What Do You Want?

Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

A friend and butterfly photographer suggested today that I consider revamping my blog goals, and begin chronicling where and when you and I see butterflies, west of the Mississippi River. She pointed out that audiences change and people seek new formats and new sharing.

I chewed on that for some time after. The suggestion went on to ask me to think about becoming more involved with butterfly groups and their web sites. And more. Provocative stuff that. True enough that when we began wingedbeauty.com, we had fewer than 30 “Followers” and we now boast several hundred. I do sometimes recall some early followers, who no longer come and see what we share. Many of the newer followers do not seek to interact or pursue discussion with me, their visits are shorter and I’m not so sure I know what that means.

So, what do you want here? I can tell you that I responded to her at length, with some of my early and ongoing goals. I started photographing butterflies seriously, some 25 years ago. From that time forward, my primary goals were to score and share images of butterflies that were more pleasing to the eye than the photos in the best of the butterfly field guides. I am pleased that I have realized that goal, many times.

I wanted to bring photos of butterflies to people who might not otherwise ever see them, and I really really wanted my captures to look just like the butterflies do in real time, in the field. I spend hundreds of hours each year in wild habitat, and my eyes know what they looked like when I found them. That is the primary reason that I shoot film, Fuji Velvia slide film, ASAS 50 mostly. The color is so true.

My most critical goal is to remind. Remind y’all that the beauty of a fresh butterfly, like this one, met in a meadow bordering the Neve Ativ village, on the slope of mighty Mt. Hermon in the Israeli Golan, far exceeds the best craftsmanship ever to come out of the workshops of Cartier, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels . . .

G-d fashions these winged beauties, and H-s work is exquisite.

So, then, what do you want when you pay us your visit?

Jeff

Sweet HolyLand Copper

Lycaena Phlaes Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

Almost 4 hours on that wonderful meadow in the full Israeli sun. It was me and lots of blues and copper butterflies, within sight of Mt. Hermon, just at the perimeter of the little village of Neve Ativ. We’re on the slope of the mighty mountain. Many battles were fought here, and now peace reigns, and there are so many Lycaenidae butterflies at hand, that I am careful picking and choosing which to expend film for.

This tiny copper butterfly, Lycaena phlaeas timeus charmed me, and I returned the favor, shooting away, and scoring this sweet capture. Among the bounty I shot that day, reward for sure for driving up the steep, narrow, winding road to get to Neve Aviv. I remember thinking, what would happen if I round the next sharp curve, and suddenly an 18-wheeler is coming the other way! Yes Ma’am that’s exactly what happened next. Don’t like such, and there I was, thankfully on the inside lane, nearly scraping the mountain outcrop to my right!!

The only thing missing that morning, or the other mornings, was Y-O-U.

Jeff

Scoring The Tinies

Coupled Copper Butterflies II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

Two hours had gone by. I’d worked and reworked that meadow at the edge of the little moshav (village) on the slope of mighty Mt. Hermon. Mostly I was seeing blue butterflies and copper butterflies. Most were common and found throughout the northern half of Israel. A few were rare, protected butterflies, they much appreciated and good for pumping the waning adrenaline.

The coppers were a fresh flight. That brought me to thinking that it would be neat if that 2017 morning I might find a mater pair of coppers. Its way uncanny, that there have been times, especially in the HolyLand, when I asked G-d to roll out this or that butterfly for me . . . and I guess, my plea is heard, for sure enough, out it comes. Honest.

Think as you will, just minutes later, this exquisite pair of Copper butterflies, right there, coupled tighter on this tiny, Golan bloom. They seemed indifferent to my Macro- approach. Two lovers, each smaller than my pinkie finger nail, locked together, purposefully. He on the left, she to your right. They were still there a bit later, not having moved much.

I shot dozens of exposures. I wanted alot. What think you? What does this image stoke in your mind?

Jeff

Pithy Quotes & Coppers

Coupled Copper Butterflies IV photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

I wanted these images, wanted them a lot. More than for the obvious reasons: memorable shots on the slope of Mount Hermon, mentioned in the Old Testament, coupled butterflies make for good blog traffic, etc.

I wanted a look like this for it provokes me, and I hoped it would do so for you. The wonderment here is near infinite. The sheer beauty, challenging, even for this blog writer, who usually is able to express.

They are both fresh Copper butterflies, he at your left, she boldly displaying her rich color, pattern and form, they not only in the HolyLand, Israel, but dramatically in a little meadow in the uppermost Golan. Hey, in my lifetime, their ancestors were in the middle of a fierce war zone, not just one time in your lifetime, but several times in the 20th century. They are just a handful of miles or so from Syrian troops, Russian ‘advisors,’ Hezbollah legions (terrorists), Iranian regular and irregular (terrorists) soldiers, Syrian ‘Rebels,’ North Korean ‘Advisors,’ U.S. personnel . . . All that and these Coppers fly undaunted.

Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Roger Tor Peterson, Robert Michael Pyle and Johnny Cash would all have coined poignant and forever beloved thoughts, on seeing this. I have no doubt.

Me? I am not known for shared book worthy thoughts of great moment. I am known for suggesting, and this image suggests the bottomless beauty and great substance of G-d’s incredible creations.

Jeff

Which NFL Great Loved Coppers?

Copper Butterfly ( Dorsal View ) photographed by Jeff Zablow at Neve Ativ, Israel

Y. A. Tittle? Jim Brown? Fran Tarkenton? Antonio Brown? Matt Ryan? I’m sitting here, slightly missing the National Football League this 2018 season . . . and I’m thinking. This image of a tiny copper butterfly, Lycaena thersamon omphale got me to thinking, how do 6′ 3″ tall men, and 5′ 11″ tall women shoot such diminutive butterflies.

This guy was seen in a small moshav (village) on the slope of Israel’s Mt. Hermon. I wanted those 2016 images to include coppers nectaring with their wings open. I spent those 3 mornings trying to capture that and some other scenarios.

Remember, I shoot Fuji slide film, and use a Canon 100mm/2.8 lens (this was my first one, not equipped with Image Stabilization). Working with a Macro- lens necessitates getting some 18″ or so from the copper, that a feat in and of itself. So you approach, you all bent over, or like me kneeling on my left knee, on my Tommy kneepad. He flies to a bloom 2 feet away, you follow, going down again, again he flies, and again . . . This for 3 hours in the early morning! Stir in the added feature: the sun drenching you in hot, sunburn waves, and ask yourself: How does a guy like Peyton Manning, touted at 6′ 5″ . . . photograph copper butterflies in the Israeli Golan?

Share what you know please.

Jeff