Tuesday, November 4, 2014

11/2/14 Chihuly at Night

Sam and I met Amber Sunday night at the Denver Botanic Gardens to take in the glass lit at night. 

We'd decided to meet at 5:00, with the doors opening at 5:30, but we made good time and pulled into the parking garage at 4:40. Since they'd closed the gardens at 4:00, we found the garage almost entirely empty, which was a nice surprise. When we left around 6:45, all the signs were up and all parking was full. 

Thanks to the end of DST, by 5:30 was almost entirely dark. We'd walked to the doors around 5:00 and there was already a line forming. 

We went in and headed straight to the back, since the crowd was all herding themselves through the installations at the front, in a horde. 

At the Monet garden, it was really dark and I have to guess at least one person falls into the water every night. It's not but two feet deep, but I'm sure it would be a surprise for the visitor who doesn't know the layout of the park.

The reflections on the water were definitely gorgeous.

I hadn't realized I was getting the turquoise piece in the background here.

One disappointment was how poorly lit the stream through the Japanese garden turned out.  The clusters of glass running down the stream weren't lit at all. If you hadn't seen them in the daytime, you'd never know they were even there. It could have been beautifully lit from underneath. The only thing with lights was one of the larger pieces, and it was mostly in shadow, with a couple of spotlights and nothing from within to really set off the dark blues and purples.

There's quite a bit of circling about, so I'd snap the boat from one side of the pool, and end up on the backside with a different angle, seemingly out of order.

I tried pulling the shutter down to as low as I could go handheld to capture a sense of what shadows were visible in the night sky. 

The installation in the Rose Garden was the one they were working on back at the beginning of June, when Amber and I just happened to check the Gardens out for the first time, the weekend prior to Chihuly opening. We agreed that was just luck on our part, because everything was installed and in place except for a single, large piece and all the flowers were in perfect bloom then.

This was the one piece, and when we both took others over the summer to visit, we could tell this one was designed to be seen at night.

In fact, as we came upon it, with the looking dark mansion in the background, and people circled around it with their arms raised (holding iphones of course), it reminded me of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" and the scene where he comes upon the whole town in the midst of the forest:

In the interval of silence, he stole forward, until the light glared full upon his eyes. At one extremity of an open space, hemmed in by the dark wall of the forest, arose a rock, bearing some rude, natural resemblance either to an altar or a pulpit, and surrounded by four blazing pines, their tops aflame, their stems untouched, like candles at an evening meeting. The mass of foliage, that had overgrown the summit of the rock, was all on fire, blazing high into the night, and fitfully illuminating the whole field. Each pendent twig and leafy festoon was in a blaze. As the red light arose and fell, a numerous congregation alternately shone forth, then disappeared in shadow, and again grew, as it were, out of the darkness, peopling the heart of the solitary woods at once.

 another quarter of a second shutter here


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