography exhibition revolves around wildlife. Some photos are simply amazing, allowing you to look at animals in ways that you’ve never seen them before. It certainly took some photographers a lot of effort to capture some of the photos seen here. Some of them even had to camp for days in subzero temperatures just to wait for the right moment.

The storybook wolf. The photo above was the winning photo of 2009 until it was disqualified. You can view the online gallery of the photos here. [source]

Also in the Natural History Museum is the dinosaur gallery. They have a scaled down mechanically animated T-rex inside.

I think this is the skeleton of a T-rex.

The dinosaur exhibition was very interesting. There are detailed explanation on why they were highly successful during their era and also factors contributing to the dinosaurs’ extinction. Here you can also find out why some dinosaurs are warm blooded and why some are not.

Replica of a dinosaur’s nest.

Just across the road at the Victoria and Albert museum the decode exhibition was being held. To put it simply, you get to see what happens when art meets science and technology.

That’s a picture of me taking a picture of the Weave Mirror. This “display” has a resolution of 32×24, with a total of 768 effective pixels.

I was particularly impressed with this Weave Mirror. It’s like a large screen with many pixels, but these pixels are actually small curved pieces that move to change to bright or dark. They’re all servo actuated so as you walk pass the exhibition, you hear them whirling as they change the display.

Decode’s video:

After Decode we went over to the Royal Opera House at Convent Garden to catch the Enchanted Pig. I did enjoy the play, very witty and funny! And live acting and live music is really something different. And with such a small stage to work with, they had to use numerous props and stage effects to simulate a situation. I absolutely love the “running down a long corridor” scene. I’m also impressed at how the conductor managed to synchronize everything.

The play lasted for about 2 hours, with a short break about halfway through so the audience can go freshen themselves up and they can reconfigure the stage.

You can use the South Kensington Station to get to the museums.

While in London, I usually use the tube to get around. With an Oyster card (similar to our Touch n Go cards here in Malaysia), traveling is a breeze. Just tap in at the station’s gate and tap out when you arrive. No need to buy tickets or take out cash. Also traveling on a working day after 10:30am is so enjoyable. You have the whole train to yourself!

That night I met up with Sel, Joanne, Fay, Cher Ying, Albert and we went for dinner at the nearby Frankie and Bennie’s. Then I spent the night at Sel’s because there was no point traveling back to Golders Green since I’ll be with them tomorrow for The Cocoon Exhibition at the Charles Darwin center in the Natural History Museum. Did I tell you how warm Sel’s living room is?

Sorry not much photos since I didn’t lug my camera around! Tip for taking photos in museums, since they are always dimly lit: bring a VR lens. For Nikon users, I recommend the 18-55VR. You won’t want to lug a tripod around.

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