How To Respond To A Special Image?

Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow in Jamestown Audubon Center, NY

Each time I am to choose a new image to post onto wingedbeauty.com, I open our Media Library and review the 1,000 or so images that reside there. Twenty four years of images return the favor, and I begin to enjoy a soup of thoughts, washed in memories recent and not so recent.

I took them all, and they remind of the time I badly wanted an image on a tiny backroad, layed down to capture it Macro-, only to hear a vehicle approach. My legs? They were laying beyond the berm of this dirt road, exposed. Decision? I chose to take the image. The vehicle came and went, and I still have both of my legs and feet. Men!

Of all of the times that I went off trail in Israel, the HolyLand, trying for butterfly images. There are vipers in the Middle East that aren’t found in the USA. People die there, from venomous bites. Some of my Media Library images recall such foolishness on my part.

Other images, like this one, of a Baltimore Checkerspot, enthrall me. I love this image, and I am much pleased that it is my image. This Baltimore is, choose the word? Gorgeous? Amazing? G-d’s creative work? A stunner?

It tickles me that we have a bunch of ‘special images’ now. The years have gifted us with those of Monarchs, Northern Pearly-Eye, Viceroy, those coupled Eastern Black Swallowtails, Question Mark, that Maniola in Israel, and Mourning Cloak.

I like writing this, for I’ve done this for years, years of encouraging myself that it is vital work for me to do, to feed the esthete in me, and to share among G-d’s finest works.

Jeff

A Rare American Skipper

Leonard's Skipper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

Sometimes I review my images and I’m pleased that I have some that are just plain unusual, “rare.” Jeffrey Glassberg in A Swift Guide to the Butterflies of North America notes that this Leonard’s Skipper butterfly is “LR-U,” locally rare to uncommon. Good, for I remember when and how I scored this sweet image.

It was well into September at Raccoon Creek State Park in Southwestern Pennsylvania. I wanted to go there that morning, but had an internal debate, ‘Why go when it was so late in the season and everything that could be seen by me, was?’ I went.

She flew onto a mowed trail in Doak’s 100+ acres meadow. ??????? What was she? I’d never seen such a sweety before. And she was a stunner!!

She my first Leonard’s. A rare skipper that first appears in very late summer!

A rare American skipper butterfly, and  . . . Never say never! Thanks Fuji, for your Velvia slide film caught her lush color just fine.

Jeff

Happy Pearly-eye New Year!

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

Happy New Year to All! We have grown in number and enthusiasm. Shared so much new: new butterflies, new places and new ways of seeing those wingedbeauties.

Perfect example here, this one of 3 images that didn’t get pitched into the circular file (AKA trash can). So many of us know the Northern Pearly-eye butterfly. I almost wrote them off as well, seen them, done that . . . until I met this comely Pearly-eye on that trail at Raccoon Creek State Park. Guaranteed to frustrate, this one remained in place . . . and rocked my boat!, for I saw that I was looking at a stunner! An especially handsome Northern.

I shot it out, hoping that my manual compensations for aperture and shutter speed would deliver, despite the challenging lighting.

I say to you here, I will not take long known  butterflies for granted, for amongst them, may be a Bedazzler, as I rate this one. Those hindwing eyes, with the sweet tiny white pearls in their centers, That’s why they are  . . . Pearly-eyes.

On to 2017, taking nothing for granted, and hoping to meet them . . . and You! out there.

Jeff

Butterflies With Outsized Wings?

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Tawny Hackberry butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Jim Gilreath today posted an exceptional image of a Giant swallowtail butterfly. It was shot in the Butterfly & Blooms Briar Patch in Eatonton, Georgia. The same Briar Patch Habitat that I have visited several times this year. You can see Jim’s photo on the Butterfly & Blooms in the Briar Patch Facebook page. A stunner it is.

Certain to catch your eye is the apparent oversize of the Giant’s wings. They look well, too big for the butterfly, too big to control, to coordinate, too big for successful flight.

That brought me to remember this image, of a Tawny Emperor butterfly, I happened onto in Raccoon Creek State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania, my home. As I was both marveling at its stately beauty, and shooting away, this angle, that angle, this shutter speed, bracketing that shutter speed . . . I was thinking, Holy Cow! those wings look way too big for this butterfly to fly with. After it tolerated dozens of exposures early, early that morning, it answered my query, when it zoooomed away, in a straight, high speed trajectory, Gone!

I think Jim’s Giant swallowtail does have outsized wings, and I think this Tawny emperor’s wings are also oversize. How, with Big, Big wings, do they fly so well, so fast, so directed, so gracefully? Is their extraordinary flight meant as a gift to us, to tease and tantalize our senses?

Oh and this print, dark room processed by Gerry Hare, and archivally matted and framed, hangs in our dining room, for all to see, for me to enjoy, daily. Another original print, that too printed by this master, Mr. Hare, hangs in a home in Georgia. Both mats include cut-outs, with a scholar’s original calligraphy in Hebrew, roughly translated, ‘How Great Are Your [G-d’s] Works.’

Jeff

Stalking Plain Tigers

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Plain Tiger butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mishmarot, Israel

Knee down, careful to not make any unnecessary moves. I have been seeking images of these Plain Tiger butterflies for much of 2 weeks now, in Mishmarot. 30 minutes drive from Netanya, Caesaria and other wonderful places in Israel, this female Danaus chrysippus chrysippus was a stunner, and her fellow Plain Tigers were giving me fits (almost unapproachable).

Good that she was nectaring, because that raises my hopes for an even closer approach. Nectaring, or when exhausted and resting, and early, early in the morning are the only times that they can reward my macro- lens.

Why have we noted 3 names above? This is the subspecies found in northern Africa, the Middle East, and proximal regions in Europe and Asia. Two other similar subspecies are found in Asia, Europe, etc., and they have their own subspecies names.

Think about it. As we approach 2015, there are many animals and plants whose numbers are at risk. At the same time, happily, most species, as with the Plain Tiger butterfly, are not at risk at all, and doing fine across several continents.

Good again. Your interest and support of the Environment is reaping dividends, at home and across the Globe. Encouraging? No?

Jeff