NEBRASKAland July 2017

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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36 NEBRASKAland • JULY 2017 M ost wildlife photographers spend huge amounts of time and effort getting photos of animals. They scout locations, build blinds and then try not to think about needing a bathroom while they sit in those blinds for hours and hours, waiting for something to happen. Those people are crazy. I am mostly a bug and wildflower photographer. Bugs and wildflowers are everywhere, and I don't have to plan ahead to photograph them. When the light is good, I walk around with a camera and take pictures. It's a pretty good gig. Despite being a bug and flower photographer, I do take wildlife photos now and then. Rather than rely on extensive planning and patience, though, I get wildlife photos primarily because I have a camera with me on the rare occasions when an animal inexplicably decides to hold still long enough for me to photograph it. Sure, I don't get as many great wildlife photos as guys like Eric Fowler and Mike Forsberg, but I also spend a lot less time trying to figure out how to pee inside a tiny thatch-covered hut. As inspiration to others who would like to take wildlife photos but don't want to dedicate their lives to doing so, I'm sharing some examples of how these shoots work in real life. I sincerely hope this will help many of you get great wildlife photos without really working at it. Prairie Dog Before she headed off to start college, my daughter and I spent a couple great days up along the Niobrara River. One evening, we were meandering around The Nature Conservancy's Niobrara Valley Preserve and passed through a small prairie dog town. As we drove the pickup slowly into the town, we enjoyed watching the prairie dogs scurry back to their burrows, pause at the edge of the hole, and then dive to safety when we got too close. However, one particular dog didn't follow the pattern. As we drove closer, it just continued to stand and watch us, and we noticed it had two small pups feeding nearby. Eventually, I stopped the truck so Anna could get Wildlife Photography Through Pure Luck Story and photos by Chris Helzer (and curious animals) A prairie dog contentedly chews on a leaf despite me crawling slowly toward it with a camera.

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