Photo of the Week – July 23, 2015

As I mentioned in my last post, we spent much of this week up in beautiful northwestern Minnesota, at the annual Grassland Restoration Network workshop.  In fact, I’m writing this as we travel back home to Nebraska (no, I’m not driving as I write).

This morning, a small group of us got up early to take photographs at sunrise.  It was a beautiful morning, but there was enough breeze to make insect and flower photography pretty tricky.  Did we give up?  No!  We are Prairie Ecologists!  (Plus, we had dared each other to meet in the hotel lobby at 5:15 am and no one wanted to back down from that).

Despite the wind, we managed to enjoy the morning,  and even got a few nice photographs out of it.  Here are two of mine:

Spider on web before sunrise.  The Nature Conservancy's Bluestem Prairie - Minnesota.

I took approximately 500,0o0 shots of this spider as it and its web bounced around in the pre-sunrise breeze.  Two of them came out relatively sharp.  This is one of those two.  The Nature Conservancy’s Bluestem Prairie – Minnesota.

Stiff sunflower (Helanthus pauciflorus) at sunrise.  The Nature Conservancy's Bluestem Prairie - Minnesota.

The peaceful appearance of this stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus) silhouetted against the rising sun is merely an illusion.  In reality, the sunflower was waving back and forth like a maniacal metronome while I tried desperately to push the shutter release just at the moment it came into focus.  I actually managed to catch it several times, and this was my favorite of the batch.

P.S. For you kids out there, a metronome is an old fashioned device that had a kind of upside down clock pendulum that rocked back and forth while it ticked.  Music teachers used to use them in vain attempts to get their students to keep a steady rhythm while playing “The Entertainer” on the piano.  Now there are smartphone apps that do the same thing.  …I hope kids still have to learn that song – they deserve it.

P.P.S. A clock pendulum is what used to help clocks keep time before…oh, nevermind, go ask your grandmother.