Palamedes Plus

Palmed Swallowtail Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Big Bend Wildlife Management Area, Florida

Much of the world has the Corona virus on its mind. Blame them? No, for they fear for their safety, the health of their kids, parents, brothers, sister, friends and neighbors. They fear too for their jobs, incomes and for what their lives will be like in the coming weeks. Months?

Me? My own thinking is personal, though I will remind that I’ve waves bye bye to my 40’s, 50’s and more. I’ve seen much, and survived much.

Butterflies? What a fantastic antidote to your virus fears! Butterflies come to my garden in Eatonton, Georgia. On a sunny day, hundreds visit. Yesterday it was visits from Red-banded Hairstreaks, Cloudless Sulphur and several species of Skipper butterflies.

Most of you can get in your cars and drive less than an hour to a State Park, National Wildlife Refuge, National Monument, private refuge or reserve or National Park . . . or along roadsides full of wildflowers.

This image of a show-stopping Palamedes Swallowtail butterfly, in the Florida Panhandle, rocked my boat, for it struck my as Palamedes Plus, that is, a sight for sore eyes!! Beauty beyond beautiful. All that and in the kind of place listed above: Extreme Social Distancing for tens of millions of Americans . . . and for you in France, Estonia, Hungary, China, Canada, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Japan, India, Pakistan, Gold Coast, Kenya . . .


Come Fly With Me, Come Fly Away

Male EasternTiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA

Enjoying this image, shot at Cloudland Canyon State Park in northwestern Georgia brought a song to mind, actually an airline TV commercial of some years ago, “Come fly with me, come fly away, . . . ”

Our Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly was lapping up nectar from a meadow loaded with Liatris blooms, millions of them. He was so fixated on that tasty nutrition, that he allowed my close Macro-lens approach.

This among many I will be approaching, anticipating that I am not alone in anxiously awaiting the 2020 arrival of such winged beauties.


Shocking Black Beauty

Earring Series - Blackswallowtail butterflies coupled, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GACounting the number of eye-pleasing views in this Eastern Black Swallowtail butterfly image, much pleases me. Early morning in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton, Georgia and I was happily shocked to discover this coupled pair amidst a perennial bed.

She was above here, and she had those 2 sought after looks: fresh and magnificent.

They soon after fled, ending up as seen in the ‘Earring’ series that we feature here in ‘Earring’ series remains my most favorite series of butterfly photographs. I think this is a better image of the pair, with the female’s dorsal side in view.

Shockingly pretty, this, no?


Eastern Tiger and Diana Ross?

Tiger swallowtail butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

I turned that bend of Nichol Road Trail, early on a summer morning. Early morning sun strikes the leaves along the upcoming trail berm. I’d seen butterflies perched on those 8:30 AM berm leaves before, and that turn of the trail always had me poised for OMGoodness! moments.

And there she was. A gorgeous Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. Stop. Think. Slowly, slowly approach her, me down enough to shoot her, she at 18″ above the ground. Pop! Pop! Pop! many times.

Her blue flashes? Well just look at them. The rest of her. Fine, very fine.

She sure makes me reminisce that time when I was leaving Mr. Gorin’s office in New York’s tony Fuller building, at the very fancy intersection of Madison Avenue and East 57th Street. I stood there as the Art Deco decorated elevator arrived at my floor, and those decorative doors opened, and . . . there was Diana Ross, standing there, alone. She smiled, and I walked into the elevator.

My guess was that she’d finished a meeting with one of the lawyers in a floor above. I’d worked in Manhattan for years, and I say, she was impressively beautiful. We chatted, and reached the Lobby level. We exchanged goodbyes, and she went her way.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly and Diana Ross. Neither to be forgotten. Both elegant and especially beautiful. Both met unexpectedly.


Where Do I Sign Up? Really.

Earring Series - Jeff Zablow with Black Swallowtail 'Earrings' - on Arm, at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

I just checked. It’s 64F right now here in Eatonton, in Georgia’s Piedmont region. 2019 saw Jeff making fewer trip to photograph butterflies than he had hoped to. Thankfully it was not a health reason, but rather my infrequent travel in the latter half of the year was due to reasons beyond my control.

People plan and G-d laughs at such, is what I have heard across my life. 2020 is though beckoning me as a Bust-Out-Year. I want to make several trips to seek out butterflies here in the South, in the United States and abroad. I LOVE (Yep! all caps) working hill and dale and meadow and swamp and fen for butterflies. I smile from ear to ear when you ‘Like’ my posts and I grin broadly when you sometimes ‘Comment.’

This is among my Favorite of all images, credit to Sylbie Yon who happened to visit the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat right then, and who, when handed my camera, copped incredible images of my elation, with this pair of coupled Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies, here on my right shirt sleeve. That elation was accompanied by my inner melt, as this was one of less than a handful of times when butterflies ignited my feeling that my beloved wife, Frieda A”H arranged for this, for the world’s most magnificent butterflies to make their landing on my arm, to remind me of how she . . .

2020 and wild, free, gorgeous butterflies? Where do I sign up? Really. (I just read in my current reading of a book, read why my Artillery unit was one of many that did not received orders to ship out to Viet Nam in ’68, me a young Artillery officer . . . )