Swimming with Roses



But he that dares not grasp the thorn. Should never crave the rose. – Emily Bronte


Drama comes at a price. Time, sweat and money.

I had plans for a water ‘hand-selfie’. I didn’t yet know exactly what it would be but the desire to do something dramatic and water based had me driving to the pet store to purchase an aquarium.

Whilst out I also popped in to a rather eclectic shop in search of props and discovered the most stunning silk roses. And so the idea was born.

After setting up the tank in the studio and spending a good long while filling it with water I set about positioning the lighting. This was vital as I needed to shoot with a shutter speed of 1/1000 in order to capture the moment of slamming my fist hard in to the water whilst clasping a rose. I experimented with various shutter speeds and anything slower than 1/1000 created motion blur.

I couldn’t move my hand slowly in to the water as this would not create the authentic wave and bubbles that I required. Only a genuinely aggressive punch in to the water would create this and to capture that moment required speed.

With the lighting constructed and the camera positioned and focused I set about shooting short bursts to capture multiple frames each time I forced my fist in to the water. I ended up shooting 490 separate frames in order to find the perfect image.

It took me several hours of shooting and many more hours of retouching, a considerable amount of sweat from filling up the tank and spending hours under 2000w of lamps and no small amount of money. Aquarium’s don’t come cheap.

But in the end, to my mind at least, it was well worth it.

I intend to utilise the tank a great deal more in the future. The results are as exciting as they are mysterious.

And that’s what enveloped means to me.