Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Phipps Consevatory OG)

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow

Ooh. The scanned image is a bit darker than the original slide is. So, after using my loupe and my reliable light box, I’ve thrown caution to the wind and am sharing this July image with you. Hmm.

She is enjoying her morning feast of Tall verbena nectar. Her lovely upper wing decoration is positioned for full display of her palette of colors. Fresh and healthy, she is all of us, when we were youthful and hearty.

This photo also causes me to consider other images that I have recently seen online. Each season I expose thousands of slides, and place some 98% in the trash. I want to keep and post images that are at least excellent. Once in a while I score an image that is more than excellent. All of these ratings are my own of course, Jeff critiquing his own work.

This photo of Papilio glaucus made the cut because it achieved several goals. Her blue splashes on her hindwings show well, and louping, the blue scintillae are evident and distinct. The ‘tails’ are prominent and defined. The surface of her wings are well positioned and I found myself studying their patterning, moments ago. Her eyes are defined, her antennae OK, and the dorsal surface of her head and thorax looks interesting. The reddish-orange spots on her hindwing apexes are nice. The hair-like fibers that surround her thorax can be seen. So you see my examination of an image depends on whether or not the butterfly looks good, the image is interesting and informative and most importantly, are several of the butterfly’s features clearly shown.

I try to review newly delivered slides when I am alone. It is too painful for others to watch me throw 90% in the trash. $$$. It creates a considerable brouhaha when sometime later they ask about the 10% that survived the culling, only to hear that many of those were also . . .



With Dazzling Red Hindwing Spots, a Hairstreak Butterfly Warms Herself in the Morning Sun

Gray Hairstreak Butterfly at Phipps Conservatory, Pittsburgh

It’s early in the morning and our Gray Hairstreak is resting and warming herself in the morning sun. Her hindwing spots are a dazzling red.

This dorsal image of Strymon melinus features stunning rich-red spots at the trailing ends of her hindwings. Just as striking is the red spot on her head.

Found perched on shrubs and other plants of moderate height, gray hairstreaks are solitary butterflies, rarely seen with other grays.

Often seen nectaring, they are among the most cooperative butterflies, preening for the camera lens and found along trail edges.

No confusion here, the gray hairstreak is gray on both dorsal and ventral wing surfaces.

Soon, very soon.


Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly with Blue Splashes on Her Hindwings

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly photographed at Raccoon Creek State Park, PA

Real time this Tiger Swallowtail female is working furiously to take up the nectar of these Butterflyweed flowers.

Her blue splashes on her hindwings are what sold me on this photograph. It’s a great challenge to capture them, considering how much the subject is moving.

Papilio glaucus is the species name of the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. It’s one of our largest butterflies.