Photos of the Week – February 12, 2021

Brrr. It’s been eight years since I learned about (and wrote about) the way a weak and rambling jet stream (caused by climate change) leads to extended periods of extra warm or extra cold weather. During particularly long and severe cold snaps like the one we’re currently experiencing, that knowledge works its way back into my consciousness and is strangely comforting. Understanding why something is happening makes me feel better about it. I guess that makes sense?

Frost and snow at our family prairie on an overcast day. Tokina 11-20 @11mm. ISO 250, f/22 and 1/250 sec.

The photos I’m sharing in this post were taken before the sub-zero temperatures moved into the neighborhood this week. We’ve had something like 20 inches of snow over the last several weeks. I’ve tried to get a out a few times with the camera but the light hasn’t been great and I’ve had other responsibilities that have limited me. Regardless, the hiking I’ve done has been really pleasant. Fresh air is always great and snow makes all hikers into detectives – trying to read tracks and other clues and discern what’s going on around them. Here are a few photos I’ve managed to take over the last couple weeks.

Indiangrass and melting frost. Helzer family prairie. Nikon 105mm lens. ISO 250, f/18 and 1/250 sec.
Curlycup gumweed and frosty snow. Helzer family prairie. Nikon 105mm lens. ISO 250, f/20 and 1/200 sec.
Thick frost on common evening primrose. Helzer family prairie. Nikon 105mm lens. ISO 250, f/9 and 1/320 sec.
Smartweed and snow. Helzer family prairie. Nikon 105mm lens. ISO 250, f/20 and 1/100 sec.
Stiff sunflower seedhead poking out of the snow. Lincoln Creek Prairie. Nikon 105mm lens. ISO 250, f/16 and 1/160 sec.
Prairie grasses and snow. Helzer family prairie. Nikon 105mm lens. ISO 250, f/22 and 1/80 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.

8 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – February 12, 2021

  1. What really impresses me is how birds can survive in the cold and snow.
    Most have of course migrated, but some stay. Very impressive indeed.

  2. Believe it or not, that’s what a good bit of Texas looks like right now — or is going to shortly. Even here on the coast we’re in line for freezing rain, sleet, snow, and temperatures in the 20s. It’s making me admire your photos and your determination even more.

  3. Winter seedheads are one of my favorite things to photograph. I particularly like the gumweed; we don’t have anything like it that I can think of here in New Jersey. And, amazingly to me, we’re topping your total snowfall levels by a good bit; I believe we are at 30 total inches now, with about 14 still on the ground.

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