Me & Them – Looking Back?

Pittsburgh South Vo-Tech public school field trip participants - May 2004, photographed by Jeff Zablow in Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Sometimes we look back, sometimes fondly. Here, I’m looking back to a Wetlands Study field trip we took, was it in 1998? What memories this releases. I’m here, taking this photo, and this was the one and only time we had another high school teacher along, she in the middle row at the right.

For almost everyone in this pic, Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania was their first time out of the city of Pittsburgh, and for most, their first experience in a wilderness. They were my Biology students at South Vo-Tech High School, on Pittsburgh’s Southside.

I tell you I look and look at this pic, and I smile, smile much. Who among them will ever forget this trip into a wonderland they’d never known before? Which of them will take their kids, whom I expect they now love, to such sylvan, magical places, to wonder at wildflowers, trees, butterflies, frogs, lizards, weasels, great blue herons, red-wing blackbirds, millipedes and Oh so much more?

I feel good, like I knew that I would!

Jeff

‘I’m Sitting On Top Of The World’ Gray

Gray Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

Apply lyrics to this relaxing image? ‘I’m Sitting On Top Of The World, I’m Rolling Along, I’m Rolling Along.’ This is my choice.

Imagine being a beautiful Gray Hairstreak, living on the site of Fort Federica on tony St.Simons Island on the Georgia coast. Not a care in the world (it would seem).

Jeff

City-Raised Boy Meets Apprehensive 1,200 Pound Mama (Galilee/HolyLand)

Chocolate Brown Cow, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Nahal Dishon National Park, Upper Galilee, Israel

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.

What should I have done?

Jeff

Flirting Gulfs

Gulf fritillary butterflies flirting, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Each species of butterfly behaves differently moments/minutes before they join to copulate. Watching a male Monarch physically force a flying female down to the ground is a bit much, others come together gently, and with apparent total focus.

This pair of Gulf Fritillary butterflies were in the tall grass when I found them at the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. Studying the photo convinces that this male and female are gently preparing for action to produce a new generation of Gulf fritillaries. Not suite which is the female or which is the male. I am sure that those flashes of white, nicely reflecting the morning light, are bedazzling.

Splendor in the Grass, this.

Jeff

See Jeff Photograph [Butterflies]

Jeff photographing Georgia's Butterflies and glooms in the Eatonton Briar Patch

Jeff has often written about his life from his childhood to the present. Y’all know that Jeff does not golf, nor play tennis nor is he the 5th man in a regular card game. You know, and some of you recall that Jeff had a hardscrabble life, a kid on the streets, who fought more than you know, and often had long, hard steel accompanying him. Jeff served, completed OCS (Officers Candidate School) and truth be told, was once a Riot Control Platoon Leader. Jeff was a high school Dean (for Discipline) for years in Ozone Park, Queens, meaning guns, knives and pipes, and Jeff is the Dad of 4, he at one time a quite successful property owner in NYNY (that ended with the treachery that targeted him).

Raised in Brooklyn, New York, amidst brick, asphalt and concrete, it was Jeff who more times than not entered the then undeveloped ‘lots’ and sought fauna (animals) and flora (plants). Jeff did own 35 acres in the swell Berkshires, acreage with a Noah’s Ark of wildlife and New England flora, but that was lost after the above noted treachery of his New York ‘partners.’

Many of you have been visiting wingedbeauty.com for years now, some of you for months and some for weeks.

Why does Jeff search for butterflies? What motivates him to set out alone, amidst sometimes ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, snakes, feral dogs, feral pigs, fire ants, cougar, bear . . . with once again cold steel and more on his person?

Jeff