Photos of the Week – February 5, 2021

If you are, or know, a graduate student working on research related to the conservation of species or ecosystems in the Great Plains, click here to learn more about the J.E. Weaver small grant program. We give out up to five grants of $1000 to graduate students each year. Proposals are due February 26, 2021.

The first half of the week was foggy and frosty. Combining that fog and frost with deep snow gave prairies a very monochromatic feel. Most everything was either some shade of light gray or a contrasting dark color against that gray background.

Our new Hubbard Fellows started on Monday and after a morning hike with them, I found myself with a little time to myself. The sun looked like it just might poke through the fog (it never did) so I grabbed my camera and walked up into the hills. The sun didn’t ever burn off the fog that day, but it was barely bright enough to create a circular glow within the monotony of the gray skies.

Here are a few photos from that brief morning hike, followed by a drone photo from Wednesday when we had another big frost day followed by the long-awaited emergence of the sun.

Barbed wire fence with frost and snow. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 camera with Tokina 11-20mm lens @22mm. ISO 250, 1/160 sec at f/22.
Green sage (Artemisia campestre) and other sand prairie plants on a snowy hill. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 camera with Tokina 11-20mm lens @22mm. ISO 250, 1/400 sec at f/22.
A deer trail passes through the snowy/frosty prairie. The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 camera with Tokina 11-20mm lens @22mm. ISO 250, 1/160 sec at f/22.
The Platte River with frosted tips. In another couple weeks, this portion of the channel will be loaded with migratory sandhill cranes. Yesterday, it was mostly frozen over and accented by hoar frost on all the trees and vegetation along its banks and islands. This was a drone photo from about 300 feet in elevation.
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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.

6 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – February 5, 2021

  1. The sun/fence photo’s my favorite, although the plant curled around the sun is nicely composed, too. If I’m going to see Sandhill cranes before they leave, I’d best get busy!

  2. Will you please post when the sandhills return? Another couple weeks seems early to us, since we’re experiencing 10° weather for the next 10 days here in northern Illinois. Our sandhills won’t be back for quite a while. Thank you for your many wonderful photographs

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