Prairies are not just grass! And this photo shows the rich diversity of an Illinois tallgrass prairie. I shot it with a super wide 10mm lens from a low angle to dramatize the clouds. I handheld a Galen Rowell 2-stop graduated neutral density filter over the front of the lens to bring the sky down a couple stops and prevent it from blowing out when exposing for the flowers. This image is technically a HDR…A High Dynamic Range photo. It is the result of a single image being processed twice in Aperture (once for the sky and once for the foreground wildflowers) and then combined in Photomatix Pro. I then went back into Photoshop to adjust curves and darken the sky. Finally I brought it back into Aperture to give it final tweeks.

The Tallgrass prairies have mostly disappeared…Only a fraction of the original prairies still exist. Fortunately, most of the remaining tracts are now protected. Groups like The Nature Conservancy and state DNRs are not only protecting the lands but rejuvenating them with prescribed burns and wildflower and grass plantings.

Canon 7D, 10-20mm Sigma lens, 2-stop Galen Rowell graduated neutral density filter, handheld, f16.