Photo of the Week – November 26, 2015

The sky yesterday was mostly overcast and dark, but I looked out my window mid morning and noticed the clouds thinning a little.  I grabbed my camera and drove down to our family prairie for a walk.  It was a beautiful day, with temperatures in the 50’s (F) and light winds.

Sun coming through dotted gayfeather in autumn prairie. Helzer prairie, near Stockham, Nebraska.

Sun coming through a dotted gayfeather seedhead in late autumn prairie. Helzer family prairie, near Stockham, Nebraska.

I rarely start these photo walks with a particular subject in mind, and yesterday was no exception.  I enjoyed looking at the bright red leaves on wild rose plants, and perused the tracks of various animals along the edge of the wetland.  However, I ended up spending most of my time photographing the seeds of dotted gayfeather (Liatris punctata) plants.

Dotted gayfeather in autumn prairie. Helzer prairie, near Stockham, Nebraska.

Dotted gayfeather seeds still hanging on.

While many plants with wind-blown seeds released the last of those seeds weeks or months ago, most gayfeather plants are still hanging on to most of theirs.  It’s hard to know if there is an evolutionary adaptation involved in that delay, but it sure is appreciated by photographers like me.  …Especially in late November, when wildflowers and insects have disappeared for the winter.

Dotted gayfeather in autumn prairie. Helzer prairie, near Stockham, Nebraska.

Dotted gayfeather in autumn prairie..

Dotted gayfeather in autumn prairie. Helzer prairie, near Stockham, Nebraska.

More seeds.

Dotted gayfeather in autumn prairie. Helzer prairie, near Stockham, Nebraska.

A big ‘ol jumble of seeds.

On this official day of Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for many things – including my job, which allows me to work in, study, photograph, and write about grasslands and prairie ecology.  More than that, I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to write this blog over the last five (!!) years.  Writing these posts forces me to explore more ideas and think more deeply than I otherwise would, and I learn a tremendous amount as a result.  Thank you for reading, following, and sharing your feedback.

Have a safe and enjoyable holiday.  Happy Thanksgiving!

This entry was posted in Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants and tagged , , , , by Chris Helzer. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

13 thoughts on “Photo of the Week – November 26, 2015

  1. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m thankful for your blog….keeps me connected to the heartland and the awesome prairie grasses, wildflowers, etc. I so enjoy learning from your posts! Keep up the good work!

  2. Thank you Chris for another year of wonderful information and photos. And please thank all of your co-workers and the Fellows that are working there as well – a visit to meet you is on my agenda for 2016!

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


  3. I am another of the many people who enjoy and look forward to your blog…and are always happy to see another posting in the inbox. Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. I’m thankful to you, too, Chris! I was just getting interested in prairies (they’re much more scarce here in Michigan), and finding your blog was a God-send — you opened the door to a new and exciting learning experience for me. May you and yours be blessed a thousand times over for each moment you spend caring for our Earth and encouraging the rest of us to love it as you do. Happy Thanksgiving Day!

  5. Thank you for another great post Chris. As folks have already said, I too am thankful for bloggers like you. I love your posts and they inspire me to get outside and enjoy all the life around us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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