Photo of the Week – December 4, 2014

When I photograph small creatures, I often try to position myself so I can look right into their eyes.  I like face-to-face images because they feel very personal.  One of the most important catalysts of conservation is the personal connection people feel with nature and the species we share the planet with.  It’s one thing to see a caterpillar from a distance, but when you look into its eyes…  well, they’re just so darn cute!  It’s a lot harder to step on something or plow up its habitat once you’ve met it face to face.

One of the most charismatic species I know is the snapping turtle.  It’s not hard to photograph a snapper in  way that evokes personality and character.  Here’s a photo of a small snapping turtle we found earlier this year while exploring one of restored wetlands.  We picked it up for just a minute to examine it more closely.  Before I set it down, I took this portrait.

A small snapping turtle.  The Nature Conservancy's Platte River Prairies.

A small snapping turtle. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies.

In case you missed it a few years ago, here is a link to a previous post about a snapping turtle that was causing consternation among the cattle at our family prairie.  That one had some character as well…

On a somewhat related topic, I’m starting to put together my annual “Best Of” slide show of photos from 2014, just as I did in 2013 and 2012.  If there are any photos from this year’s posts you want to lobby for, feel free to do so in the comments section of this post.  Otherwise, I’ll just choose my personal favorites.

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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.
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5 Responses to Photo of the Week – December 4, 2014

  1. mark nupen says:

    Hello Chris. Always enjoy your posts and I did look back to the old post with the disturbed black angus cattle. That breed may also be one of the most curious bunch of cows. I was visiting a old fellow in western Montana who liked to play the bagpipes. (Of course you cannot play those indoors unless you are alone) Well he usually went outside and after several minutes I looked outside to hear him play, but this time he had a very large audience of all black angus cattle probably 30 of them who came from all over the large pasture to stand shoulder to shoulder, ear straight up and leaning forward to listen to this guy play the bagpipes. They were not agitated. They were FANS!

  2. Brodie says:

    I (heart) turtles! Love this photo, Chris; very snappy.

  3. Lisa says:

    Some favorites from the past include that Chinese mantis eating a caterpillar, a very colorful grasshopper, close-up of sandhill crane feathers, water drops on vegetation, snakes, Konza prairie photos – so many good ones.

  4. bennysplace says:

    Another great post and I thank you. I personally vote for any of the bees on sunflowers photos. I love that set. Thank you.

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