Photographers at the Chihuly in the Garden exhibit



Robert Thoresen

The last week in February fifteen members of the Photography Club of Quail Creek took an overnight field trip to the Phoenix Botanical Gardens to try their photographic abilities taking images of the Chihuly installation. Several members of the club had made a similar daytrip to Phoenix three years ago to an earlier Chihuly exhibit that was not as environmentally integrated with the garden setting.

Artist Dale Chihuly is credited with revolutionizing the Studio Glass Movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from a craft to fine art. He is world renowned for his architectural installations around the world and is represented in over 200 museum collections. The original Chihuly Glass Studio is located on the shoreline overlooking Seattle’s Lake Union. The current exhibit in Phoenix concludes on May 18.

The installations are spread throughout the gardens with the exception of the Desert Wildflower Loop Trail. The installations are quite massive, some in dimensions of twenty five feet in height or thirty feet in width. One of the smaller installations, but probably the most popular yet challenging to photograph, was the glass boat at the Desert Oasis. The water’s motion created various technical problems, particularly after dark.

To attend one of the few scheduled sunrise viewings of the exhibit, club members stayed overnight at the forever dateless Papago Inn and Resort, a very well maintained early Best Western affiliated accommodation two miles east of the Botanical Gardens. Rising at 5:00 a.m., members were on the grounds by 6:00 a.m. to be assisted by garden guides to get to most of the lighted sculptures in time for the arrival of the ideal early morning light.

Trip coordinator since the club’s creation, member Nancy Lammers made the dining arrangements. Monday’s late lunch was at Old Town Scottsdale’s Daily Dose. The luncheon menu is dominated with salads, wraps and hot sandwiches. It is an award winner for the best hangover breakfast in Phoenix. One can’t attest to that reputation at 3:00 p.m. No customers appeared to be suffering with a hangover although some might later.

Arcadia Farms Café in Old Town Scottsdale was the breakfast stop on Tuesday. It originated twenty years ago as a small bakery and carryout market. It has become a favorite dining spot in Scottsdale with signature omelets for breakfast. The food and atmosphere is excellent but the service was dreadfully slow. Most of the kitchen operation seems to be across the street from the dining facility. Servers with trays were constantly crossing East 1st Street from the bakery.

The Photography Club of Quail Creek (PCQC) is a chartered club designed for residents of all levels of photographic skill. For current events and details of club’s activities visit the club’s website at