Photo of the Week – February 27, 2014

For a nature photographer like me, Nebraska winters can get pretty long.  Especially winters like this one with very little snow.  How many photos of brown grass and dried flowers can I take, after all?  I don’t have the equipment or patience to photograph wildlife very well, so I’m kind of stuck with landscapes and close-up photos.

Well, a guy’s gotta photograph something…  While I was visiting my in-laws in Sarpy County, Nebraska (south of Omaha) last weekend, I decided to challenge myself to find something interesting to photograph within the small restored prairies on their property.  I guess you’ll have to judge whether or not I was successful.

Indiangrass.  Weiss Acres - Sarpy County, Nebraska.
Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans).  Weiss Acres – Sarpy County, Nebraska.


A false sunflower seed head is backlit by the setting sun.
A false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides) seed head is backlit by the setting sun.


The double helix pattern of an open partridge pea seed pod.
The double helix pattern of an open partridge pea (Chamaecrista fasciculate) seed pod.


Another false  sunflower seed head.
Another false sunflower seed head…


Another (yawn) sunflower seed head.  This time it's Maximilian sunflower.  The light was kind of interesting, though.
Another (yawn) sunflower seed head. This time it’s Maximilian sunflower. What can I say?  The light was kind of interesting.

So, there you go.  Now, how about a little snow?  Or some nice hoar frost?  Ice storm??

Spring is coming soon, right?


20 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – February 27, 2014

  1. Paul February 27, 2014 / 3:04 pm

    Your first three photos of this post are among my favorites from your blog. Great job capturing an overlooked subject in a captivating manner!

  2. Sue Coder Kagarise February 27, 2014 / 3:14 pm

    You have managed to find beauty in what first appears to be drab.

  3. Sundry February 27, 2014 / 3:19 pm

    Wonderful shots. So intimate. It’s hard for people to see the value in plant diversity, but these are beautiful examples of the sheer beauty of the subject matter.

  4. Sundry February 27, 2014 / 3:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Any Given Sundry and commented:
    I don’t know if I have ever reblogged a post before, but this one is too gorgeous not to share. Thanks to Chris Helzer for posting on his blog, The Prairie Ecologist.

  5. Bob Stine February 27, 2014 / 3:35 pm

    Don’t badmouth that back-lit sunflower picture — it’s my favorite! “Nice light” indeed!

  6. Joanne February 27, 2014 / 3:50 pm

    Beautiful pictures, nature has a way of showing off any season. About your last post which I didn’t respond too — The February issue of National Geographic has a small photo of a barn owl — wings up. Underneath these, tiny wings with what looks like four wing tips which would go along with the other comments. It is easy to see how those smaller wings would touch the snow when the owl swoops in for a kill. This is before the Geographic numbers pages – just a few pages before an article on the brain.

    • Jeanine Lackey February 27, 2014 / 9:08 pm

      Barn owls don’t spend the winter in Nebraska, typically.

      • Joanne March 3, 2014 / 11:59 am

        What kind of owls would stay the winter there? And where do the barn owls migrate to —

  7. bugman13 February 27, 2014 / 4:16 pm

    Really like the partridge pea image.

    • Patrick February 27, 2014 / 4:55 pm

      That was my favorite too.

  8. Becky February 27, 2014 / 4:24 pm

    Exquisite photos Chris, you do have a real knack for seeing that special light. As to the weather, we need some rain here in north Texas and lots of it. Hope you get that snow you want.

  9. Gene Sengstake February 27, 2014 / 5:00 pm

    That so much beauty can be found in seemingly simple photographs – – –

  10. patti holmlund February 27, 2014 / 6:36 pm

    I love all the close ups! The small details are very interesting and beautiful. Even in their Winter Brown.

  11. Kathy February 27, 2014 / 7:22 pm

    Wonderful pictures! What nature doesn’t give you in color (Spring, Summer, Fall) or contrast (Winter), it gives in texture.

  12. Jeanine Lackey February 27, 2014 / 9:07 pm

    Love the textures, the colors and the subjects….very prairie!!!

  13. Sharon February 27, 2014 / 9:08 pm

    Your photos fascinate me – Spring can wait.

  14. Tom February 27, 2014 / 11:13 pm

    Love ’em.

  15. Kody February 28, 2014 / 11:56 am

    Hey, I also have a small restored prairie in Sarpy County. Nice photos Chris!

  16. Lisa Reid March 26, 2014 / 11:44 am

    It would be great to have a field guide of wildflowers and grasses in winter (maybe one already exists) so I know what plants I am looking at in late fall through early spring as I’m walking/snowshoeing/skiing through the prairies. So I think all these photos of dried plants are great!


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