Chihuly Exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix

Recently, just before Christmas, I went on a family outing to visit the Chihuly Glass Exhibit at the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. The plan was to get there before dusk, so I would have the twilight hour to play around with the camera, but it was only a plan, and all plans go awry to some extent or another. The tickets were at the will-call window, and the line there was pretty long, as we were there for the luminaria display as well. And so I got in a little late, but still couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the vision of Dale Chihuly.

Dale Chihuly is the world-famous artist and sculptor known for the fabulous glass displays at the Bellagio and other notable installations worldwide. Now, I know that for the most part this blog is dedicated to landscape photography, and that there may be some out there who might protest that pictures of glass sculptures taken in a garden might not qualify for the designation of “landscape photography.” Maybe so. Tell you what, I’m pretty sure Mr Chihuly considers his installations “landscape,” as they are obviously inspired by the surrounding desert flora.

Canon 5DMark iii; 24-70 F 2.8 Mark ii @ 24mm; F11 @ 6 seconds; iso 100

Canon 5DMark iii; 24-70 F 2.8 Mark ii @ 24mm; F11 @ 6 seconds; iso 100

Here, a flaming fireball, much like the desert sun, is framed in a stark landscape of Senita Cactus. I would have liked a few stars in the sky overhead, but being within the Phoenix City limits and all, they weren’t showing up at all.

Canon 5D Mark iii; 24-70 F2.8 Mark ii @ 61mm; F 11 @ 1.5 seconds; iso 100

Canon 5D Mark iii; 24-70 F2.8 Mark ii @ 61mm; F 11 @ 1.5 seconds; iso 100

Inspired by agave plants, this installation features some of the subtle and amazing magentas naturally found in those desert plants.

Canon 5D Mark iii; 24-70 F2.8 Mark ii @ 45mm; F11 @ 1.6 seconds; iso 100

Canon 5D Mark iii; 24-70 F2.8 Mark ii @ 45mm; F11 @ 1.6 seconds; iso 100

Canon 5D mark ii; 24-70 F2.8 @ 32mm; F11 @ 3.2 seconds; iso 100

Canon 5D mark ii; 24-70 F2.8 @ 32mm; F11 @ 3.2 seconds; iso 100

I had a lot of fun shooting Mr Chihuly’s incredible and mind-blowing creations with this exceptional lighting. The exhibit is open for at least another few months, so I plan to return when there are far fewer people ¬†and I have more time in the twilight.

George Stocking

Author: George Stocking

George Stocking is a professional freelance photographer, residing in Phoenix, AZ. He works regularly as a contract photographer for Arizona Highways, and his work often graces the pages of Arizona Highways Magazine, Calendars and Books. His work has appeared in numerous other national publications. You can see more of his work on his website.

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