When you’re out in the field as much as some of us are, my thoughts are dominated by “Can I find this one, will my search for that one be rewarded?” The Lower Rio Grande Valley was just that, every step, each turned corner, frought with excitement. Reminds me of the time when poor as dirt Jeff worked as a messenger in NYNY (to pay to eat while in college) and was given a package to deliver to the Radio City Music Hall dressing room, to one of the Rockettes. So I’m 19 years old, and when I get to the dressing room with the package, the guy watching the door tells me to just take it right in, and I look at him and think (((WHAT!!!)). So I go in with the package, and truth be told, I could barely breathe what with the . . . Given a choice, I’d still choose the RCMHall dressing room over the National Butterfly Center, but Oh! how similar they were to me.
With all this seeking/searching/scoping and scanning habitats for butterflies, rare, protected, short of flight butterflies, it often strikes me that we sure overlook lots of ‘common’ species. Photographing in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat I in Eatonton, Georgia, the extensive beds of Senna produced squadrons of these Cloudless Sulphur butterflies.
Each day from June to October, these gorgeous, big yellow butterflies surround you and you begin to ignore their presence. When I searched the Media Library of wingedbeauty.com, I stopped here, for it struck me, made me consider how we rush past these beauts, with their large white as milk spots, and almost never choose them to share with you. Why hesitate to share? For fear that you, our audience will recoil, thinking Oh yeah, and discount them on sight, as though she’s the Betty, the girl in the Archie comic book series, living next door to Archie, but might as well be invisible to the catchable red headed hero.
Several years of driving down to Eatonton, Georgia, and I have not ever been satisfied with my captures of Sleepy Orange butterflies. I can’t even guess how many times I crouched down to photograph them on diminutive wildflowers, or stretched to get a Sleepy while it was nectaring on the Butterfly and Blooms in the Briar Patch‘s Tithonia. 200 times? Maybe more.
You didn’t see much of my Sleepy campaign, for mostly I was not pleased with what I got.
Pleased I am now to share this look at Eurema nicippe. A smallish yellow butterfly, very camera shy, especially when approached by a big lug, sporting a Canon Macro- lens, with the chutzpah to want to approach ‘OL Sleepy just 18 inches from lens to antennae.
They fly down trails almost recklessly, seeking suitable mates. I wanted an image of Anthocharis damone. Other visits to this Kedesh trail in the Upper Galilee region of Israel . . . left me frustrated. I saw A. damone, but despite my pleas, they never stopped! This male did, and I shot away, scoring this ‘I’ll take it’ image as this flier made its quick stop to nectar up on this member of the pea family. This was March ’15, and that’s when they fly. A rare, increasingly difficult to find butterfly. Jeff, in the right place and right time! Jeff, eyeing this ‘pat’ of butter on the wing, with a dab of tangerine on each forewing tip.
This by way of sharing. I just received a call from Paul in Silver Spring, Maryland (USA, near D.C). Paul and Aviva just added a son to their family! Mazal Tov!
All in the right time. Thrilled to revisit this exciting image from an earlier trip to the HolyLand and thrilled to shout out that I am once again . . . a grandparent!
Sitting here, studying this image of a fine Sleepy Orange butterfly, leaves me looking forward. Looking forward to returning and walking through the squadrons of these perky little sulphur butterflies, in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch. There were times there when I got this crazy thought? How many Sleepys are flying in the +/- 2-3 acre Briar Patch Habitat?
Good that I have some sense, for these golden-orange butterflies are in near constant motion, and the fool who tries to count them, without sophisticated quadrant tools, will only find frustration. They are flying everywhere there, and anywhere there, and crisscrossing constantly.
Sennas and other of their hostplants have been planted here in abundance, thus the crowd of Sleepys ever present.
They not only keep me awake with questions of their number, but I spend some time trying to find a better name for these medium-sized happy fliers. ‘Sleepy’ really is not a good choice of name for them. I’d bet that some of you who know this southern butterfly (I’ve never seen one in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, etc.) could/have a better name for these very serious, more focused cuties.
After some 104+ efforts to follow, approach and ‘shoot’ these large Phoebis yellow butterfly Spring-Summer ’16, the frustration continued to build. Shooting our yellow butterflies usually results in disappointing images, due I suppose to the yellow itself, a complex soup of visual light spectrum physical principals, I suppose. Almost all of these exposures were at the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia.
They are so big, so eye-popping, and so numerous in the Briar Patch that I have to consciously control my impulse to keep shooting, shooting and shooting . . . till I get it right. Mostly I am successful in that, remembering the co$t of my Fuji Velvia slide film, Dwayne’s Photo processing and Rewind Memories Scanning.
Back home in chilly Pittsburgh months later, I pitched Oh! too too many into the trash can. This one survived that culling.
She is a fine looking Phoebis sennae, sporting the greenish-yellow wing color and hindwing white spots (2). What she cannot do, is repair that huge missing part of her left hindwing (and forewing). A fighter jet would be grounded in the same situation, happy to have made it safely down. Sweet Phoebis here enjoys no such attention, and continues to fly very well, as I witnessed. No medical centers, PCP’s, Urgent Care offices or local clinics for butterflies. That fly on as able.