Photo of the Week – May 12, 2016

Being a nature photographer sometimes means I can plan trips to interesting places and spend extended periods of time focusing on nothing but photography.  More often, however, my photography comes in short opportunistic bursts in the middle of other activities.  Fortunately, my family and coworkers are (mostly) patient with me when these opportunities arise and I briefly break away from whatever we’re doing.

Spider on a foggy morning. The Nature Conservancy's Niobrara Valley Preserve, Nebraska.

Spider in foggy prairie. The Nature Conservancy’s Niobrara Valley Preserve, Nebraska.

This week, two of my coworkers and I spent a couple days at our Niobrara Valley Preserve working on some strategic planning.  Our time together was really productive, but we were in one of the most scenic places in the world with almost no time to get outside and enjoy it.  When I woke up Tuesday morning, it was foggy outside, but bright enough that the sun was just barely visible through the fog.  My two coworkers were nowhere to be seen, so I made an executive decision that it was a great time for photography and slipped out the door and up the hill to a beautiful prairie ridgetop.

This web seemed to be uninhabited except by hundreds of water droplets.

This web seemed to be uninhabited except by hundreds of water droplets.

Water droplet at the tip of a grass leaf.

A single water droplet at the tip of a grass leaf.

I spent about 20 minutes photographing spiderwebs and other dew-covered natural wonders before slipping back into our cabin, ready to resume the meeting.  Fortunately, the other two – including my boss – hadn’t started without me.  Throughout the rest of the morning, I only sighed aloud a few times as I watched the fog slowly break up over the river and bluffs just outside our cabin, and I’m pretty sure I only pointed out the beautiful photography light seven or eight times.  Other than that I was completely focused and productive…

The same spider as shown in the first photo, but from a different angle. As long as my knees were wet from the dewy grass and the spider seemed ok with my presence, I figured I'd better shoot as many angles as I could...

The same spider as shown in the first photo, but from a different angle. As long as my knees were wet from the dewy grass and the spider seemed ok with my presence, I figured I’d better shoot as many angles as I could…

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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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6 Responses to Photo of the Week – May 12, 2016

  1. Lisa says:

    Gorgeous shots and commentary. I love following this blog. Keep up the great work for NE.

  2. Gay Gilbert says:

    Thanks for sharing all that astounding beauty! You are a true artist!

  3. Katie Heithoff says:

    My sentiments are already expressed by the comments posted above . Thank you for what you’re able to express in your photos .

  4. Cassie Novak says:

    The spider species is Larinia borealis. Lovely photos!

  5. Beautiful photos! You have me itching to get out on my annual prairie tour soon.

  6. marilyn says:

    I always look at your photography on this blog, but seldom have time to post comments unless, like you, I get up very early and dominate my computer domain! These photos are stunning, Chris! Breathtaking, in fact. As only a prairie lover can appreciate and love, it’s the small things that are hiding in plain sight that you capture so exquisitely. Thank You!

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