Who Sees Us?

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

We got to thinking? wingedbeauty.com has been posting butterflies and their tales for 6 years now. Who’s come to visit? We checked, and, well it’s something to consider. Visits are registered as ‘views.’ We sought the answer.

We’ve been visited by people from 133 countries. I liked that, for it meant that Virginia C Linch’s Briar Patch Butterflies and Blooms Habitat has come to the attention of folks in every corner of the world.  Eatonton, Georgia, brought to the attention of folks in Syria, Mongolia and Chile.

Me? It’s fascinating to find where we’ve enjoyed heavy web traffic (the USA of course, with more than 360,000,000 people) and unexpectedly light traffic (Peoples Republic of China, with 1,6000,000,000 people who have registered only 55 views).

Make of this what you will: Canada – 1,679 views    Israel – 1,305 views     United Kingdom – 938 views     Brazil – 557 views     India – 445 views     The Netherlands – 382 views     Australia – 283 views     Switzerland – 270 views

Germany – 247 views     France – 218 views     Japan – 72 views     Sri Lanka – 69 views     Mexico     – 65 views     Saudi Arabia – 54 views     Viet Nam – 23 views     Slovenia – 16 views     Iraq – 8 views     Estonia – 7 views

Panama – 5 views     Tonga – 4 views     Puerto Rico – 2 views     Kazakhstan – 1 view     Guatemala – 1 view     Uzbekistan -1 view     Iran – 1 view     Bosnia & Herzegovina – 1 view &  Bhutan – 1 view

This image shared here is one of my all times favorites. Prints of it hang in the homes of friends whom I admire. Why is it a favorite of Jeff’s? It’s stark beauty, regal pose and to me, improbable wing dimensions continue to mesmerize me, honest. That it has been seen by many, and that it may well have pleased and teased many, is the ballast that helps me sail on.

Jeff

Two Joys!

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

Please allow me to share 2 Joys! with you.

The Joy of these wonderful Holidays with their anticipation of the new, only to be imagined, year 2015 and the Joy I always sense when I see this, one of my most favorite images.

Image of? A Tawny Hackberry butterfly, toasting its wings in the earliest morning sun, at Raccoon Creek State Park in beautiful southwest Pennsylvania, USA.

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and a Happy New Year.

Jeff

Yes to Both Questions . . .

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA
We see fewer and fewer Tawny Emperor butterflies at Raccoon Creek State Park. A recent email from someone who monitors the insects of Pennsylvlania included the Tawny amongst the rare and uncommon butterflies. I hope this is not the future for this brown masterpiece. Most encouraging is the abundance of its hostplant, Hackberries, tree and bushes.

I’ve shared this image with many groups of adults and children. Question #1 usually is, “Is this a moth?” No, it is a butterfly. Prominent head, relatively slender body and antennae (the plural) consisting of a pair of long stems with a club at its end.

Question #2 often expresses curiosity about those antennae. We have 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils. Our Tawny has those 2 antennae. What do they do? Robert Michael Pyle’s National Audubon Society Field Guide to Butterflies ( Alfred A. Knopf, 2012) writes that “Antennae are probably used for smelling as well as for touching and orientation.” The antennae seen here are quite long, each with a whitish club. Looking at these antennae, see how their length enables them be aware of what is going on around them.

So ‘Yes’ to both questions. If you have an additional question, “A female or a male?” The answer to that one is . . . it is difficult to tell the sex of a Tawny, unless of course you are another Tawny.

Jeff

Tawny Emperor & the Nixon White House Photographers

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

Hannah and David gave me Dennis Brack’s Presidential Picture Stories – Behind the Cameras at the White House (2013)David Kleber was an NBC White House Photographer, and had alot to do with the book design and production of this fascinating book. One of those hard to put down reads. Inside recollections of their work and terrific anecdotes with so many U.S. Presidents of the 20th century.

So I get to page 98 . . . and there it is. Acknowledgment of a dilemma that I have experienced so many times in the field. The same tense drama that accompanied the taking of this photo of Asterocampa clyton. Sitting there having dinner, page 98 was the first time that I had ever seen anyone else moan about this game changer of a moment.

Brack writes of the day that Richard Nixon relinquished his job as President, his final day in the job.” . . . Nixon walked up the ramp to the helicopter and turned to face the crowd on the lawn. First, there was a wave, almost a salute-better get that, it might be all there is. Then he continued with his right arm, bringing it across his face and holding his hand high above-certainly want that. The photographers’ prayers started: “Lord, please let me be on frame thirty-one and not frame thirty-five.” Finally, the classic Nixon Double Whammy, his arms straight out and both hands making the “V” sign . . . Some photographers got the picture and were happy, some did not and were not so happy.”

Yes, I still shoot film (Fuji slide). I happened upon this Tawny Emperor (its other name) in the most unlikely place, and I had just done a no-no. I had left the roll from the day before, with more than ⅔ of the 36 exposures used,  in the camera. This butterfly was spectacular and in a priceless pose, on the horizontal member of a wooden trail sign at the trailhead of the Wetland trail in Raccoon Creek State Park, in southwestern Pennsylvania.

When I am impressed by a butterfly, very impressed, I like to shoot 40 to 50 exposures of it, hoping that 1 or 2 will be winners. The risk? The risk is that after 2  0r 3 camera clicks, the butterfly is goooooone! Now how could I do that with less than 10 unexposed shots in the camera? Like the White House cameramen (all men back then), I asked G-d’s help, shot the roll…held my breath while I removed the roll and reloaded a roll of ASA 100, and … it was still there, still posing. Was it injured, sick? I shot out the entire new roll, and again reloaded. At about the 5th or 6th shot of this 3rd roll, our Tawny Hackberry disappeared like a rocket, straight out of sight.

Here’s the best of those exposures. Thanks to Dennis Brack, David Kleber and Hannah Kleber.

Jeff