Political Storm? Antidote? Pearly Eye!

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

I am not a kid anymore, and truth  be told, this Presidential election cycle has captured my attention. Lots of you know some about me, and many know that though I was born in storied Brooklyn, New York, it’s difficult to guess my politics.

What’s shareable is I’ve always been a straight-up, do the right thing, fight like a tiger if you have to guy. Never stole a candy from a corner candy store, never shoplifted, never took a dime from anyone. I’m upset with politicians regularly, though I do recall that they’re not writers, plumbers, dentists, steelworkers, cops or pension specialists . . . for a reason.

I have at times battled with elevated blood pressure, and this political who-done-it has been triggering me, some.

Here’s the antidote for me, and for many of you. Our fascination with butterflies is engrossing, challenging, quite intellectual and I believe most importantly, sustains and nurtures our deep need for visual stimulation. I remember when I noticed this Northern  Pearly-eye butterfly on that Nichol Road trail (Raccoon Creek State Park, southwestern Pennsylvania). I made my slow, patented approach, and I did, I prayed that this Gem would remain there, in place. It did.

It’s beauty? Near overwhelming. Frieda A”H (Of Blessed Memory) had passed, and I very needed jolts of rich beauty and meaningfulness. This butterfly held that leaf, and permitted me to shoot away I Love the result, this.

Beauty, elegance and real-time meaningfulness? Complete antidotes at a time when the real world around disappoints.

Jeff

Acid Bog Pearly-Eye

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

We hiked to the Allenberg Bog in far western New York State. I wanted to find Bog Copper butterflies (themselves very rare) and Barbara Ann Case looked forward to examining the many specialized plants that can be found in Sphagnum moss (acid) bogs. The Niagra (New York) Audubon Society owns this relic of thousands of years ago, it the size of a small pond, but a very ancient small pond.

This field trip stands out in my mind, for Barbara Ann A”H (Of Blessed Memory) passed away some months ago. She made those hikes despite her worsening health problems. Why did she? She loved the outdoors and an opportunity to see a habitat that is fast disappearing, with its pitcher plants, sundew plants, bog blueberry and a host of plants threatened with extinction.

The happy surprise for me was the appearance of this Northern Pearly Eye butterfly, at the bog’s edge. I’d only seen them on trails, where moving water was nearby. Seeing this beaut at the bog? Exciting. It was fresh, richly colored and it came to rest on a leaf, wings extended. Shooting a Pearly-Eye with its dorsal wing surface revealed? Totally Wow! Those ‘eyes!’ Those ‘eyes!’

Jeff

Northern Pearly-Eye (Enodia Anththedon)

 

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

Here’s what you get when the lighting is right, your camera light meter provides accurate readings, your timing is good: early morning and all, the wind is at its minimum, no fliers fly by to upset your butterfly, there are no hikers passing by and you are in the wet, rocky, forests that Northern Pearly-eye butterflies prefer.

The best look I’ve had at a Northern Pearly-Eye over those 12 years of shooting that trail. Do I still remember that time? Yes, Ma’am.

Raccoon Creek State Park, Hookstown, Pennsylvania, some 35 minutes west of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Nichol Road trail, alongside a tiny creeklet. One of my favorite of all spots. Missed much, from my new home in Georgia.

Jeff

Pearly-Eye At Ancient Bog

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly (Profile), photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

So many likes of mine are seen here: I Love and Fantasize at acidic Shagnum bogs; Shots with unusual backlighting intrigue me; and I get excited each and every time I find a Pearly-Eye butterfly. When these and I think other ‘likes’ of mine converge, Wow! I feel of Rush of joy! that is slow to leave me.

This Northern Pearly-Eye butterfly was spotted at mystical Allenberg Blog, near Frewsburg in very western New York State. When I look carefully, I’m able to see those sweet white ‘pupils’ of the hindwing eyes. Nice! Very nice!

Barbara Ann Case OBM” led me to Allenberg. I recently wrote of how difficult the hike must have been for her, and how the BAS should/could have made it somewhat more doable for her. Quit? Nope, after rest after rest, she insisted on seeking the bog. We did, as you see here. On our last attempt, the next year, once again the BAS rebuffed her, we tried without clear mapping, and we did not find the bog, she, exhausted, concerning me that we might need EMS to come . . . and try to find us (no cell coverage). I shall not soon forget the BAS’s lack.

Jeff