Why Jeff Loves Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies Coupled photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

Do you want to know why?

• Jeff grew up amidst brick, mortar and asphalt. Since back then, Jeff ached to enjoy this much beauty.

• Jeff studied Biology in college and remains fascinated by natural phenomena. Butterflies provide relief from that anxiety.

• Jeff realized that almost no one in this world did anything like this. He’s more than happy to share these images and experiences.

• Jeff’s first wife and Jeff visited many Christie’s and Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewelry, pre-sale exhibitions. Frieda A”H tried on some of the world’s most exquisite broaches, rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets. Jeff’s macro- work stunned him. G-d’s best work far surpassed any creations produced by the Cartier’s artisans.

Jeff loves butterflies and Jeff loves photographing butterflies.

-Jeff

 

Jewelry On Gossamer Wings?

Tropical leafwing butterfly (Dorsal view) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

She was close to the trail when we spotted her. They were excited to spot her, but not nearly as excited as I was. John and Nancy ID’d her as a Tropical Leafwing. They tamped down my rush! saying that this butterfly was seen there, at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, often.

She denied any approach by camera, and flew, stopping on this small tree. She remained perched there, and we again approached. This was the best that my Macro- lens could score, and that was just fine with me.

Their hostplants are crotons. I’ll never get a Tropical Leafwing in my Eatonton, Georgia garden, but we’ve planted 7 Alabama Crotons, hoping that in 2020 or ’21 we’ll lure Goatweed Leafwings to pay us a visit. We purchased the strong, vital Alabama Cortons at Nearly Native Nursery in Fayetteville, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Jim and Debi there are engaging, knowledgeable natives experts, and their nursery stock is 100% native and of very high quality.

She remained in that little tree for some time. I remember standing there, impressed by her unique deep orange coloration, and Thanking G-d there and then for sharing such Heavenly beauty, with those gossamer finely crafted wings.

Jeff

A Private Room In Tiffany’s

Malachite Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

That’s what this meeting this Malachite Butterfly felt like. We were in the National Butterfly Center (NBC) in Mission, Texas. There were few people there that morning, Christmas week, 2017. We were on a trail, and someone approached and told us that there was a Malachite, resting on a lower trail, in good shade. The three of us quickly found it, and I was stunned by its beauty. Stunned. A few others came shortly after, and at least 2 people, frequent visitors to the NBC, said that it was the freshest one they’d ever seen. Big smile, for that!

I view this image once again, and I think, seeing this Malachite, spectacular as it is, is akin to us entering Tiffany’s flagship store on New York’s Fifth Avenue with the CEO of Tiffany’s rushing to the front of the huge store to meet us, and we are escorted to a posh private viewing room, and she proudly shows us their finest baubles, brought from their solid safe, she awaiting our approval after each broach, ring, necklace, pin, bracelet is reviewed. In the 1980’s I experienced much success, and this, earlier in my life, would not have been impossible.

That’s how moved I was by the Malachite, it more beautiful than anything that the House of Cartier had ever attempted to fashion.

Would that Barbara Ann, Nancy, Kelly, Phil, Laura, Virginia, Deepthi, Cathy, Leslie, Jim, Beth, Kenne, Sandra or you, were there . . . Jeff

Discovering Those Zebras

Zebra heliconian butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

There were summer weeks when I visited Doak field 6 mornings a week. That 100 plus acre field is a gem, set in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania. I got to know several trails in the park well, very well. I knew where to spot Mourning Cloaks, Northern Pearly-Eyes, Harvesters, Milbert’s Tortoiseshells, Comptons too. Monarchs, Swallowtails and Coral Hairstreaks. I’d seen a single Goatweed Leafwing there too, and what I don’t doubt was an Orange-barred Sulphur butterfly.

Wingedbeauty.com’s audience continues to grow, but there was a time that it became clear that offering up butterflies found in northeastern USA was becoming limiting, was not going to be enough to satiate my new friends here and around the world. That’s what prompted my first drive, those 700 miles down from Pittsburgh to Virginia’s Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in the town of Eatonton, central Georgia’s Piedmont region, that 2015.

New, amazing new butterflies. The kid from Brooklyn, who grew up watching lions and hyenas on those tiny TV screens, stalking their prey on the African veldt, found his zebras, though they were different zebras, strikingly gorgeous, were those Zebra Heliconian butterflies, first shown to me by Mike in Kathleen, Georgia. They float in the air as the ballerinas did when we had orchestra central seats at the New York City Ballet. Graceful as cannot be believed, you don’t know which is more stunning, their striking coloration or their floating athleticism.

They are show stoppers, necessitating your turning away from Giants, Black Swallowtails and American Ladies when the fly in as they do, unannounced, but show stoppers for sure.

This one was was flying in the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas. Those wings, that head, thorax and abdomen. Fine work this, No?

Jeff

 

November 2019 Can’t Come Fast . . .

Entrance Sign photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

We were there the last week of December 2017. I stood there ecstatic, allowing this sign to help me do the ‘pinch me if I’m dreaming’ thing. Nancy and John had Kindly suggested that I join them for that week, and I jumped at the offer! Flew out of Atlanta to San Antonio, rented a car there and John drove the 4 hours to Alamo, Texas. Stayed in the Alamo Inn and the next day we drove up to this sign!!

Think on this. In the perennial gardens at the National Butterfly Center (NBC) (McAllen, Texas) I was in a state of OMG! Butterflies I’d never ever seen before. I just watched ‘Pickers’ on the History Channel, and working the gardens at the NBC was one tintillating find after another. Hairstreaks, Metalmarks, Sulphurs, Brushfoots, Blues, Skippers everywhere you turned. I felt like a kid again, “John,” what’s this one? That one? The one on the 3rd bush?”

It was like I was meeting Sophia Loren, Brigette Bardot, Marilyn Monroe, Mia Farrow, Gina Lollabridgida and George Peppard, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Joe Pesci, Jimmy Stewart and Roy Rogers, it was.

I’m booked to return there in November, 2019. That and some time at “The Wall” and Bensten State Park and Santa Anna National Wildlife Refuge and Falcon State Park and, and, and.

Two visits to the NBC in one lifetime. Neat, that.

Jeff