Orchids Seduce

Orchid photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cedar Bog, Ohio

June 2017 came and that 4 hour drive to western Ohio held out the double promise of several days with Angela, Barbara Ann, Dave, Janet, Flower, Roger and Joe. Serious naturalists, with deep experience with orchids, butterflies and botany. Orchids were the priority for this multi-day field experience, but I knew that we had to also encounter good butterflies. We just had to, judging from what they shared about our several critical destinations.

Ahead of all that, I wanted to see Showy Lady’s Slipper orchids, finally, once and for all. Jackpot! We met Showys in Cedar Bog. They were as large as advertised, though they were now hours past their peak. You just stood there, as you would if you were steps away from the Royal Family of Great Britain, well aware that you were in the personal space of extraordinary people. Here in Ohio, make that extraordinary orchids, opulent, very, very rare, and regal, very regal. We shared my image of the Showys in a blog several weeks ago.

At Cedar Bog, near Dayton, Ohio, the trail cut its way through wetland, and there these petite, seductive orchids sung to me. Their draw was unmistakable. They cajoled me, asking that I disregard my plan to save my Fuji Velvia 100 film for butterflies, and work to capture what they expressed in abundance, seductive glamour, natural and fleeting. I did, and share the result.

Grass pinks (Calopogon tuberosus). Certainly they are worthy of a more bewitching common name?



Showy Biz!

Showy Ladies Slipper Orchid, II photographed by Jeff Zablow at Cedar Bog Prairie Reserve, Ohio

How often am I asked, ‘Why do you photograph butterflies?’ Well, I’m asked that a lot. And what surprises me? I’m surprised and a bit amazed that those folks really are (or seem to be) baffled by my passion for finding and shooting out butterflies. They really want to  hear my response. It seems that they cannot fathom any reason to pursue butterflies over any extended period of time.

wingedbeauty.com faithful recall my Christie’s/Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewelry experiences. They also recall that I like the challenge, making an approach to this wild critters, who themselves are equipped with very efficient sensory warning systems. Making that approach, and doing so successfully. They surely have figured out that I am very pleased when I share a Good image of a beautiful, fresh butterfly. Some may remember my experiences with the Elite Model agency in NYNY. The most loyal may even remember that dressing room dream visit, me 19 years old, to the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, the Rockettes laughing and joshing me, and me, well like I was dropped into a vat of Breyers Mint Chip Ice Cream, with a helping of chocolate mini chips added!

Challenges. New places. Working to best the images already stored in my sweet slide file cabinet. Meeting new, fascinating folks.

Round out my reasons for seeking butterflies with this! I get to experience diverse plants and animals, i.e., I get to enjoy the beauty and intricate wonderment of H-s creations. This if Big for me, very Big. When Nancy shares the birds and butterflies of Panama, Georgia, Mexico, Costa Rica and Texas, I am stunned by the beauty I see. When Peggy shares her work on Vancouver Island, OMG! Virginia’s Georgia captures too. Laurence in France. Angela’s Ohio orchids and rare wildflowers got me into my truck, headed to Dayton, Ohio and then to southern Ohio, to that amazing Adams County, Ohio. Seeing beauty, well I seem to not every savor enough beauty.

Barbara Ann and Angela became friends, and next thing you know, Barbara Ann was talking about heading to Ohio, and seeking orchids, with Angela and Dave and Flower and Joe. Now, Barbara Ann had already introduced me to native orchids in northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York.

Truth be told, I had a strong desire to finally, finally see my first Showy Ladies Slipper orchid. Wanted much to see them. Much. Angela signaled sure, if we time your visit correctly, I could see my first Showy Ladies Slipper, and Barbara Ann could see the first one she’d seen in many, many years.

Few have ever seen them, the very large, very magnificent Showy Ladies Slipper Orchid. Elegant, stately, demure, and big as life. This one here in Cedar Bog Preserve, Ohio, thanks to Angela. What did the Showys evoke for me. That elevator ride in the Fuller building on Madison Avenue and tony East 57th Street, me and Miss Ross. She was big as life, radiant, warm smile, me pleased, very pleased. Art Deco elevator cab, comely Superstar, relaxed conversation.

Showy Biz!


Hermon Iris Revisited (Protected)

Hermon Iris (Protected) butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Northernmost Golan, Israel

On March 28th, 2017 I fly El Al back to Israel. Regretably, you will not be sitting on either side of me. I pledge though to search for worthy images, like this one, enjoyed in 2013. to share with you when I return. This ’13 post evoked other memories for me: my youthful things for redheads with green eyes and . . . my time spent in the dressing room of the Rockettes! Butterflies & rare irises can do that to you, connect to extravagant beauty heretofore unthinkable.

Winged Beauty Butterflies

Hermon Iris photographed by Jeffrey Zablow at Northernmost Golan,  Israel

Don’t we all have memories that warm us up when they flash into our consciousness? This image of a Mt. Hermon Iris just did that for me. It brought back memories of a certain moment on a streetcorner in Manhattan (New York, NY), one morning on  campus in college, a stand of native Columbine I once had, and sooo much more. Oh, and then there were the magical minutes when as a college-poor messenger, I  was given a package to deliver to a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall…and instead of taking it from me, the Rockettes’ staff said, “Yeah, take it in there to her”…into the Rockettes’ dressing room I went…’Nuf said?

This was such an experience. On a trail is northernmost Golan,Israel, near the security fence insuring that Israel and Lebanon stay safely apart, we turned a corner of the trail, and there they were…Iris

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My name is Dragon’s-mouth

Orchid, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Allenberg Bog in New York

How’s that for a catchy name? You’d think that Colgate or Crest would have made this pert beauty a sometimes celebrity.

Scrutinizing the sphagnum moss bog for Bog copper butterflies, and finding them! was very exciting. Seventeen years of pursuing butterflies, and finally, bog coppers. Working through the bog matt of bouncy “carpet” you knew you were liable to find very, very exotic butterflies, insects, animals and plants.

When this orchid was spotted, I felt like using one of those old lines, “Hello baby, where have you been all my life?” No more than 7″ tall, it just stood there, a fairy princess, looking as delicate as delicate can be, and not a court attendant in sight. Nearby were several others, separated nicely from one another.

The sense was, this is a rare and extraordinary orchid, described by Paul Martin Brown, in his Wild Orchids of the Northeastern United States, as a “regionally significant species.” That is how I viewed it, a rare, hard to find, fragile example of G-d’s handiwork. I was there at exactly the right time, for days earlier, nope! and a few days later? nope!

For thousands of years, Arethusa bulbs Linnaeus has persevered in this unique, western New York bog.  Allenberg Bog is also known to some as Waterman’s Swamp, Congdon’s Pond, and Owlenburg Bog and is on the border of the towns of Napoli and New Albion, New York in Cattaraugus County. A unique and fascinating refuge of 390 acres, it is the jewel of the Buffalo Audubon Preserve System. The orchid looked fragile and vulnerable, but surviving, and producing anew. If this slight, delicate flower can, then we surely can, is what I thought.


Orchids in Western Pennsylvania

Pink Lady's Slipper Wildflower, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Chapman State Park, NY

Sure, no winged beauties in this shot. I was in Chapman State Park in northwestern Pennsylvania this past June, 2016. I was there in 2015 too, and sure enough found Pink Lady’s Slipper native orchids. They take your breath away, they do! You just stand there and admire, and you reflect on the vulnerability of these delicate looking wildflowers.

So when I went back in June of this year, the question? was can I find them again? Yes, I searched and found this years Lady’s Slippers. The other question was, shoot them again? I do, do have good images of Pink Lady’s Slipper,  taken right here. My decision, how could I  . . . not? They are exquisite, graceful, elegant and just bathe your eyes with luscious.

I have posted Pink Lady’s Slippers here on wingedbeauty this year. But today my wife reminded me of how much she enjoys those recent shares here.

Well, if that’s the case, take in this other gentle view of  a few of these sweeties!