In winter, time seems to stop as nature goes into hibernation. Snow falls over the landscape and rivers and lakes freeze over to trap and save the treasures within, until the sun melts the ice and brings everything back to life in the spring time.

Japanese artist Kenji Shibata showcases the stunning beauty of ice as both preserver and destroyer in his photo series "Locked in the Ether."

Shibata preserved fresh, colorful blossoms in blocks of clear ice and arranged them into his masterpieces. As the ice thawed and the fragile petals were once again subject to time and the elements, he photographed them to once again preserve their beauty through his lenses in that moment in time.

His photographs have been gaining high praise at his exhibition at the Tachibana Gallery in Osaka.

Many are awed at the symbolism of his work and the parallels of preservation and destruction happening all at once and captured on the images.

The flowers, as they are being released from the frozen ice, look like water color paintings that seem so alive in his prints but also to have already wilted away as soon as they were completely thawed.

According to admirers of Shibata's work, his photographs, even in his past work, which is showcased on his website, shows "extraordinary sensitivity and sense for composition."

"Locked in the Ether" art installation will be on display in Osaka until Dec. 20.

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