How To Respond To A Special Image?

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

Each time I am to choose a new image to post onto wingedbeauty.com, I open our Media Library and review the 1,000 or so images that reside there. Twenty four years of images return the favor, and I begin to enjoy a soup of thoughts, washed in memories recent and not so recent.

I took them all, and they remind of the time I badly wanted an image on a tiny backroad, layed down to capture it Macro-, only to hear a vehicle approach. My legs? They were laying beyond the berm of this dirt road, exposed. Decision? I chose to take the image. The vehicle came and went, and I still have both of my legs and feet. Men!

Of all of the times that I went off trail in Israel, the HolyLand, trying for butterfly images. There are vipers in the Middle East that aren’t found in the USA. People die there, from venomous bites. Some of my Media Library images recall such foolishness on my part.

Other images, like this one, of a Baltimore Checkerspot, enthrall me. I love this image, and I am much pleased that it is my image. This Baltimore is, choose the word? Gorgeous? Amazing? G-d’s creative work? A stunner?

It tickles me that we have a bunch of ‘special images’ now. The years have gifted us with those of Monarchs, Northern Pearly-Eye, Viceroy, those coupled Eastern Black Swallowtails, Question Mark, that Maniola in Israel, and Mourning Cloak.

I like writing this, for I’ve done this for years, years of encouraging myself that it is vital work for me to do, to feed the esthete in me, and to share among G-d’s finest works.

Jeff

Love? No. Why?

Peacock butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at the National Butterfly Center, Mission, TX

I count 1995 or so as the year that I decided to photograph butterflies. Life had always found me marching to my own drummer, and childhood had seriously taught me to learn the hard lesson of loneliness. Fortunately, I had the tools to make it on the streets of that Brooklyn, and I alway knew I could love, deeply.

Butterflies have occupied my mind and imagination since, and happily, that enthusiasm has not lessened. With Spring around the corner here in middle-Georgia, I spend much time thinking of where, what and which butterflies I would like to meet and re-meet. I’ve learned to reckon with limitation$ and to embrace the realization that I am one beat less than Ansel Adams and his ilk.

These decades have me thinking of Big questions, when I am in the field and when I am like here, at my 27″ iMac screen examining my craft work.

Large among the questions that visit me is this one. Why do I embrace, Love, images of certain butterflies? I easily include here: Coppers, Hairstreaks, Mourning cloak, Tortoiseshells, the Monarch, Common Mestra, Satyrs and the Alpines (though I’ve never seen one)?

I know, intellectually that this White Peacock butterfly, shot in the National Butterfly Center, is magnificent. Yet I am not excited when I’ve seen them, there’s no enthusiasm there. Add to that the Yellow butterflies, the White butterflies, the Checkerspots, Crescents, Ladies and the Skippers.

For a guy who has been thinking, deeply, since he was back there a 5-year old. I have not yet teased apart the reason for this ambivalence about this magnificent butterfly, the Peacock. A puzzle that. Yes?

Jeff

Guess Where We Met?

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Toronto Canada

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Toronto Canada

Oh Super! the caption affixed to this image gives it away immediately. I was going to offer Borneo, Cuba, Kenya and Mongolia . . . but you now know we met in Toronto.

Favorite ice cream? Breyer’s Mint Chip. Favorite meat? Grilled Lamb chops. Favorite trail? Nichol Road trail in Raccoon Creek State Park. Favorite state? Pennsylv/eorgia.

Favorite butterfly? This Mourning cloak butterfly. They fly in March, April, May, June . . . then you can’t find them until . .  September, October and maybe, maybe a bit into November. When you see one like this one, Busting with rich color, it’s like that time when you were 16 or 17 and you entered the . . .  and there she/he was and you almost couldn’t . . .  And it’s about the same, you’re thinking don’t, don’t leave stay there and let me get my act together, ’cause . . . .

It was one like this one that busted me up  that morning on Nichol Road trail, so soon after she passed . . .

From Maine down to northern Florida, and across North America.

Citing favorites is a fool’s errand, but you do expect me to not hold back here, so . . . it’s this one, the Mourning Cloak.

Jeff

Winter Antidotes I

Mourning Cloak Butterfly photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Toronto

Bitter cold, bone-chilling wind, always the threat of snow flurries, or even more disarming, snow. This New York, cum Pittsburgh boy has known northeast winters throughout his life.

15 years of seeking butterflies, seriously, has added another negative to my winter list. No butterflies (wild).

Let’s share this as the first of a number of winter antidotes. After all, these Mourning Cloak butterflies (Nymphalis Antiopa) are generally the very first to be seen, and that’s often during the last week in February, sometimes with much snow on the ground.

So friends, for those go-getters who are willing, it may be just a modest 54 days plus or minus, until our first northeastern butterflies take wing.

How? Don’t most require a minimum of 60 F to fly? Yes, most do, but this butterfly flies when it is much colder than that. Then how can the manage without nectar about? Mourning cloaks enjoy sugary sap dripping from maples and other trees, and they food on scat.

54? OK.

Jeff