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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dale Chihuly at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

What a fabulous special exhibit! I have been a fan of Dale Chihuly's work for a few years now. This exhibit has been too long in coming to Boston as he did study and establish the glass program at the Rhode Island School of Design. When you go ( exhibit is through Aug. 7) rent the audio guide, which also has wonderful videos of glass blowing and how the larger pieces and the Persian Ceiling were set up.

The exhibit is shown in several rooms all of which are extremely low light settings with spot lights trained on the pieces. Pieces are reflected in the black glass on which they are placed. The light is luminous and the reflections are very much a part of the whole effect.

I brought my Canon EOS 5D MarkII with a 24-70 macro lens. I did not have a tripod, which would have been prohibitive due to the number of people. So how did I manage to capture the images in such a low light setting? The three settings that determine exposure are the ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings. I put the ISO on 800 (an experiment), the shutter speed on a slow 1/30th of a second and the aperture I opened all the way up to 2.8. The slower shutter speed meant I had to hold my breath and steady myself when I depressed the shutter release. The larger lens opening or aperture meant I would have a very narrow depth of field (not much in focus), which was a bonus for the close ups! I was also very pleased with the lack of noise or grainyness in the images, which happens with a higher number ISO.