Voting Results: Prairie and Bee? or Bee in Prairie?

Back on August 4, I posted a selection of similar images and asked for help selecting the best of four compositions.  As has been the case in the past, there was no clear consensus, but there was a winner.  That winner was PHOTO NUMBER FOUR.

Bee on blazing star #4. (Vertical - just to complicate things)

This was the most popular choice from the voting.  (Though not by a landslide.)

Photo number four got 25 votes, followed by photo number one with 22 votes.  Photos number two (7 votes) and three (3 votes) lagged far behind.  However, it was interesting that all four compositions got votes, and even numbers two and three had very passionate supporters.

Bumblebee on blazing star. Photo #1.

This one (photo number one) finished a close second to photo number four.

For many people, the choice came down to whether or not the image was a photo of a prairie landscape with a bee in it (#1) or a photo of a bee in a prairie landscape (#4).  Some people liked the “surprise” of seeing the bee upon looking closely at a prairie.  Others enjoyed the more exposed bee in the vertical photo.

For what it’s worth, the photos were presented in the order I took them in the field.  I personally like number one best, but mainly because it best represents the feel I was trying to capture when I first saw the flowers and then discovered the bee.  I do like number four too, and remember making the decision to drop a little lower with my camera so the bee would be more visible against the sky.  …Of course, I like number two and number three too…

So, thanks for your help.  This is why photographers usually take many photos of the same subject, experimenting with various compositions.  It’s hard to know what you (or others) will like best later on.  This is also why I’ve never enjoyed photo contests.  It’s relatively easy to separate images that are technically good from those that aren’t, but the process is very subjective from there.  In some ways, a big selection of photos is much like an ecosystem – you can argue that one species/photo is more important than another, but it’s really the abundance and diversity that makes both a photo contest and ecosystem work!

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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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2 Responses to Voting Results: Prairie and Bee? or Bee in Prairie?

  1. Bobbie says:

    that’s awesome Chris! Thanks for following up on this! love the photos.

  2. Paul says:

    Not sure if you had that lesson in ecology planned from the beginning Chris, but nice that you brought it around to that in the end. I always tried to stick the best I could to the Leopoldian definition of “right and wrong” in terms of land management, but we all certainly have different perspectives on the same thing. “Right” then indeed becomes much more subjective.

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