Eastern Strawberry Tree (Mt. Meron)

Eastern strawberry tree photographed by Jeff Zablow at Mt. Meron, Israel

A tree that rivets your eyes. Found in northern Israel, the Eastern Strawberry Tree’s bark is a color I can only call startlingly red. You just stare at it, and think, “How beautiful.” This instant tree grew on my favorite trail on Mt. Meron, in the uppermost Galilee region of Israel.

Loyal followers of wingedbeauty.com remember that in 2013 I had worked this same mountainside trail, determined to photograph the large butterfly, the Two-tailed Pasha. I managed to see 3 of them, and could not get within 30 feet of any of them. Since I only shoot macro- (must be within 2 feet of my butterfly), I was 100% skunked.

Back here in June 2014, and with some good suggestions from Israelis, I arrived on the trail at about 6:30 A.M., Monday through Friday. Five mornings, how then could I fail to get an image of this butterfly, known to remain close to its host plant, the Eastern Strawberry tree?

Sure enough I saw 11 of them. And again, . . . I never got closer than 30 feet to any of them. Skunked with a capital ‘S.’ FYI, that’s Israel in the foreground, and Lebanon in the background.

Do share if you too find this tree catchy to the eye.


Question Mark Butterfly Tease

Question Mark butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park

I’m 2/3 through my read of Butterfly People by William Leach and this book has exercised my thinking about so much that we encounter in the field. Photographing butterflies, as with this Polygonia interrogationis is never monotonous, alway the next minute offering up the definitely unexpected. This one (male? female? They are difficult to sex) zoomed up from the trail and set down on this leaf.

Do they have the ability to think? Does it revel in the knowledge that without net on long pole, slingshot or firearm, I had no way to harm it? Only some 10 feet above me, why does it tease me so? Does it know that I shoot macro- and that I can get no better image of it than this? The summer Question mark, basking ‘at poolside’ without concern of gawkers?

Back to Leach’s tome about butterfly collectors during the raging last 1/2 of the 19th century. Experiences like this one so exasperated Edwards, Scudder, Doherty, Strecker, Holland, Staudinger, et al. Whether it be in Raccoon Creek State Park, or India, or New Guinea or Brazil. Do they do it to tease us? Do they have the ability to think?

I say Nah! It is of course attractive to think otherwise.