Four Butterflies

American Snout Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Habitat, Eatonton, GeorgiaGray Hairstreak Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Habitat, Eatonton, GeorgiaClyitie ministreak butterfly (3) photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TXGray Hairstreak photographed by Jeff Zablow at Fort Federica, Saint Simons Island, GA

Once every so often, I reflect on my butterfly fascination. When some of you share your image captures, I Ooh! and Ahh! Some of you, truth be told, produce excellent, A+ work. Jeff experiences that 1/100 of a second of doubt, some sort of a throwback to maybe junior high school self-consciousness.

That’s when I regroup, so to speak, and recall the fun I have when I am on trail, when a Wow! butterfly appears, and we play ‘lion stalks zebra,’ ’til I get the images I want, or not. I recall how sweetly many of you receive my work, and reward me with encouragement and sometimes praise. I reconsider the expen$e of some of my travel, the co$t of scoring the third image down, a Clytie Ministreak butterfly, found at the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas.

But most of all, I smile, for I Love the beautiful color and pattern of butterflies, and I savor the rich real-time color that my Fuji Velvia slide film delivers,.

Four butterflies that bring a smile to this once kid from Brooklyn’s mean streets.

Jeff

“Let Me Count The Ways”

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

We’ve grown. An increasing number of folks now follow wingedbeauty.com. Well, China, South America and Africa still lag behind in those who follow us here, but they are more than offset by our increased reach here in the United States, in Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Australia, Japan, and much of the Far East (Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka). I am so very pleased with knowing that friends from so far afield come to visit, and return again and again.

Growth here at home and abroad comes with interesting challenges. Many come along, and then share their own image captures. It doesn’t take more than a nanosecond for me to recall the images that I was scoring as many as 20 years ago. They were done with such determination, zeal and, absent in the field mentors, enough well, confusion, to make me shudder at how much I wanted to get OMG! looks, and how far I was from doing that, regularly.

A new friend arrived from Sri Lanka, very interested and very appreciative of whatever advice I might share. Share too much, and you risk overwhelming, share nothing at all, and me, I know how that vacuum feels.

So I return to one of my most valued images, this Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly, met at the Jamestown (NY) Audubon Center, before it’s name changed. This look tickles me a lot, for it gives you a whole host of this beauty’s beauty, from wingtip to wingtip, from palps to posterior end of its abdomen, and then those antennae, the head, eyes, the color sings too, as do the distinct markings that I’ve noted challenge Tiffany’s and Cartier and the living and long gone artisans of those jewelry workshops.

A favorite image, I ask, how many ‘standing ovations’ must it give you? How I’d Love to know your responses to this last query??? Peggy, Kelly, Virginia, Holly, Cathy, Jim, Sherrie, Katarzyna, Ian, Phyllis, Laurence, Angela, Lois ,Jim, Kathryn, Marcie, Kathy, Jill, Leslie, Paula, Barbara Ann . . . .

Jeff

Chasing the Checkered Skipper Butterfly

Checkered Skipper butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch Habitat, GA

There are large butterflies (Monarchs, Swallowtails) and there are small butterflies (Pearl Crescents, Orange Sulphurs) . . . and there are those tiny butterflies (Hairstreaks and the Blues). It’s those tiny butterflies that are so often offended, by our apparent disinterest in them, again and again. Hikes in the field usually ‘kick-up’ the tiny butterflies, from their resting perches just inches off the ground: American coppers, azures, Eastern tailed blues, and skippers, many different skippers.

There aren’t a whole lot of butterfly blogs extant, although there are now a good number of Facebook butterfly lovers who share their image captures. What they don’t share much are images of the tiny butterflies. Why? Tiny butterflies remain mostly close to the ground, or in the case of the skippers fly away at blurring speed.

Getting down to shoot a tiny requires that you bring your entire body down, down to them. That especially vexes me, for I shoot Macro- and must get within some 18″ or so of them. If you live with chronic knee, back, hip or leg conditions, well then, getting down to cop tiny butterfly images is not near half-worth the pain it will cause. That plus while you’re getting down, the butterfly more than likely will be . . . fleeing your approach, leaving you near nose to the ground, and nothing to show for it.

Me? I run a butterfly blog, and I love butterflies. They mean so much to me. They evoke such strong emotional feelings. That and I WANT to bring good butterfly images to you. I want to. I enjoy doing that. I’ve had difficulty explaining that to folks who grapple with some explanation for why I do this. I do my best to make my responses brief, and me and Fuji slide film continue our work, undeterred.

This Common  Checkered Skipper butterfly might be the 75th shutter click that I’ve made of them. They are very, very common in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in  Eatonton, Georgia. They flee as you walk the paths there. On a given morning there, I may see 30 or more of them.

Most of my looks at them end with so-so images. This capture of a fresh male pleases me. There are several things I like about this share. I may have clicked my 75th checkered skipper, but another benchmark should be known. This may well have been my 150th go down to the ground move. They don’t like approach, won’t tolerate it. Most of us just no  longer try, and set them on our Don’t Care About Them List.

Me, I don’t give up . . . I can do it, even if it takes . . . Jeff, chasing the checkereds.

Jeff