Photo of the Week – January 3, 2013

This photo was taken several years ago outside the house of my in-laws in eastern Nebraska.  I don’t usually photograph birds, but I was there and the birds were there, and one thing led to another…

Red-bellied woodpecker

A red-bellied woodpecker pauses near a feeder during a snowstorm. Sarpy County, Nebraska.

It was snowing, but the mid-day light was still bright enough for photography.  As the snow fell, I stood in my coveralls near several bird feeders, hoping the birds would ignore me. I had covered my camera in a plastic bag and wrapped my lens in cardboard (held on with rubber bands) – only the best technology for me!  While the snow piled up on my camera, eyebrows, and beard, I pivoted the camera around on my tripod, attempting to focus on bird after bird as they came near the feeders.  Most of the time, of course, the bird either landed in a non-photogenic spot or moved away before I could get a bead on it.  In spite of that, I eventually managed to get a few useable shots. 

This one is my favorite from the day – mainly because of the completely white background.  It would look like a studio shot except for the blurry snowflakes coming past the tree trunk.  In reality, the snow on the ground and in the air behind the bird just blurred together into a pure white background.

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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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2 Responses to Photo of the Week – January 3, 2013

  1. Thanks for posting the picture of the woodpecker. Such a beauty!

  2. Deborah Barber says:

    Love it! Beautiful shot, with the natural white background accidentally reminiscent of the MYN (Meet Your Neighbours) style– http://meetyourneighbours.net/ Thank you for sharing it with us!

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