Hung In My Home

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Of the 60,000 or 80,000 exposures I’ve shot over the years, a handful have been printed and archivaly framed by artisans of their respective trades. Which captures did I choose to have Gerry Hare print in his darkroom?

I charged Gerry with printing images that moved me, pleased me. Images that were nearly impossible for me to capture. Images whose color and form and overall Geshtalt made me Happy, fulfilled.

Our new home in North Macon, Georgia has several of my favorites, framed prints done meticulously done by Gerry, as his renowned father, Red Hare taught him to do.

This may well be my all time favorite. It hangs in my home, a reminder of the morning that I snapped it, on that Fuji Velvia film, on the Wetland Trail in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. I felt that G-d was with us that early morning, having set up a butterfly then new to me. A butterfly so elegant as to take my breath away.  It’s wings were fresh, their colors among my favorite browns, creams and near blacks. Its wings seemed too large for this good-sized butterfly. It’s body, a miracle of engineering. Its antennae knobs, as tiny headlights in the early morning haze.

That this Tawny Emperor (Hackberry) butterfly remained in place while I maniacally copped some 40-50 exposures, that too was a gracious Miracle. Was I nearly silently begging G-d to keep this mystical mirage there, keep it in place? Yes, to that.

Hung here in my home, with Hebrew calligraphy set in the frame matting, that hand done by a revered, now long gone Rabbi. It’s translation?  ‘How Great Are Thy Creations, G-d?”

The most beautiful Tawny to have flown in the USA in the last 200 years? Truth be told . . . I Think so.


Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra photographed by Jenny Jean Photography

Thanksgiving Day here, and we’re healthy and happy in our new home in beautiful Macon, Georgia. Petra is just fine, and she’s as she always was, a big, fun-loving Black Russian pup, 10 and 1/2 years old, and my  joy and ‘protector.’

We’re having friends join us for Turkey, Stuffed Cabbage, Made-at Home Cranberry sauce, Sweet Potatoes and Baked Cherry Pie. Masks yes, relaxed and pleased, yes.

These years sharing have brought new friends, and I wish you all, here in the U.S.A. and all around the world,  the Best, the very best in life. One of my dreams for 2021 is to meet some of you, for you’re all so very appreciated and so, so, special.

Seasoned I am, happily married (Thank G-d) and so so appreciative (that wonderful word again!) and there’s been no change in me = I love to meet and share with good people, bright people (y’all are) and people such as you, who enjoy, prefer, relish the natural world that we nurture and ‘fight’ to preserve.

Thanks, y’all.

Jeff & Miss Petra

What is Your Favorite Thanksgiving Butterfly this Year?

Monarch Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park. Jeff blogs about the art and science of butterflies at

Zebra heliconian butterfly sipping nectar, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Kathleen, GATiger Swallowtail butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA
My wife is at this very moment cooking and baking, all for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving Dinner, here in North Macon, Georgia. Cherry pie, Linzer tarts and Stuffed cabbage. Me, I’m warmly thinking of the next days, tomorrow Thanksgiving Day in our Blessed USA. Saturday, my Birthday Day. The last weeks have drained me some, for I long for civility in our Blessed United States of America.

Thinking of good things, my mind went to a fascinating question. Which of the butterflies rates, deserves the honor of being the 2020 Thanksgiving Butterfly? I’ll tell you mine, and await you telling me yours. OK?

My candidates here are the Zebra Heliconian butterfly (shown in Kathleen, Georgia), the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (seen in Raccoon Creek State Park nectaring on Butterflyweed blooms) and the Monarch butterfly (seen in Raccoon Creek State Park, enjoying Joe Pye blooms).

My choice.? Today, I made many trips into the backyard garden, to water the newly set-in native plants (Blackgum, Sourweed, Asters, Irises, Sassafras’s, Nutmeg Hickory, Swamp Titi and more and more. It’s the day before Thanksgiving. the Monarchs and the Tigers are no longer seen, the Monarchs are gone to Mexico and the Tigers, hmmm. The whole time I was moving the watering hose (rubber) around, Zebra Heliconians were gracefully flying around me, sometimes within. 2-feet of me. I not once seemed to startle them, they probably males, seriously seeking females (?). I though about this much, Thanksgiving hours away here, and on November 25th, Zebras ballet-flying in our garden.

To the question, which rates section as my Thanksgiving butterfly for 2020. Zebra Heliconian butterflies.

May I ask which might be your Thanksgiving butterfly for this memorable 2020?


Approach of Thanksgiving Day is on My Mind

Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly and Edwards Hairstreak on Butterflyweed photographed by Jeff Zablow at Lynx Prairie Reserve, Ohio

Less than a handful of days away, Thanksgiving is in the USA. It’s a day for us Americans to think of all that we are Blessed with, and for us here in the States to gather family (COVID-19 precautions considered) and revel in all that we have, in the good health that most enjoy, and to sit there and smile, as we watch the youngsters, year after year, preparing to take their turn in life.

Our table will be not quite that, but Thankful? I am very, very Thankful. I am happy, so very happy. We enjoy this home we’ve moved to in North Macon, those .68 acres, steadily filling with Georgia native plants and do you believe it? Today, November 23rd we enjoyed Zebra Longwing and Cloudless Sulphur butterflies. Back in Pittsburgh, that first week of September was almost always the Bye Bye week for seeing butterflies.

On my mind, adding to my euphoria, the hope of seeing total, abject beauty, as you see here in Lynx Prairie Reserve in Adams County, Ohio. The Butterflyweed (a Milkweed species) lush and richly colored. The Zebra Swallowtail butterfly? Mama Mia! The Edwards Hairstreak butterfly, tiny, yet elegant. The background in this image? Oh how I long to return again to this botany wonderland! 2021!

Jeff, sharing of Thanksgiving thoughts.


Pittsburgh to Macon, Georgia: The Big Switcheroo

 Jeff Zablow's Perennial Beds Pittsburgh, PA, 7/10/07

Today? Today we planted native trees into our new Macon, Georgia back garden. We’re doing the whole Doug Tallamy thing, full bent! The accompanying image is of my 2003 back garden in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We set out there to attract butterflies and to feast our eyes on beautiful blooms.

What’s there in that sweet garden? Irises (Dutch), several varieties of Salvia, Shasta Daisy, Buddleia (Chinese Butterflybush), Oakleaf Hydrangea, Crape myrtle (Frieda A”H (OBM”)) saw it in Georgetown, D.C. and loved it), Monarda in fantastic bloom, Hydrangea, Yellow irises, the circular rose bed that Frieda had always wanted and more, so much more.

Now we did the Big Switcheroo. We’re in Middle Georgia, a 13-hour drive south of Pittsburgh. Most everything is different, and  . . . as I did shortly before I left Pittsburgh, I went native. Catherine of Sylvania Natives Nursery recommended that I read this book by Doug Tallamy. I did, and I changed. It for one, explained why my butterfly garden in Long Island, New York almost never attracted any butterflies (the upscale community around us had manicured gardens, all landscaped by guys named Tony, Salvatore and Guiseppe, and 99% of their elegant plantings were . . . Asian, European & South American).

So this afternoon we relocated some huge azaleas in our new Macon garden, and we planted natives, for our native butterflies, bees, flies, moths, hummingbirds and more. What’s we add today, in those not so easy to create large holes? Today’s juvie plantings: Blackgum trees, a White Oak tree, A Sourwood tree and a Yellowwood tree.

Pots awaiting going in? Chokecherry, Viburnums, Asters, Rusty Blackhaw & Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium).

The Big Switcheroo. Not bad for a kid from Brooklyn’s concrete, asphalt and brick?

The butterflies flying in, in 2021? Oh my Goodness . . . .