Best of Prairie Ecologist Photos – 2013

As promised, here are some my favorite photos from 2013.  It was really tough to narrow these down to 22 (it was going to be 21, but see below) out of the roughly 1,800 images that were “keepers” from my various photography jaunts this year.

Of course, many of you joined in the winnowing process by helping me decide between two similar bison photos last week.  Or at least that’s what was supposed to happen.  Since the vote was nearly evenly split (and a lot of people voted “both”) I decided to include both photos.  You’ll see them displayed back to back below.

I hope you enjoy the photos.  If you let the slideshow run on its own, it’ll take a little under two minutes to cycle through.  You can speed up the process, if you like, by clicking on the arrows within the frame.

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If I had to choose a single favorite from the year, it would probably be the one below.  It tells a great story without having to use any words at all.

Ant and crab spider on an annual sunflower.  The Nature Conservancy's Niobrara Valley Preserve, Nebraska.

Ant and crab spider on an annual sunflower. The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve, Nebraska.

I shot quite a few images of crab spider silhouettes that morning, trying to get one that was just right.  I got some pretty nice ones, but none that were as striking as I’d hoped – until I was photo bombed by this ant.  That’s often the way photography goes.  Equipment and technique are both important, but you really just have to be in the right place at the right time.

I’m looking forward to being in lots of right places in 2014.

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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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10 Responses to Best of Prairie Ecologist Photos – 2013

  1. Joanne says:

    The ant ~ spider photo — the best! Who could plan for a shot like that one?

  2. Melissa says:

    Beautiful, Chris! Really enjoy your photos and posts! Hope your 2014 is filled with color (and otters)!

  3. John Bebout says:

    great pictures Chris really like looking on your site. Have a wonderful 2014.

  4. Kris says:

    Thanks for sharing. Good shot of the singing Dickcissel!

  5. elfinelvin says:

    Thanks, Chris, they’re great. Love that happy little jumping spider!

  6. Michael Fitts says:

    Chris, I love your blog! I only found it a month ago but yours is easily in my top two favorites. I have read and re-read through many of your posts and am looking forward to visiting Platte river Prairies and Niobrara soon!

  7. Melissa groo says:

    That ant and spider shot is an award winner! Wow! But love all your work, both visual and written. Thanks for all you do for the prairies.

  8. Ben Baker says:

    Your ‘Ant and crab spider on an annual sunflower’ photograph evokes an existential crisis! Brilliant!

  9. Fantastic photos, Chris. I think either the yellow ladyslipper or the first bison photos would get my votes for favorite.

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