Thrifty Thursdays feature photographs taken with equipment costing less than $500.

Seed heads of black-eyed susans emerge whimsically from the prairie (Urbana, Illinois).

[Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 - $241]

By now the Illinois prairies have traded their summer greens for fall browns and golds. All that remains of the black-eyed susans that bloomed in June are the old flower heads, standing upright among the Indian grass.

Photographing with a point-and-shoot camera means an especially deep focal plane. Even the out-of-focus backdrop retains texture. Thus, composition with these small cameras is often more challenging than with the larger cameras whose shallow focal planes more thoroughly blur the backdrop.