Red Admiral at Shellman Bluff Challenges Jeff

Red Admiral butterfly on log, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

It’s another of our challenges, not often discussed. This image sets the challenge out nicely. Right place: Shellman Bluff, Georgia. Right time: Summer 2016. Right butterfly: Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). The Challenge, then?

When I began photographing butterflies, and I remember this with a smile at the corners my mouth, I chased and shot almost all that flew. Know what though? I soon figured out that . . . most of y’all don’t, really, want to see worn butterflies. No more heavy wing scale loss, no more bird-struck wings, no more faded color. I disciplined myself, to only pursue and expose fresh, shmeksy! butterflies. Good strategy that, and wingedbeauty’s traffic climbed.

The challenge? again. it’s shown here. Jeff spotted a Red admiral in an off-road spot, and sought after it. When it stopped it stopped on a downed tree trunk. The red admiral, once seen up close was worn, but featured great antennae, fine body and sweet blue dots at the trailing end of the hindwings. It was perky and alert. The log it was on introduced positive geometric to the view, with butterfly and log and an inviting angle. The log’s color was many variations of tan to brown, much of it rich browns, and the botany just beyond the log would not be focused in this Macro- look, but brought good eye-tantalizing rich green to the fore.

So the challenge is: Butterfly worn but comely, and all around it, promising, very promising.

I shot away, satisfied. Yes film is expen$ive, but I sought the look, the appeal.

What would you have done?


Those Southern Viceroys in Georgia

Viceroy butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the Butterflies and Blooms Habitat in Eatonton, GA

Our Viceroy butterflies here in Pennsylvania (8 hours west of New York City) are beautiful, elusive butterflies. We don’t see too many of them, they are now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t, and they are only found when 2 conditions are found together, wetlands and willow trees/bushes. No, my slide storage cabinet is not jam-packed with slides of Limenitis archippus. I have not seen as many of them as you would think. They are solitary butterflies and that means that you might see one here, see another later, a distance away there, and that second? Worn and wings bird-struck.

My trips to the U.S. southeast took me to the Land of possibilities. I might possibly find butterflies new to me. That I did: Georgia Satyrs, Giant Swallowtails, Little Metalmarks, Eastern Pygmy Blues, Zebra Heliconians (bold because that was a Kick!!), Juniper Hairstreaks, Cassius Blues, Palamedes Swallowtails, and more.

There was a type I wanted to see, but hadn’t yet seen. That takes us back to Viceroys. I so wanted to see the Viceroys shared in field guides of the eastern United States. Images in those guides showed southern Viceroys with spectacular hues, colors deeper and more Yummy! than the viceroys of Pennsylvania, northeastern viceroys.

Leave it to the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton to make that introduction. In this latest creation of Virginia Linch and company, August 2016, there I was staring at a Shmeksy! (read gorgeous) Viceroy butterfly . . . of the South. Near impossible to determine the gender, but this one cooperated, while it was resting for a bit, and I was pleased with its rich, sweet color. Very pleased. The slide louped well (on my light box). Back from the scanners (Rewind Memories), I gazed at this image, and it confirmed . . .  that Georgia is a butterfly destination. No doubt about it.