Photos of the Week – March 19, 2021

I don’t really have a favorite color, but when I think about colors that make me happy, yellow is right up there. In prairies, yellow is a very common color, but comes in many tones, both warm and cool. I haven’t gotten a lot of photography done over the last week or two, mostly because it’s been either raining or heavily overcast. Since I don’t have recent photos to share, I went into the files and found some yellow prairie photos instead. I hope you enjoy them.

Please keep sending in questions or topics you’d like me address in future posts. I enjoy getting them and will try to answer them either directly or indirectly as much as I can. Have a great weekend!

Tuberous false dandelion (Pyrrhopappus grandiflorus) at Gjerloff Prairie. Nikon D7100 with Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, f/25 at 1/200 sec.
Prickly pear cactus flower (Opuntia macrorhiza) in the Nebraska Sandhills. Nikon D7100 with Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 250, f/18 at 1/100 sec.
Long-horned bee on rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium) at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 with Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/11 at 1/320 sec.
Crab spider at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies. Nikon D7100 with Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/13 at 1/640 sec.
Soldier beetle on Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani) at Lincoln Creek Prairie. Nikon D7100 with Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/8 at 1/1000 sec.
Bison and fourpoint evening primrose at the Niobrara Valley Preserve. Nikon D7100 with Nikon 18-300mm lens @300mm. ISO 800, f/6.3 at 1/1250 sec.
Crab spider silhouette on plains sunflower (Helianthus petiolaris) at the Niobrara Valley Preserve. Nikon D7100 with Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/18 at 1/500 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.

16 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – March 19, 2021

  1. I remember your shadowy spider in the last photo. It’s a wonderful image. I’ll confess that the bison surrounded by primroses is my favorite of this group, though. The image reminds me of Ferdinand, the bull who preferred smelling flowers to fighting.

  2. Yellow makes humans smile and it was my grandpas favorite color, He made me smile too. so when I see yellow flowers I think of him.

  3. Is it yellow or green that is supposed to be the most visible to the human eye? Yellow is my favorite pick me up. Thank you.

  4. A question for you, since you asked:
    I’m reading your book on prairies and am struck by how dynamic things are … the mix of plants, their location, it constantly changing from one year to the next if things are working naturally. We think of disturbances to a landscape as things to be avoided, but a prairie habitat demands it (as do most others, I’m guessing).

    My questions is, how do I translate this into a yard? Most people assume that when they landscape, they set things out once and they stay that way, year after year. With a prairie, it should shift this way and that with every few seasons, no? Some Years the tall stuff with be here, other years the short, annual, colonizing stuff. Seems like a big paradigm shift for most homeowners, but a good one to work through. Would mowing every three years do the trick? I know some municipalities even allow controlled burns if properly supervised.

  5. I would like to know more about the soil biosphere studies you are doing on the prairies. And are you doing any mycology studies?

  6. Lovely shots today, as usual.
    For the question list: Keys to establishing prairie in prior cultivated land. Techniques, early nurturing, and expectation for early growth.

  7. Chris, My photo club nature group recently shared camouflage pictures. I showed a photo of a fat hover fly on a yellow flower–perfectly matched in color. But that sent me on a little research mission: Is the color correspondence really camouflage? Or is the yellow/black just a warning to predators? Or something else? I came across a blog by Nik Sargent, photographer and bee researcher, that suggests camouflage IS one purpose of bee’s coloring ( He references a study–hard for me to digest–that points to bee coloration as having 3 functions: warning, camouflage, and thermo-regulation.( So that’s where my yellow nature thoughts took me this month!

    • That’s fantastic! Every animal, no matter now small, has a fascinating story. We don’t know all of them yet, but it sure is fun to learn the ones someone else has figured out for us!

  8. I’ve have a couple question to mull over.
    If you were to assemble a “driving tour” of the the most interesting prairies to visit in Nebraska, what would they be and why? Are there places you would like to add, but are not publicly accessible?

    Second, I wonder what your take is on the impact of honeybees on native bees. What have you noticed about their abundance and competition with native bees?


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