Museum Exhibit Photo: RV Hall of Fame

RV Hall of Fame Museum photography
1935 “Covered Wagon” recreational vehicle at the RV Hall of Fame, Indiana

Every town in the United States has at least one museum with historic treasures worth preserving. The RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana features an incredible collection of vehicles arranged in a chronological timeline that takes visitors from the Great Depression through each world war all the way to modern times.


Whether I’m shooting a museum or a historic home, lighting presents challenges. Some historically accurate locations only have window light. If you take a long exposure anything around and through the window will be completely blown out. Modern museums feature dramatic theatrical lighting that looks good in person but produces dark shadows and blown out highlights in photos.

Using artificial lighting is less than ideal. Hot lights are a fire hazard. Cool light panels or softboxes can get impede visitors or get knocked over. I’m insured, but I’ve literally shot a $7 million dollar Rodin sculpture in a tight stairwell… during visiting hours! I had to learn how to get great shots without great light.


So I take a tripod and shoot multiple exposures (as seen below) which I easily combine later in HDR software called Photomatix. In a nutshell, Photomatix pulls lighter areas from the overexposed shot to fill in underexposed shadow areas. And vice versa. The result is far more stunning than using shadow / highlight effects or other fake HDR techniques.

Exposures for HDR photography with Photomatix software

During the process you can choose whether you want a realistic looking exposure or something more surreal. I lean towards images that really pop. HDR and Photomatix have truly been a game changer with my professional photography.


If you want to start producing stunning HDR images I highly recommend Photomatix. I’ve tried the other software out there and nothing gives me better control of my images.

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