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5 Posts tagged with the wild_photos tag

So summer’s definitely over, but autumn brings with it our spectacular Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.


This Friday 26 October's Lates with MasterCard is the first late opening of the exhibition and what an exhibition it is! If you haven’t had a peek at the line-up of winning images, you can do so on our online gallery but there’s nothing quite like seeing the full show so make sure you get your tickets early for this Friday if you’re planning on coming along.



Paul Nicklen's Bubble-jetting emperors is the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner. Get up close to this and 99 other prize-winning photographs in the exhibition open late on Friday evening.


This month we’re bringing back our increasingly popular Open-mic in the Central Hall and we’ve got 11 awesome performers. They’ll be playing from 7pm until 10.30pm and we’ve got a fantastic mix of artists. With everything from country to rock and pop it’s bound to be a great night. Get a taste of one of the performers, Marie Naffah, in this video, and see some of the other performers' videos at the end of this blog.



This month we also have some really exciting activities going on at Lates. Join our discussion event exploring the pitfalls and possibilities of a manned mission to Mars in our unique event, Should We Go To Mars? This event is ticketed and you need to book online in advance.


Our amazing half-term Campsite event will be opening an evening early for a special preview. With film screenings in campervans, human-sized cabinets where you can label yourself a specimen and a real polar tent in the mix, you can have yourself an indoor-outdoor adventure in the Darwin Centre. The Campsite will be open from 7pm – 9.30pm.


Get a taste of the Campsite mobile festival of campervans, caravans and pop-up tents, arriving here on Friday evening. Right, join the crazy artists for some entertaining speed-sketching.

We’re also saying bonsoir to our Crazy Artists who are back and crazier than ever with a night of speed-sketching that will knock your socks off.  Can you sketch a squirrel in 10 minutes? Or draw a dinosaur? Or paint a porpoise? The Artists are here to put your skills to the test. Every 15 minutes between 19.00 and 21.00 the artists will bring out a specimen from the Museum’s collections. You’ll have 10 minutes to draw it before they cast their expert eyes over your work and choose a winner to take home a Natural History Museum prize.


If all that wasn’t enough, we’re opening the Dinosaur gallery, and you can get into the Halloween spirit in the Creepy Crawlies gallery, which is open for the the first time ever at Lates,



Satisfy your curiosity about locusts (above), ants, butterflies, crabs, spiders, termites and 1000s of their relatives in the Green Zone's Creepy Crawlies gallery.


And with all that going on you’re bound to be peckish, so why not warm up with our tasty new pop-up restaurant menu? Featuring venison and wild boar stew, dumplings and mashed potato, you won’t be hungry for long.


So it looks like this is going to be one of our busiest Lates ever and I hope you all enjoy it. As always, if you do come along, please let us know what you think on the night or you can email the team at


Andy Glynn

Visitor Events Manager

Open-mic performers at this month's Lates


Calvin Roche performs a variety of sounds from upbeat to chilled acoustic featuring amazing bass and vocals.


Clinton Tavares is a singer/songwriter from Watford that is currently playing open mics all across London.




Daniel Corsini plays acoustic folk with influences from Ray Davies to Kenny Rogers, to cups of tea, to sleeping in the sun.




Glen Kirkham is a star in waiting. His unique high-note harmonies and distinctive acoustic guitar playing produce a stunning synergy of blues and rock/pop.




Icicle Tree are an established folk fusion band from Surrey that plays memorable songs with distinctive melodies, creative arrangements and a truly identifiable style.




Jakob Deist, originally from South Africa but now based in Essex, is an amazing acoustic performer who blends a mix of pop, blues, rock and indie sounds. His new album, The Owl and the Crow, is out soon.




Kaitlyn Haggis, our youngest open-mic performer to date, is a teenage singer/songwriter from North London. She’s been developing her own material over the last 12 months and is currently recording her first EP.




Lucie Zara is a singer/songwriter from Devon. Her music has been described as a fusion of folk guitar, quirky lyrics and soulful vocals.


Marie Naffah is bound for big things, according to Love Music Love Life Magazine, who say: “With features on Balcony TV, Absolute Radio, XFM and her track about a girl who has lost her sight featured as top video of the week on NME breakthrough, this is just the beginning for the 20-year-old. You can expect to hear a lot more as she is set to record her new EP over the next few months.”


Paul Howley
Original soulful folk, big poppy choruses and some of the smartest lyrics in town.


The Frisbys
Often compared to the likes of Fleetwood Mac, the Frisbys write memorable folk/pop songs. Expect delicate folk textures and soaring harmonies from this four-piece.



We’re still waiting for some proper summer weather to arrive here on Cromwell Road but while we do, we’re gearing up for an amazing few weeks. To kick start the summer of fun we’ve got a Lates with MasterCard to remember on Friday 27 July.


Last month we trialled our first open-mic night in Central Hall and we had ten amazing performers. This month open-mic is back and, this time, we’ve got 11 magnificent musicians to keep you entertained (some of their videos are at the bottom of the post for you to take a look at).



Click any image to see it full size


We’re also going to be opening our front lawn for the first time at Lates. You’ll be able to relax on the grass beneath the beautiful architecture and enjoy our free Wild Planet exhibition, charting 50 years of spectacular wildlife photography, and get a glimpse of Shauna Richardson's giant hand-crocheted lions from the Lionheart Project.




If you attended Lates last month, you might have seen two eccentric ‘artists’ carrying taxidermy specimens and dinosaur skulls around the Museum. If you were wondering what they were up to, the answer is speed-sketching! The ‘artists’ will be back again this month to challenge you to a quick sketch. Have you got what it takes to draw a badger, a fox or a mighty allosaurus skull in ten minutes? If so, you could walk away with some great Museum prizes.




Of course you’ll also want to visit our special exhibitions Animal Inside Out and Scott’s Last Expedition. Animal Inside Out showcases over 90 plastinated specimens so you can get up-close looks at the insides of everything from cats’ brains to an elephant’s trunk. Scott’s Last Expedition tells the inspiring and emotional story of the Terra Nova Expedition across Antarctica. Read Captain Scott’s diaries, experience his Antarctic hut and see the amazing artefacts collected on his journey.


You may want to book your tickets in advance to make sure you get a slot. You can do that here.


So, whether you’re into sports, art, music or science, this month’s Lates has got something for you.


Andy Glynn
Visitor Events Manager




The Amazing Graces




Katie Ferrara







And, at last month's Lates, you can see that The Folk had a great time!



The Folk


Our November After Hours is here already and we are looking forward to a great night out (or in for us).


Tickets have been selling like hot cakes (useful in this cold snap) for Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year at After Hours.


We’ve got great food and drink on the menu at our bars; live jazz, the opportunity for a look around our amazing Cocoon, and the second in our Discussing Nature series of events in our restaurant. This Discussing Nature event, ‘Exploring the Final Frontiers’ will be a fascinating ‘balloon debate’, with 3 of our top scientists putting forward their case for a fictional funding pot to explore the unchartered areas of the world or solar system, and the audience voting to find the winner.


It’s great to see that Veolia Wildlife Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is so popular. Behind this year's exhibition, as behind all our exhibitions, there is a hard-working project team that puts together the design, production, interpretation, marketing, press, interactive and online elements of that exhibition.


Inside-VEWPY-gallery.jpgGrant Reid is the exhibition’s project director and Paul Gallagher is the project manager. I managed to extract Grant from the avalanche of tender applications he is currently working his way through for other exhibitions for 2011, so he could tell me a bit more about this year’s exhibition and how we are working to make Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer environmentally sustainable. Here's what he has to say:

‘The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is one of the Museum’s most popular events, and it’s definitely the longest running exhibition at the Museum. It attracted over 130,000 visitors last year, and people have been returning for over 20 years to see it.


'Last year, the exhibition moved from the Jerwood gallery into the Waterhouse gallery. We re-designed the exhibition for this and built it with the latest technology, sustainability and flexibility in mind. This year, we've used the same 2009 gallery framework with some improvements and a different fabric.


‘This large structural framework guides the visitor through the central space of the exhibition, opening up individual, gallery-like rooms and culminating in a striking black monolith which dramatically displays the winning photographs (shown above) from the 2010 competition.’



The exhibition's support framework is made from aluminium - shown right, before the fabric was applied. This metal is lightweight, reusable, strong and hard-wearing. At the end of its intended 5-6 year life, the aluminium structure will be recycled into new aluminium stock.


Sustainability has become an important aspect in planning our exhibitions, Grant explains:


‘Historically before 2009 the exhibition photographs were shown on fluorescence tube light boxes. These have now been recycled, and the images hang this year on slim, almost invisible LED light panels, which provide a 40 per cent reduction in power consumption. These LED strips have life-cycles of approximately 100,000 hours.


'We've applied the same philosophy of sustainability to other elements of the exhibition such as the furniture and the photographic film and cinematic equipment – we reused all equipment where possible. A specialist print company was selected for their extremely high quality of reproduction. The film transparencies will be recycled and the chemicals embodied in the film will be extracted and recycled by a specialist company.


'For the first time in the exhibition's history, we are planning to measure all the power consumption and benchmark the 2010 exhibition to measure it against future ones. We hope to continue to present a high quality photographic exhibition with the same sustainable materials, while subtly renovating the overall aesthetic each year.’


The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 exhibition closes earlier than usual this year on 11 March. So be sure to catch while you can. Enjoy it next year at 2 more After Hours on 28 January and 25 February.


Coming around faster than I’d have thought possible, we are now approaching the last in this season’s late night openings of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the Darwin Centre. It’s been an excellent if short run of After Hours this time around, and we are very pleased with the very good numbers we have been getting.


People seem to engage very deeply with the wildlife photographs in the exhibition, which is wonderful to see, because they are engaging with nature in its myriad forms, as well as the photographic skills on display. Pictured left is the exhibition's wall display of 1000s of wildlife competition images, closely studied by an After Hours visitor. Visit our After Hours web page to book for the exhibiton.


At this Friday’s After Hours on 26 March, we welcome Ludo Graham, the executive producer of BBC Two’s Museum of Life series about the Museum, who is giving a talk with film clips in the Attenborough Studio about the making of the series. Find out about the After Hours BBC tallk with Museum of Life executive producer on our website.



Our feisty arachnid curator Jan Beccaloni is back for another stint in the Darwin Centre's specimen preparation lab. She'll be there with some of her beloved specimens between 18.30 and  21.30 approximately.


The Darwin Centre bar will also be open again, as well as the Central Hall and Fossil Way bars.


And the great news is that although After Hours is finishing its winter season on Friday, it'll be back in the summer. So watch out for more updates in my blog and on the website.



Late-night visitors wowed by the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition

We had the biggest turn-out for Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year at After Hours so far this season on 29 January, and as many people went to visit the Darwin Centre on the night. All of which was great to see.


after-hours-renouf-talk-as.jpgAt his sell-out event in the Darwin Centre's Attenborough Studio (left), Jonathan Renouf, series producer of BBC Two's illuminating How the Earth Made Us gave us a diverting account of the making of the 5-episode series. It's about how our human history has been shaped and developed by the planet’s elementary forces.


The footage Jonathan showed included arresting film from the ‘Fire’ episode with the likeable and enthusiastic presenter, geologist Iain Stewart, in a special fire-proof suit walking through a wall of orange fire. Jonathan told us how, out of shot, a horde of firemen and fire equipment stood ready to douse Iain as he walked through the flames - it being particularly dangerous if he fell over. His fire-protective suit was so heavy, he’d have been unable to right himself. Other fascinating shots were those from ‘Wind’ taken from the peak of Mt Connor in central Australia, which pulled right up to the atmosphere to show the immense wind forces that circulate the mountain. He also told his fascinated audience how a succession of shots were taken by helicopter and then stitched in with satellite images. And how, if you looked very carefully, you could see the join! I’ve looked several times at these shots on BBC iplayer and I still can’t see it. The film clips worked brilliantly in the studio as they are so immersive. Jonathan also brought along a nice surprise for us - some very amusing outtakes from the series, which the audience loved.


affer-hours-climatecchange-wall-600.jpgOther Darwin Centre hotspots included the Climate Change Wall (right) just outside the Attenborough Studio. And up in Cocoon, another great communicator, our entertaining curator of arachnids, Jan Beccaloni, attracted quite a crowd in front of the glass-fronted specimen preparation area. It was great to see people engaging so enthusiastically with science on a Friday night out. Showing the public our behind-the-scenes science is of course one of the driving factors behind the Darwin Centre, but that people are doing this as an evening-out experience is really fantastic.


Explaining that she was behind glass because of pest control requirements, Jan was working on British arachnid specimens destined for the new Angela Marmont Centre. She had, as promised, also brought along an example of the world’s biggest spider, as well as a black widow and a scorpion. ‘I feel I may have erred in not pointing out these are not British,’ said Jan jocularly, as her audience measured up mentally the goliath bird-eating tarantula in the large specimen jar beside her.

There are only two more late openings of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year this season on 26 February and 26 March. So do book your tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment if you want to see this year’s competition winners after hours.