Photo of the Week – December 15, 2017

I haven’t done much photography lately, and that always makes me cranky.  I spent a couple days at the Niobrara Valley Preserve this week, but between the short day length right now, a busy meeting schedule, and cloudy/windy conditions, I didn’t even get my camera out of the bag.  This morning, I just couldn’t stand it anymore, so my camera and I took a short walk in one of the small prairies here in town.  I needed to be on a conference call, but I managed to multi-task fairly effectively – participating in the call with my cell phone and earbuds while photographing dead flowers.  My colleagues are pretty understanding…

The first photo I took this morning was of sensitive briar (Mimosa quadrivalvus).  There was one lone seed still hanging on inside the spiny pods.

A light overnight frost was being systematically melted as morning sunlight crept across the prairie.  However, by finding plants that were just being illuminated, I could take a few photos before the frost disappeared.  In this case, the sun had just reached this roundheaded bushclover (Lespdeza capitata) plant, but the background was still in shadow.

The frost was quickly melting off of these aster (Aster lanceolatus) seed heads.

Birds, mice, and other creatures have already stripped all the seeds out of the sunflower plants in the prairie – including this stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus).

By the time my conference call ended and I headed back to the office, my hands were cold, my knees were wet, and I felt better about the world.  Even in the winter, prairies can provide inspiration and solace to those who go looking for it, including photographers with cabin (office?) fever.

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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.
This entry was posted in Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography, Prairie Plants and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Photo of the Week – December 15, 2017

  1. marknupen says:

    Oh, Yeah, Even the winter has its beauty, BUT you have to walk about and lean over, HAH!
    Thanks

  2. Becky says:

    The change of seasons brings more to see, questions to ponder about management choices and chance observations of what the communal impact that remnant prairie has. Isn’t it amazing how we “need” tone outside no matter the conditions. Did the same today after a long week of meetings. Enjoy the weekend Chris and thanks for the great pics and words.

  3. Dina says:

    Fabulous captures, Chris! Your gallery is outstandingly good!
    Wishing you a great weekend, Dina .

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