Daddah Da Da Dah Da!

Earring Series - Blackswallowtail butterflies coupled, photographed by Jeff Zablow at

A better image of the pair, with the female’s dorsal side in view

Can’t sound the trumpets. for I have no trumpets. But these last days have produced Big News, news neglected by Reuters, the AP, Washington Post and the Atlanta Journal-Consitution.

The news is potentially very good news. In Eatonton, Georgia, there is that gem of a Habitat that I’ve posted about. Visited it 9 times in these last three years, each visit a 688 miles drive from Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania. For our international followers, this Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat is in the Deep South, east of the city of Atlanta, and 2 hours west from the Atlantic coast and beautiful Savannah.

Why did I go there so many times? A hard-working visionary, Virgina C Linch, with sweat, tears and a little bit of blood, prodded several volunteers to work with her to create a butterfly oasis in the center of a small city, Eatonton. They plowed, dug and hauled in topsoil and compost, and converted a brownfield ( at one time an aluminum factory and employee housing ) into butterfly . . . well, heaven. 90% of the 29,715 plants and trees set in there were native, most chosen because they were butterfly magnets, hostplants for butterfly caterpillars.

It worked. It flourished. On any given morning, I would ID 20 or more different species of butterflies on the wing there. These Eastern Black Swallowtail  butterflies were there in 2016. Do they not challenge your beauty gauge indicator?

So . . . just a few weeks ago, the city of Eatonton, county seat of Putnam County, announced that the land, leased to the Habitat ( for a nominal fee ) . . . was to be sold to a developer!! Virginia Linch was stunned. She, without any complaint, had logged 256,881 hours of work in it, spent small  bundles of her own money, smiled heartily when folks made contributions for plants and material, and went there every day after work, something that is hard for us to get our head around. Finish work, and then go spend hours in the heat, weeding, watering, planting. Who today commands such fortitude?

A good number of folks let there voices be heard! What? Scuttle this beautiful site, deprive our kids of this experience? Destroy perhaps the 2nd best location in the US to see a wide variety of butterflies? Created a mini-quake in Eatonton, and got certain anonymous folks really riled up.

A meeting was called. People spoke to the Eatonton City Council. The Council made an offer. The City will move it to a permanent location, provide personnel and equipment to do so, enable the move to be after the hot summer weather, provide city water to the site, provide bathrooms on site and more.

Virginia took several days to think, prayed much, and then called a meeting of her stalwarts. Her decision ( I told her that she could easily pack her pruning shears and never look back ) . . . . . . . . . .She would accept the Eatonton offer!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!

Imagine in a few years, the 1st Annual Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Convention? Will you be there? Will Robert Michael Pyle be the Keynote speaker at the seminars that surely will be part of this gala 3-4 day event???

Don’t you love a good end to a worthy story?

Jeff

The Smile Of A Lifetime

Earring Series - Jeff Zablow with Black Swallowtail 'Earrings' - on Arm, at

Sylbie shoots away, and the pair move to my upper arm.

I scan the images in wingedbeauty’s ‘Media Library‘ when I prepare to post anew, and truth be told, I always pause when I see this series of images, shot last year, 2016 in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia.

Pause, to reflect on how happy I was. How thankful I was. How emotional those 10 or 15 minutes were, when Sylbie Yon arrived unexpectedly, and that pair of Eastern Black Swallowtails, coupled tightly together, flew onto me.

Since Frieda Z”L passed, butterflies have brought me to tears, several times. They so evoke Her Memory, and so flummox me when that rush is triggered. The initial moment of loss/despair . . . vanishes quickly, and it’s replaced by how much Love there was, and support there was for this well, different (to most) passion of mine. And, how such floods of beauty are extraordinary, yet so very real.

in the beginning of this odyssey, family and friends struggled to understand. Photographing butterflies? Won’t make you rich? Sends you into swamps (mosquitoes), meadows (ticks), fens (travel to see a meadow ?). Came the time when those family and friends became resigned to what I do, and on the rare occasions that I showed up in an image, noted, more often than not, The Smile of a Lifetime. A fine Rx, No?

Jeff

NB, Have you seen the “Jeff’s Earring“series, with the click-on button at the top of your screen?

Black Swallowtail Magic

Earring Series - Blackswallowtail butterflies coupled, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

I cannot ever forget the morning in 2016. I’d seen coupled butterflies in the field, lots of times. My favorite to date was that pair of Zebra swallowtails on the tiny beach at Mason Neck State Park, on Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline. They were super fresh, incredibly beautiful, and they unabashedly tolerated my presence, off and on for more than ½ of an hour. Paw Paw trees were nearby, and bald eagles were diving for lunch in the Bay. I was alone, naturally, and just beside myself with thankfulness, for the being there, then.

These Eastern Black Swallowtails above startled me, they did, when I noticed them  in the perennial bed at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat. I’d seen so much eye candy there, that I was just beginning to get a teensy bid jaded to it all. Then I spotted them. Fresh, awash in sharply defined color. What a jolt! of excitement that was. I began the special silent pleading I do when I happen onto butterflies that I absolutely want to shoot, something that happens a fews times each year. I am pleading with the Almigh-y Above ( That’s a me thing. ).

And look, I scored the image I wanted. This is before Sylbie Yon entered the Habitat, totally unexpected. What followed is highlighted in the feature at the top of your screen, “Jeff’s Earrings.” The drama/excitement continued, culminating in that Sweet! front page newstory in the Eatonton Messenger ( Thursday, March 9, 2017 edition ).

The female shown in full dorsal ( super) display is gorgeous, and the male, too is a buster!

Jeff has been to many pre-sale exhibitions of Magnificent Jewelry at New York’s Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Doyle auction galleries. My eyes have seen. Trust me then, please, that this is Black Swallowtail Magic.

Jeff

Beauty in Abundance

Giant swallowtail butterfly on tithonia, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Minutes, hours, days spent seeking butterflies. I leave the disappointedly dirty streets, litter in otherwise comely city parks, hustle and bustle of traffic. Detach myself from the tens, hundreds and thousands of people whom I pass, who do not offer the Hello! or smile or eye contact that . . . I think shores all (most) of us up. No bills to see before my eyes, no housework to feel obligated to attend to, and almost, almost no thought of family and all that family means to me.

This one? We’re here in the Butterflies & Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. If I had to guess, I’ve posted maybe some 100 or more images from this Gem! of a nature reserve. Even here though, there are signs of leaves that are on the wane, flowers that are spent (as they must be . . . ), insects sadly down on the trails (dead), predators about who do belong who do play a role but who still tug at our sense of life and death. And there are always those squadrons of butterflies, many worn, scales mostly lost, who tease me, until I see that bird-struck hindwing, or those punctures in a wing or more. Y’all don’t much like to see damaged butterflies, no matter how much you protest that you . . . do.

Then, as here, in zooms! a wondrous creature, resplendent in fresh, bright color, and Oh, so Complete! That’s the juice that sets me ablaze! Objective? Capture that beauty, so that its throws a weightless sheer cover over all the not so pretties vying for our attention.

A Giant swallowtail butterfly, young, fresh . . . Beauty in Abundance! Caught on Fuji film, and no cell phone used in the process. Really.

H-s work.

Jeff