Monday, July 27, 2015

Chinese Lantern Festival 2015

Phoenix Reborn
The Missouri Botanical Garden has a special event going on right now, "Lantern Festival: Magic Reimagined". This is the second time that they have hosted a Chinese Lantern festival, the first being held in 2012. It is rare for lantern festivals to take place outside of China, so it is a testament to the close relationship the Garden has established with that country that we are blessed to have it in St. Louis again.

The 22 lanterns are impressive during the day, but when they are illuminated at night they do indeed become magical. I wasn't sure that they could top the last festival, but this show is equally as impressive. On July 20th they offered a special night for photographers. Though it came with a fairly steep price tag, the attendance was limited and more importantly they allowed monopods and tripods to be carried in. Those are restricted on all other nights. I was unsure how "limited" it would actually be, but Jim and I were quite surprised. There was no problem with parking, and while I know the event was sold out the crowd was minimal. Add the fact that the rain held off and it was a comfortable temperature and humidity level, and all that equals a successful evening. They did not have any of the performances taking place that night, so that was too bad.

Porcelain Elephants
For the special events held at the Garden I like to go during the day to photograph all the sculptures.That way I get the lay of the land while it is light out, but also it is so interesting to see what they are made of. While most of the lanterns are constructed of traditional silk fabric on wire frames, two (including the elephants picture on the right) are comprised of porcelain plates, cups, bowls and spoons, tied together with intricate knots. The peacock is made of glass medicine bottles filled with colored water, while the dandelions are made of recycled bottles.

While I did get some good photos that night, I am a little disappointed that the lanterns don't seem as sharp as I would like them to be. That is despite using my tripod and trying all different kinds of settings on the camera. I have seen pictures taking by other people that are way more sharp. They probably took them with their iPhones! Sometimes too many settings is not a good thing, especially for me. I should have taken some with my own phone just to compare. It is a little frustrating, and I suppose that tells me I need more practice. Regardless, the show is amazing and I highly recommend a visit. It runs until August 23rd.

Porcelain Stupas Pagoda and Lantern Way

Soaring Dragon Horse and Dandelions

Sun Yatsen Gate and Dragon King

1 comment:

Mrs. Wryly said...

Your photos are wonderful! I love the before and after. The elephants are amazing!

I do not think an I-Phone could have done one pixel better than what you've captured.