Bob Wills  

Museum of Glass by Bob Wills

November 2021 - Museum of Glass

About the Image(s)

I shot this image a few years ago before Dale Chihuly left his hometown for Seattle and took his collection with him. This pond is situated near the Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma. They've added more glass in the pond, and I should get back there when I can. I processed the shot in PS and LR as usual. Shot with a Nikon D700 on a tripod. This is my first attempt to try to tone down my contrasty images, but you can let me know if it is any improvement.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
12 comments posted

Haru Nagasaki   Haru Nagasaki
Hi Bob,
Thank you for sharing.
I like your attempt. The blight glasses reflected on the pond! That's very beautiful. Good job of finding the nice spot.
As for composition, you did a good job of creating depth. I like the edge of the pond (left side) and the building at the back (I prefer to see the building without so much overlap with the glasses though).
As for contrast, you did a good job on that, too. But for me, it is still strong - some of the lamps of glass lost the detail and it looks almost blown out. I guess it is because of increase contrast.
I like the color version but I convert it to BW just for my experience.
It is a very quick and dirty edit so please excuse me. I just wanted you to see how it looks.   Posted: 11/06/2021 02:21:03
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Bob Wills   Bob Wills
Thank you Haru. I have re-visited this and unfortunately, I did blow out some of the lights. If only our field work matched our technical knowledge I would get better. I am certain that once I get all my comments, I will be able to produce a better image.
The B&W may be the way I end up. Hides some of my flaws, especially the orange lights on the rear left.   Posted: 11/12/2021 15:06:30

Robert Atkins   Robert Atkins
Hi Bob. I like this image a lot - it is beautiful. The contrast of the brightly lit glass with its warm tones and the cool tones of the sky and background are very effective. There are also strong, repeating geometric shapes that I find compelling.

I have three nits. Like Haru, I think the highlights are slightly overcooked. I hope they are not blown out on capture and you have room to pull them back a bit. The second is the reddish light at the extreme left edge of the frame. It is different enough that my eye wants to go there and sort of stay. It would be ok, except it is so close to the edge of the frame. You could try cropping it out, but I might first try removing the reddish hue and toning down the brightness. Finally, I find my self wanting a little more breathing room on the bottom edge. As is the glass gets really close - sort of just touches. My first choice, assuming this is not a crop with some space you could bring back, would be to try to crop outward in photoshop with content aware fill. I find that hit or miss, but the stuff it is filling is simple, so it might get it right. If you can't add, I'd consider going the other way and cropping in. The glass reflection will then make it to the edge, but not "just". It is the just touching that is bothersome.

Of the images you've presented in the Group the last bunch of months, I think this is my favorite.
  Posted: 11/06/2021 15:10:39
Bob Wills   Bob Wills
Really promising ideas, Robert. Using PS content-aware crop added needed space at the bottom.
I can also crop the orange and add a gradient to harmonize the colors.   Posted: 11/12/2021 15:11:58

Cheryl LaLonde   Cheryl LaLonde
Hi Bob
This is a great find. I really love the glass reflecting in the pond. I do like that you toned this one down. As has already been mentioned, the highlights seem a little too bright. I would love to see more detail in the lighted areas of the glass. I made an attempt to add some space at the bottom and remove some of the red as suggested by Robert. It looks like it would work but of course my edit is just quick to see if it is possible.   Posted: 11/06/2021 18:57:32
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Bob Wills   Bob Wills
Thank you, Cheryl. Got lots of PT to go through this month, but I hope I can get to my comments this weekend.   Posted: 11/12/2021 15:21:00

Robert Knight   Robert Knight
(Group 45)
I wonder if bracketing would have worked for this image. I find it works well with high contrast stationary images. The glass is the attractive part of the shot and the merging of the under-exposed shots with the straight one may remove the blown out bits. If you took this in RAW it might be possible to adjust the exposure to mimic what the camera would have done and then blend in Photoshop. The background colours are attractive but I think a slightly desaturated background would highlight the glass even more. Very enjoyable image made better by the reflections.   Posted: 11/16/2021 05:40:41
Bob Wills   Bob Wills
Thanks, Robert, I didn't think to bracket at the time. I have used PS before to create under/over exposed copies to bracket, but have found that where there is no data, blow-out areas, there is no data in the copies either. I would be happy to find out a work around to that. I haven't tried compositing or cloning though.   Posted: 11/16/2021 07:34:48

Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Hey Bob, your photos astonished me by the way you see. What you photograph are scenes and things that I often pass by without a glance.
With your image here, I'm impressed with the visual insight you display and your ability to translate that into an interesting capture.
This is a very challenging shot to take, and there are lots of words written above about the highlights and saturation that I don't think I can add to. To me, what's important is what you see.
One of the trends in photography today is simplification. Generally, I agree with this trend, However, I admire how you have taken this scene and photographed it as it is. The image is quite busy, but here, I feel, that is appropriate. I don't think you should make something out of what's not there. Simplifying it might destroy the dynamic structure of what's there. I hope this makes sense.
Taking close-up shots of the glass and exploring shapes with light would have been fun, but only as an addition to your main shot.
You have an interesting shot here. With some work on the highlights and saturation, I think you'll make people stop and look at this photograph.   Posted: 11/20/2021 17:20:25
Bob Wills   Bob Wills
Thanks, Dan. This was taken at a club outing, and I had fun that night, which is probably a key to getting good shots. Great shots I leave to my wife, as she is much more creative, but when I have fun, photography becomes more useful at replacing all the sports I no longer get to do.
Kind of a rambling answer, but again, thanks for the comment. It makes a lot of sense to me.   Posted: 11/21/2021 11:13:46

Emily Kawasaki   Emily Kawasaki
Gorgeous shot and great editing, Bob. I love the deep, lush, jewel-toned colors of glass sculpture, the building, and the night sky. Your photo is a prime example of why I love doing night photography in cities/places that are luminated. I have seen some of Chihuly's work on display at the Corning Museum of Glass. So, it's very cool to see an even larger work of his illuminated and on display.   Posted: 11/22/2021 22:37:27

Bob Wills   Bob Wills
Thanks, Emily, we are in our very short-day time of year, so hopefully I can get some more night images in Tacoma. Our winter is not usually bone chilling, so if the rain is manageable, I can get some shots.   Posted: 11/23/2021 10:30:36