Tag Archives: Diorama

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Los Angeles

A couple more dioramas from the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.

As before, the difference between viewing the single image and seeing them in 3D is illuminating. Although not as accomplished as the best work at the American Museum of Natural History, there are quite a few good dioramas in LA.

See the previous post for suggestions on how to view in stereo, or use the Jason Robbins method – which I tried yesterday and have to say works really well – of putting your nose right up to the divide between the two images and move back until the image is in focus.

In either method you will see three images – concentrate on the middle one.



Cold Bog Diorama

While I was digging out the photographs of the Big Horn Sheep diorama I came across this pair I took of the Cold Bog Diorama, also at the Yale Peabody Museum  (also by James Perry Wilson). You can see more about this diorama here and here. In the second of these links is an assembly of Wilson’s survey slides. Here (below) is the same assembly done in Bridge/Photoshop, somewhat dissolving the frames and compensating for the faceted picture plane as Wilson’s Dual Grid method would.

Cold Bog Diorama survey

See two posts below for advice on viewing stereoscopic pairs (for the top image).

Big Horn Sheep side view

This is the view I mentioned in the previous post. It is hard to see the form of the diorama shell. It curves towards the viewer quite gently on the left, where it is closer to the viewer, and sharply to the right where it is further away. The pictorial information suggests almost the opposite, so your consciousness is struggling with the assembly. There is a similar problem with the floating shadows from instrument six, which do things that shadows are not supposed to do. We believe shadows so implicitly that we try and put them back where they should be, even though we perceive them to be floating in space.

Usual process for resolving the stereoscopic image (See the post below if you are new to the blog).

Big Horn Sheep (normal)

Big Horn Sheep (mirrored)

Here are two more views of the Big Horn Sheep group at the Yale Peabody Museum, with a background painting by James Perry Wilson. The top view is the right way round for the diorama and the lower one is mirrored – the correct way round for the original site near Banff in the Canadian Rockies. Again, if anyone recognises the exact location I would be grateful to hear from you.

It is hard to see the curve of the background shell in these views so I will assemble a slightly sideways stereoscopic view to see if that helps, and will post it if it does.

Employ the usual technique to resolve the stereoscopic images – make them small enough so that when you go cross eyed you can register the same sheep over each other when you go cross-eyed. You will see three images as you do this – concentrate on the middle one and try to relax. You can buy glasses (lorgnettes) to help resolve them and these definitely help when the images are larger, but I find I get a better three dimensionality when working without them.


Big Horn Sheep

Big Horn Sheep

Big Horn Sheep

A few posts ago (here) I asked if anyone knew the location that this diorama at the Yale Peabody Museum represents. It is near Banff in the Canadian Rockies and one suggestion since then is that it is in the Bow Valley where Banff resides (thank you Mr. Bergem). Here are some snaps of the diorama (check against the survey photograph) that you can see has been mirrored. It is a wonderful diorama so if you are in New Haven do make sure you se it! There are others there, especially the Longshore diorama, that will also make the trip worthwhile.

Again, if anyone recognizes the exact location of the site (reversed) I would be very grateful to hear from you. Below is J.P.Wilson’s test drawing on a model of the diorama. You can see the projection lines for his dual-grid system of diorama projection on the model floor.

Big Horn Sheep

Jeffrey Pine Forest

This is another James Perry Wilson diorama, this time from the Hall of North American Forests at the American Museum of Natural History. Wilson had brought the rigour of architectural perspective projection to diorama painting and had developed his dual grid method of perspectival projection to deal with the cycloramic diorama shell. In his later work (this gallery opened in 1957) he was also using stereoscopic photography in his survey work and would paint working from stereoscopic viewers. If you compare his forest paintings of this time with the work of others there is a spatial clarity in the shaded areas that is unique, a facility that I suspect is partly due to what is revealed in his stereoscopic surveys.

See the posts below for suggestions on how to view stereoscopic images.