Metalmarks in 2018?

Little Metalmark butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

Would you? I think I want to, I do. I want to revisit those destinations along the Georgia coastline, that delivered Little Metalmark butterflies, Eastern Pygmy blue butterflies, Great Northern Whites, Cassius Blues and more. I know where they mostly are, and I want to let loose my newish Canon 100mm/2.8 Macro-lens with IS. I $prung for that extra IS (image stabilizer (= with built in gyroscope to correct for lens sway) to score sharper captures of eyes, antennae, feet, wing beauty, etc,, This image of a Little Metalmark was taken with my now defunct Macro- lens.

I think about going back. What I want are finer images of these butterflies, especially ones that boast excellent, scintillating silvery wing bands! For the Eastern Pygmy blues, I want images that I can admire, and know that yes, this is my image.

Pyle, RT Peterson, William Bartram, Virginia C Linch and the fabulous Paynes go back. Why shouldn’t I go back and finish the work?



Go For the Eyes . . .

American Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park. Jeff blogs about the art and science of butterflies at
What’s getting better each year? Well, the easy availability of gluten-free foods, the useful gadgets in new cars, and most importantly here, the real increase in the number of butterfly images that are being shared. Shared here in the U.S. and shared across the globe.

It’s very difficult to photograph butterflies. They are usually very wary and apprehensive. Most people go look for them after noontime, and that’s when most butterflies refuse to allow us to approach them. We’re another threat, added to the long list of threatening fliers, crawlers, slitherers, jumpers and so on. That exponentially increases the difficulty of scoring great photographs of butterflies.

There are some out there who must use certain gimmicks to capture their images. I’m out there alot, and I still can’t get my butterflies to pose on the top of a flower, with head held high, and wings perfectly positioned for the camera lens. Tricks can make that possible. Not for me.

The eyes. I work to capture better images of butterflies’ eyes. Many years ago, I read alot about this, and agree that a good image will feature good to better view of the eyes of your butterfly subject. This is tough to do, and forces us to not use many exposures (many, many exposures).

Keeping this discussion short, consider that all images of dogs, birds, horses, snakes, turtles, cattle, and cats come with good eyes. That is expected and required, for acceptance.

This American Copper Butterfly, perched on hawkweed, met my own threshold requirement for passable eye clarity.

I shoot macro- and that comes with a very limited depth of field. Good eyes, good wings, good body (head-thorax-abdomen), good antennae, good legs, good proboscis and also good eyes? Well, I say Yes. That is The challenge.


PS. If you’re interested in the technique that I’ve developed over time, check out the step-by-step section of the blog.