Photo of the Week – December 15, 2017

I haven’t done much photography lately, and that always makes me cranky.  I spent a couple days at the Niobrara Valley Preserve this week, but between the short day length right now, a busy meeting schedule, and cloudy/windy conditions, I didn’t even get my camera out of the bag.  This morning, I just couldn’t stand it anymore, so my camera and I took a short walk in one of the small prairies here in town.  I needed to be on a conference call, but I managed to multi-task fairly effectively – participating in the call with my cell phone and earbuds while photographing dead flowers.  My colleagues are pretty understanding…

The first photo I took this morning was of sensitive briar (Mimosa quadrivalvus).  There was one lone seed still hanging on inside the spiny pods.

A light overnight frost was being systematically melted as morning sunlight crept across the prairie.  However, by finding plants that were just being illuminated, I could take a few photos before the frost disappeared.  In this case, the sun had just reached this roundheaded bushclover (Lespdeza capitata) plant, but the background was still in shadow.

The frost was quickly melting off of these aster (Aster lanceolatus) seed heads.

Birds, mice, and other creatures have already stripped all the seeds out of the sunflower plants in the prairie – including this stiff sunflower (Helianthus pauciflorus).

By the time my conference call ended and I headed back to the office, my hands were cold, my knees were wet, and I felt better about the world.  Even in the winter, prairies can provide inspiration and solace to those who go looking for it, including photographers with cabin (office?) fever.

Photo of the Week – December 5, 2013

Continuing the theme from earlier this week, here is another photo of a sunflower seed head.  This one was taken on a frosty morning last week.

A sunflower seed head

A Maximilian sunflower seed head.  Deep Well Wildlife Management Area, Nebraska.

I usually try to avoid putting a horizon line behind the subject of a close-up photo because it can add unnecessary distraction to the image.  In this case, however, I tried the photo both ways and decided I liked the one with the horizon better because it gave the image some additional context and depth.

Here’s the alternate version – see what you think.

The same sunflower head shown above from a slightly different angle to keep the horizon line out of the image.

The same sunflower head shown above, but from a slightly different angle to keep the horizon line out of the image.