Travel Tuesday Tip: Photographing Car Museums

Whenever I travel for fun or business I always look to see what kind of automobile museums are in that area and along the way I’ve gotten to photograph some great private collections and museums. If you call or e-mail ahead of time to make arrangements to make photographs sometimes (and just sometimes) the people in charge of the collection or museum might just make arrangements for you to photograph the cars out-of-hours when there’s no people standing in your way, so getting great shots is a lot easier. If this happens, return the favor and offer to give the museum a CD of your images.

If you find yourself in the Albuquerque area, be sure to take the short trip to Los Ranchos and visit the Unser Racing Museum. Unlike a lot of car collections, the Unser Museum is actually a museum that uses  modern technologies to educate and immerse the visitor in the exciting world of racing. You can take a guided tour and learn about the Unser family history from the early days of racing from Pikes Peak and Indianapolis, including a racing simulator and interactive kiosks with details on many of the cars.

Unser Museum Indy Car

The museum staff is friendly and knowledgeable and I had a great time talking with them about the histories of the various cars on display—and display they are using state of the art lighting that creates dramatic lighting, so photographers will want to shoot at high ISO settings. (Flash will only produce ugly images.) After some experimentation I used ISO 6400, which was the highest for the Canon EOS Rebel T3 that I brought with me on that occasion. On of the treats of my visit was to actually get a chance to meet and talk with Al Unser Sr. who was visiting he museum that day. That’s the car he won his last Indy 500 behind us.

Al Unser Sr with Joe Farace

The museum was  expanded to include an  annex that contains  more racing history, cars, and memorabilia. The annex contains fully restored antiques, to Indy 500 pace cars along with some rare race cars. There’s also a trophy room filled with thousands of unique items, a  library spanning the history of racing, original artwork, and lots more!

The Unser Museum is located at 1776 Montaño Road NW Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM 87107. 505-341-1776

Winter Hours: Nov 1 to Apr 30 – Open Fri-Sun 10:00am to 4:00pm

Summer Hours: May 1 to Oct 31 – Open Daily 10:00am to 4:00pm

Admission: Adults $10, Seniors & Military $6, Kids under 16 are free

If you like cars and photographing cars, please visit my sister site and blog

Author: Joe Farace

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