Photo of the Week – February 16, 2018

Long-time readers of this blog know that I occasionally ask readers to tell me which of two similar photos they like best.  Usually, I don’t really have a favorite, and am struggling to decide which of two nearly identical compositions is better.  Or if I do have a favorite, I don’t say so, in order to not bias the results.

In this case, I have a clear favorite, but no one around here seems to agree with me, so I’m turning to you to prove that I’m right.  Don’t let me down…

Here are the two photos.  Both show a tiny backlit feather atop a prairie plant at Lincoln Creek Prairie here in Aurora.  The photos were taken last month.  That last part is completely immaterial to the choice, but I mention it because my word count on this post seems a little low otherwise.

Photo number 1.

Photo number 2.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with both images.  But the second one is better, right?  Sure, less of it is tack sharp, but it’s more graceful for its softness, and the way the feather leans with the breeze is more attractive than the more upright feather in photo number one.  Right??

If you have a strong opinion, you can vote here.

Thanks for your help on this.  I will adhere to the results of the poll, no matter which way they come back.


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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22 Responses to Photo of the Week – February 16, 2018

  1. bethanne says:

    We should be allowed to vote twice – I have a strong opinion but I also want to pet the feather!

  2. Edward Lagace says:


  3. LOL! The second one, for sure. I have to say so in so many words here, because I voted that I wanted to pet the feather. :)

  4. Pat says:

    The second one, the lines are quite graceful. And I want to pet the feather!

  5. Gary Shackelford says:

    I agree with you, Chris, not only for the reasons you stated but also because the rachis (shaft) of the feather and the adjacent barbs are in better focus on #2, and the twig on which the feather has caught is more to the side and is therefore less of a focal point.

  6. Kim says:

    I’ll take the first one because of the play of light on the outside feathery bits, which seem sharper to me in the first one. The second one is very nice, but the breeze has softened it a bit too much.

  7. Jill says:

    I like #1 – especially the way the light makes the feather sparkle.

  8. steve clubine says:

    Number one caught my attention immediately, although, number two told me it was a feather quicker.

  9. Kim says:

    I prefer #1.

  10. savannagal says:

    Sorry. I prefer the 1st one. The 2nd one looks a little too blurry to my eyes.

  11. Steve Halm says:

    The lighting gave the second one more dimension. The first had a rather raggedy appearance. Raggedy is nice but the second also had a very natural appearance and the clear lighting dilenation made it very pleasing.

  12. brucemohn says:

    Photo 2 and you should never post what your preference is in a comparison post!

  13. Karen H. says:

    I just want to pet the feather:)

  14. Ray says:

    I suppose this is how political poles are taken. I prefer the crispness of number one.

  15. Luddene Perry says:

    #1 has better detail

  16. anastaciast says:

    the first photo is easier to look at since it is clear and in sharp Focus. However, the second photo certainly is it better representation of the howling winds we have had here recently. In fact, it’s kind of fun since we had that, what I like to think of as a dry blizzard a week or so ago. So the feather is a stand in for the snow that did not come with that howling wind. Cheers!

  17. Tom Wojtech says:

    The selections were the same, both for #2. I liked #1 better.

  18. I like that #1 is off-center!

  19. #2 for me. I love the motion of it, and don’t mind the little bit of blurry. Obvious choice for me :-)

  20. Jennifer Pospichal says:

    I like one much better. Your poll doesn’t give that option.

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  21. Isabel Cohen says:

    I like both for different reasons. I’m an artist and one is flowing in the breeze and the other is not. Both lovely.


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