I recently posted of the many challenges I meet when I photograph. Folks whom I meet ask first if I limit my work to museum butterfly exhibits (caged butterflies). No I answer I shoot in swamps, meadows and mountains. As I did in the recent post, I tell them of the risks I sometimes encounter, risks met to capture and score butterfly images, rare and common.
Here’s one this Brooklyn-raised boy met that I had no idea as to what to do? I was in the Nahal Dishon Reserve Park in the Uppermost Galilee region of the HolyLand/Israel. Alone, this park was proving to be a goldmine of common and rare Middle Eastern butterflies.
Unexpectedly, on this trail, I met her. She stood there, and having known women all my life, the look of her was not friendly, not at all. I quickly saw that her calf was resting there in the shade, it being another 94F day of full sun in the very dry northern Israel Galilee. I slowed my approach, and she kept looking at me, all what 1,200 pound or 1,400 pounds of her.
I’d been out on the streets my whole childhood and youth, but there were no cows in that Brooklyn. She looked fit and hale, and I kept remembering to NEVER get between a bear and her cubs. The trail passed about 10 feet away from the calf. I’d never been in this situation. I traveled 7,000 miles to get here, and I wanted to continue scoring big on the rest of the trail ahead of me.
She was there on that rock, sunning herself in the early morning. Where? At Nahal Dishon Refuge Park in the very Upper Galilee of the HolyLand/Israel. I was more than happy to find her, for I was hoping to find this Israeli Copper butterfly, and finding a female is always good, for they usually hide, and remain in or close to vegetation.
Those stark black spots, beautiful burnt orange color and those baby blue spots on her hindwings made getting this image a much appreciated capture.
Copper in the HolyLand, a tiny treat that can’t be beat.
She flew, and flew and flew. I followed, as you’d expect, for she was gorgeous. When such as us see such as this, we want a better look, a good photo image. No?
When she set down for a quick rest, I approached, set my left know down on my Tommy kneepad, a HolyLand blue butterfly, Lycaena Phlaeas timeus butterfly. I shot away, hoping that my Fuji Velvia 50 film would score some good images. I probably exposed 10 or 15, before she flew. Gone like a missile. The Uppermost Galilee, Nahal Dishon National Park. What 2 miles from Hezbollah killers in Lebanon?
The result here? Sweet like sugar. He deep orange, black white wing edges, wonderful hindwing orange and, and, and those baby blue spots!
How many of you have ever seen this butterfly? How many of you will ever visit Israel (the HolyLand itself) and seek this one?
I know that some of you dream of doing just this. Seeking and photographing butterflies in the Upper Galilee region of Israel, the HolyLand. With my daughter Rachel and her sons living north of Tel Aviv, I’ve done what perhaps you’ve dreamed of doing.
I rented my Hertz rental car, and drove up to this breathtaking land, where towns are few, and you go hours without seeing a soul. The roads are excellent, and the signage is easy to follow, all signs clearly written in Hebrew and English.
Knowing that I was walking where Th-y walked, really moves you there, and finding such as this, a rare, fresh Aricea Aegestis butterfly sent me to such: Fly me to the moon, Let me play among the stars, Let me see what Spring is like on Jupiter and Mars . . .
It is difficult to accept, but this False Apollo butterfly is closely related to our Swallowtail butterflies. That I never saw one in the U.S. is explained by the absence of these Parnassian butterflies from much of the United States. They fly here in the western United States, mostly in mountainous areas.
I was 7,000 miles from home that early morning, in Nahal Dishon Park in Israel. That’s why I was there, to meet this eye-pleasing, new for me, butterfly.
Pleased I was to find such a fresh, vividly-colored False Apollo. Happy too I was, to be afforded those many moments that I was given to successfully capture it’s image.
I found, without a guide or guidance, this Protected HolyLand Parnassian butterfly.