42 Rolls & Not One Of Them X-Rayed = Yay!!

Meliteae Phoebe butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel 

Hi! Shalom! Buenos Dias! I flew in yesterday morning, to JFK International Airport, from Ben Gurion Airport near Tel Aviv, Israel. Four (4) weeks in Israel, including my First Passover there, ever. Rachel and Uri were the perfect hosts, and Hillel and Boaz were Too Much Fun!!

My field work took me to the uppermost Golan, Metulla, Ramat Hanadiv and the meadows that surround Mishmarot (north of Tel Aviv and Netanya). The butterflies and wildflowers amazed. Blessed by a wet winter, the land was a blankets of reds, purples, yellows, blues, whites and combinations of them. That nectar overload was accompanied by great flights of parparim (butterflies). Sun abounded, and the trails were magically emptied, I hope that done to increase my success with my trusty Macro- 100mm/2.8 Canon lens.

I saw several of these Phoebe Fritillary butterflies, though not yet sure if any can match the shmeksy! good looks of this guy.

I went with a large cache of unexposed film, and I Happily report that I succeeded in securing “Hand Checks!!!” for all of my Fuji film, at train stations, twice at Ben Gurion and twice at JFK airport in New York!!! Most of you have no idea how that slows you up at Security stations, and how earnestly ‘they’ try to convince you that their subatomic particle shooters will not “harm” your film. Nope, not even willing to risk an iota of chance that whatever I caught, will please y’all.

Today those Fuji rolls ship to Kansas, then they are returned and the slides spend several  weeks at Rewind Memories for scanning . . . then I cull, cull, cull, and hopefully soon, very soon, let’s see what we’ve got for you to see.


Jeff Begins Planning for Trekking Israel in ’17

Meliteae Phoebe butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel 

Field work in Israel, the Holy Land, is well . . . a great joy for me. Knowing that few of you have walked that hallowed ground, I also know that most of you harbor thoughts of making that trip to Jerusalem, Capernum, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, and so many destinations you learned about in Sunday school.

I’ve been fortunate to go there every year since 2008. Frieda A”H passed, Rachel moved to Tel Aviv to her new job, married, and now has 2 sons. Fortunate I have been to make these annual trips. Rachel, and our extended family, refuse to allow me to stay in hotel$. These last many years I have stayed with Rachel and her husband, Uri. I love that, but we have an expression, that if you stay with family too long, ‘You begin smelling like the fish.’ So what I do is, I split my time. 5 days with them in Mishmarot, 5 days off in my Hertz rental, to the Golan, the Galilee, the Carmel region around Haifa. I photograph on those away trips, and mornings and afternoons in Mishmarot, I photograph in the fields nearby, or make short runs to Ramat Hanadiv, a superb nature reserve, just 15 minutes away.

This image of a Middle Eastern fritillary butterfly, Melitaea phoebe, was taken just a short hike from Rachel’s home. It was very early, perhaps 6:45 AM, and he was warming himself up in the early morning sun, before he began his nearly constant, frenetic flying, in search of mates.

I plan again now. My plan is to go there in April. 3-4 weeks. What to do with Petra during that extended time is another concern. My 82 pound Black russian pup is a handful, big, powerful and such Big love requires commitment. That part is not worked out yet.

The planning I’m now considering includes where to make my usual 2 extended trips. The Galilee region, way up around Mt. Meron always excites, never fails. The Upper Golan and Mt. Hermon (which by then should have lost its snow cap) also always produce. But then there is the Negev region, and the highly mysterious, very different area just south of the devilish Gaza area. Ein Gedi was OMG! several years ago, but that’s a long drive down, and a good stretch through hostile communities. I grew up in real Brooklyn, and hostile is something I no longer need, thank you.

Which butterflies are left for me to find? Believe it or not, quite a few. These fly now, those fly after, these fly after that, and those fly after all of the rest, then along show yet another these/those.

I trail alone. Finding hiking buddies is akin to finding gold. Though I’ve tried, my Christian friends, many, have bought the media crap that Israel is dangerous. Not. I knew where not to go in Brooklyn, and it’s clear where not to go in Israel. Same deal, just different crazzies.

Photographing butterflies? How many do it as I do? I do not know? I do  know that . . . I Love That Challenge, and I really enjoy capturing images like the instant one above. Oh, and I love seeing H-s handiwork, up close, and real.

Jeff . . .who went long here, but I believe you understand why.