Photos of the Week – March 4, 2022

This is one of those seasons when it always feels we’re on a rollercoaster of temperatures. Within the last week and a half or so, we’ve had everything from sub-zero temperatures to 80 degrees F. I’ve done some photography at both ends of that range, including the frozen river shots I shared a week ago. Here are some more examples from both the cold and hot extremes. I’ll start with the cold end first.

Ironweed seed (Vernonia fasciculata) at our family prairie. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/16, 1/160 sec.
More ironweed seeds at our family prairie. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/16, 1/160 sec.
Cottonwood leaf and ice on Lincoln Creek in Aurora, NE. Nikon 10.5mm fisheye lens. ISO 400, f/22, 1/160 sec.
Cottonwood leaf with a skiff of snow on Lincoln Creek. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/16, 1/125 sec.

The cottonwood leaves above were photographed when the temperature was hovering around 1 or 2 degrees F and it was nice and breezy to boot. I layered up and scampered down the banks to the frozen surface of Lincoln Creek here in town. I had fun tracking down a beaver lodge and dam while photographing leaves and other errata.

Below is a series of photos from Wednesday evening. I finished up what I needed to do for work by late afternoon and drove out to our family prairie to take advantage of the 80 degree temperatures. I didn’t get as many photos as I was hoping for, but had a lot of fun wandering around anyway. I spent a lot of time along the edge of the pond, where I watched bullfrogs, spiders, water boatmen, flies, and some tiny beetle-like insects I couldn’t ever get near enough to identify. The light was a little too harsh for photography until it got pretty close to the horizon, at which point it sent me some gorgeous golden color to work with.

Cow hair in barbed wire fence. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/22, 1/200 sec.
A downy feather from a goose (?) near the edge of the pond. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/22, 1/160 sec.
Half a head of wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), showing the long tubes that contain the plant’s seeds. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/16, 1/60 sec.
A sunflower head (Helianthus annuus) in late day light. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/22, 1/125 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.

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