The Photographer's Ephemeris

Dallas Arboretum
Chihuly Nights


Considerations for the evening photo shoot recommended Equipment, Recommended Settings, where are the best locations for sunsets, and what would be the best route.


Recommended Equipment

  1. Tripod
  2. Remote Shutter Release
  3. Camera
  4. Extra charged batteries. you may be using live view a lot!
  5. on a full frame camera: a 24mm to 70mm lens; a fast 50mm lens
    on an APS-c camera: a 15 to 45 mm lens; a fast 30 mm lens
    Neither a telephoto nor a wide angle lens would be useful at night for these sculptures.


Recommended Settings

  1. Daylight white balance. Daylight balanced LED lights were installed throughout the garden. Chihuly recommended incandescent lights for the sculptures to bring out the warm reds, oranges, and yellows. This was good advice for all except the Dallas Cowboy Star which should be daylight balanced LEDs also.
  2. Exposure for the red, orange and yellow sculptures will be 1 1/3 to 2 stops under exposed. This is true for red and yellow flowers and birds also. The most accurate way to confirm a good exposure iw with the RGB histogram available on most cameras. If the red channel is bunched on the right then lower the exposure. The symptom is the colors smear into blobs with no texture. Some call it over saturation. The reality is it is simply over exposure. Our camera meters lie to us sometimes.
  3. To minimize noise we need the lowest ISO possible. Long exposures will be required. Mirror lockup should be used for shots are in the 1/30 to 1/2 second range. This can be a challenge with Automatic Exposure Bracketing. By using live view the mirror is locked up through the entire sequence.
  4. The light at night can be a challenge for auto focusing. Consider using live view to focus exactly where necessary.
  5. Guessing the appropriate aperture for the desired depth of field is a challenge. Consider acquiring one or more of the "depth of field" calculators available for modern phones.



The images below were created using "The Photographer's Ephemeris". Highly recommended!

The best locations for sunset pictures are shown below.

This may be the best location. What is amazing is in June and July the sunset is almost directly off the shore. From here we will be looking across the 30' tall yellow tower.


I have some lovely sunset shots from this location taken in the May, June, July time frame. Then the sun is almost directly offshore. Not sure about this time of year.


This may be the best place for a sunset shot this time of year. It is high on a knoll overlooking the band stand and the trees.


This is a way cool location for sunset pictures . . . in June & July! Then the sun is setting almost directly across the reflecting pool. Way cool. It is not clear anything can be done this time of year.



Below is a recommended route

If the image below is downloaded it will blossom to a much larger image. I recommend heading directly west from the entrance and looping clockwise around the facility. Very few of the sculptures are on the east side return path. You will want to save time to capture the Dallas Cowboy Star. There are only three sculptures including the Dallas Coeboy Star on the East Side path. Most of the sculptures are on the West side.