Photo fun in the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan

Recently I had the chance to visit the Miniatures Museum of Taiwan (MMoT) in Taipei. In the museum miniatures of buildings, rooms, or street scenes are shown. All displays or scenes are made with a unbeliveable amount of detail. In the museum I realized, that this is a great place for some photo fun and also a big challenge for camera gear and photography skills. The use of flash or a tripod is not allowed, and the light inside is very dim. To shot handheld in this conditions requires a fast lens and high ISO. Also each display has another type of light, some fluorescent, some incandescent, which makes corrections for white balance in post processing necessary. This is also a perfect place for using a macro lens. Besides the technical challenges, it is also good trying to find a perspective, which make the photos look real.

My visit in the MMoT was more or less accidental. A visiting friend heard of this museum and thought it could be interesting to visit. After a sightseeing tour in Taipei, we decided spontaneously to see the museum. At that time I didn’t know what to expect and my camera gear was not ready at all. I had only one lens with me, the Minolta MD W.Rokkor 24mm f/2.8, which is not that fast, and the lens is a bit soft wide open. Also the manual focus and the narrow depth of field made it a bit tricky to get things properly in focus. Thanks to the in-body image stabilizer I was able to get some nice shots, which are shown below.

All photos are taken handheld with ISO1600 and shot with an open aperture of f/2.8 or f/4 where it was bright enough. In post processing the white balance for each photo was corrected, minor exposure compensation was applied, and shadows or highlights were adjusted.

1/30 sec – white balance set using preset for incandescent light (3000K) to keep some warm colors – shadows increased
1/30 sec – white balance set using grey point – exposure compensation of +0.3 EV – shadows and highlights increased
1/50 sec – white balance set using grey point (fur of the dog) – exposure compensation set to +0.5 EV – shadows and highlights increased

This is one of my favorite photos. The French country-style kitchen. The light near the stove was very bright, making it easy to get a sharp shot here.

1/20 sec (shot at f/4) – white balance set using preset for incandescent light (3000K) to keep some warm colors – no further adjustments

The Japanese street scene is also one of my favorite dioramas there. Hope I could create with my photos the illusion of standing on the street in Japan.

1/15 sec – white balance set using grey point (street markings) – shadows and highlights slightly increased
1/13 sec – white balance set using grey point – shadows and highlights increased
1/25 sec – white balance set using grey point – exposure compensation of +0.5 EV – shadows and highlights increased
1/13 sec – white balance set using preset for incandescent light (3000K) – shadows and highlights slightly increased

Best time to go

The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM until 6 PM. Closed on Mondays, or Tuesday if Monday is a public holiday. Entrance fee for adults is 180 NT$ and for children 100 NT$. Discount is available. More information can be found on the website of the museum here.

Location

The Miniatures Museum of Taiwan is located in Taipei City on Jianguo North Road, Sec 1, No. 96, floor B1. It is close to the MRT station Songjiang Nanjing (Line 3 or Line 4). Take exit 5 in the MRT station and walk for less than 10 minutes.

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