Photos of the Week – August 22, 2022

After traveling last week, I enjoyed a quiet weekend near home. Kim and the kids were mostly gone or doing their own things so I managed to get out three times for prairie photography jaunts. Here are some photos from Saturday morning (Lincoln Creek Prairie), Saturday night (Gjerloff Prairie), and Sunday morning (our family prairie).

This is a great time of year for insect photography, especially if you like dew-covered bugs – and who doesn’t? Late summer has a lot of dewy mornings with light breeze, both of which work great for photographing insects. It doesn’t hurt that the sun is coming up a little later now too. Anyway, here’s a selection of photos from this weekend, including some dewy bug shots.

A morning photo of a kleptoparastic bee (cuckoo bee) on its overnight roost, grasping a leaf with its mandibles. (Cuckoo bees invade nests of other bees and lay eggs that feed on the food the host left for their own babies. It’s a very cool strategy.) Lincoln Creek Prairie, Aurora, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 640, f/14, 1/60 sec.
Damselfly in evening light. Gjerloff Prairie near Marquette, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/9, 1/320 sec.
Skeletonweed (Lygodesmia juncea). Gjerloff Prairie near Marquette, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 800, f/14, 1/60 sec.
Wasp and stiff sunflower at sunrise. Helzer family prairie near Stockham, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 500, f/14, 1/600 sec.
Leaf beetles feeding on stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus). Helzer Family Prairie near Stockham, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 640, f/13, 1/160 sec.
Leaf beetles feeding on stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus). Helzer Family Prairie near Stockham, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 640, f/13, 1/160 sec.
Grasshopper in morning dew. Helzer Family Prairie near Stockham, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 640, f/13, 1/250 sec.
Big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii). Helzer Family Prairie near Stockham, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 640, f/16, 1/125 sec.
Grasshopper in the dew. Helzer Family Prairie near Stockham, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 640, f/16, 1/100 sec.
Cricket, grass, and dew. Helzer Family Prairie near Stockham, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 400, f/10, 1/400 sec.
Dew-covered bee on big bluestem. Helzer Family Prairie near Stockham, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 640, f/16, 1/125 sec.
Grey hairstreak butterfly. Helzer Family Prairie near Stockham, Nebraska. Nikon 105mm macro lens. ISO 320, f/18, 1/250 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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