Coppers In The Galilee (Really)

Lycaena Phlaeas butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Nahal Dishon National Park, Upper Galilee, Israel

We have many wingedbeauty Followers who love to see posts of butterflies in the HolyLand (Israel). I am happy to share some, for photographing in the pristine, almost unspoiled wilds of the Upper Galilee, Golan and the Golan’s Mt. Hermon, is thrilling, truth be told. To think that They walked these same ancient trails, and stopped to examine/admire the same butterflies, is very sobering, very profound.

So it was here, an encounter with this male Lycaena phlaeas timeus, a copper, met in Nahal Dishon National Park in the very Upper Galilee. He’s very vivid in color and marking, and he sports those classy blue spots, seen on the outer margin of his hindwing.

Photographing butterflies in the Galilee and the Upper Golan, wild, you don’t see anyone for hours. You’ve never done that yet, have you?

Not showing off, just stating the facts, M’am.


What Am I Shooting For?

Northern Pearly Eye Butterfly, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania

I smile when I look back on those first what?, 10 years of photographing butterflies. Film was cheaper then, Fuji Velvia slide film. Processing the exposed film was less expensive, and scanning too didn’t break your budget. I went out on a typical morning, and returned home with 10 or more rolls shot. I just about chased and photographed any butterfly that I found.

Nowadays, things have changed. My film is very expensive, processing and scanning the slides has also become more expensive. I have also changed. I no longer follow or stalk butterflies that are worn or bird-struck. When I see a spectacular Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly (female) or an OMGoodness! Question Mark, I pause, gather my thoughts, and move on. My sizable collection of slides happily includes excellent images of same. Once in a while, I wonder what will happen to that collection, that includes many rare and declining species?

I’ve also given up on waiting for the Butterfly cognoscenti (how do I explain that to y’all?) to come along and visit. As on the streets of Brooklyn, back with ‘them,’ no names. That puzzle awaits I don’t know what.

What, then am I shooting for?

I’m now near ready to share that. I continue with the same energy and anticipation this 2019 . . . for us. For me and for you. I want to find and capture on film the finest, freshest butterflies. They must be of excellent color and form, male and female, if we can determine such.The color of my work must be exactly as it looks in the field, real-time. Film continues to be used worldwide because the color it delivers accurately reveals true field color. More than 25 years in the field confirms that. I shoot rolls of 36-exposures, and cull those slides out, usually keeping 2 or 3 per roll, at the most.

Once Katie Funaki has scanned them, I want you there, and me here, to pause for a sec, and whisper, “Wow!” Then, me? I hope you think G-d has really created boundless beauty.

This Northern Pearly-eye Butterfly met me at Raccoon Creek State Park, in southwestern Pennsylvania, USA. That about 380 miles west of where Benjamin Franklin printed his newspapers.


Mirror Time for Jeff

Jeff Zablow at '3B' Farm, Pittsburgh, PA

A victory lap for . . . me. We’re at Three B’s Farm, just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An eight hour drive, nearly straight west from New York, New York. It’s a magnificent June 2018 day, and my children and my grandson thought that picking blueberries and raspberries would be a Fun! idea. Bingo!

The berries? Magnificent! Plump, at peak and very tasty. Life berries, I can say.

This morning I surveyed wingedbeauty’s Media Library for a good choice of an image to post here, now. I stopped, decided that I’d play with this one, for this one is special.

Here I am, a big boy now, struggling yet to overcome Frieda’s A”H (OBM) loss, frustrated recently, and more, but . . . my full, rich life, up from the streets, much $uccess in the private sector, only to have knaves wrest it from me, 4 wonderful children, once again uprooted from ‘home,’ and look, Jeffrey, look at me.

Mirror time. I’m close to realizing Don’t Look back. No more carrying cold steel in my front right pocket, no more mismatched clothing to choose from, no more false friends and the backstab. My ‘good looks’ have propelled through all, my vigor and strength (Thank Y-u) still enabling swamps and medium-sized mountains, my gusto! and sense of humor still Pesci-esque. I’m here with family, and Thankful for that.

Too, I pursue what I Love, finding, stalking and photographing butterflies, to share the beauty that G-d . . . .

Mirror time for this Jeff.


Red Admiral at Shellman Bluff Challenges Jeff

Red Admiral butterfly on log, photographed by Jeff Zablow at Shellman Bluff, GA

It’s another of our challenges, not often discussed. This image sets the challenge out nicely. Right place: Shellman Bluff, Georgia. Right time: Summer 2016. Right butterfly: Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta). The Challenge, then?

When I began photographing butterflies, and I remember this with a smile at the corners my mouth, I chased and shot almost all that flew. Know what though? I soon figured out that . . . most of y’all don’t, really, want to see worn butterflies. No more heavy wing scale loss, no more bird-struck wings, no more faded color. I disciplined myself, to only pursue and expose fresh, shmeksy! butterflies. Good strategy that, and wingedbeauty’s traffic climbed.

The challenge? again. it’s shown here. Jeff spotted a Red admiral in an off-road spot, and sought after it. When it stopped it stopped on a downed tree trunk. The red admiral, once seen up close was worn, but featured great antennae, fine body and sweet blue dots at the trailing end of the hindwings. It was perky and alert. The log it was on introduced positive geometric to the view, with butterfly and log and an inviting angle. The log’s color was many variations of tan to brown, much of it rich browns, and the botany just beyond the log would not be focused in this Macro- look, but brought good eye-tantalizing rich green to the fore.

So the challenge is: Butterfly worn but comely, and all around it, promising, very promising.

I shot away, satisfied. Yes film is expen$ive, but I sought the look, the appeal.

What would you have done?


Common Gladiolus (Protected Species)

Common Gladiolus Wildflower (Protected Species) photographed by Jeffrey Zablow in Northern Golan, Israel

Photographing butterflies in the wild rewards us in so many unanticipated ways. The very same trail that led us to the Hermon Iris hit us again with this lovely, Gladiolus italicus. Both rare species of wildflowers grow where few ever venture, bloom just after Israel’s winter season has ended, and they exist very, very close to the border between Israel and Lebanon. The media report this northernmost Golan region as tense. The Hermon iris and this Common gladiolus evidence little interest or concern in the follies of mankind.

How vividly rich was the pink color of this wildflower. How were they bred to achieve the garden gladiolus that we grow in our gardens and put into our flower arrangements? How many funeral flower arrangements have their progeny beautified?

Not always alone on this trail, a future post on wingedbeauty will be of the behemoth cows that briefly blocked our return walk on the trail. Amazing. These 1500 lb. or so cows left the iris and gladioli alone. Because they were protected or because their mothers somehow taught them to avoid eating these beautiful wildflowers. We saw no insects visiting the gladiolus, but in fairness we paused there for only a short time.

Photographing winged beauties ends up not always being what you expected!