The Caper White Butterfly’s sharp whites and blacks reminded me of a gentleman, who is of the ‘1%’ and now in his tux and spiffy whites, has landed briefly at a fashionable bar in a fashionable hotel in a fashionable side of town. Other Anaphaeis Aurora sport slightly dated tuxes and slightly faded whites, but not our Caper White. He’s come to Binyamina to display his prowess and big-screen good looks.
Caper Whites are good subjects to photograph. When sipping on nectar from the Camphor weed, they pose briefly showing their left-side, then their right-side, and lastly, their dorsal wing surface. They might even show off their ventral (under) surface. Predictably, ten or so photographic exposures will be tolerated by the butterfly, and then it will shift position. It was a joy to capture not one, but two groups of exposures after chasing a whole bunch of Israeli butterflies (e.g., False Apollo, Plain Tiger and Large White) without a worthwhile image to show for it.
The population of Caper Whites in distant Ein Gedi was by comparison, very easily spooked and not easy to photograph. None of my Anaphaeis Aurora images down there at the Dead Sea warranted posting on this blog. So it goes.
Why then have we posted only males? The female butterflies were skittish. Nearly all left when I made my patented approach. Hmmm.
So here populations behave differently and gender behavior differed. Interesting?
It’s November 19th, on one of those agricultural roads in Binyamina, Israel. The Artogeia Rapae butterfly has no interest in this lovely town, or its superb Binyamina winery, nor does she care a whit about the majestic palm trees that line the main street in Binyamina. It’s the same old dilemma: I must decide, again, whether or not to use a portion of my 50 or so rolls of Fuji Velvia film to photograph her.
It is so difficult to resist. She’s one of those pedestrian butterflies that we train ourselves to disregard. So plain are these butterflies, lacking Pow! Pow! colors. But then, aren’t we fascinated by certain talented photographers who train their camera lenses on so-called ordinary people in ordinary situations, and then create visual magic? Don’t we also venerate painters who have done the same?
That is the essence of the Small White Butterfly on a farm road in the Israel coastal plain. We see beauty in the familiar.
Caper White butterflies earn a solid A+ for feeding on nectar. Found throughout Israel from June to December, they fly in to nectar, eat furiously, and then fly off to who knows where? Later in the morning, a small number of them appear once again, and again they nectar with extreme purpose. They tolerate my macro- lens while they are eating. They are less tolerant during their brief breaks, taken probably to rest.
We photographed this male butterfly in Binyamina, one hour northeast of Tel Aviv. We also photographed Anaphaeis aurora in Ein Gedi. The Ein Gedi population was difficult to approach or photograph.
Their hostplants are capers. We are familiar with capers from our kitchen.
I found myself judging the photographic value of the males by the distinctive white spear tips on the outer margins of their forewings. This one was as good as any that we had seen. We wonder if this factor is considered by females when they look for a potential mate?
A sunny morning in Ramat Hanadiv, not far from the Mediterranean Sea. Euchloe ausonia is so focused on her search for nectar, that she allows my approach.
Abundant along the Sea’s coast and inland, their host plant, various Mustards and other crucifers readily support these little beauties.
Ramat Hanadiv, known worldwide for their verdant, expansive gardens, is an excellent destination for viewing butterflies. The horticultural beds (acres and acres of them) are surrounded by hundreds of acres of undisturbed habitat. Big parking lot, miles of paths, shop, facilities (excellent) and superb restaurant steps away from their perennial gardens makes this botanical oasis a terrific place to shoot butterflies. I photograph in the morning and the walk 100 feet to have a tasty lunch (gluten-free for me) in the restaurant. Luxury, luxury.
Again I am thankful for the white butterflies. When others are absent, Euchloe a. and other white buerflies zip in to keep us focused. Good.
On a trail in northernmost Golan, Artogeia rapae is nectaring on a wildflower not yet known to me. It must be a heavy producer of grade A+ nectar, keeping her so focused and enabling the image to be photographed.
Small whites are found throughout most of Israel. As with all of the butterflies found in this verdant, fertile region, she is richly colored and robust. A moderate hike would bring us to the border between Israel and Lebanon. A fact that is of no interest to the A. rapae butterfly.
Our 2nd post of this butterfly. We must never take the white butterflies for granted.
Why didn’t Jeff get closer to her? The butterflies of Israel, and more especially in Israel’s north, do not tolerate human approach. Why? Hmmmm.