Schooled By Little Metalmarks

Little Metalmark butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

There they were, finally. Little Metalmark Butterflies. Shellman Bluff, Georgia, along the eastern coast of the USA. Months of anticipation, and there I was with Nancy and John. I should have expected them to be tiny, but truth be told, I was taken aback, for they were smaller than tiny. They were tinier than tiny.

They were methodically nectaring on this tiny yellow blooms, and they all but posed, as they slowly worked the flowers, one after another.

I’ll admit to a bit of personal bravado, me thinking that I will leave there with several excellent exposures of these flying gems. I especially wanted to capture images with those silvery hindwing bands, smartly reflecting the strong Georgia sun.

And? Well I’ve studied and restudied the 6 or so exposures that I didn’t pitch into the trash. This one, for instance does Pop! those silvery bands, features other decent Little Metalmark shares (one good antenna, an OK abdomen and a decent eye capture).

17% overconfident Jeff, got schooled by those Metalmarks. Why?

They were so tiny that they required that I crouch over in a very uncomfortable position, that awkward twist of body became increasingly difficult to sustain. They did move across the flower, forcing frequent movement and camera adjustment, then they would fly some 2-3 feet to another flower, sending me following them, into yet another and another pronounced crouch. Soon the sweat begin beading up on my forehead and then, sweat would trickle down over eyes, the Georgia morning humidity soon semi-blinding me, salt in the eyes.

This was before I upgraded to my Canon 100mm/2.8 IS (Image Stabilization) lens. IS lenses compensate for the almost imperceptible sway that moves the camera lens when you shoot such tinies in such challenging shoots.

So, yes, those Little Metalmarks schooled me, learned me good, to not come into the field fully expecting to land the big one, so to speak. Beware specks of butterflies on minuscule flowers, on steamy hot mornings , for the odds of copping a dropdead gorgeous image of the bejeweled Little Metalmark favor Las Vegas, and not the boy from Brooklyn!

Jeff

WingedBeauty Marks Three of Twenty-five Species of Metalmarks!

Little Metalmark butterfly on bloom, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

New Year’s Eve, December 31st, 2015 came and went, and I still hadn’t seen a Metalmark. Come 2016, and see here; I fixed that. Here we are with a rather fine looking right forewing and hindwing, of a Little Metalmark, in Shellman Bluff, Georgia. Meeting up with this Oh So Tiny flying winged beauty? Good, very good.

Angela and Barbara Ann invited me to join them in very south-central Ohio, and there I found as many as 50 Northern Metalmarks. How Happy I was that morning! Seems that I just love Metalmarks. I strive to capture the reflection of sunlight off of those scintillating ribbons of silvery strips. Here, I just about did, sort of almost.

Just weeks ago, I was in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, and at the National Butterfly Center, I saw Fatal Metalmarks. I will soon share these images.

Now I’m an owner of A Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (Glassberg, 2017), and my education continues. There are 25 species of Metalmarks that fly in the United States. Some are residents here, others are uncommon migrants.

25 Species! What does one do, when one has seen 3 of 25, and just loves meeting new Metalmarks? What?

Jeff

Getting Those Metalmarks

Little Metalmark butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

I’m on the lookout for images that fully capture the magic of the silvery lines of Metalmark butterflies. That because these last 2 years I’ve struggled to snag such an image.

Last year with Nancy and John in  Shellman Bluff, Georgia there they were, nectaring and perching on the side of that road. Me, I thought this is it!, my first-ever look at Little Metalmarks, and I will score pictures with knockout silvery lines. Uh, they were tinier than I expected, they were perches some 3″ above the ground, they shifted almost constantly on flower heads, my back soon began to talk to me, and that humid coastal Georgia air had the sweat coursing down my face, fogging me up!

This is one of those 2016 Shellman Bluff images. Detaching as I can from my own product, well . . . I can see what you see, and because of that, I want another shot at these sweeties.

My June 2017 OMG! work in Kamama Prairie Preserve in very south-central Ohio, amongst dozens of Norther Metalmarks, copped lots of images, but . . . getting those Metalmark silvery wavy lines continues to irk a bit.

Jeff wants . . . better.That means time, travel, accomodation$, $lide film/processing and the cooperation of the unflappable Angela of Ohio.

Think that Jeff will revisit Shellman Bluff and Adams County in 2018, right time, right place?

Jeff

In Brooklyn, We Boys Called It a ‘Do-Over’

Little Metalmark butterfly on bloom, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Like it was yesterday. Playing on East 58th Street, with nary a car going by to bother us, our street had an amazing number of boys. I once  counted those boys on my street, who were in a 3-year age range, including me? . . . 30 boys!

We played all of our sports on that asphalt street, punchball, stickball, football, roller hockey ( never liked that last, as my nutso! friends now had hard sticks in their mits . . . ).

When a kid didn’t like how something went, and felt he had basis, he’d yell . . . “Do-Over.” We were a tough, yet fair bunch of boys, and we honored that when it was fair and square.

This 2016 image of a Little Metalmark, captured in Shellman Bluff, Georgia, ranks for me as a reasonable call for a Do-Over. They are among the tiniest of American butterflies, they nectar on these mini-blooms, themselves inches above the ground. Shooting this look on your belly, risks what happened to me on Jekyll Island, culminating in that tick holding fast to my chest, and a subsequent visit to Urgent Care in Eatonton.

The only way to capture this Sweetheart of an eye-pleaser is to crouch down, all the way down, and talk to my Macro-lens, urging it to do it, do it well, and make Papa happy. Now, know that it was unendingly ultra-humid, and each time I sought to score images, the sweat reached my headband, and soon overran it, salty sweat now pouring into my eyes. Got the picture?

Then I share this, and I share how much I wanted those silvery stripes to sing to you. My new lens ( the last quit on me ) has the built-in Image-$tabilizer feature, so . . . .

Jeff wants . . . a  . . . Do-Over!

Thanks to Nancy and John, sincerely.

Jeff