Things I Do . . .

Jeff photographing Georgia's Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, Eatonton, GA

I’ve read many books written by naturalists who seek butterflies. What I noted each time was that these folks individually developed their own field practices and strategies. Not one of them devoted much time to trying to copy others. They each worked out ways of doing things, with time the common denominator. Over time, they kept successful techniques, or modified them, or stopped doing what did not produce result.

At the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch in Eatonton, Georgia, Stanley or Virginia captured me photographing a Black Swallowtail caterpillar (can you find it?) on parsley. After noting all that you can in this June 2015 image, stop and look at . . . me. I did. There are several unique habits that I see. I rarely ever meet anyone who does these things.

My long sleeved shirt: I always wear long sleeves. Even this day, destined to reach 99F, and at 11:15 AM, it is already in the 80’s. Long sleeves reduce my exposure to bites. I spray Off! on my sleeves before I set out. The shirt is green. Green enables me to get closer, and look more like a living plant than a living photographer. My collar is up, covering my lower neck. Comfortable for me even after hours of the camera strap draped on my neck, and something of a barrier against those biters. I spray the back of my neck, the back of my ears and the area where my neck meets my chest, with Off!.

My hat is on backwards: This allows for unobstructed camera latitude, and contributes to protecting my neck from nasties. I do not apply an creams or sun block or Off! to my face or forehead. On a humid, hot morning like this one, that would result in sweat carrying these chemicals into my eyes. Many an OMG! shot was lost years ago, as I tried to protect myself and get the bookcover-worthy shot.

My head band: I wear whatever color I can find in the stores. This red/white/blue combination is special to me though. This band prevents sweat from drowning my eyes, and my eyesight.

My long beard: Dad passed on May 16th, and this was within 30 days of that sad day. We have a tradition of letting our hair grow, at least up to 30 days after the death of a loved one.

Finally, kudos to Virginia C. Linch, the driving force responsible for converting this abandoned aluminum factory site into a butterfly Habitat visited by dozens of different species of butterflies, in a single day! Congrats! to all those who work with her to weed, seed, tug, pull, water, plant, purchase, and all the rest that goes into creating beauty from man’s waste-lot.


NB, Once my June ’15 images are back from Rewind Memories, I’ll begin sharing these Southern butterflies with you.

3 thoughts on “Things I Do . . .

  1. You are rather unique – no doubt about that! All good strategies indeed. Love the headband idea – gotta add one to my camera bag ! But it must be orange to match my camera strap – LOL


  2. Thanks for sharing this info. It makes me want to take a trip over to Eatonton later this summer or early fall to see the place and take a few shots.


  3. Jeff, I do a lot of stuff the same, but also a lot different: For a hat, I wear a Tilley. Advantages: 1. The brim covers your ears and brow, preventing sunburn and skin cancer. 2. When you’re shooting, the brim pushes up, so it’s never in the way of the shot. 3. Lifetime, unconditional warranty against loss or damage. 4. You’d look better.

    Instead of sunscreen on my hands, I wear Outdoor Research sungloves: UPF 50, and no grease on the camera. I also wear a long-sleeve shirt of synthetic UPF 50 material (“fishing shirt”), and long pants of the same material: both have tons of pockets for all that miscellaneous photo gear. I never use a camera neck strap: You look like a dorky tourist (insert smiley face here), and the camera bangs around when you walk. Instead, if I use a Vello hand strap if I’m using one camera, or a Spider Holster if I’m working with two: Fast switching cameras, secure, and no bouncing. Thanks for sharing!


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