Photo of the Week – April 12, 2019

Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula) is one of my favorite grasses, and certainly among the most distinctive in North American prairies. It’s also a great photographic subject, though a tricky one. In close-up photography, there is little depth-of-field to work with, which can make it tricky to get multiple items in focus at the same time. One trick is to move the camera so that all those objects are the same distance from the camera and simultaneously in focus. That’s more difficult than it might sound, even with a subject like sideoats grama, in which all the flowers are arrayed along a single stem.

Depth-of-field issues aren’t the only challenges involved in photographing sideoats grama. It’s tough enough to situate my camera so most of the flowers are in focus, but in addition to that, I try to do so in ways that provide some open space behind the flowers and produce a clean background. The vagaries of prairie winds, and the difficulty of photographing small subjects waving around in the breeze add yet another layer of difficulty. I’m not complaining, mind you – just trying to explain how satisfying it is whenever I am able to capture a clean sharp image of sideoats grama. The exquisite beauty of the plant makes all the struggle worth my while. I hope you enjoy this selection from my sideoats library!

Spring Marches On in April

I have a blog post rattling around in my head, but don’t have time to get it written this week. There’s too much spring going on. Between finalizing data collection plans, tracking the progress of spring wildflowers (almost blooming), and prescribed fire, I’m a little distracted. It’s a really good blog post, though, and I’m sure you’ll all enjoy it when I have time to put it together. In the meantime, here is a lazy post consisting only of recent spring photos. I’ll try to be better next week.

Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta) getting ready to bolt and bloom at our family prairie late last week.
More pussytoes.
Sun sedge (Carex heliophila) looking like it wants to bloom, but just isn’t quite there yet.
This gorgeous jumping spider was soaking up some sunshine on the side of a livestock water tank (made from a giant rubber tire).
A Siberian elm, scorched by our prescribed fire yesterday. Because this is a visual medium, you can’t hear the tree mocking us, knowing that it will soon send up three or four new stems, making it that much harder to kill later. I guess we at least knocked it back for a few months…