Monthly Archives: February 2014

Feb 2014 – When it happens…it happens

I’m happy with it.  I didn’t burn down my house.

I was thinking man I’d like the ice to be in focus more, but then I realized my face had to be back from the flames and if I had to choose a focal plane my face in focus is the best option.  Plus then the ice and fire are an accent to the portrait.

I like how the black matte painted peg board worked for the backdrop.  A larger softbox would have made a more dramatic backlight effect, but man I got all this in camera and with fire you only really get one shot to nail it.

Post processing consisted of a slight white balance correction (the flames really made this one quite a bit orange) and a slight boost in clarity and I recovered the whites of the ice a little bit.


This was shot with a self timer and I had to guess where I would be in the frame… yeah… yeah it did!

I’m happy.  I hope you are inspired – now go try this (safely) and share your results.


Feb 2014 – Fire

Fire!  I have been fascinated by fire since I was a kid.  The brightness the color the heat, even the power and the unpredictable nature of it. 


I wanted the fire to be red.  This can be accomplished by adding lithium metal to the flame.  Unfortunately lithium is not readily or easily available.  There are different types of inks and pigments used in print that can achieve red also but finding them in concentration without other contaminants is difficult.

After a bit of debate I settled on a bright white additive magnesium sulphate also known as epsom salts. 
The main fire source is rubbing alcohol.  I chose this as it easily dilutes with water has a low burning temperature and is complete clear which will help contribute to the illusion of the ice being on fire. 

All I have to do is dissolve the salt in the alcohol.  About 1tsp per 100ml. 


I think the results speak for themselves.

Feb 2014-Ice making

I wanted the ice to be crystal clear.  I read several tutorials online and watched a few videos.  Several key factors were obvious.  1. The water needs to be as pure as possible. 2.  The process of freezing must be slow.

I also remembered a documentary where they needed to make clear ice and vibrated the water as it was freezing to get the temperature as low as possible before it turned solid.

I decided to make ice in a cooler I had.  I added some smaller containers to try and get some different shaped blocks.  I flooded the entire cooler with distilled water.   I added several drops of blue dye thinking that would help make the ice a more blue color.


The beard trimmer was to buzz and prevent the surface from freezing but it didn’t last more than 6 hours.  I concluded its value was minimal.

This is what it looked like before it went to the freezer


After 2 days the block was still not fully frozen.  I noticed the dye seemed to be concentrated in the area that did not freeze.
I decided to pull the block out.  After I got the block out of the cooler I realized it would have been awesome as is without the containers.

I decided to cut the block and pull out the containers.  I found a few surprises.


Some perfectly clear well formed shapes.  I think this will work very well.

Feb 2014 – storyboard

Well I have not forgotten about this project.  I have a detailed plan and storyboards.  I only have a few minutes so I can’t share the details now but I have included the storyboards.  Enjoy!



Feb 2014 – the plan

I have a million ideas for photos I want to take.  I’m pretty excited for this year and while finding time to take photos has been a bit of a struggle these monthly photos have more or less kept me on track.
This month I will be working with the theme fire and ice.  The concept is simple incorporate both ice and fire in the same shot.  I had the thought what if the ice was burning?  Would that be cool?  So this months picture will be a self portrait with flaming ice.

Stay tuned for the storyboard.