Photo of the Week – January 18, 2017

Much of the Central United States is emerging from an ice storm that glazed streets and closed schools.  On the positive side, it also coated our prairies (and everything else) with a beautiful layer of ice.  As the sun came up yesterday morning, I was walking through one of our local prairies, surrounded by glittering, sparkling prairie plants.


Sunrise and icy prairie.

It was magical.

I had planned to walk around for an hour or so and take pictures, but ended up staying for four hours; leaving only because I got really hungry.  I usually save my “Photo of the Week” post for Thursday or Friday each week, but I couldn’t wait to share some images from yesterday morning.  I hope you enjoy them.


Stiff sunflowers and sunshine.


Indiangrass seeds.



Stiff goldenrod

Stiff goldenrod



Stiff goldenrod

Stiff goldenrod


I was surprised by this perfectly circular hole.


Switchgrass seeds.


Indiangrass seeds.


This ice boat seems to have sprung a leak.



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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28 Responses to Photo of the Week – January 18, 2017

  1. Bob says:

    Thanks for sharing the beauty.

  2. Denise Westlake says:

    Lovely! Thank you.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  3. Ren says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jennifer Pospichal says:


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  5. says:

    Good Morning Chris, loved the pictures which looked like a glass blower had made many.

    Sent from my iPhone


  6. I traveled thru central Illinois by train many years ago after a blizzard. Similar ice sculptures lined the railway but my pictures did not capture the beauty like yours.

  7. Sharron says:

    Cool pics!

  8. Angela Anderson says:

    such beauty!

  9. says:

    Your photos are beautiful.  I have never been to your part of Nebraska but I really appreciate the work that you do.  Thank you!

  10. avanraaphorst says:

    Spectacular photos! Thanks for sharing — as always, a wonderful, calming gift in troubled times.

  11. jeni says:

    Thank you. several of these are outstanding. glad you had so much fun!

  12. Gisela Fisher says:

    Your pictures are beautiful. It feels like I’m there. Would you share your camera settings and lens used for the close-ups please?

    • Chris Helzer says:

      Hi Gisela. Settings varied by the shot, but ISO 250 with Apertures between 13 and 25, mostly, and shutterspeeds at 1/80 to 1/250. Mostly… Everything was shot with a tripod.

  13. Lynne says:

    One word – WOW!

  14. Patrick says:

    Right place + right time = awesome!

  15. Deborah says:

    Extraordinary! Thank you.

  16. Wow, what a spectacular morning! Wish I could have been there.

  17. lv says:

    Beautiful!!! Breathtaking!!! Stunning!!!
    The Sandhills weren’t treated to the magical beauty of the storm. It’s been pleasurable seeing other people’s interpretation of the icy coating.

  18. Marilyn McNabb says:

    Just as everybody else said, these are wonderful, thanks.
    Marilyn McNabb

  19. Sarah Orr says:

    Absolutely beautiful! Love your photographs.

  20. jack says:

    Love the pictures, as Lidna lou & I were walking the dog after the storm the conversation went like this. Do you suppose Chris got pictures of all this beauty. I said he wouldn’t miss an opportunity like this. You didn’t disappoint. Thanks Jack

  21. Wow! I was in Florida last week and had heard about this storm but had not seen any images from it. These are stunning!

  22. it seems our new climate is resulting in far more rain / freezing rain / than snow here in the upper Midwest. Sadly our snow cover has been nearly eliminated twice this winter from rain events: Christmas day we received an inch of rain instead of 12″ of snow and again this past weekend rain destroying the snow we had. The state Climatologist has some exact data on this: rain is now 3x more likely or something of that order. More opportunities for beautiful photography however!

  23. I am glad I came across a link to this post. I am thinking the cold would have chased me in before my hunger. Thanks for posting these!

  24. Pingback: Photo of the Week – January 26, 2017 | The Prairie Ecologist


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