I’ll Bet You Can’t Top This!

Head Start Class, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

“Pennsylvania man,” as I’m called in the fantastic March 9th front page newspaper feature story ( Eatonton Messenger newspaper of Putnam County, Georgia), urges all lovers of beauty and butterflies to visit the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton. Why do that? ? You have visited wingedbeauty for reasons: beauty, butterflies, eye-candy, nostalgia for images captures on  . . . film (real-time superior color), you like being an esthete and have to feed that habit, etc.. Some visit because they love and support Virgina C Linch, Bartow, Kelly, Cathy, Stanley, Sylbie, Lisa, Jim, Jim, Lynn, Susan and they love Eatonton, and hope that Eatonton’s leaders continue to support the Habitat.

Me? It’s the Best Place to see southeastern butterflies between Maine and the Florida Panhandle. My morning record was scored there last year, i.e., 29 different species seen in a single morning. The nectar bar for butterflies is so rich there, that hundreds fly, free and wild at any given sunny morning moment. I get it! I know and see how hard these handful of earnest supporters work there daily, to nurture it, water it in and husband it along, so that the word can go out: Virginia’s plea to plant native wildflowers in our home gardens, advancing the success of our sometimes beleaguered winged beauties.

Virginia (C Linch) always shoots for the future. Insure that our youngsters meet, watch, learn about butterflies. The good farmer that she and her Bartow are, she is ‘seeding’ the future, growing the legions of oncoming homeowners, who will remember that their hard earned home lots should, will, must, can have extensive flower beds with beautiful, hardy native blooms that bring butterflies, bees, beetles, flies and the birds, lizards and other animals that come along, too.

I’ve been there, photographing, when buses of school kids visit. It is too much fun, watching the children Ooh! and Ah! and watching dedicated, responsible teachers and teaching assistants enthusiastically show the kids butterflies, caterpillars, chrysalises and . . . eggs, often so easy to find in this extraordinary oasis for butterflies, blooms and wildlife.

Imagine the sheer magic! of this moment in time, a Headstart class, at the Habitat! Hey the scientists among you out there, quantify for me the excitement, awe and energy expended in just this one capture moment?

Virginia (SHHH! she is very modest/humble) does all this on a shoe string budget (SHHH! again, for . . . tho$e dollars often come out of her own . . . . . .!) I’ll bet you can’t top this!


Me and Ralph . . .

Jeff photographing Georgia's Butterflies and glooms in the Eatonton Briar Patch
694 miles from my home in Pittsburgh, fully engrossed, in this gem of an urban habitat, the Briar Patch in Eatonton, Georgia. Brownfield land, once an aluminum  plant and company housing. Now human dynamo Virginia Linch has marshaled a band of merry volunteers to do a Presto Chango! and with blood, sweat and likely a few happy tears, it is a community asset, attracting adults and kids, to come and marvel over the winged beauties that come for nectar, pollen and good leaf chew. Thanking G-d frequently, for the opportunity, these photo evokes that message I love so deeply, penned by Ralph Waldo Emerson. In part:

To appreciate beauty; To give of one’s self . . .
To leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition . . .
To laugh and play with enthusiasm and to sing with exultation and to know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived –
That is to succeed . . . .

Do you see what I see?

Darner Dares

Darner dragonfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek Park, PA, 6/7/07

They left way before I could see them. One type was darner huge. I could see some of them as they chose a perch a bit down the trail. Others took a turn in flight, enabling me to seem them. All of the Georgia darners a few weeks ago eluded my camera lens. Rock Hawk trails near Eatonton, Georgia was the home of beautiful, unapproachable darners.

The darner in this image was taking advantage of the early morning sunlight. Warming rays of sun that fueled its “engines” assuring that within minutes, rocket-like flight would let it capture winged insects, and elude all, including curious photographers of butterflies.

A very long time ago, I posted a blog with an image of a darner. I offered my boyhood experience of catching one in flight, with my bare hard. Never, never will I do that again. Funny, though. Their bite is past painful, yet not one of the 97,359 darners I’ve come across, have ever been aggressive to me. For that alone, I respect darners (AKA dragonflies).

Oh, qualify as ‘winged beauties?’ Big Yes on that.