I have posted a photograph of the White Rhinoceros group at the American Museum of Natural History before (in stereo, if I remember correctly). The 1937 diorama has a fine background painting by James Perry Wilson. It is located in a corner of the mezzanine level of the Akeley Hall of African of Mammals in a corner with a low ceiling (which wilson tries to disguise with heavy rain clouds). To fit the two large White Rhinos in the tight space without them standing too close to the observer, one is located very close to the painted background. To help mitigate against a shadow on the background (which would collapse the illusion of depth) apparently the hidden side of the Rhino is painted white. This possibility of negating one’s shadow has been teasing me recently and will be part of the new instrument I am working on.
The Buffalo group at the American Museum of Natural History is not my favourite J.P. Wilson Diorama but there is a treat if you look inside the return on the far right hand side (top image) where a buffalo painted on the background crosses between the far right hand edge of the background and the painted section of the return to the viewing window. The part of the animal on the background is painted normally but on the return it is painted anamorphically. Pictures from inside the diorama reveal a pot bellied buffalo, at least on its left hand side, to compensate for the viewing angle. The furthest away part of the buffalo is painted on the surface closest to the observer.
By the way, note that the horizon is not adjusted anamorphically on the return – perhaps because the viewing window is so wide that it is hard to know where to imagine the observer’s eye?.
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.
See two posts below for advice on viewing stereoscopic pairs (for the top image).
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).
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.