29 Butterflies?

Jeff photographing Georgia's Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch, Eatonton GA

Just miles from picturesque Lake Oconee, where the successful enjoy their comfortable second homes, this man is in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, in sweet Eatonton, Georgia. He’s there to find and photograph butterflies, especially butterflies native to the southeastern United States. It’s about 10:10 A.M. and those tiny Swallowtail caterpillars are his instant targets.

His film camera is this Canon Elan 7e with a Cannon Macro- 100mm/2.8 lens. The hat boosts Archangel Ancient Tree Archive. The headband, now having travelled more than 28,000 miles is from Dicks. The green shirt is worn to reduce the perceived threat as I approach butterflies, and from LL Bean. The jeans from Wrangler. The boots from Merrell (they did just great! in ’15 and ’16 on Israel’s uber-rocky terrain). The wool socks from . . . Goldtoe ( and a connection to . . .). Now, the enthusiasm? That’s from just being able to do this, having survived all of those precarious parts of my life, the sheer joy of meeting exquisite beauty, the real desire to be an esthete and a great appreciation for the Almighty, for allowing me to experience all of the above.

There are very few places in the 50 states of the United States that have this potential. What potential? I have seen 29 different species of butterfly at this Habitat in 2017, in a single morning. Virginia’s regulars and irregulars have pushed, pulled & planted a butterfly destination unlike almost any other . . . in America, right here in Eatonton. I’m trying to remember who to credit this photo to. I think to that very same Virginia C Linch.

Jeff

Bulletin! New Central Georgia Tradition

Stanley L on the porch, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA Porch

Reports keep coming in. Increasing numbers of Georgians, and lately folks from out of state, come to visit the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. Founded in 2014, the stream of visitors in 2015 grew, and 2016 visitor logs convincingly show ever larger attendance. Founder Virginia C Linch, always understated, confirms that lovers of beauty, admirers of butterflies, wildflowers, birds, bees and dragonflies, to name the most enthusiastic, visit as often as they can get there.

I myself have driven down from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania many times these last 2 years. Why? Nowhere else from Maine to the Florida Panhandle am I likely to see and photograph an artist’s palette of different butterflies. On top of that, you never, never know when a very rare, very exotic butterfly may just fly in, and save you hundreds of miles of driving around the South, searching for that very same sweetpie.

When Virginia suggested to Bartow and Roger the addition of a ‘porch’ that would appeal to your memories of sitting on the old homestead porch, rocking the time away with family and neighbors, well, in short time there it was, the ‘faux porch.’ Not its official name, but how I think of it. I’ve enjoyed the porch and its donated rockers many times. After 3-4 hours of working the Briar Patch on a July morning ( 8 AM to 12 PM ), it’s worth $ 1,000,000, me sitting there, enjoying my Coco Loco bar, chatting with other visitors, calling friends and awaiting the arrival of Virginia, Sylbie, Cathy, Kelly, Phil, Dave, Jim, Susan or whoever.

With 2017 now upon us (Yay!!) this new tradition, lolling the time away on the BBBriar Patch porch is expected to continue to grow and spread. The charge? Free. The view? Well, spectacular? The opportunities to Connect? Endless, especially with the Maker. The reception you will get? Unforgetable. The sincerity of that hosts? 100% solid gold.

Here we have Stanley Lines, an early, and stalwart supporter and friend of the BBBriar Patch Habitat, on the porch. In Eatonton, relaxed and calling you, to wit, when shall we expect your arrival?

Jeff

Agree or Disagree?

Years and years into photographing butterflies now, and you would think that I would be steadily approaching, well, saturation. If that makes sense to you, surprise! The challenges, opportunities and thinking continues, unabated, and not diminished. Here’s an example of a present new idea of mine.

I shot this exposure of an American Copper some years ago. When I light boxed the dozen or more images of it, I was very Happy with this one. Very. Some of you may think: I see things here that Jeff likes. Others of you may think: Why does this image stand out from the nearly 800 in wingedbeauty’s Media Library?

Me? I have always liked this share of the head. Michal has 2 Shih Tzus, and they used to refer to them as ‘pookies.’ Small, and very cute. Munchkin and Shnookie were, and are, even at 12 and 13 years. This head struck me at first sight as a ‘pookie.’ Eyes, palps and sweet antennae. The left wings, ventral sides, are clear, colorful and dramatically colored. Those wings are fresh and not bird-struck. The legs are nicely shared, and set in a way that pleases the eye. The plant stem that this Copper is standing on boasts those fascinating fibers over its length, and that stalk is set at a slight angle, adding personality to the image. The leaves toward the right of the image bear red borders/veins, further jazzing up the shot. Bonus to all is the background, a comely green, minty and persuasive to the eye.

Digging further, a Georgia friend recently shared that she had never yet seen an American Copper butterfly. As soon as she wrote that, my mind shot to this look, and that was the ‘seed’ that led to this very post. Thanks Nancy.

Sometime soon we will add a new Feature to wingedbeauty.com, Jeff’s 8 (10?) Favorite Images. This should be amongst those 8 or 10, for how many times I’ve scrolled down the Library, and stopped to smile at this one.

Do you Agree or Disagree that this photo deserves broad exposure?

Jeff

Your Monarch Prediction?

Monarch butterfly (male), photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Six years into wingedbeauty.com, and we have seen burgeoning interest in Monarch butterflies. More and more us of fret over why we find fewer of them in the east most one-third of the United States.

We read most recently that the populations of Monarch butterflies in those central Mexico conifer forests are seriously down again. I hope that those reports are incorrect, but find myself concerned that another summer and fall will produce fewer Monarch sightings here in western Pennsylvania.

In 2016 I spotted very few in and around Pittsburgh. Happily, I photographed this male in the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat in Eatonton, Georgia. There were many Monarchs flying there when I visited in August and again when I returned there in September., Virginia Linch verified that central Georgia enjoyed good Monarch numbers last year.

With 2017 upon us . . . What do you Predict? How numerous do you expect Monarchs to be in your state, your county, and in your own garden?

Jeff

Monarch Heroics

Monarch butterfly (female) on Tithonia, photographed by Jeff Zablow at "Butterflies and Blooms in the Briar Patch," Eatonton, GA

Me? I try as hard as I can to not buy ‘Made in China.’ That for so many reasons. It’s been tough for those of us who make this extra effort, but mostly it pays off. Made in USA sings to me, as I can find it. Our Monarch butterflies so evoke that for me. Danaus plexippus flies from coast to coast, north to south. Seeing a Monarch titillates all, ages 1 to 110. This one is on Tithonia (Mexican sunflower) in the Butterflies & Blooms Habitat in Eatonon, Georgia.

A very beautiful butterfly, waves of burnt orange, spots of a type of yellow, white, bands trailing the wing margins of black black, spiffy black wing lines, the stark sizable white spots on head and thorax, all eye-candy in a fresh Monarch.

Americans are also blessed, with the still phenomenal saga of Monarchs flying from Maine to Mexico, Eatonton to Mexico, Frewsburg to Mexico, Shellman Bluff to Mexico . . . and once winter slips away, from Mexico to Maine, Eatonton, Fresburg and Shellman Bluff. Oh, and from Washington State to California and from . . . .

Now, this image triggered my thinking to that word ‘Heroics.’ Would you look at those right wings? Thousands of tiny scales lost, holes in the wing, scratches. She has seen, experienced and survived. Her color remains sugary sweet, and her head, well, she is a real looker! American women & American Monarchs, the finest. The most heroic.

Jeff