National Museum of Australia

Canberra, ACT
The National Museum of Australia brings to life the rich and diverse stories of Australia through compelling objects, ideas and events, but at night, it makes for a great photo opportunity.

Having visited Canberra on many occasions, myself and a few mates decided to tackle the difficult task of capturing the National Museum of Australia at night. It is an unusual building to say the least, and at night it lights up with a rainbow of colours, but it is not as easy to shoot as you might think. I wanted to shoot at very low ISO, so I set my Sony A7R II to ISO 50 and a tripod was an absolute necessity as exposure times ranged from 5 to 30 seconds. The resulting images are however smooth and detailed thanks to that low ISO.

As designed by architect Howard Raggatt (design architect and design director for the project), the museum building is based on a theme of knotted ropes, symbolically bringing together the stories of Australians. The architects stated: “We liked to think that the story of Australia was not one, but many tangled together. Not an authorized version but a puzzling confluence; not merely the resolution of difference but its wholehearted embrace.” The building is meant to be the centre of a knot, with trailing ropes or strips extending from the building. Um, ok…

At night, you can walk right up to and around the buildings to get some interesting images, but another vantage point is from the opposite bank of Lake Burley Griffin to capture the full impact of the site.

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