The Beauty of Prairies in 2020 – September

As I’m going through my 2020 photos, it’s clear that I apparently had a minor obsession with photographing the sun this year. Not that it’s a bad thing, but come on, Helzer, find a new crutch!

Thanks again for all your voting on these images. My son, last night, asked me if I’m actually tabulating all these votes. I responded by showing him the spreadsheet I’m using to track results. So, yes. Please put the numbers of your favorite images from September in the comments section. I really do appreciate it.

1.) Sulphur butterfly on curlycup gumweed. Helzer family prairie. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/13, 1/500 sec.
2.) Maximilian sunflower at the Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 18-300mm lens @300mm. ISO 400, f/13, 1/400 sec.
3.) Cardinal flower. Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, f/14, 1/60 sec.
4.) Skipper butterfly at sunrise. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, f/14, 1/60 sec.
5.) Southern plains bumble bee on Maximilian sunflower. Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 10.5mm fish eye lens. ISO 320, f/22, 1/250 sec.
6.) Meadowhawk. Lincoln Creek Prairie. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, f/11, 1/50 sec.
7.) Bandwing grasshopper on a sandbar. Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, f/11, 1/50 sec.
8.) Maximilian sunflowers and morning sun. Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Tokina 12-28mm lens @19mm. ISO 320, f/22, 1/640 sec.
9.) Central Platte River. Platte River Prairies. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom Drone.
10.) Meadowhawk dragonfly. Lincoln Creek Prairie. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, f/5, 1/5000 sec.
11.) Beggarsticks. Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/11, 1/60 sec.
12.) Southern Plains bumble bee and tree cricket. Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/14, 1/100 sec.
13.) Beggarsticks and wetland. Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 10.5mm fish eye lens. ISO 400, f/20, 1/160 sec.
14.) Virginia tiger moth caterpillar. Helzer family prairie. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/14, 1/200 sec.
15.) Virginia tiger moth caterpillars. Helzer family prairie. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 18-300mm lens @300mm. ISO 400, f/11, 1/800 sec.
16.) Grasshopper and cardinal flower. Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 and Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/18, 1/160 sec.
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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.

61 thoughts on “The Beauty of Prairies in 2020 – September

    • Hi Angela. Not sure what to explain. It was a drone photo looking straight down at the sandbars/channels of the river. I was flying and scanning for compositions that I liked. This ended up being my favorite. The water levels were low but the vegetation was still green, so the combination of green, sand, and water turned into a nice color palette.

  1. 9 b/c so different
    5, 1, 2 – 5 & 2 because I always gravitate towards suns and silhouettes – throw 10 & 15 in there, too.
    1 because the yellows are so September

  2. 5, 16, 15, 13 Also love the smiley tooth look of the grasshoppers. Great close-ups showing these details of many small critters.

  3. Remarkable photos! In my little grass garden here in seattle, I watched grasshoppers all summer using Andropogon gerardi and my Festuca californica. Not sure what they’re using the grasses for but they seem to love them.

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