Photo of the Week – August 21, 2014

I’ve written before about how many times I often snap the shutter on my camera to make sure I get the photo I want.  Digital photography makes that a cheap insurance option and gives me lots of images to choose from when I review them later.  However, I don’t always get the opportunity for multiple shots.

I had my camera out for a walk a few weeks ago, and while I was photographing a bee, I noticed a bush katydid on the prairie clover flower next to me.  I swung around slowly and squeezed off exactly one shot before it flew off.  As you can see from its camouflaged body, there was no hope of finding it again, so I had to move on.  I figured there was no chance the one shot I’d taken was sharp, well-composed, and correctly exposed for light, so I just forgot about it.  Imagine my surprise when I was looking through photos later and saw this….

A bush katydid feeding on purple prairie clover.  The Nature Conservancy's Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.

A bush katydid feeding on purple prairie clover. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.

Sure, I could brag about my lightning quick reflexes and fast thinking, but the truth of the matter is that this image came from mostly blind luck.  I had been planning to take a series of images to get multiple angles and compositions of the katydid, but most importantly, to ensure that I got the eye in sharp focus.  Instead, I got one shot that just happened to turn out just fine.  I’ll take it!

Many of you, I’m sure, will remember information I’ve passed on previously about how katydids can be distinguished from grasshoppers by their antennae length and how they hear through the tympana in their “elbows”, but in case you’ve forgotten, you can read about that in a post from earlier this year.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
This entry was posted in Prairie Insects, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Photo of the Week – August 21, 2014

  1. anastaciast says:

    It’s Kizmet! I, too, had an insect surprise last week. I was photographing a butterfly on a sunflower. When I opened it on the computer, there was a bee that had photo-bombed my picture! :) It was sooooo cool.

  2. Jim in IA says:

    I don’t see how you could have a better picture. You were well prepared with skill and tools. Fortune favors those who are prepared.
    http://lauriebrunner.com/fortunefavorsthepreparedmind/

  3. James C. Trager says:

    Looks like a female Amblycorypha oblongifolia. In some places, these come in other colors, pink, yellow and various blends. We commonly see russet colored ones that match quite well the red of little bluestem in late summer.

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