“Day Lily”

Day Lily, SE Utah (c) Mike Utley

I photographed this day lily using my make-shift studio, which consisted of a dark blanket thumb-tacked to the ceiling and soft incidental light from a window. I like the understated tones of the flower in this image, which, in bright sunlight, would look completely different. For me, this image speaks of deep thought and contemplation, as well as the still silence that I always attempted to portray in my photography. Imposing order on a chaotic world was my mission when I was active as a nature photographer, and in my world today, these images feel like a healing balm. Flower photography was one of my favorite disciplines in the field of nature photography, and although this image was made in the living room under controlled conditions, it inspires me in the same way my wild flower images do. Beauty is beauty, after all, regardless of where we find it. It’s up to us to seek it out and allow it to heal our hearts and souls. (Canon gear, Fuji Velvia ISO 50)

“Miniature Pot Rose”

Miniature Pot Rose, SE Utah (c) Mike Utley

F65-1(S)–Miniature Pot Rose, SE Utah
I don’t have many studio images, which makes sense because I never had a studio or a proper lighting kit. I learned to improvise. I photographed this miniature pot rose in the living room in a make-shift studio many years ago. I thumb-tacked a dark blanket to the ceiling to provide a black background and used lighting from a west-facing window to illuminate the rose. I also employed a whiteboard reflector to bounce some fill-light onto the flower to eliminate harsh shadows. I like the sensuous curve of the stem and the hint of leaves at the bottom. The blood-red hue of the petals really stands out against the dark background. The blossom of the rose was only about an inch in diameter. I’ve always loved flower photography, whether it was in the field or a temporary studio indoors. The advantage of shooting flowers indoors is that I could control the elements (no wind, customized lighting, etc.). I prefer wild flower images made out-of-doors, however. The experience is more profound as I have nature’s symphony of sights, scents and sounds all around me as I compose a shot. Still, I love this image. It is natural beauty even if it was made in an ad hoc living room studio years ago. (Canon gear, Fuji Velvia ISO 50)