Jordan Patton » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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Apr 172013

Photograph copyright Jordan Patton

This is the time of year that everything turns beautiful and fresh. Everything in this world is starting its new cycle called “spring.” Most people get to enjoy the beauty that they are the pollen bearers, a.k.a. the flower. They are a delicate gorgeous thing, but for me, they are tormentors. Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers, they are all so different in so many ways. But for the second quarter of the year they make me miserable. So I thought why not enjoy their beauty in a protected, slightly destructive way? That’s when I came up with the idea to do a photography shoot with roses on fire. In this unconventional way, I will finally be able to enjoy the beauty of a flower.

To do this I set up a little studio in my garage, that I made fire proof and had a fire extinguisher handy. That was the easy part, setting up the studio early in the morning with my camera tethered to my computer and setting up the flash just right to light up the flower in the dimly light garage. The hard part of taking this image is getting the fire to show up bright and vivid. You have to set the shutter speed to a little more than a second to get the most vivid color of the flame. With the movement of the fire it was hard to keep the flower in a sharp focus, that’s why I used the flash to help light the subject. By using both of these light sources I was able to keep my ISO at a hundred, so no grain in my photograph. Even though you cannot see it, I did put up a background behind the flower. I used an 8” x 12” piece of sheet metal. That way the light would bounce off the metal and light up the back of the rose. The only editing I did after I took the photograph was to crop the image and bring out the color just a little bit. Now, the flower photograph that I have chosen is engulfed in flame, even though the petals are not yet burning. This was snapped at the exact moment when the acetone on the flower was lit on fire, so it kept the flower in pristine condition. With this set up I was able to enjoy their beauty for a whole five minutes, without a single sneeze.

About the Photographer:
My name is Jordan K. Patton and I am a local from Las Vegas, NV. I’ve been interested in photography ever since I was little, but it wasn’t until High School that I started taking photography classes. That is where I was further inspired by my Photography Teacher, Mr. John Mroz. From then on it has been an unyielding passion. Since then I have gotten my Associates of Arts degree in The College of Southern Nevada, and I am currently earning my Bachelors in Photography.  My style is simple, but I never stop trying to capture the simple thing in extraordinary ways.

To read more about the Northern Arizona University “Behind the Image: Guest Blogger” project on our blog, please read the introduction on our April 15 post at