I just checked. It’s 64F right now here in Eatonton, in Georgia’s Piedmont region. 2019 saw Jeff making fewer trip to photograph butterflies than he had hoped to. Thankfully it was not a health reason, but rather my infrequent travel in the latter half of the year was due to reasons beyond my control.
People plan and G-d laughs at such, is what I have heard across my life. 2020 is though beckoning me as a Bust-Out-Year. I want to make several trips to seek out butterflies here in the South, in the United States and abroad. I LOVE (Yep! all caps) working hill and dale and meadow and swamp and fen for butterflies. I smile from ear to ear when you ‘Like’ my wingedbeauty.com posts and I grin broadly when you sometimes ‘Comment.’
This is among my Favorite of all images, credit to Sylbie Yon who happened to visit the Butterflies and Blooms Briar Patch Habitat right then, and who, when handed my camera, copped incredible images of my elation, with this pair of coupled Eastern Black Swallowtail butterflies, here on my right shirt sleeve. That elation was accompanied by my inner melt, as this was one of less than a handful of times when butterflies ignited my feeling that my beloved wife, Frieda A”H arranged for this, for the world’s most magnificent butterflies to make their landing on my arm, to remind me of how she . . .
2020 and wild, free, gorgeous butterflies? Where do I sign up? Really. (I just read in my current reading of a book, read why my Artillery unit was one of many that did not received orders to ship out to Viet Nam in ’68, me a young Artillery officer . . . )
The work of I think 2 talented men, this is the rocking chair on the faux porch, overlooking one of Americas’s Top butterfly destinations. NABA-certified, the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat has probably logged more Oohs! and Aahs! than MIT’s whiz kids can keep track of.
Fight to get there at or before 8:00 A.M., gear up. load my film, and on so many mornings I have compared myself to a whirling dervish, spinning here, then there, there over there, to track and shoot images of fresh, gorgeous butterflies of the southeast . . . and northeastern U.S..
Rolls of film are consumed, disappointments nag, interspersed with . . . triumphs! Two, two decades of wanting a sweet image of a Giant swallowtail, and then there goes a worthy beaut, and . . . and . . . he heads to a Mexican sunflower bloom, and Pop! Pop! pop! go my exposures.
Now exhilarated, Thankf-l for all this and for my being here in very special Eatonton, Georgia, it dawns on me that I 1) haven’t had enough water to drink and 2) am ready to treat myself to my usual, a scrumscious Coco Loco bar. Where?
Bee-line to the ‘porch’ with its 2 rocking chairs, beckoning me. Ahhh, so good to sit and see many dozens of winged beauties aloft in front of me. The palette of color is phenomenal, flowers and butterflies. And, who is that pulling up from Oak Street? Virginia? Stanley? Sylbie? Jim? Susan? Cathy? Lisa? Perfect. Good times at the Briar Patch Habitat, March to November!
Years ago, at Raystown Lake in Central Pennsylvania, I saw Common Wood Nymph butterflies whose blue centered eye-spots dazzled me. I worked that habitat for a single day, and never forgot how those eye-spots evoked memories of fine gems, that I’d seen in Christies’, Sotheby’s and Dole’s magnificent jewelry auction galleries in New York.
Since then, I’ve sought to find comparable Common Wood Nymphs. Little success there.
This year I visited Clay Pond, a New York State conserved wetland. Not the New York metropolitan area that I came to have a love/hate relationship with, but Western New York, green and pristine. High grasses surrounded the Pond, and there were lots of butterflies. Seeing them was difficult, because their flights were short, quickly descending down into the tightly set grasses and sedges.
This one showed itself, then went into the above, fly up, descend to hide, flee my approach through the grass (which must have been easily detected). After repeated escapes from me, it descended, and stayed, hiding and resting.
As I closed in, Bazoom! It was gorgeous. Those eye-spots, baby blue, and circled by light orange rings, all against a background of Stetson hat chocolate brown. It shot, shot,shot. Waited for my slides to be returned from Dwayne’s Photo, and Yippee Eye Ay, Yippee Eye Oh!! A satyr image, Good enough to share.