Want To See A Grown Man–

Earring Series - Jeff with Black Swallowtail Earrings (Best shot), at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

This is the shot with the Eastern Black Swallowtails fully on my right ear.Want To See

I went there early, really early that morning. My plan? To hope to find butterflies nestled in their overnight hideaways, and track them as they slowly flew to flat leaves, where they’d remain until the growing morning sun warmed their wings. That plan worked, worked just fine.

I found that coupled pair of Eastern Black Swallowtails. Began to photo them. Heard someone entering the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch and I was concerned that the butterflies would be spooked by that person (?) and flee. Who’d I see arrive? My friend Sylbie Yon. Huh? What? Why had Sylbie come to this mini-wilderness, smack in the middle of Eatonton, Georgia?

I wildly signalled her to slow down, approach us cautiously. She did. I thought fast. Before I could do anything else. The Black Swallowtails flew. Sylbie quietly told me that they’d flown onto me???

I handed her my camera, gave her quick instructions as to how to operate my Canon film Elan camera, and Look! Look! Sylbie capture the now famous Jeff’s Earrings series of shots. I Love these images, the series seen by selecting it at the top of wingedbeauty.com posts.

This is the one that rattled me. The pair moved from my shoulder to my hat to . . . my right ear. I was already ‘pudding’ for such mystical moments melted me, they bringing memories of Frieda A”H and her losing battle with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma/Stem Cell Transplant/ side-effect=Leukemia. I cried, trying to not let my friend see me (on the Brooklyn streets, crying was not done, period).

I will always cherish this, hang with me here, don’t judge, but where I lived my formative years, those streets, guys did not wear earrings,.

Look at me. How I’ve . . . .

Jeff

‘Busters’ Now A Memory

Male Black Swallowtail Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in the Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Been doing this now for decades, that is, seeking and photographing butterflies. Some things get easier, including enduring the disappearance of butterflies in the Fall, here in Georgia, and disciplining yourself, with the understanding that they will reappear in the Georgia Spring. Spring here in the southeastern USA comes as early as February. That means that your parsley and rue, domestic and cultivar will begin to prosper, and that also means that these butterflies, Eastern Black Swallowtails will soon appear.

When Black Swallowtails show up, it’s an adrenaline rush. That such a beautiful, elegant and graceful swallowtail butterfly visits your garden, so pleases, you happy that he or she has chosen your robust herbs as the most worthy site for her to deposit her critically valuable eggs, for her to entrust her genetic jewels to your healthy, green favorites. Corollary to that is the warming knowledge that such males head straight to your place, sensing that your natives will draw females, the very same females that males must find, to progress their rich jewels onto the next flight of Black Swallowtails.

This male was seen in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. Atlanta to the west, Augusta to the east. A springtime stunner, for sure.

Jeff

Evokes, ‘Oh Beautiful, For Spacious Skies. For Amber Waves of Grain, For Purple Mountains . . . . ‘

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

This is why I photograph butterflies, alot. There are moments that thrill, as when I find a rare butterfly, resplendent in extraordinary color, and itself fresh, just days out of its chrysalis. Unexpected moments when I come upon a butterfly that I’ve shot before, but those earlier exposures just did not satisfy my quest for ever finer images.

Then there are times like this, at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, in Eatonton, Georgia. There I am witnessing, witnessing beauty that just about takes my breathe away! A fresh pair of Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies, both just hours out of chrysalis, coupled together, motionless. The thoughts that run through my head? Many. Splendor in the Grass. ‘Under the Boardwalk.’ Inexplicably, ‘Oh Beautiful, For Spacious Skies, For Amber Waves Of Grain, For Purple Mountains Majesty Above The Fruited Plain, America, America, G-d Shade H-s Grace On Thee . . . . ‘

We have a Presidential Election here in the U.S.A in a few days, and its been unpleasant and full of vitriolic activity. This Swallowtail look? It relaxes me, and reminds that their job is to nurture, conserve and foster the expansion of our American G-d given riches. That’s the job of the President. So many before have neglected that responsibility. Teddy Roosevelt. Didn’t he model such thinking?

Jeff

Which One For 2021?

Zebra Heliconian butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Wildlife Management Area, Kathleen, GA

That’s what we love about butterflies, each year brings its own surprises and disappointments. Butterflies you looked forward to seeing in any given year sometimes don’t show up, and each year butterflies you have given up thinking about visit and bring a smile.

This year, just 6 months in our new home, in North Macon, Georgia, we aggressively planted perrenials, trees and shrubs in our back garden. The list is fun for us to recall: Hackberry trees, Swamp milkweed, Linden trees, Bear oak trees, Passionflower, Coneflower, Oak trees (post oak), Hercules Club bushes/trees, Liatris, Brickellia ( rare, rare), Hickory trees (Pignut, Shagbark, Nutmeg (rare, rare), Cardinal flower, Cosmos, Hibiscus, Iris (Blue flag), Spicebush, Crocosmia (Lucifer), Joe Pye, Ironweed, Lobelia, Basil, Black & Blue salvia, Oakleaf Hydrangea, Asters (Several Varieties), Buttonbush, Turtlehead, Atlantic White Cedar, Sassafras,  . . .  and more. Really, more.

The payoff for all the work that we did? Excellent butterfly visits and fulfilling caterpillar numbers. The Big Surprise? This 2020 season brought lots of Zebra Heliconian butterflies to our 800 Garden. Lots. Heliconius charithonia flies with the flight of a ballerina, and just stops you in your tracks, you watching that graceful flight with awe, me thinking where are we in the Amazon or in tropical Africa? Then I smile, thankful that no, we are here in Georgia, and this butterfly is real and inspiring.

So for us, 2020 brought Zebra Longwings. What butterflies will be plentiful in 2021? Ma’am, I have no idea.

Which butterflies would you like to see more of in 2021?

(This one was seen in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia).

Jeff

Enjoy Your Nap, Viceory

Viceroy Butterfly at rest (right side), photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

It was always a struggle for me to get to the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, before 8:30 AM on any morning. I’m a slow starter in the morning, and that jeopardized the opportunities that can be had by early arrivals at wildlife habitat. I’ve often seen others come along at 11 A.M. or noontime.

The sun is way too high after 11 A.M., striking your subject butterfly so that the image is bathed in strong light. I didn’t want that. Much better are images scored early in the morning, with the sunlight striking your butterfly at a sharp angle, accentuating the topography of your subject, producing interesting angles, and great images.

This Viceroy butterfly was difficult to see, as it remained on this flat leaf, just inside the tree margin at the Briar Patch Habitat. It wasn’t ready to make flight, not yet. I was able to quickly have a look at it, and Wow! it was a very handsome Viceroy. it’s marking was bold, nicely colored and included a solid, thick black hindwing mid-line, the line that enables you to easily see that not only is the butterfly smaller than a Monarch butterfly, but with that hindwing line coursing the middle of the hindwing, it’s definitely a Viceroy.

Viceroy butterflies thrive when their hostplant, Willows, trees or bushes, are nearby.

Eatonton, Georgia, in the Georgia Piedmont region.

Jeff