This was another of the Chihuly glass sculptures on display at the Chihuly: The Nature of Glass. The exhibit was on display at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, AZ from Nov. 22nd 2008 to May 31st 2009.
This shot is a composite of a 3-shot bracketed exposure. I had a fourth shot in which I played with light painting on the plants in the foreground but it really didn’t work out. Also there were many other people shooting this sculpture from all sides and I wasn’t comfortable making all of them wait while I shined a flashlight almost into their lens. I ended up darkening the foreground and eventually cropping it out almost entirely. This particular sculpture was so bright that I used bracketing so I could mix in areas that weren’t totally blown out in the highlights. Photomatix did not work well with these images and I ended up manually layering them so that the darkest areas were well lit and then I masked out many little spots to restore some of the brightness in areas. I also painted in a lot of black to hide the noise in the foreground and background. This sculpture was very difficult to faithfully reproduce what I saw with my eyes.
I was at the garden this night with Arizona Highways Photography Editors, Peter Ensenberger and Jeff Kida. We had all spent a little too long on sculptures closer to the entrance and we got split up by the time I had made it this deep into the gardens. I wish I had gotten some advice from them on shooting this sculpture.