Photo of the Week – November 29, 2012

Yes, you’ve seen this photo before…

This is the same photo I used for the Photo of the Week back on November 16.

When I get back from a photography venture, I usually try to sort through and process photos within a day or so.  I hate getting behind, and I like to get photos worked up before I get tied up in other things and forget about them.  However, it can sometimes pay to wait a little while.  Now and then I’ll go back and look at photos I took weeks or months earlier and decide that the images I liked best at the time are no longer my favorites.

Two weeks ago, I used the above wetland photo as my Photo of the Week.  I took the photo the day before I posted it, and at the time it was my clear favorite from the day.  The other day, I happened across it, looked at it, and thought, “Meh.”

So I went back and looked at the rest of the same batch and found some other images I liked just as much, or maybe even more.  I’m not saying any of them are life changing images – landscapes are not really my forte – but I like them… and I didn’t think much of them two weeks ago.  In fact, this first one (below) didn’t even make the first cut.  I didn’t enter any metadata into the file or work it up in PhotoShop; I just left it with all the others I didn’t think were worth spending any time on.

This image was a throw-away two weeks ago. Now I kind of like it.

This next photo was one that I really liked when I was in the field, but liked less when I got it back home.  There was too much of the photo that seemed extraneous.  This week, as I looked through the images again, I saw a way to cut out some of what I didn’t like as much and emphasize what I did.

I like this photo much better after cropping it a little from my original composition. Basically, I just nipped off a little on the left side that didn’t really add anything to the image. Two weeks ago, I thought it was mediocre. Now I think it’s a pretty nice image, and – at this moment – it’s my favorite from that day. (A month from now I’ll probably hate it)

This final image (below) is almost completely contained in the image above, but shot from a slightly different location.  The way it’s cropped now, however, changes the whole feel of the photo.  Instead of a photo of a wetland with an interesting cloud above it, it’s now a photo of an interesting sky with a little bit of wetland below it.  The shorter height makes it look wider, which fits the way the scene felt in real life.

When I went back and looked at this photo, I saw potential for an interesting panoramic format, so I cropped off a good chunk from the bottom and liked the result. I think it does a good job of representing the very wide open feel of the landscape.

…Speaking of not being able to choose the best of my photos, I’ve decided it might be fun to go back through photos I’ve taken this year and try to select a few for a kind of Year in Review Photo Show for a December blog post.  (Isn’t that what websites like this are supposed to do at the end of the year?)

I’ve got it narrowed down to about 50 photos, which is about 40 too many…  I’m going to keep winnowing them down, but if you have any favorites you think should definitely make the cut, feel free to cast your vote by leaving a comment below.  You can browse through 2012 posts to see if any really stick out, but be warned that only photos I actually took this year are eligible (my blog, my rules).  Or you can just wait to see what I pick out myself.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is an ecologist and Eastern Nebraska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. He supervises the management and restoration of approximately 4,000 acres of land in central and eastern Nebraska - primarily along the central Platte River. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press.
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8 Responses to Photo of the Week – November 29, 2012

  1. Scott Josiah says:

    Very nice image but the tree looks lonely.

  2. Pat Halderman says:

    I like all of them! Lonely tree and all. :)

  3. James McGee says:

    There is something about a lone tree that reminds me of strength and fortitude. This is especially the case after a day fighting strong winds on the prairie.

    I like the middle two photos best. The light brought the colors out best in these two photos.

    James

  4. I vote for the second-to-last photo (#3) – love, love, love the clouds; also the lone tree and the amount of water that’s visible and the bright blue of the sky higher up, over the clouds; the elements just balance for me in this scene. I know, it’s the same setting as the very last photo (#4), but I prefer a little more foreground (although that being said, photo #1 might benefit from a little less foreground – say, take away the lower 1/4?); #4 seems a bit stark to me, not quite enough color or texture. But, hey, it’s your blog! :D

    I really like the idea of a end-of-year montage… Thanks for all your images and info.

  5. I would buy that penultimate one!

    It will now replace your bison photo as my screen backdrop.

  6. James McGee says:

    Chris,

    Here are my favorites from your blog over the last year.

    Landscapes: 1. Photographer on Niobara River, August 16th 2. Toadstool Geologic Park 3. Cowboys, Oct. 19th
    People: 1. Bee Hunter, July 16th 2. Scientists Studying Bees, Sept. 11th
    Vertebrates: 1. Bison, Jan. 20th 2. Sandhill Cranes, March 26th 3. Mother Mouse, Feb. 7th 4. Box Turtle, August 24th 5. Smooth Green Snake, Feb. 7th
    Insects: 1. Regale Fritillary on Thistle, Nov. 13th, 2. January 18th, Buckeye Butterfly
    Plants: 1. Prairie Larkspur, May 29th 3. Pitcher Sage, Jan. 18th 2. Prairie Gentian, June 29th

    If I had to choose one favorite … it would be the Photographer on the Niobara River, August 16th.

    James

  7. Pingback: Best of Prairie Ecologist Photos – 2012 | The Prairie Ecologist

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